Sunday, 31 May 2015

Great Bustards and more...


The Northants Bird Club car trip today took us to Wiltshire and to Salisbury Plain, and the home of the Great Bustard reintroduction scheme. Committee member Mark Williams had organised an opportunity to hopefully see adult wild-flying Great Bustards on the plain, and despite the windy and initially wet weather we straightaway found nine birds congregated in a small field.

Here we watched them strut their stuff and nearby a pair of Stone Curlew revealed they had two chicks and we watched as they fed worms to their offspring. A Quail called briefly, a Hobby caught a passerine in front of us and a Stoat showed briefly. Corn Buntings were common as were Skylarks, Linnets and corvids.

We subsequently visited nearby Pewsey Downs Nature Reserve but it was too breezy and dull for interesting insects. The views over the chalk downs were stunning and birds included Redstart, Raven, Hobby and another calling Quail.

Our final venue for the day was a visit to the RSPB reserve at Otmoor near Oxford. Although it remained breezy, there were bright periods and at the end even some proper sunshine! A good selection of interesting birds included an Osprey, a Marsh Harrier, a Hobby, several Red Kites, a couple of showy Turtle Doves, a Ross's Goose and breeding Snipe, Lapwing and Redshank.

Eleanor stayed locally and an excursion up to a wet and windy Harrington Airfield this morning provided views of a Great White Egret flying over the site towards Pitsford Reservoir at about 7.30am. This is believed to be a new species for this location. Other birds included a singing Grasshopper Warbler, two 'purring' Turtle Doves and a calling Quail in a grassy area near the end of the concrete track.

Birds this evening at Blueberry Farm included the Quail calling in Big Lichfields, a singing Grasshopper Warbler in Hill Field and a Hobby.


Neil M

Great Bustards
Salisbury Plain

Pewsey Downs

Cardinal Beetle

Blue Tit

Turtle Dove

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