Monday, 3 March 2014


Just recently i have been listing. No not as in leaning over to one side. If in need of losing a little ballast maybe. My port to starboard equilibrium is i think as stable as ever.  (Although some might say, after a few glasses of fine malt whiskey, this is not necessarily so). No i refer to the listing of birds. I used to be an avid lister. My lists included - Day lists, a year list, garden list, local list, county list, British list, European list, World list and the inevitable life list. Some years ago a friend of mine accused me of having an o,c,d.
 "yes i have got a copy of the Oxford concise dictionary". I replied.
He then informed me he meant obsessive compulsive disorder. This was probably the case.
My listing activities have somewhat diminished over recent years. Since becoming a regular at Otmoor it has fined down to a dated day list, which i use for reference more than anything an Otmoor year list and an Otmoor life list. However this has just increased to a monthly list. Because of other commitments and the weather i couldn't get to Otmoor until February. I set a relatively easy target of 70 species for the month. I exceeded this with a total of 78 (See list at foot of page). This could easily have been well over 80 as there were a few residents i failed to catch up with.
The highlights of the month for me were adding two more birds to my Otmoor life list. (Sanderling and Grey Plover). The Bearded Tits, which i was fortunate to see on three occasions The fantastic spectacle of thousands of Golden Plover, Lapwing, various wildfowl and waders wheeling around the sky every time a predator comes into view. The pulse always quickens when that predator turns out to be a Hen Harrier or Peregrine. Finding five Black tailed Godwits and three Shelduck on Greenaways. The Short eared and Barn Owls coming into view at dusk in the car park field. Seeing two Otters together from the second screen and how beautiful Otmoor looked covered in water under crystal blue skies.
March has already started well. Saturday March 1st. I again was lucky enough to see a Bearded tit along the path to the 2nd screen, whilst talking to John and scanning the adjacent field where several Ruff and Dunlin were mixed in with the Lapwings and twenty six pied Wagtails were spread out picking insects from the grass and now receding waters edges. When John's keen ears picked a bird call out above my chatter. My gibber stopped in mid flow with his cry of "Bearded tit." Sure enough, the "Ping" call was coming from close by. Within seconds it came into view climbing a reed stem some thirty yards up the path. After a minute or two it took off heading deeper into the reed bed. Parting company with John i headed back towards the 1st screen. Approaching the corner of the path i once again heard the "Ping Ping" of a Beardy. There right next to me on the reed fringe i saw it fly in. I just managed to fire off a couple of photos before it once again headed deeper into the reeds and was gone. What a fantastic bird. Unfortunately the sun was behind it so it was back-lit, so the photos didn't pick up the beautiful soft colours of the bird. I expect a more experienced photographer could have compensated for this. But this was the best i could do. (See below)  This one was once again a female. i have yet to see a male this year yet. But i know two have been reported in recent weeks seen together.
The Bittern is being seen regularly over and in the reed bed. I have yet to see it, so that is my target for March again a modest seventy species to include the Bittern.The numbers of Buzzards on the reserve is increasing. I saw five flying together on one thermal (March 1st) It is always interesting to see the different variations of plumage of the common Buzzard, from the very dark phase to the light almost Osprey like light phase and anything and everything in between. (see photos below)

Otmoor photos... 24th Feb - 1st March.

Bearded tit..

Beardy coming into view..

Buzzard Variations..

Dark Phase..

Light phase..

Red Kite..

Another Otmoor massive. Golden Plovers with lapwing bottom right..

Goldies over Big Otmoor..

An Otmoor speciality, the speckled sky..

Curlew on Greenaways..

Three distant Shelduck on Greenaways..

And flying towards Big Otmoor..


A wisp of Snipe over Greenaways..

Song Thrush giving it all..

Puffed up Wren in full song..


Ruff with Lapwing..


On Golden Pond... view from 1st screen..

Water is now being pumped from the fields. Greenaways has gone from this..

To this in under a week...

It has been great to see all the water on Otmoor this winter. This is what it was probably like every winter in the past before it became farmland, with thousands upon thousands of birds inhabiting the wetland.

Personal list for February... Total 78.

Mute Swan, Canada, Greylag, Mallard, Gadwall, Pintail, Pochard, Shoveller, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted, Shelduck, G,C, Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Water Rail, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Curlew, Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Ruff, Golden Plover,Grey Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Dunlin, Sanderling, L,B,B Gull, B,H, Gull, Herring Gull, Pheasant, Red Legged Partridge, Crow, Rook, Magpie, Jay, Raven, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Red Kite, Buzzard, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Short Eared Owl, Barn Owl, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing, G,S, Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Kingfisher, Starling, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Bearded Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long tailed  Tit, Marsh Tit, Chiffchaff.

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