Monday, 25 May 2015

Banburyshire: a weekend with waders

Over the holiday weekend I spent some time watching our local waders - curlew in the Upper Cherwell Valley, lapwings at Balscote Quarry and little ringed plovers at Bicester Wetland Reserve.
Early on Monday morning I searched in vein for the red-necked phalarope that spent Sunday afternoon at Bicester Wetland Reserve. 

roe deer buck, Bicester Wetland Reserve
I then visited Balscote Quarry and enjoyed an hour watching two broods of lapwings, nesting little ringed plovers and very close views of a green woodpecker.  Little grebes are nesting there too.
green woodpecker
Lapwings seen to have vacated their farmland nesting site near Thenford, the spring barley crop now much too tall.  Just possible they have had some success and moved chicks to adjacent sheep pastures but not sign of them and I'm not optimistic.

Our local birds are incredibly busy at the moment - blue tits in a tireless search for small insects to feed their growing chicks, a female blackbird industriously building a nest in the climbing hydrangea, fledgling starlings constantly demanding food, great-crested grebes giving their youngsters a piggy-back and lapwings watching ever so warily for predators.
blue tit, back garden
great-crested grebe family, Compton Verney
An added bonus at Balscote Quarry was a ringed plover, quite likely still on route to the arctic, where of course it is still very cold.  The is no great rush - this picture shows what the Norwegian arctic looks like at 1000m elevation in early July, in an area with plenty of ringed plovers nesting - they are the most common wader there.
Arctic Norway inland from Tromso, July 2013

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