It has been an exciting few weeks down on Otmoor recently, there are Snowdrops coming up, the birds are starting to sing and pair up and I even took my woolly hat off today!
So what has been seen on site recently?
Wildfowl are still using the site in large numbers, Wigeon flocks can be seen on most of the pools, some flocks comprise of over 400 individuals. Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted duck and Pochard are still using the pools, they did quite a good job on Big Otmoor of keeping a large area of water clear from the frost over the last couple of weeks where most of the ducks and geese were located offering a brilliant spectacle for those that braved the cold. There are also Pintail still with us with a high count of 26 on Big Otmoor at the start of February.
The 3 White-fronted geese have definately taken a liking to Otmoor over the winter and they are still using the site now. They can generally be seen if you locate the large geese flocks round the reserve. They prefer to associate with the Greylags and the best place to start to look for them is on Closes or Ashgrave.
The Golden plover are a great sight to see with over 2000 still using Otmoor and the adjacent fields for feeding and resting, they are quite often hanging around with over 800 Lapwings and it is a great sight when they all rise up into the air at once, sometimes, if you are lucky, there is a Peregrine or 2 in hot pursuit.
There are a few waders starting to filter back in now. This week has seen Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Black-tailed godwit spotted with hopefully more to come! There are still a good number of Snipe. Keep scanning the muddy edges of the pools and you should see a few tucked away near the rushy tussocks.
Bearded tits can be seen if you are very lucky. Listen and look for them as you make your way round the reedbed path and why not follow the bridleway past the hide, there is a brilliant patch of reeds at the North end of Ashgrave that they have enjoyed recently.
4 Little egrets dropped into Closes on Thursday morning, hopefully they will stick around into Spring. The hide is a brilliant place to set up also, there are 100s of Linnet and Reed buntings eating the seed we are putting out for them and have a look along the fence lines as a good number of Stonechats can be seen.
With the weather warming up slightly, there have been a number of Skylarks singing of the grasslands and in the hedgerows, Dunnocks, Reed buntings and Chaffinches are amongst the passerines that have been warming their vocal chords.
The feeders are still a good place to start a visit, plenty of finches and tits are making use of the seed with Bullfinches and Marsh tits are the highlights.
The change of season period that we are currently in can be a great time to spot wildlife, with the over wintering birds still here, the residents settling back down onto territories and passage birds coming through can really make for a great spectacle so why not come down and see what you can see!
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