Monday, 21 April 2008

RSPB Otmoor & Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon. 20th April 2008.

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Farmoor's New Tern Raft

Roy Rose and I decide to take a visit to RSPB Otmoor today and although the day remained overcast and foggy it turned out to be a good days birdwatching.

As we parked up at Otmoor a Chiffchaff was in full song from the car park followed by a Willow Warbler which emphasized the feeling of Spring in the air. As we approached the entrance to the reserve the "reeling" of Grasshopper Warbler could be heard from the adjacent field, walking along the track towards the main field a good sized flock of Golden Plover in Summer Plumage were busy in the fields and by the time we reached the bird feeders at least 2 Grasshopper Warblers were "reeling" from the car park field, we waited and watched and eventually had brief views as a single bird flew to one of the bushes.

It wasn't long before a Cetti's Warbler burst in to song and minutes later my first year sighting of Reed warbler as it flitted through the bottom of the reeds, Sedge Warbler soon followed. As we walked towards the first viewing screen Whimbrel could be heard calling but despite looking across the fields they couldn't be found. At the first screen the male Garganey finally appeared from behind the reeds and continued to swim with pace from one side of the water to the other. Good numbers of Swallow, Sand & House Martin circled overhead and a single Redshank was out in the main field. Plenty of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff calling from the trees that border the track as well as Reed Bunting and the odd Curlew calling.

At the second screen the water levels were high and there wasn't a great deal to be seen so after a short stop we headed back along the track and towards the car park stopping to view the car park fields one last time, a single Grasshopper Warbler was still "reeling" from the corner of the field and as I left Roy to see if he could locate it I scanned the fields behind us. I soon spotted 2 Red-legged Partridge and the Summer plumaged Golden Plovers still feeding in the field but beyond them were 2 Whimbrel. Whilst we waited for the Grasshopper Warbler to show itself a Common Whitethroat appeared at the top of a bramble bush next to the bird feeders and made it's way through the trees and out of sight, another couple of bursts of song from the Cetti's Warbler and it was time to head off.

We then headed off to Farmoor Reservoir where the weather slowly began to improve, the Sun made a decent attempt to penetrate the clouds before giving up and in the end taunting us with a glimpse of it's warmth from behind the clouds and the cold breeze that swept across the reservoir. As we approached the causeway we viewed the water treatment works where a number of Pied Wagtails were accompanied by a single Yellow Wagtail, a female Wheatear showed briefly before disappearing down the bank by the water treatment works. Out on F1 reservoir at least 3 Little Gulls were busy feeding across the waters surface in close attendance with Common Terns and at least 1 Arctic Tern. The causeway was busy with Wagtail activity including Pied, White, Grey & Yellow Wagtail and I have to say I don't think I have ever seen all the commoner Wagtail species together in one go, the female Wheatear appeared again on the causeway before flying off as passers-by flushed it.

Added To My Year List

134. Grasshopper Warbler

135. Cetti's Warbler

136. Reed Warbler

137. Sedge Warbler

138. Garganey

139. Water Rail

140. Whimbrel

141. Common Whitethroat

142. Yellow Wagtail

143. Wheatear

144. Little Gull

145. Arctic Tern

146. White Wagtail

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