Saturday 22 February 2020

Otmoor in February

Today we visited Oxfordshire and the RSPB Reserve of Otmoor.

Weather conditions at the start of the day very wet but this some turned into wonderful sunshine although a stiff breeze persisted all day.

A walk to the first hide produced Coal tit, Great spotted woodpecker and a Green woodpecker flew from the tree tops ahead of us. Plenty of Fieldfare were sat in the trees and a few Redwing flew over.

Looking out over the first area we found 2 common cranes flying low at the back of the trees some to disappear out of sight, latter we would have some fantastic views of these birds on the ground.

Heading out towards big Otmoor we saw several large groups of Lapwing and Golden plover well over 5000 birds, as we watched them we saw all the Lapwing and plovers take to the air and soon found out why as a female Hen harrier heading towards them, we watched the bird move through them as it heading away out over the surrounding countryside.  A magical sight to see on this lovely winters morning.

At the hide around 100 small birds were feeding on the grain that is being put out for the birds over the winter months these included 30 Reed buntings, 30 Linnets, 10 Goldfich, 25 Chaffinch all feeding on the ground great to see so many birds taking advantage of the food.

Moving off to the first screen we had close views of Teal, Wigeon, Pochard and Tufted duck out on the water along with several Moorhen.

Several large groups of duck flew over us giving some time for duck ID in flight, the Pintail are easy to pick out with their long bodies, also several Wigeon flew over.

Here we had our first view of Marsh harrier along with a single Kestrel sat on the telephone wires with several Red kites drifting around.

Out side the hide a Muntjack deer gave a close view as it walk right passed the window also a Chinese water deer ran off down the path and keeping with the mammal theme a hare was found out on the marsh imitating a mould of earth!.

On our way back to the car park we saw a Redwing drop into the bush in front of us.

Buzzards were seen briefly out over the reserve.

Latter in the day a fly by Bittern put in an appearance very briefly.

Another good day out in the field with some wonderful birds seen in some interesting weather conditions. Total species seen 56.DT