Sunday 19 June 2016

Otmoor again: Saturday 18 June - my first FIF!

Arriving mid morning at Otmoor conditions were far from inspiring with some rain and a temperature of only about 12C. Heading along the Roman Road I could find only a couple of Azure Damselflies hunkered down in the vegetation. Along the bridleway, it was also quiet with only a distant and briefly drumming Snipe worthy of note. I somehow managed to miss the Turtle Dove that others heard and saw in its usual area by the pump house. Further on, there was a Common Tern fishing along the ditch right by bridleway but I didn't manage to get any worthwhile photos of it in the poor light.

At the first screen, it was also quiet but I did manage a glimpse of a Hobby and saw a very distant Marsh Harrier. The only bird that came close enough for the lens was this Tufted Duck, which I managed to track in from some distance out.

Tufted Duck
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Venturing as far as the second screen I was rewarded with a voluble Lesser Whitethroat in the adjacent hedge and more distant Marsh Harrier views. Nearer to, one of the Common Terns came very close several times on its fishing circuits. It was interesting to see the large chick on their nesting raft sheltering under the half pipes - must be very handy for dodging predators such as Red Kite. 

Common Tern

By the time I was ready to head back, it had warmed up sufficiently for a few more insects to show themselves and there were good numbers of Azure Damselflies to be seen along the bridleway and the Roman Road, including this one tucking into an unfortunate aphid! There was also an immature  Darter that I believed to be an early Ruddy from its black legs.
Azure Damselfly
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Along the Roman Road, there was even a hint of sun and the surprising sight of a couple of large flies hovering in the centre of the track, conveniently at about head height. Naturally I couldn't resist the tempetation of trying for my first FIF (fly in flight) shot using my 180mm macro! 

I first posted this image on the Oxon Wildlife blog and thanks to Gareth Blockley for almost immediately suggesting an identity for it - a Pellucid HoverFlyVolucella pellucens. This image was sufficiently unusual to be definitely the highlight of the visit, even if it wasn't a dragonfly or a bird! 
Pellucid HoverFly, Volucella pellucens
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