Monday, 23 May 2016

OTMOOR NATURE RESERVE

Saturday was not only a bit of a washout but in terms of birds it was sadly a damp squib.
I had Sunday to get some birding in and really couldn't be bothered with Northamptonshire, I needed a change of scenery.
I initially planned a trip to Norfolk but the weather was a bit hit and miss, so instead snuck over the border to Oxfordshire, more precise the RSPB reserve of Otmoor (anyone heard of the plans for Oxfordshire to steal a big chunk of Northamptonshire by the way?).
I'd been before so felt confident I could find it (huh)  and satnav in hand jumped in the car and headed off, took a few wrong turns, chucked the satnav in the dashboard as it wasn't helpful, consulted a few maps, a smartphone, prayed to a deity I don't believe in and followed some crows until I found Otmoor Lane.....seriously how hard was it to find!
This reserve is worth it though. For an inland nature reserve it really is impressive. Both in habitat, species and simple vistas. I haven't left a reserve feeling not only feeling chilled out. But also feeling like I'd visited somewhere natural.  It was easy to find a place to just sit and soak in the bird calls and sights without feeling disturbed. That's not to say it wasn't busy. I struggled to park the car but the reserve is massive so no worries.
What did I see?
Loads of Warblers. A Marsh Harrier, Bittern, Grasshopper Warbler, Redkites, Redshank, 4 Cuckoos, 7 Hobbies and 2 Turtle Doves,Skylark, Common Lizard.
The Turtle Dove was one species I wanted to add more images of to my image bank only having two images so far to date.
My favourite was it taking off to drop onto the ground to feed from a fence post.



Surprisingly quite a confiding bird despite idiots shooting it to the brink of extinction.
The call is so bizarre I overheard one couple with kids in tow remark "I think it's that bloke with the camera making the noise", I had to giggle to myself. I rattled off plenty images ignoring it when it perched on the phone cables and opted for the fence...slightly better perches.


I watched the Redkites getting harassed by the Lapwings and witness one snatch a Mallard duckling. I watched Hobbies really close up but with the skies getting grey I had to be content with just watching them. As I headed off to one of the screen hides a Redshank flew over the hedges inches from my face, yes I did shit myself :-) there was plenty of Redshank too. At the screen hide I watched a female Marsh Harrier and very distant Bittern coming in to land
I watched 'Hector' officially the UK's laziest Hobbies, hoping it would hawk this reed bed section

But no, it sat temptingly close on this fence post only to fly lazily at most 100 metres from it and perch back up again...maybe on my next visit. Got loads of images to go through so should have a decent odds and sods post.

9 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful reserve Douglas and you certainly saw great birds and marvellous shots of the Turtle Dove.

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    1. Truly is a wonderful place Margaret. I could spend ages there

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  2. What a productive change of scene. I have never seen a turtle dove. Never seen a Bitern either but have heard them.

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    1. I needed the change of scenery to be fair I was getting a bit stagnate. The Bittern is truly an elusive bird, especially away from coastal reserves so was quite chuffed to see it as with the Turtle Dove. It made my weekend.

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  3. Thanks for sharing the info on the Otmoor site, I have never been but now you have endorsed it I shall be making an effort to visit, brilliant Turtle Dove images Doug.

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    1. Definately worth a visit Paul. Only downside is no toilets or "rspb cafe" so take your own refreshments and go toilet before you arrive :-)

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  4. WOW, Doug!! Otmoor is a location that wasn't even on my radar, but I shall be looking into it now. Haven't seen a Turtle Dove in years, since they stopped being a regular feature at Rutland Water

    A cracking set of images, especially those of the Turtle Dove!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Thanks Richard. I really only scratched the surface with this reserve. Think 'Fens' and you'll get the idea. It really is beautiful.

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  5. I have only just 'discoveered' Otmoor, comi'work' the site to see the local specialities?

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