SATURDAY 10 APRIL
High pressure still firmly in charge and again another warm day, the warmest this year to date (64 degrees F). Mostly clear skies but towards evening, an easterly breeze set in, bringing patchy cloud.
Due to a snapped cam belt, was out of action for the majority of the day, but this evening ventured over to Otmoor RSPB, where the Salisbury Plain GREAT BUSTARD was still present and showing very well.......
OTMOOR RSPB (OXFORDSHIRE)
Although the bird had visited the 'Big Otmoor Field' much earlier in the day and had flown north and had then been seen again early afternoon, I relocated the GREAT BUSTARD this evening to the SSE of Oddington village, at SP 555 145. It was associating with a single Australian Black Swan and up to 18 Mute Swans and was showing very well from the footpath that runs SSW along the New River Ray cut (from Oddington village, take the footpath out to the concrete bridge after 120 yards and then turn right for 250 yards to view from the gate). It sat down for a while and rested, and was very aware of dangers around it, cowering when an aircraft went over. It was a third year and appeared to be a female and was wing-tagged - a RED tag with the numerics '87' if placed on upside down, or '28' if read from the side (perhaps David Waters would be kind enough to send me the history of this individual, first released in 2008). It was finding plenty to eat in the field, taking numerous grubs, as well as eating blades of fresh grass like the swans. Roger Wyatt obtained the excellent image above.
The reserve itself held Garganey, reeling Grasshopper Warbler, male Common Redstart, Black-tailed Godwit and other migrants (per Roger Wyatt) whilst I personally saw 3+ singing male Willow Warblers, a European Barn Swallow and 2-3 pairs of displaying Eurasian Curlew.
Young male BADGERS seem to be getting run over and killed all over the roads at the moment and I saw yet another one today on the eastbound M40 just adjacent to Sundage Wood at SU 821 920.