An out of county day today for Pete and I. Farmoor was the first stop and the water was absolutely flat calm with not a breath of wind. The downside of this was not many birds with the Black Terns from yesterday all gone. We had a chat to the Dai http://purplepartridge.blogspot.co.uk/ and another local birder who gave us some tips for our next stop at Otmoor and then headed out along the causeway. As usual there were loads of Pied Wagtails around along with the usual Mallards, Coots, Grebes, Cormorants and Gulls. A small flock of nine Common Terns were seen on the far side of F2 and then Pete found a Greater Black-backed Gull. I went to take my first picture of the day and realised that I had left the SD card in the computer at home which was pretty annoying. Even more so when an interesting plane flew over ( a Skyvan if anyone is interested). A small wader then appeared, flying fast and low over the water. It flew around for a while before amazingly considering the size of Farmoor landing just a few yards away from us. Unsurprisingly it was a Dunlin which then gave great views down to about six feet. A Green Woodpecker was heard in the distance as we wandered back to the car. Then it was off to Otmoor via Tesco to buy an SD card. Following the earlier advice we started with a walk on the (very) Long Meadow where several Redstarts had been seen. Five or six were heard and we managed a couple of brief glimpses of red tails disappearing into dense bushes. An interesting walk here with the imposing brick wall of an old firing range butts
standing in the field. Then it was lunch by the car accompanied by a singing Sedge Warbler before we headed off along the Roman Road to look for Brown Hairstreaks. Plenty of other butterflies seen but no Hairstreaks. Then it was bird time with some great views of hunting Hobbies, with the amount of Dragonflies around they were having an easy time getting food. Also seen were Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel and Raven but no Marsh Harrier. From the hide there were just a couple of Little Egrets and ten Teal. A few minutes at the first screen gave us a few ducks and a Little Grebe before we headed back towards the car. A walk through a field of Cows, Calves and a Bull took us to the Pill for the meagre reward of a Heron and a Snipe. Heading back along the Roman Road we met up with a couple of people who had found a Brown Hairstreak (a first) which was so busy feeding it allowed us to take pictures at point-blank range. Also here was another butterfly which they thought was a Black Hairstreak. It certainly was different but I’m sure of the i.d. Also seen here was a Magpie Moth, another first
for me. When I checked my pictures later I noticed that I had some smearing on the lens. Not a good camera day. By now it was four o’clock so we decided to head off to beat the Oxford traffic. We decided to pop in at Farmoor again and were rewarded with two
Yellow Wagtails, Three Dunlin and a single Ringed Plover. So not a massive day list (forty-three) plus ten butterflies and numerous unidentified Dragon / Damselflies but a very enjoyable day out.