Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Return to Otmoor

After a successful reconnaissance on Saturday, i took advantage of being in the area to revisit Otmoor. Target species were the ferruginous duck, garganey and anything else that was around. One thing changed by Wednesday, there were many fewer people around . Another thing that was very obvious was that the site is pretty large, and what we thought of as the "first screen" wasn't. The actual first screen was a lot further round, and the second was even further - and that was where the fudge duck supposedly was.
So, i trekked round to the far end of the reserve, about 30 minutes i should think, but the weather was gorgeous so it didn't really matter. There was one other couple doing the same journey, so we both watched the same area of water for 20 minutes or so, with no sign of anything interesting in the duck world. We did get my first swallows of the year moving over, and a water rail calling in the reeds, but otherwise nothing new. Same back at the first screen as well. If the f.duck was there it has plenty of dead water  behind the reeds to hide in.
Last stop therefore was the hide, which we had mistakenly taken as the first screen on Saturday. There was one local in there already who pointed me in the area of where a garganey HAD been. I couldn't see anything though. Oh, and there were 7 white-fronted geese at the weekend, but they were AWOL as well. I was about to give up and go home when a last scan across the pools got me a lovely male garganey lurking in the reeds. Too far for a photo, but always a great bird to get. Filled with renewed enthusiasm i worked my way through the 200 or so geese on the far side of the marsh and finally got a few white-fronts as well. Really far off, and probably the 7 seen before but they never all came out into the open. Still, a nice afternoon, spring in the air and 3 new year ticks. The list is starting to get some respectability now at 124....