Thursday, 20 September 2012

Whinchats, Godwits and Geese

The highlight of the week for me was a huge flock of Geese, some three hundred plus,
flying directly over me from Ashgrave to big Otmoor. The sky was black with Geese. A truly amazing sight. Mainly Canada but plenty of Greylag mixed in with them.
This photos does not cover even half the flock. I haven't got a wide enough angle lens to have got them all in.

A flock of Greylag. Heading for Big Otmoor


A lot of our summer visitors that bred on the reserve seemed to have flown. Redstarts, Hobbys, and most of the Warblers apart from a few Willow/Chiffs and Blackcap have been notable by their absence as the week draws on. Monday the 17th there were still a few warblers around with singles of Garden, Sedge, Reed, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat seen plus four Blackcaps (One male and three females all together.)


Willow/Chiffs Thursday 20th sept.


 Dragonflies and Butterflies are also becoming less numerate. With a few Common Darters and the odd Migrant Hawker still around.

Several Red Admirals, two meadow browns and one Comma were the only Butterflies I came across this week.


Kingfishers are now a regular feature. Fishing in front of the first screen and giving stunning views. Like this one taken earlier in the week by Andrew Marshall.


(C) Andrew Marshall
They are often to be found perched on the sticks right in front of the screen. At least two are known to be in the area. I took these photos on Monday and Tuesday.


Whinchat numbers have been building. With as many as eight together on posts on Greenaways on Tuesday. They seem to favour the western edge of Greenaways, perching on the posts and reeds next to the footpath to the 1st screen. Another area they inhabit regularly, is the fence along the path, past the hide. With two seen again on Thursday. A further two were on the said posts (Greenaways).


Five Whinchats on posts Greenaways






Small flocks of Meadow pipits, are flying around on all of the fields on the reserve and mixed flocks of finches and Tits are to be found along the hedgerows. One solitary Lesser Whitethroat was among a charm of Goldfinches on Tuesday. (Greenaways) A large party of Long Tailed Tits are being accompanied by other members of the tit family along with one or two Willow/Chiffs and this Reed Bunting.

Jays and Woodpeckers are more noticeable, with several of each being seen or heard every day this week.
Spotted Redshanks have been seen on the reserve this week and Black Tailed Godwits along with Green sandpipers viewed from the 1st screen. (Wednesday and Thursday).
These excellent Black Tailed Godwit photos are courtesy of Derek Woodard. (Wednesday)


All Godwit photos (C) Derek Woodard.

There are plenty of Snipe on the reserve with a flock of fifteen flying over Ashgrave and several individuals seen on Thursday.
Birds of prey... A juvenile Marsh Harrier was present on tuesday. Seen over reed bed from the 2nd screen. A possible Merlin was being harassed by crows on Ashgrave. (Thursday) Buzzards, Red Kites and several Kestrels seen every day. This super little Kestrel was posing on a post in Greenaways on Tuesday.
Mammals... A Weasel was seen to dash across the path on Monday. Roe deer were seen on two days this week. With these two in a field along the path to 2nd screen.
Grey Squirrels are numerous. present on every part of the reserve each day.


Wildfowl numbers are building nicely. Mallard,Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Shoveller, Tufted and Gadwall all present. A flock of twelve Gadwall flew overhead today towards 2nd screen. Several flocks of Teal were seen flying in and landing on Ashgrave.
Cormorants are congregating on the Tern raft (2nd screen) Competing with the Otters, Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers and Grebes among others for the fish stocks.


Another good week on Otmoor, with plenty to look forward to in the coming weeks, as more of our winter visitors should start to arrive.