Our most recent WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count was carried out on 24/11. Bird numbers are slowly building and it was great seeing my first pintail of the winter looking very elegant sat out in the middle of Big Otmoor. 

Mute swan 15
Greylag goose 203
Canada goose 401
Wigeon 412
Gadwall 6
Teal  228
Mallard 105
Pintail 1
Shoveler 53
Pochard 14
Tufted duck 5
Little grebe 1
Great crested grebe 1
Cormorant 8
Grey heron 8
Water rail 5
Moorhen 5
Coot 14
Golden plover 387
Lapwing 1126
Snipe 30
Kingfisher 1
Black-headed gull 12
Lesser-back backed gull 1

Duck and wader numbers have increased since this count was done and some ruff and dunlin have now joined the large golden plover flock. An otter was seen from the first screen at dusk recently and peregrines, a marsh harrier, goldcrests , redwings and a bittern are all mooching about on the moor at the moment.

The arrival of redwings on Otmoor is a sure sign that winter has set in. Those turning up here, will have probably come from Scandinavia and can be seen feasting on berries in the reserve's hedgerows. We are in the midst of our hedge coppicing season at the moment, but we always make sure that once cut, we leave bushes carrying a lot of berries piled up and not burnt to ensure we don't take too much food away from these hungry birds. There are a few hundred redwing moving around the moor at the moment often in the company of fieldfares, another berry-loving winter visitor.

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