Wednesday, 1 August 2012

De- ja cuckoo

A quieter day on the moor today as far as numbers go. But Otmoor never lets me down. There is always something different. To begin with. Turning into the lane by the pub, I noticed something huge sitting on one of the roof tops. For a moment I thought I was hallucinating. As I raised the bins, to see a Peacock. Not the most common sight on the moor.

Probably the same family of Garden Warblers I had seen two days ago. In the same bush, opposite the feeders (Car park field ), were busy feeding at least three juveniles.
Along the bridleway, by RSPB hut, (Greenaways) two Turtle doves could be heard purring. Found one sitting on a tree stump and the second erupted from the adjacent bush and flew over Closes.

Two red legged partridge strolled casually in front of me along the track.

Nearing the gate to the 1st screen. I discovered once again (Second time in two visits) a juvenile cuckoo sitting on the path. With its adopted parent Reed Warblers bringing food every few seconds. It hopped up onto the gate (To first screen), giving excellent views. Occasionally one of the Warblers would feed it from above while sitting on its back.



It then flew over the tree and alighted on the fence on Big Otmoor. Where the busy little Reed Warblers continued to feed it.

As the amount of people standing by the gate photographing it grew. The Reed Warbler parents became nervous and ushered their lumbering charge into the bushes and out of sight near the big Oak tree.
At least six Little egrets could be seen floating almost Owl-like over Ashgrave. A buzzard circling with a kestrel also there and the first Hobby of the day made its appearance. (Three seen today)

Buzzard circling with Kestrel

Moving to a different part of the reserve. I found two beautiful male Redstarts and a female. Also I think there were at least two other contact calls, I could hear at the same time. Coming from further along the field.
Whilst creeping along trying to get closer to where I saw a male Redstart fly into a bush. I stopped by another bush. Thinking it would give me that extra bit of camouflage. Suddenly right beside me, in the bush I was standing next to. I heard the familiar sound of a Redstart contact call.
Glancing down. I could see movement at the far end of the bush. A bird was edging its way towards the end of a branch. I slowly raised the camera and focused on a clear patch of branch near the edge. Checked I had it set on burst. (check). Fast shutter speed (check) Aperture ok (Check).
As good as gold. The beautiful male Redstart popped up exactly where I had predicted. Not more than six feet away. My heart was racing as I gently pressed the shutter button.
Then NOTHING. There is a horrible little click noise as the screen goes black. The Redstart takes off. I instinctively follow it with the camera. Desperately pressing the button. But to no avail. Checking the camera to see what the dickens (For want of another few words I could think of) had gone wrong.
The battery was as flat as a pancake. Argggghhhhhhh!!
Trudging back to the car. I consoled myself with the fact that just having been that close to such a fantastic bird on my own patch. Seeing them flying with their spectacular red tails was a marvel in itself.
Note to oneself > “ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU CHARGE THE CAMERA BATTERY THE NIGHT BEFORE. (YOU PLONKER)”

I think i am still being followed.

Doesn't quite make up for a Redstart but these two did their best.


Full list of species today 1st AUG

Mute Swan, Canada goose, Greylag Goose, Mallard, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted, Great crested Grebe, Coot, Cormorant, Grey heron, Little Egret, Lapwing, Buzzard, Red Kite, Hobby, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Turtle Dove, Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Cuckoo, Red legged Partridge, Green Woodpecker, Great spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redstart, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Linnet, Great Tit, Blue tit, Long tailed Tit, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat.