Friday, 25 February 2022

Bicester Wetlands Reserve :: 19 February 2022

There was a window in the rain forecast and so we made for the local Bicester Wetlands - a keyholder reserve. We set up in the hide and watched as a range of gulls dropped in - the larger gulls didn't stay long but I added common gull to my year list.

Common gull
Common gull
Common gull
Herring gull
Lesser black-backed gull

We watched as a flock of snipe were flushed and c.70 wheeled around the main pool - the adversary that spooked them remained invisible to us. They circled several times and eventually landed diagonally opposite the hide over the water (circa 150m as measured on Google Maps). Never one to dodge a challenge, I tried to take a photo of some individuals with limited success.

Common snipe
Common snipe

A kingfisher cut across the main pool and over the reeds to the works pool. We watched shoveler, teal, heron, little egret, mallard and gadwall plus two great spotted woodpeckers on the feeders. Before the rain might arrive, we walked down to the other hide and heard Cetti's warbler calling, meadow pipit circled overhead, and Kev found owl pellets below. The hide is still a little open on approach which resulted in a number of birds departing - we had a jay over but didn't stay long. On the return we met Alan Peters (the Reserve Warden) and he helped us connect with a jack snipe - neither of us had this on our list last year and we'd recently dipped the individual at Otmoor showing in the low-cut reeds - such a treat.

Having retired to the hide we chatted with Alan and managed to pick out two green sandpipers - both individuals opted to drop the other side of the far hedge line and apparently into the brook.


As the rain began we pulled stumps and headed home.

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