Friday, 23 November 2012

Fieldfare extravaganza

After the atrocious weather that seemed to last all week. I was itching to get down to the moor. The forecast looked good for Friday. Following a very strong southerly gale on Thursday, i was keen to see if anything had been blown in.
Arriving at the Otmoor car park, even whilst changing into my boots, i could hear a multitude of Fieldfare chucking away in the adjacent field. Several flew over as i left to begin my walk. This was just a precursor to what was awaiting me. The Car park field contained a good flock of Thrushes. Mainly Fieldfare but a good smattering of Redwing and a Mistle Thrush. Along the bridleway a Raven Cronked noisily as it flew over.A Kestrel did a good Merlin impression, flying low and fast before swooping up into one of the Oak trees.

Snipe were again present on the scrapes (greenaways)

It was perishingly cold first thing, but as the sun rose it started to take the chill out of the air. It turned into a fantastic day. A Water Rail squealed from the rushes half way along the bridleway. The sun was shining as i turned the corner heading towards the screens. I was greeted by two Stonechats just inside the gate. They flew onto the tops of nearby bushes. posing nicely for the camera.

The first screen was very quiet with just a lone coot on the water. A second Water Rail called from the reeds to the right of the screen. A slow walk to the second screen. Scouring every bush and investigating every high pitched Crest call. In the hope of seeing the Firecrest i found last week. But to no avail. Only the Golden variety to be found.
Goldcrest pic.. (c) Dave Cuddon. (Thanks Dave)

The bushes, trees and fields were full of Fieldfare and Redwing. All along the path i was treated to these fantastic Thrushes swooping around in large noisy flocks. Scolding me as i disturbed them from their feeding frenzy.
They were to be found on all areas of the reserve. A huge flock was feeding on Greenaways (To the right of the Cattle pens) Flying back and forth from the trees.
Photos from 2nd screen and Greenaways...

Flooded Field...

Redwing with fieldfare...

Lots of birds around the second screen area. With good numbers of Thrushes, and wildfowl. Small parties of Gadwall wheeled around the sky before joining others on the water. With larger flocks of Wigeon and Teal present. A flottilla of Shoveler were joined by a lovely male Pintail.

Large flock of Wigeon and teal in flight..

A beautiful sunny, calm Otmoor day..

A Robin sang its mournful song close to the screen. While two others chased each other around the bushes and trees.

A Sparrowhawk circled menacingly over the 2nd screen causing mass panic among the gathering of thrushes.

Along the bridleway to the right of the Cattle pens. Loitering almost unnoticed among the huge flock of Fieldfare and Redwing were three Chiffchaff (Maybe more) and one Redpoll.


Large Gaggles of Greylag and Canadas were on Greenaways, Ashgrave and closes field. Three Little Egrets were flying between Ashgrave and Closes. Cormorants also flying the same route.

As the morning progressed and the sun warmed the air, a mirriad of insects took to the wing. Lots of gnats and Caddis type flies were the most common.


Caddis. ?

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