☀️23C Tuesday 8th May 2018 ~ Today was my annual pilgrimage to RSPB Otmoor in Oxfordshire for the residing Turtle Doves, sadly a persecuted and declining species!
|Cuckoo in flight, along with at least two other birds|
On arrival at the car park around 07:40, the traffic along the M40 motorway was horrendous, I was no sooner out of the car than the unmistakable purring of my target bird for the day was emanating from the trees behind. As I got my gear together a Cuckoo
was calling extremely close by and a singing Lesser Whitethroat
popped up into the trees above.
|Turtle Dove ~ target species acquired ~ Year-tick ✅|
With the purring now stopped I decided to head straight down towards the feeding station near the telegraph poles, a regular perch for the birds. Actually, I was only halfway along the track when I spotted one as predicted on top of one of the poles.
I spent a half hour in the shade enjoying this dainty little dove, which despite a couple of noisy photographers was quite happy to stick around, occasionally moving across to an alternative perch. While here I spent time scanning the Greenaway's meadow which produced Marsh Harrier
, Red Kite
and drumming Snipe
|Snipe in courtship display ~ Clearly showing the modified tail feathers.
I managed to capture the above image which shows the modified tail feathers. 'Drumming (also called bleating or winnowing) is a sound produced by Snipe
as part of their courtship display flights. The sound is produced mechanically (rather than vocally) by the vibration of the modified outer tail feathers, held out at a wide angle to the body, in the slipstream of a power dive'.
Also today I spent some time with Denis Woodward and Paul Cashmore, who I met when returning to the car park for breakfast. After which I continued on past the hide turnoff towards some farm building where I spent a little time searching for Whinchat
. I drew a blank here and on the return trip paused at the empty hide for tea. Highlights were Brown Hare
and Muntjac Deer
. Across the meadows a few waders to be seen which included: Ringed Plover
|Hairy Dragonfly (Female) ~ Thanks to Jim Timms for ID|
On route back to the car my first Large Red Damselflies
of the year, plus several Hairy Dragonfly
. Although familiar with the male of the species a big thank you to Jim Timms who was good enough to identify the above female for me.
|Hobby's a plenty today!|
An amazing eleven Hobby
feeding high over the meadows, which included having seven in my binocular field of view at one time. A half dozen Red Kite
, as you'd expect in Oxfordshire and a selection of butterflies on the wing, but nothing unusual within the eight species.