Monday, 16 March 2020

Otmoor Hike

Walked the whole of the Otmoor reserve perimeter today, through the MOD footpath, along the Oddington track and then back to the car park through Big Otmoor and Greenaways. 74 species including Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Dunlin, Ruff, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Golden Plovers and Bittern (booming). EBird list HERE . Also thought I heard a LRP out on Big Otmoor but just a faint single call.

The WeBS counts from a week or so ago recorded a lot higher numbers SEE HERE due in part to a degree of clear out (particularly Wigeon and Golden Plover) since that count but also due to full coverage of the entire site (the WeBS recorded 6895 water birds alone, I only roughly estimated 1500 birds of all species from the limited view of the perimeter). There are so many places a rarity could be hiding. There's been a big fall of Wheatears and a few other migrants this morning across the South Coast and inland too and a Willow Warbler seen by someone else at Otmoor- presumably there's more to be found today. Might go back later. 

Also 4 Roe Deer, Muntjac, Brown Hares and last week had a Stoat. The herd of Fallow Deer were out in the field again near Holly's. Seem to be an early Spring phenomenon. 

 Second calender year Hen Harrier 
 Curlew- amazing sound of birds singing and displaying this morning . Also Redshanks and Lapwings displaying in the sunny conditions. Still a flock of Snipe out on Greenaways so they obviously haven't taken up territories yet.
Male Marsh Harrier mobbed by Lapwing 
 Red Kite- not sure what the prey item is- frog leg?
 Male Reed Bunting- plenty of singing resident birds this morning as territories are starting to be set up
Barnacle x Greylag Hybrid (more on these birds here
The Pill- twenty years ago this was the only bit of water on Otmoor- amazing what decent management can do (see below for Otmoor today) 

 Brown Hare- about 10 or so mainly on Big Otmoor 
The herd of Fallow deer are out in the fields near Holly's again- I counted approx 110. A couple of years ago this herd numbered 74 see here

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