Much as I love the Chiltern beechwoods I felt it was time for a change of bird- scene, and so on the May bank holiday I ventured back to Otmoor in Oxfordshire to catch up with some wetland birds. I knew the reed and sedge warblers would be singing, and I was not disappointed.
I have written before on this blog about the wonders of Otmoor. It’s an RSPB reserve east of Oxford, reclaimed from agriculture and the Ministry of Defence and restored to wetland. As I got out of the car I was accosted by the song of blackcaps, willow warblers and whitethroats in the flowering may.
On the way to the wetlands there were countless whitethroats and a sedge warbler singing in a tree.
I turned left towards the hide and was accompanied by noisy reed warblers to my left, and caught a glimpse of one or two.
A bit further along I heard then saw a cuckoo. On my right there was a lovely bosky stretch with plenty of warblers.
On the corner, where the track turns north to the screens, there was a chattering sedge warbler in the hawthorn tree. I saw one very close to here last year.
But the prize was yet to come. From the first screen, I looked over the water to Charlton-on-Otmoor church tower. Among the newly-arrived swifts were hobbies, acrobating gracefully as they caught insects. I counted 11 of them, a rare treat.
I headed back to the car park. And before reluctantly turning away from the reserve I had a last look over the flatlands. I could see the hobbies in the distance.
I may not have seen as many species as Mark Avery who visited a few days before me—but then I never do! I have no complaints though—only 15 miles from home and a different world.