Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Hobbys, Harriers and Whimbrels

Monday & Tuesday 29th - 30th April. Wednesday 1st May.

Monday was fairly eventful, with plenty of birds of prey around. A superb male Merlin was probably the highlight. I first saw it flying low over Ashgrave, being chased by two very persistent Lapwings. It disappeared around the corner of the copse, on the right hand side, out from the hide, heading towards Big Otmoor. 20 mins or so later as i was walking along the bridleway between Ashgrave and Big Otmoor. I could see a host of Lapwing were mobbing something low down over Big Otmoor, fairly close to where i was standing. Unfortunately whatever was being mobbed was obscured from view by a nearby bush. Suddenly the Merlin came streaking across the path in front of me, between two bushes, closely followed by four of the Lapwings. It was so close to me, a good slip fielder could have probably caught it. An exhilarating experience to say the least. In a flash the bird was over the hedge and onto Ashgrave. After Red Kites, Hobbys are the next most prevalent bird of prey. Numbers seem to be building every day. Monday two birds, Tuesday five. There may well have been more, as everybody i spoke to, no matter from which direction they had come, they had all seen a Hobby. A male Sparrowhawk was seen both Monday and Tuesday. Buzzards also seen every day.
Two Whimbrels were reported on Tuesday (Ashgrave). I did see a Ringed Plover on Monday flying over from Ashgrave to Closes. A Black Tailed Godwit was present on Big Otmoor. Redshanks are to be seen displaying on Greenaways, Ashgrave and Big Otmoor. Raising their wings to vertical and piping loudly.

Monday 10 Wheatears and a lovely male Whinchat were feeding amongst the black sheep on the top field at Noke. Two Barnacle Geese have arrived on big Otmoor (Tuesday).

Male Whinchat.

More photos from Monday and Tuesday..

Sunny days.

Little Egrets Bad Hair Day..

Black Headed Gull taking the plunge..

Distant Barnacles.

Red Kite running the gauntlet.

Male Bullfinch.



A glorious morning with stunning crystal clear blue skies and a cool breeze made for perfect walking weather. The birds were good too. I found the two Whimbrel that have been reported recently on Ashgrave, on the grassy bank below Noke wood. Probing with their long curved beaks into the soft soil. A single Wheatear was also in the same area, running along the ground like a clockwork toy and catching insects. Even though i walked up to the wood to get as close as possible to the Whimbrels they were still a good sixty to seventy metres away but i did manage to get one or two usable photos. (Just about usable)


Whimbrels in flight.

The first Turtle dove of the year has been seen today. A Female Marsh Harrier floated effortlessly over the 1st screen and onto big Otmoor. A Black tailed Godwit was still present on Big Otmoor although very difficult to pick out today as it was resting over the far side. A Cuckoo flew from the Reedbed over Greenaways. One bird that seems to be eluding me at the moment is the Gargany. An all to familiar story concerning said bird occurred again today. I met a gentleman in the carpark and as we had arrived at the same time we walked and chatted together all the way up to the hide. Spying the Whimbrel through the scope a long way over the field on Ashgrave. I decided to see if i could get closer and headed for Noke Wood. My newly acquainted friend headed for the first screen. Needless to say when i caught up with him a little later he informed me a superb male Gargany had flown in and landed right in front of the first screen. It stayed there for at least half an hour and was still there when he left to walk to the 2nd screen. I met him at the 1st screen as he was making his way back. True to form the bird had gone.

Tufted at the first screen. In exactly the same place as the Gargany had been half an hour before.

Also at the first screen were a pair of coots with a brood of chicks. their bright red faces look almost out of place in contrast to their parents pure white beaks.

Coot chicks


Other photos from Wednesday..

Green Plover. (Lapwing)


Sedge warbler.

Reed Bunting.

Upended Swans.

Greylags in flight.


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