Sunday, 28 May 2017

RSPB Otmoor :: 27 May 2017

Looking on the internet I couldn't see any reports from local sites on highlight birds so opted for another visit to RSPB Otmoor - I still haven't managed to see either the hen harrier or bittern this year.

As I got to the end of Otmoor Lane, a red-legged partridge appeared Turtle doveon the verge and proceeded to walk ahead of the car. I progressed slowly so as not to startle it and enjoyed the close views. Another car joined behind me and I had to increase pace, spooking the bird, which resulted in it flying off left over the hedge.

From the car park I could hear a turtle dove over the hedge on the Roman Road. We went round to have a look but it was out of sight. Coming back to the car park, chiffchaff and blackcap darted about the trees singing loudly.

Once at the feeding station cuckoo and turtle dove could be heard clearly. Marsh harrierLooking along the hedgerow at the back of the bridleway a cuckoo landed low and out of sight of those on the other side. Distant and quiet it paused there for at least five minutes. Another could be hear back down towards the car park and seemed to arouse some interest in my bird, although there it stayed.

On the bridleway I could see some of the birders waiting for the turtle dove to come down to the seed spread on the ground by the cattle pen. I said hello and then moved on. No sooner had I got 20 metres and a turtle dove landed on the telegraph pole, then flew down in front of the gate and pens. I expect a few stunning photos will be posted this weekend.

Cuckoos continued to call but they didn't show as well as my last visit. Red kiteReed and sedge warblers still called and darted on my right as I reached the turn for the first screen. Snipe drummed overhead and common tern worked the reeds to the right.

Reached the first screen and was glad I hadn't bothered with a fleece as it was now getting quite warm. Watched up to four marsh harriers quartering the reeds, joined by both buzzard and red kite overhead. Stayed a good while but not afforded any views of hen harrier or bittern. A pleasant relaxing time though.

On the way back a woman who had been at the first screen for much of my time there was stopped and peering through her bins. A snipe resting in the scrub, unfortunately out of a clear photo shot or through her scope.

Through the kissing gate I turned right to have a look at the first pool on Big Otmoor. LinnetRedshank flew overhead, perhaps flushed by red kite overhead. Nothing much at the pool, perhaps where the redshank had been. A cuckoo called from a nearby tree but as I approached it flew off down the track.

Further views of turtle dove as I made the turn and noticed the guys still guarding the fence and pen - the seeds appeared to have been replenished. A single curlew flew overhead, towards Big Otmoor and common crane could be seen on Greenaways.

Almost back to the car when a whitethroat showed to my left carrying lunch. WhitethroatPopped off a few photos - perhaps I will get an ID on the caterpillar from those in the know.

Sightings today (49) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blackcap, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, chaffinch, chiffchaff, common tern, coot, crane, cuckoo, curlew, dunnock, gadwall, goldfinch, great crested grebe, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, grey heron, greylag goose, hobby, house martin, kestrel, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, linnet, little egret, magpie, mallard, marsh harrier, mute swan, pochard, red kite, red-legged partridge, redshank, reed bunting, reed warbler, sedge warbler, shoveler, skylark, snipe, swift, tufted duck, turtle dove, whitethroat and woodpigeon.

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