Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Otmoor, Foxcote and a Suburban Surprise

Otmoor RSPB

Visited Oxfordshire over the weekend and spent a fair bit of time exploring Otmoor RSPB. A place with potential, however many species here could well be in trouble given the current low water levels, particularly if this warm dry spell continues.

Still a bit early in Spring for most migrants, however up to 10 Chiffchaffs were singing, a Little Ringed Plover was new in on Sunday and 4 Redshank were present. Also noted were 2 Little Egrets, Marsh Tit, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Great Spotted Woodpecker. A fairly predictable selection of dabbling ducks were present; alas scanning through these failed to produce a Garganey. There was no shortage of Red Kites, nonetheless always stunning birds to see. Up to 6 in the air with over 10 Buzzards at one stage on Sunday. Also Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

However, the most impressive sight by far was the large numbers of amorous toads, including a ball of 20 or more toads locked in a mating frenzy in the ditch and also smaller groups getting jiggy just about anywhere and everywhere around the approach to the reserve.

Filthy dirty toads - image courtesy of Mark Rayment

Toad porn

 The feeding station offered some dude photo opportunities.



Foxcote Reservoir, Buckinghamshire

The second time I have visited Foxcote. I twitched my first ever Ring-necked Duck here in 2008...memories. The only Aythya present on Sunday however, were a number of Tufties, including a slightly dodgy, hybridy looking female and a few Pochard. I do like this place though and the hide affords good views of the reservoir.

Noted here: 6 Goldeneye, a solitary Oystercatcher, 2 Green Sandpiper, Common Gull, 6 LBBG, 1 1st-w GBBG, Green Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail and Bullfinch.

Wherever possible from now on, I will try to include hyperlinks to information on places I have visited.

Suburban Birding

This was the first thing I saw on Monday morning when I drew back the curtains.

To say I was surprised was an understatement, the gardens here in this part of Great Barr in Brum are completely cut off from any farmland and surrounded by roads. I rushed to fetch my camera, mainly to ensure I hadn’t gone mad. The Red-legged Partridge had scarpered down the garden upon seeing me, but then fed happily for the next 20 minutes or so, eventually wandering close enough for me to get a reasonable record shot through the window. Not a bad garden tick at all and a nice surprise to begin the working week.

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