Friday, 11 June 2021

RSPB Otmoor :: 02 June 2021

It was the last day of my extra-long weekend - half term holidays for my wife from the school. While she slept on I arose early and set out to target a bittern sighting at RSPB Otmoor. There was no sign of the glossy ibis on The Closes but from the bridleway I could see a single common crane feeding at distance - no point in another record photo.

Cetti's continued to call along the bridleway, joined by sedge and reed warbler and looking back down the path a male marsh harrier cruised across Greenaways. I reached the crossroads without having seen or heard from the bittern and decided on a quick look along Big Otmoor. I had good but fleeting views of two cuckoos and had an oystercatcher mobbing a red kite but nothing out of the ordinary.

Oystercatcher and red kite

I walked down to 1st screen and noted a handful of pochard but no bittern flights as I waited and watched. At second screen a lone pintail slept far to my left and later disappeared down a channel in the reeds. Still no bittern flight so I made my way back to the bridleway to stake out the reeds on Greenaways. A lovely whitethroat followed level with me for a hundred yards or so, singing constantly.

From the bridleway alongside Greenaways I was frequently distracted by calling Cetti's and passing cuckoo but continued to have no sightings of a bittern. A cuckoo decided to land on a few trees to my right but always against the sun, throwing it into silhouette. I took a couple of photos for record purposes.

So no bittern but while waiting/searching for one I noted black-headed gull, blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, canada goose, carrion crow, cetti's warbler, chaffinch, chiffchaff, common tern, coot, cormorant, crane, cuckoo, goldfinch, grasshopper warbler, great crested grebe, grey heron, greylag goose, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, lesser whitethroat, linnet, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, marsh harrier, mute swan, oystercatcher, pheasant, pintail, pochard, red kite, redshank, reed bunting, reed warbler, rook, sedge warbler, shoveler, skylark, snipe, song thrush, swallow, swift, tufted duck, whitethroat, willow warbler, woodpigeon and wren. Over 50 species but not the one I was hoping for - still a good day out!

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