Sunday, 9 August 2015


On Friday, Lisa and I went to RSPB Otmoor, in Oxfordshire. Our main goal was to see Brown Hares, and we didn't, but we still had a lovely time at this gorgeous grassland-and-wetland reserve. The weather was stunning - hot sunshine and hardly any breeze - probably not the sort of day for hares to be gallivanting about, in fact. Anyone thinking of going to Otmoor should point their satnav at Otmoor Lane (the entrance is at the end of it), and not be perturbed by the total lack of signage on the way!

Before you hit the reserve proper, there's an area of incredibly lovely meadowland, with trails, which is open in spring/summer only. Lots and lots of insects.

Goldfinch, singing cheerily from a high perch.

Insects included LOTS of Common Blues, a few darters (many more were on the reserve proper), and this fantastic Magpie Moth, the first I've seen for years.

My favourite butterfly - a lovely Small Copper. Also lots of Gatekeepers, a few Meadow Browns, some whites including Brimstones.

This is, of course, Red Kite country, and as we exited the meadow a couple of kites appeared overhead, yelling loudly. One had the severed leg of some bird or other and the other wanted it. Much mid-air scrapping ensued and at least four more kites turned up to observe.

The visitor trail runs along a ridge overlooking meadowland which looked perfect for hares (grrr). Where the path took a sharp right, there was a large hide overlooking another patch of wet grassland. We spent a little time here to get out of the rather oppressive sun, and had great views of a flock of Lapwings, and a Sedge Warbler.

Along the trails there were lots of Brown Hawkers, and really lots and lots of Ruddy Darters. Also a beautiful Emerald Damselfly. Other odos included a few Common Blues and Blue-taileds and a lone Southern Hawker.

More butterflies - Brimstone on a teasel and Peacock on Creeping Thistle.

And the butterfly du jour - a cracking Brown Hairstreak. It was perched very high and at an awkward angle so, considering that, I'm really pleased with the pic. This reserve also has the much rarer Black Hairstreak, though you'd need to come in June/early July to see it.

The trail passes two viewpoints (actually more like hides without doors) which overlook open water. The views are fab - I can imagine a winter visit would provide great views of wildfowl. Not too much wildfowl on show in high summer, though this Great Crested Grebe chick was making enough of a racket to make things seem quite busy. Also here were Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, a couple of Cormorants and Little Egrets and a few Canadas and Greylags.

Couple more little birds - this adult Goldfinch was pointedly ignoring its begging chick, while the Bullfinch was sharing a tree with a crowd of juvenile Reed Buntings.

Last and least (in size but not cuteness), a newly fledged Reed Warbler which had yet to learn the furtive ways of its kind and sat squeaking away in full view. Aw.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

You didn't do too badly there Marianne! Certainly more butterflies than at Thursley.......Brown Hairstreak! Well jealous :-)