It was a quiet, misty day when I visited Otmoor today for a bit of birdwatching.
The RSPB had carried out some winter work, cutting the hedge on the track beside Moorleys.
It had also cleared scrub along the path to the lookout, opening up the ditch. I live in hope of seeing a water rail here.
The view over Greenaways was misty and there was little activity.
There were plenty of birds in the hedges: tits, bullfinches and linnets. Where the RSPB had put down seeds by the lookout, there were also reed buntings and yellowhammers.
The first hide was grey and quiet, but there were plenty of snipe among the teal and other duck.
At the furthest hide I had a lovely view of a marsh harrier. I also heard a Cetti’s warbler.
On my way back I saw many golden plover with lapwings in a field. I also caught a glimpse of a hen harrier.
When I returned to the first hide I met an RSPB voluntary warden who counts birds every Friday afternoon. He said the hen harrier I had seen was probably a second-winter male. We saw the golden plover rise up in a mass from the field where I had seen them, presumably disturbed by something, and he said that he had counted 4,000 golden plover recently.
I hung around at that hide for a while because another birdwatcher had told me that he had seen three bitterns there that morning. I was not so lucky. But there is something therapeutic about watching ducks going about their business in a quiet spot, and I was in no hurry to leave.
And then the sun came out.