Saturday 14 April 2018

Shrike Meadow, Lark Hill etc: 14 April am

With my current mobility issue, it is difficult to find places for bird photography in Oxon. Today I thought I'd first try Shrike Meadow which isn't too far from the nearest unofficial parking at Lower Whitley Farm.

In the glorious weather, it was a pleasant if uncomfortable walk along the Thames with Chiffchaff and Blackcap very much in evidence - but no sound of any Willow Warblers. Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Barn Owl I was hoping for, but it was a pleasant surprise to find that the reeds had been radically cut back from the hide.

So it is now possible to see over what looks like a freshly created pool with the meadow beyond. Unfortunately, although there were distant Reed (or Sedge?) and Cetti's Warblers, there wasn't much else of interest apart from a couple of Snipe, one of which was flushed by a Muntjac Deer.

Thereafter, I tried the north east corner of Dix pit, where there is very close parking.  Morning isn't the best time of day here, as most of the pit is directly into the sun. In the distance, what looked like the Snow Geese flock was close into the SE bank of the pit, and a solitary Common Tern was also super distant. The heronry on the island was  in full swing also with Cormorants and another addition which maybe I shouldn't be mentioning?

Finally I tried Lark Hill, where I was delighted to find a lone female Wheatear on the south facing grassy slope of the underground reservoir - their favourite spot at this site. Regrettably the chain link fence here prevents gets anywhere near close enough for good shots, but at least being tall has one advantage - being able to balance the camera lens on the top of the fence!

Distant female Wheatear at Lark Hill

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