Sunday, 27 August 2017

Bicester Wetland Reserve: dawn and dusk

I have made a few early morning and evening visits to Bicester Wetland Reserve in the past month.  It is a great time to visit, especially in the morning when the light is behind you, but evening is good too, with birds becoming more active towards dusk.  The reserve is  "key holder only" site because it sits next to a Thames Water treatment works and within part of the security set-up.  This means you need to join the BOS first, then get an induction from the voluntary warden Alan Peters, before being entrusted with a key.  It is well worth it, especially if you live close by and can call in regularly.

Green Sandpipers have been ever present all month, with at least five birds normally feeding around the main scrape that is overlooked by the first hide.  They have a wonderful call that echoes across the reserve, often given when they take flight and chase each other around the pool.  A few Snipe have joined them in the past few days, with three this morning -  generally keeping a low profile, half hidden on a grassy bank, occasionally wading out into the mud.

Two Green Sandpipers
I have also been treated to some great views of Roe Deer recently.  Earlier in the week I saw a very fine looking Roe Deer buck, sitting on the recently cut grassy bank beside the pools.
Roe Deer buck
This morning the doe and her kid walked along the entrance road, just below the hide, giving me some great views.  The hide really works a treat in situations like this.

Roe Deer - doe andkid

Roe Deer kid
Roe Deer doe portrait
You often have the reserve to yourself, which is helpful when you get the chance to gradually creep up on a feeding bird like this juvenile Goldfinch, which was much too happy feeding on these thistle seeds to notice my ever advancing telephoto lens....
Juvenile Goldfinch
Another nice reward for my recent evening visit was seeing a juvenile Water Rail emerge from the vegetation that fringes the pool, just as dusk was gathering.  This is the first year that Water Rails have been proven to breed here and I think this was only the second sighting of the juvenile so far.

To finish off this post here are two recent images taken at Grimsbury Reservoir:

This flock of four Common Scoters found by John Friendship-Taylor earlier in the week.  They stayed just a couple of hours or so, just long enough for a few locals to catch up with them.  This was a new bird for me in the BOS area and certainly the highlight of August birding in the local far.
Common Scoter - three drakes and a female
This Robin is a juvenile bird moulting from spotty juvenile feathers into the full "red breast".
juvenile Robin (spotty juvenile feather remain on the head)