Otmoor, was the venue for this months trip. I can hardly believe it's been a year since club member's last visited. Alas time flies.
This lovely valley is always worth visiting, although the skies were grey the day as always is made up of good company and the expectancy of something unusual.
Leaving the car park we missed a Barn Owl showing 10 minutes after we passed the fields. Reaching the ridge the evocative calls of Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher could be heard. A Cetti's Warbler sang with near deafening volume, so we ignored it.
Today (Sunday) was the day volunteers were counting Hares so inevitably we didn't see many as they had all run off. Normally this is a great place for Hares and I was hoping to see a bit of boxing.
Reaching the hide, a flock of Reed Buntings, Linnets, Goldfinch and Yellow Hammers etc, were coming to seed on the ground, but the local Sparrow Hawk terrorised the small passerines although after several sorties we didn't see any success by this aerial commander.
Wendy called a Grey Heron catching a frog on the other side of the hide, I Just cannot imagine what it must be like going down that long throat alive !
The local Corvids were also hanging around with menace and intent, their huge bills can be formidable.
After a short time, a Little Egret flew in commencing to fish in the near water,
I suspect he could have done with some chips with that. Moving on Bob needed a pee and went off piste, typically seeing a Kingfisher for his troubles, it didn't stop tho' as I think the perch was too short.
Grass Snakes had been seen but we didn't manage it, again this is a good place to find them, I have seen them entwined half way up the fencing sunning themselves
Around here we met Steve Bennison and Martin Swannell, both NBC member's. They regaled to us about a pair of Peregrines they had observed earlier.
We were without our chief spotter Mark today but Wendy soon stepped into his shoes, finding a very distant Bittern camouflaged on the edge of the reed bed
We headed onward to the screen hides both Marsh Harrier and Red Kites quartered the reeds.
Water Rail squealed and a wonderful pale Buzzard caused a bit of conjecture.
We retraced our steps heading back to the car park.
Back at the feeders a Great Spot raided the peanut feeder.
Reaching the car park for a welcome cup of coffee as we chatted to Martin and Steve who had a similarly wonderful day.
Getting home to watch the race, Bugger, Vettel stole the win from Lewis.