Tuesday 22 March 2016

Farmoor: 22 March

This was my second afternoon visit in a week to try to photograph Barn Owls by the Thames at Pinkhill, Shrike or Buckthorn Meadows. Unfortunately, as on Saturday, I failed completely - without seeing any sign of them. However it was a reasonable outing in other ways...

Walking over the causeway I failed to see any sign of the Great Northern Divers, so it is possible they have finally departed. At least one Rock Pipit and a few Meadow Pipits were present, as was a surprisingly high number of Reed Buntings - I counted at least 13.

Pinkhill was pretty quiet apart from the welcome sound of a Chiffchaff in the distance. I heard another one on the way to Shrike Meadow for the abortive wait for Barn Owls to show. During this wait I heard a Cetti's Warbler and at least one squealing Water Rail. All was not lost though as, at around 4pm, I suddenly spotted a charming group of Sand Martins hawking over the zigzag path. Great to see my second summer migrant species of the year (the first being the Garganey at Otmoor last Friday).

Returning over the causeway in the gloom I came across a couple of Dunlin way down along the water's edge - both reservoirs are quite low at present. Perhaps good for the forthcoming spring wader passage?

Heron on Buckthorn Meadow

Sand Martin over Shrike Meadow

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