Sunday, 28 July 2019

RSPB Otmoor :: 25 July 2019

The hottest day of the year - 37°C locally and 38.7°C in Cambridge - and so I decided to go looking for redstart along Long Meadow. It was last chance I had to use up some the holiday's I'd carried over from the previous year. I had to stay at work later than I'd planned but made my way down arriving at around 2.30pm. Marbled white butterfly

Boy it was hot, so after a drink from my water bottle, I set off along Otmoor Lane to the entrance of Long Meadow. No signs of bird call and as I walked on the most obvious fauna were the hundreds of butterflies and the ocassional dragonfly, including Emperors. Butterfly species I could identify were: meadow brown, gatekeeper, small white, large white, ringlet, peacock, speckled wood, red admiral, small skipper, brimstone and marbled white.

I walked until I reached the tall brick wall and stopped to survey the area. A lone common tern screeched overhead but apart from this, there were no signs of activity. BitternI continued on until the hedge by the ditch and followed it across the meadow, on the far side. Again, apart from butterflies and dragonflies there was only a flyby from a kestrel, chased by a crow.

As a headed back I spotted a couple of small birds hopping in the base of a bush; as I approached they went deeper and then exited out the far side, never to be seen again. In the hedgerow to my left I could hear the chatter of great tits but nothing more.

I got back to the car, had another swig of water and set out towards Greenaways. Green woodpecker

Still no avian company by the time I got to the bridleway but then found a reed warbler calling, and then showing briefly. Hoorah!

I walked along the bridleway watching numbers of ruddy darter until movement to my right caught my attention - a bittern had taken to the wing and made a 6-7s flight into some distant channel. I hadn't been ready but did get my camera to shooting position, and opted to ensure I got a photo rather than mess around trying to zoom closer.

BullfinchGreen woodpecker, juvenile moorhen and pheasant were all of note at the hide and so I continued down to the first screen. Along the path there was a cloud of dragonflies and a range of butterflies. Despite the water levels having reduced there were good numbers of ducks on the water, with a couple of common tern and black-headed gulls. Some swifts cut the sky to the distant left.

Back on the bridleway I added a pair of bullfinches, three sedge warbler and five fly-through swallows.

Species today (32) included: bittern, black-headed gull, blackbird, bullfinch, carrion crow, chaffinch, common tern, cormorant, goldfinch, great tit, green woodpecker, grey heron, greylag goose, kestrel, lapwing, magpie, mallard, moorhen, mute swan, pheasant, red kite, redshank, reed warbler, rook, sedge warbler, shoveler, stock dove, swallow, swift, teal, woodpigeon and wren.