Friday, 19 February 2016

RSPB Otmoor - or an afternoon out!

Last weekend saw us travelling down on the Friday to East London to spend the weekend with our son. We decided to make use of the journey down and spend the afternoon at RSPB Otmoor in the hope we might see a murmuration.

This was our first visit to Otmoor so didn't know what to expect. I had looked at the reserve map on the RSPB website that we now know is not to scale! Looking at the map we thought that we would park up and have a short walk to the 'hide' and coffee! After the drive down, I was certainly ready for one. Anyway the 5 minute walk turned out to be a tad longer, so much so we found a bench parked our bottoms and braved the cold for a while to get our fix and also be entertained by a hunting Kestrel.

Not a great photo as it didn't come close enough, but for the record:
Feeling refreshed we carried on the path to be treated to a flyover by a nice group of Golden Plover,
After this we reached the lookout building, much bigger than a hide with a 270 degree view over the lagoons and fields. The highlight from here was the large numbers of finches and buntings feeding around the hedgerows and pathways at the far end of the building:
 Mixed flock of Linnet, Reed Bunting and Goldfinch,
 Reed Bunting,
There were also thousands of Lapwing around giving some great aerial displays and plenty of Golden Plover doing the same:
The water also provided plenty of Teal, Wigeon and Mallard. We did have one spell when all of the small birds disappeared for a while after a Sparrowhawk tried its luck, but they eventually returned. As the sun started to get lower in the sky, small groups of Starling started appearing heading towards the reed beds, so we set off and followed the path to the first reed bed viewing platform, this is basically a hide without a roof.

Here we added Great Crested Grebe and Shoveler to our list, but eventually the main event started:

I do have a video that you can find on Flickr:

Our list for the afternoon, but the key thing was the Murmuration!
Carrion Crow
Golden Plover
Great Crested Grebe
Great Tit
Greater Canada Goose
Greylag Goose
Long-tailed Tit
Marsh Harrier
Mute Swan
Red Kite
Reed Bunting
Stock Dove
Tufted Duck

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