Monday, 1 April 2013

Easter Highlights

The view south from Cuddesdon, with Wittenham Clumps right of centre. I looked south and realised something was missing. It took about a minute to work out that it was the enormous plume of vapour from Didcot Power Station, which was closed down last week. I can't say I miss it:
The first Corn Bunting appeared on territory on March 2nd this year, the earliest ever. But then there were no sightings until today, when this singing male returned: 
 Reed Bunting:
Long-tailed Tit:
This is usually the last week that the winter Thrushes, Fieldfare and Redwing, are with us before they depart for Scandinavia. I suspect we may be recording exceptionally late dates for these species if the cold spell lasts as long as forecast:

I headed east from Cuddesdon Mill on Sunday morning to map out habitat for the BTOs Wetland Breeding Bird Survey, which I am taking over this year. Whilst in the woods alongside the river, 4 pale duck with gleaming white underwings, shot overhead:
For once they did the decent thing and did a return fly-by a few seconds later. I was ready: 4 Gadwall!
This is the 4th record in the past 4 years for the rarest of the duck that fly down the River Thame. Except for the ones I've missed of course. 

Monday dawned grey and cold, this nice ♂ Kestrel was hunting south of the village:

The flood meadows were full of deer, this stag Muntjac and the same 3 doe and single stag Roe Deer that I saw last week.

I've included this picture as, despite the poor quality, it shows the size and leg length difference between Roe Deer (at the back) and Muntjac (the short-legged dog-sized deer in the foreground). If the belly is off the ground it is a Roe Deer! 

Today, the Golden Plover were much closer. Only 9 birds were present, but with some nearing summer plumage, they were living up to their name. These are beautiful birds in their breeding plumage:

69 species for the year. 

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