|View of floods from Otmoor lane|
|Ashgrave and hide from Otmoor lane.|
|Oy mate ! Lend me your coat.|
|No need to be rude just because i said "Not sure about the fringe"|
Once on the moor I was greeted by a lovely Red Kite floating over the car park.
The first of many birds of prey to be seen over the next two days. Hen Harrier, Buzzard, Peregrine, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels seen on both days.
|Thursday's Ringtail over Big Otmoor.|
Both days saw a flock of twenty or so chaffinches feeding near the Cattle pens and feeders. Along with Meadow Pipits, Dunnocks, Great tits, Blue Tits and Goldfinches. A Song thrush was also there on Friday. On Thursday two Redpolls were in a bush near the path opposite the feeders.
Friday.. Chaffinches feeding in the frost. (Greenaways)
Extensive flooding over much of the reserve, made for some spectacular sights. Warbler alley and adjoining field were badly affected.
Three Snipe were on one of the scrapes on Greenaways on Thursday. Walking along the bridleway. Fieldfares and Redwings were much in evidence on both days. Especially Fieldfares which were numerous everywhere on the reserve.
|Thursday Fieldfare Otmoor lane|
|Fieldfare, bridleway (Greenaways)|
|Friday Fieldfare in Oak tree past 1st screen.|
Mixed Tit flocks and Goldcrests were again seen on both days as were Bullfinches and Reed Buntings.
|Long Tailed Tit.|
|Upside down Goldcrest in Oak tree|
|Seeding reed heads|
|The full extent of water now in front of the hide on Ashgrave.|
|Ice in the margins|
|Icy path to 1st screen|
|Mute Swan over Big Otmoor|
|Grey Heron in the reeds. !st screen|
If Thusday was picturesque. Friday was even more beautiful. A sharp overnight frost, gave way to a bright crisp, misty morning. Draped in the most glorious golden sunrise. Natures own pallette. It was an artists dream, the colours were just fantastic. Most of the water had turned to ice. Most noticable on the path between the screens. Both fields beside the track were completely flooded and turned to ice. Like giant skating rinks.
Early morning frosty views of car park field, closes, and Greenaways..
|Frosty Car park field|
|Frosty sunrise car park field|
|A crisp morning. Closes field and hide|
|Buzzard perched on bush Greenaways. Trees in the mist.|
|Mist, frost and ice (Greenaways)|
Heading along the bridleway i was just admiring my first perched Fieldfare and Redwing feeding in the bushes and a snipe called overhead and jinked its way in its characteristic slightly chaotic flight over to closes. I noticed something in the distance along the track, running towards me. Raising my binoculars i was pleased to see a Hare bobbing along. Unhurried it jogged along stopping every now and then for a quick wash. It bounded right up to within ten feet of me. Completely unperturbed by my presence. It posed for a couple of photos then bounded back from whence it came.
|How's this mister. This is my best side|
Later, on my way back. I found twenty five golden Plover over the far side of Greenaways. Mixed in with several Lapwings, Fieldfares and Starlings. A further thirty five plus Plovers flew along the tree line from the Pill area and landed in the flood field beyond Greenaways.
By this time the sun had risen over the horizon. Turning everything into a beautiful golden yellowy orange.
It was just one of those mornings where it was an absolute privilege to witness.
Two Stonechats were present on fence posts close to the gate that leads to the screens. A Water Rail squealed from the ditch near the bridge to the hide. A Sparrowhawk was hunting in front of the hide. Parties of Wigeon and Teal dabbled and grazed around the edges of the water. Three Little Egrets also there.
The 1st screen that had produced a sighting of a Bittern yesterday was again very quiet. One Wigeon, two Teal, two mallard and a coot. The only birds on the water. Several wisps of Snipe were flying around the reed beds. The largest contained eighteen birds. Forty six Snipe seen in total. The light here was sensational. turning the reed bed into a fiery golden colour. The water being half iced over a contrast from the previous day.
|Icy water and golden reed bed|
|A brace of Teal from 1st screen.|
|Wigeon from 1st screen.|
Four Goldcrests were flying back and forth among the Oak trees past the 1st screen.
A lovely peaceful walk down to the 2nd screen Produced the usual Fieldfare, Redwing Robins and Dunnock. The picturesque views of the flooded field was spectacular. With the two big Oaks appearing to be marooned in the ice.
|A beautiful peaceful walk to the 2nd screen.|
|Oak trees frozen in the ice|
|Flooded field turned to ice|
In the adjacent field which was also flooded. Lapwing, Fieldfare and Starlings were feeding on the ice and around the remaining grassy areas.
|Lapwing feeding on the ice.|
The 2nd screen produced the Ringtail Hen Harrier. A Kingfisher added a splash of electric blue as it wizzed across the water in front of the screen. A pochard was on the water along with Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal , Wigeon and Coots. Two Bullfinches also there.
On the walk back a Peregrine was circling over Big Otmoor. Lapwing were resting on the island in the scrape. (Greenaways)
|Pochard from the 2nd screen.|
|Dunnock in the sunshine|
|Smoke billowing over a frosty Ashgrave.|
What a truly brilliant couple of days birding. As i said before a real privilege to be on the moor in such spectacular circumstances. And rounded of nicely on arriving home, with a hot mug of tea and a toasted bacon and mushroom sandwich.
I would just like to finish by thanking personally, all of the volunteers and staff who run the reserve. For their dedication and very hard work, that makes it such a fantastic place and makes it all possible.