Monday, 1 October 2012

Gold and semi precious stones found on Otmoor

Autumn gold that is. In the form of Plovers and Finches. I saw my first Golden Plovers of the Autumn at Otmoor on Monday the 1st October. A flock of twenty eight birds, flying in from a north easterly direction. Heading towards Big Otmoor. A lovely sight as they flew in a V formation, with the sun glinting on their backs. Semi precious Stones. Stonechats were seen today with one on Greenaways and another on the fence past the hide on Ashgrave.


Semi precious Stonechat



Golden Plovers

The other Golden form was the ever charismatic Goldfinches. Firstly a charm was feeding on the ground along with Greenfinches and two Siskins on the path just before the feeders. I didn't see the Siskins until the whole flock of assorted birds flew up onto nearby bushes. Not being the brightest of buttons, especially first thing in the morning.
I remember looking at them through the bins and thinking.
"That's strange, why have those Greenfinches got black caps and there's more yellow on the wing than there should be and the yellow on the wing is in the wrong place and it's sort of Y shaped and Ohhh they're Siskins" ("Doh!!)
I wish i had taken more than just the one photo and been a little more observant. I may well have got a shot of the Siskins. Unfortunately just some of the Green and Goldfinches made it to press.

Mixed finches
At the start of the track to the first screen. On the right hand side is a cluster of Teasel plants. The Goldfinches are often to be found feeding on the seed heads. With the Autumn sun shining on the golden brown plants and the multi coloured Finches feeding on them it gives a real flavour of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.



Monday saw a large passage of hundreds and hundreds of House Martins, Swallows and Sand Martins moving south. The vast majority were House Martins. At times the sky was full of birds in every direction you looked. Around the screens swarms of the birds were busy hawking for insects over the water.


Just one of the many

Birds of prey were in evidence on Monday. A Hobby flew low over the reed bed in front of the 1st screen. A Sparrowhawk perched menacingly on a bare branch along the path, past the first screen. Surveying Big Otmoor with its beady eyes. Buzzards and Red Kites were seen on numerous occasions. With several Kestrels also seen around the reserve. Including these two fantastic little Falcons.


Between the screens

Preparing to launch. Heraldic pose.  (Cattle pens)

Water birds... A large flock of (approx) seventy  Mallard were out from the first screen. Accompanied by around thirty Teal. Shoveler are common and several Wigeon and Gadwall were present from the 2nd screen. Greylag and Canada numbers are building with more birds appearing almost on a daily basis. Little and Great Crested Grebes can be seen from the screens. (No sign of the Pintail Monday morning)
First screen pictures (Monday)...


Canada Conga. Follow the leader




Little Grebe from hide

Waders were fairly thin on the ground just one Ringed Plover to add to the Golden Plovers flying between the screens and dropping down in the reed bed, somewhere in the first screen area. One Snipe flying over Greenaways.
A flock of Lapwing flew past the 2nd screen before landing in one of the fields adjacent to the path.
Several Jays were flying backwards and forwards between Oak trees.
Insects..
Migrant Hawkers still present in numbers as are Ruddy and Common Darters. Wasps are still chewing the screens. I am surprised there is any screen left. Sitting at the 1st screen, the sound of scraping jaws were coming from every direction.
Hot off the press. The Hornets are err still eating the sapling. Its amazing to see just how much damage they are doing to the tree. Take this one branch for example.
In just a few short days.
Tuesday 25th. Just started on new branch



Monday 1st October. Extensive damage to branch.



And here are the tools causing the damage

Bit early for Christmas decorations isn't it.

These very attractive berries hide their true nature. The berries of the Woody nightshade are poisonous. Although not as poisonous as its relative the Deadly Nightshade. Its berries can still cause extreme sickness.

Other bird news..
Todays bird list.
Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Snipe, Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Buzzard, Red Kite, Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Siskin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin, Sand Martin, Stonechat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed Tit, Reed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Red legged Partridge, Pheasant, Black headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull.
Total.. 59