Thursday, 28 May 2020

RSPB Otmoor :: 28 May 2020

With lockdown restrictions starting to relax, and now being allowed to exercise further from home, Reed warblerI ventured away from Banbury for the first time in 10 weeks. Although I have titled this with "RSPB" of course the reserve is still closed and I instead went for a walk along the public bridleway which cuts through the area and round the body of the reserve.

To avoid contacts I rose at 4.00am and was on the reserve by 5.00am, shaved and showered. I made for the bridleway and started along hearing, but not seeing, curlew. I heard my first sedge and reed warblers of the year and soon encountered a couple of garden warbler in the trees opposite the cattle enclosure. Above snipe drummed, and across CuckooGreenaways skylarks were rising high into the air. Good numbers of bullfinch progressed beside me.

Eventually I heard a cuckoo and saw one cross the path ahead - would this be the only one of the day? I needn't have worried as a couple of times three showed together, chasing through the treetops. I even managed to get a decent but distant shot of one on a branch.

Cettis warblers were very vocal and I managed to see one in the reeds to my left and thought I'd managed to get a photo but when I reviewed them it was just a blur. I don't remember them being quite so numerous along this stretch before.Common whitethroat

A handful of chiffchaff called but I didn't hear a willow warbler at all but common whitethroat were much more obliging.

On my return I bumped into Dan and Trish Miller who were also on the bridleway but waiting to see if they could see a bittern. Unfortunately work awaited and I decided not to hang around and continue back. Later they reported that they had in fact seen two and had both in the same shot.

What a welcome escape from the house today was. I must try it again when I have the chance and it is sensible to do so.Chiffchaff

Sightings in this short visit included: blackbird, black-headed gull, blackcap, blue tit, bullfinch, canada goose, carrion crow, cetti's warbler, chiffchaff, coot, cormorant, cuckoo, dunnock, gadwall, garden warbler, goldfinch, grey heron, greylag goose, jackdaw, lapwing, magpie, moorhen, pheasant, reed bunting, reed warbler, rook, sedge warbler, skylark, snipe, stock dove, swallow, tufted duck, whitethroat and woodpigeon.

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