Spring was returning to Otmoor in Oxfordshire when I visited yesterday. To the zipping of lapwings, tee-hu-hu of redshank, twittering of linnets and song of chiffchaffs, I strolled down the paths to the hides.
The best moment was when I was at the southern viewing screen, and both a female hen harrier and a male marsh harrier emerged to float over the redbeeds. They were close together and it was evident how much smaller is the hen harrier, and more graceful too as it hovered and glided, ‘hanging in the wind’ as a fellow birdwatcher said. Its beautiful stripey markings and white tail patch were clearly visible. You can see a video here.
Suddenly there was a burst of song right next to the hide and I was just in time to see a Cetti’s warbler disappearing into the undergrowth, the first time I had seen one.
So once again, a memorable day at Otmoor.