Wednesday, 9 January 2008

RSPB Otmoor, Oxon. 8th Jan 2008.

A rather grey and windy day greeted me when I arrived at RSPB Otmoor this afternoon, a few small showers passed over and despite the main track being extremely muddy I made my way towards the main fields. At the feeder station Blue & Great Tits were busy on the feeders and as I watched a male Reed Bunting perched in the trees behind before dropping down to the floor to feed. The main field was rather quiet apart from the usaul ducks and a Grey Heron, a few Starlings passed over and a Kestrel was at the far end of the track by Noke floods. I scanned the floods near Noke woods and found Mallard, Pochard, Teal, Wigeon & Shoveler and whilst scanning through the ducks a male Pintail passed through the scope. Mute Swan & a flock of Greylag Geese were present but there was no sign of either White-fronted or Pink-footed Geese that were reported earlier in the week, I decided to carry on along the path and after 15 minutes of truddging through the mud I arrived at the pump house at the far end of the footpath, looking back across the floods 5 White-fronted Geese appeared in the distance from behind one of the bunds. I decided to walk back towards the reserve in the hope that I might get better views of the Geese and hopefully find the Pink-footed. I arrived back at the main track and viewed the floods, as I watched the White-fronted Geese they flew to the edge of the field and in perfect view, I continued to watch them and after about 15 minutes the Pink-footed Goose flew in and joined them to graze on the grass. I continued on to the first screen and within 5 minutes a female(ringtail) Hen Harrier drifted over the reeds searching for food, this individual seemed to have an injured leg as the left leg was hanging down and remained there whilst it hunted over the reedbed, it quartered the reeds before dropping down in to them and out of sight. Another Kestrel began hovering to the right of the screen and while I scanned the wildfowl on the water I spotted a lone Snipe sat at the waters edge. As the light started to fade a number of small Starling flocks joined together and within 25 minutes the number had risen to at least 5,000 birds circling over the fields, as I headed back along the track more and more Starlings flew in to join the main flock and a female Stonechat flew across the path and into the bushes.

Added To My Year List 2008.

98. White-fronted Goose
99. Pink-footed Goose
101. Hen Harrier

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