Friday, 7 September 2012

Bowled over by a cricket (Otmoor update)

Another stunning day at Otmoor (Thursday 6th sept). Started well (early am), with lots of birds around the first corner after leaving the car park. Again a photo shy Lesser Whitethroat, two Whitethroats, Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff that was following a blue tit everywhere it went, two Bullfinches, Reed Warbler, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit and several small groups of Blue Tits. A juvenile Great black Backed Gull lumbered across the sky heading for Ashgrave. A great spotted Woodpecker could be heard calling somewhere in the large willow trees.

Blue Tit with chiffchaff in attendance.


The area Around the feeders, both sides of the track were equally vibrant. With lots of Blue and Great Tits on the feeders, along with several Chaffinches. In the bushes on the opposite side of the track were. Two more Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler A female Blackcap, at least two chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler, a lovely male Bullfinch who unlike the Whitethroats flatly refused to pose for the camera and three female Chaffinches.

Obliging Whitethroats


Yellow Wagtails were in and around the cattle on Greenaways. I counted five, but there may have been more and my first Whinchat of the day was perched on a fence post along the diagonal track.
5o m or so past the R.S.P.B hut (On the right hand side of the track) i discovered a swarm of a dozen or so Hornets stripping the bark off a sapling. In attendance were a variety of flies. Ignoring the mortal danger they were in, they seemed to be taking advantage of the wounds in the tree the Hornets were creating. (Feeding on the sweet sap perhaps) One of my companions (Derek Woodard) saw a Hornet grab one of the flies.

Hornet stripping bark



Interesting fly species taking advantage
I am not sure of the fly species (Sorry) but the closest i can get in my book is the fly with blue markings could be pharyngomyia picta that lays its eggs in the nostrils of deer (charming) I am not 100% on this. Because as usual nothing in the book quite matches up.
A great spotted woodpecker was in the large Oak tree along path to 1st screen. From the screen there were four Green Sandpipers. A Greenshank also flew in from big Otmoor and made to land on the island. Unfortunately it didn't and flew up the channel and disappeared from view. A flock of 20 or so Snipe were again flying around the reed bed.

Green Sandpiper

Heading back towards the hide there seemed to be an awful lot of this going on.
among the Common Darters.


Also along the path from the 1st screen was this lovely Small Copper Butterfly.


Still on the Butterfly page. While walking back along the path to the car park i managed to photograph this superb Brimstone.
At the paths end. Looking onto Greenaways i found three Whinchat perched on the fence posts. These enigmatic little birds are always a pleasure to see. They were just about on the limit for my bridge camera's magnification. I have used one of my pics, showing Two Whinchats on the posts. Derek Woodard very kindly sent me three of his pics to use for my blog. "Cheers Derek".
My picture of two Whinchats.
Followed by three of Dereks superb shots.




On the path leading to the hide this curious little chap was walking around in circles. I think it is a member of the caddis fly family but again nothing in my book exactly matches. (Thanks Collins guide to the insects of Britain and western Europe) I am sure there is an expert out there who can give me a definite i.d (Please)

On reaching our respective cars in the car park. Derek shouted
"Hey Pete you still got your camera handy look at this"
I was completely bowled over. On his car was this fantastic little creature. It posed for ages. Showing all of its skills at walking on glass as well as highly polished car paint. Even holding on to the boot flap as Derek opened it to get his macro lens out. As far as i can tell it is a Roesel's Bush Cricket.

I think after all that the animals of Otmoor deserve a fly past and they got one.