It’s April blossom now

The hawthorn blossom in the Otmoor RSPB reserve car-park was already out, on 20 April.  I felt cheated—this is such a special moment of  the year, and it shouldn’t happen in April.  Hawthorn was called May because that’s when it flowers: April does not have the same ring to it.

1 May

April blossom

Once I’d got over the blossom I began to enjoy the birds.  It was one of those days when I heard many more than I saw.

Grasshopper warblers were whirring in the field by the car park, to a backdrop of willow warblers.

2 groppers

The groppers’ spot

Cuckoos called from both sides of the Otmoor reserve, though I didn’t see them.  Also offstage I could hear curlews bubbling—appropriate as today (21 April) is World Curlew Day.

Reed and sedge warblers chattering away among the reeds and willow, not to be seen.

A bittern boomed many times, its foghorn sounding incongruous on such a clear, sunny day.

But I did see marsh harriers and some dapper gadwall from the first screen

3 at first screen

View from the first screen

and a pair of garganey from the second—I hadn’t seen garganey since my walk at Stanwick Lane, Northamptonshire, with Mark Avery on 12 May 2012, described here.

4 second screen garganey

The garganey were on the far bank

On the way back I wandered along the Roman road to listen to warblers.

7 Roman road

Roman road

I saw a blackcap family, making vestigial song.

6 blackcap trees

Blackcap trees

I need to return in a fortnight or so to catch more of the warblers.


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
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