Monday, 25 January 2021

Otmoor Winter Wonderland

Had to get another full day in at Otmoor during mid-winter and what with the wintery conditions at the moment seemed like no better day than today. Ebird list HERE. Highlights included a single Crane, 75 White-fronted Goose, a passage of Skylarks moving low southwest (204 counted by mid-afternoon), Hen and Marsh Harriers, at least 150 Snipe and 90 Pintail, Redwings and Fieldfares on the move and a couple of Marsh Tit. Golden Plover numbers seemed lower than usual (about 1500) and for the first time this winter seemed like they were out numbered by Lapwings (approx 2000). 

Juvenile White-fronted Goose 
Adult and juvenile White-fronted Goose (above and  below) 

Good numbers of Wigeon and Teal about (estimated 2500 Wigeon and 1500 Teal) 
Second-cycle male Marsh Harrier 
Adult Red Kite 
The ring-tail Hen Harrier- I've yet to see this bird well, always seem to see it flying distantly over Greenaways 
Redwings on the move 
Skylarks on the move 
Marsh Tit at Beckley 
At least 150 Snipe today flying around in groups across Greenaways and Big Otmoor 
A rather interesting well marked bird (bottom right). These two birds show the range of underwing markings. The bottom bird isn't far off what to expect in a Wilson's Snipe (even has narrow white trailing edge to the secondaries). However the bird is richly coloured on the head and breast sides and also lacks 'tiger stripes' down the flanks. The underwing pattern should also been even darker with thicker black zig zags (thicker than the intervening white) . Not sure what these well marked birds indicate? Either variation or population related (not sure what Northern Atlantic island populations are supposed to look like but I remember reading something). 

Yellowhammer, Reed Buntings, Chaffinch and Linnets at the ground feeding area
View over towards Frozen Oddington 
Flooded and Frozen MOD land 
View from Beckley over Otmoor 

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