Sunday 25 September 2016

Otmoor: 24 September

What a difference a week makes! Unlike last Saturday, today was warm, quite sunny and dry. As the Purple Heron doesn't appear to be an early riser these days, there seemed no point in getting there much earlier than 09:45, which was I arrived last week.

As last week,I positioned myself part way along the bridleway and settled in for a wait. Unlike last week, the conditions were quite pleasant but interest was limited to a few Migrant Hawkers, numerous Common Darters and the Hornets that were zapping up and down the path. A Kingfisher flashed past along the ditch below at one point and a couple of Snipe flew in, but that was about it.

Eventually I tired of this, and decided on a change of scene at the first blind. This was marginally better with a too distant Marsh Harrier and a closer Hobby. After a while here, it seemed worth returning to the bridleway to see if there had been any sightings of the Purple Heron.  Back on the bridleway, a couple of Hobbies were providing brief entertainment, especially when one of them came really close briefly:

For a larger image goto my website
This image is a BirdGuides Notable photo

This bird was moving fast, very fast, as can be judged from the image below which was only one frame or 0.1 sec earlier than the one above. All credit to the 7D mkII AF system for this response speed, especially as I had the x1.4TC on.

After this productive interlude, news emerged that somebody had seen the Purple Heron at about 12:30, and it had flown into some reeds to the west of the diagonal path. On hearing this, a few of us moved a bit closer to this location and waited. At around 13:15, Jon Mercer spotted it flying left from the reeds and away from us. It appeared to land in the south west corner of Greenaways but there was no further sign by about 14:00 after I had walked back to there. So this distant record shot was all that I could manage.

Distant Purple Heron


  1. Stephen, the Hobby shots came out very well! Jon

  2. Thanks Jon. Yes they look Ok - remarkable tribute the AF abilities of the 7D mk II I would say!