Sunday 31 May – Otmoor

 It all started in Beckley just a short stone’s throw from the Otmoor RSPB reserve with a pair of squabbling Jackdaws on an overcast morning. Four members met in the car park to the accompaniment of Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler song while overhead a Red Kite gave a virtuoso flying display thus setting a benchmark for the day. On leaving the car park after reading the sightings board, two of the group expressed a desire to see and hear Turtle Dove. Within a few minutes a gentle purring was heard and a Turtle Dove was sighted on overhead cables so obviously a purrrrrrrrrfect day! Heading towards the hide and scrapes even more Lesser Whitethroats and Garden Warblers were encountered although they were outnumbered by the sights and sounds of Reed Warblers. Added to this cacophony of sound were Chaffinch, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and the screaming of Swifts overhead. Looking out over the pastures and scrapes, families of Mallard, Greylag and Canada Geese were seen in the company of Little Egrets, Herons, Lapwings, Redshanks and Ringed Plovers. Lunch was taken in the reserve’s posh hide where we witnessed the aerial displays of House Martins with a supporting cast of finches (Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Linnet), and Redshank. Three Common Terns were discovered at the viewing screen and lagoon at the furthest point from the car park, and on the return journey to the car Sedge Warbler and Kestrel were added to the day’s list bringing the total for the day to over 50. Many thanks to Keith Williams for leading our field trip. Richard Scantlebury