Sunday 23rd August

Early Autumn continues on apace on the Meadow. A morning stroll through Burgess Field found lots of young warblers (mainly Whitethroats) in the hedges - it looks like it's been a good breeding year for them. With lots of Redstarts passing through the county elsewhere I've been looking out for them on BF though sadly I've yet to find one. We're also missing out on Whinchats and Wheatears which Otmoor is starting to get passing through. With any luck we might manage one or two fairly soon.

On the Meadow itself there have been four or so YELLOW WAGTAILS in amongst the livestock for the last week or so. It's always worth looking through them for something rarer though no luck so far. The Swifts have departed now and the Hirundines are gathering together in large post-breeding flocks ready for the push southwards in due course.

Male Yellow Wagtail
At last there seems to be a bit more action on the Odonata front. I've seen at least one Brown Hawker along the Castle Mill Stream regularly and over on the Trap Grounds there was a Migrant Hawker patrolling the southern end of the pond. In addition there were at least one Ruddy Darter and one Common Darter by the smaller pond at the end of the boardwalk. It's amazing how there are no Damselflies on the Trap Grounds pond though. In past years there would be loads at the northern end but I'm not sure that I've seen any there this year. Perhaps all the dredging there over the winter is the cause. It's getting rather late for them now anyway though there are a few Blue-tailed Damsels in the small boardwalk pond and also on the Castle Mill Stream. There were also a couple of late Banded Demoiselles on the latter site recently.

Male Ruddy Darter
Butterflies are now getting to the end of their season though there are still quite a few about in the Trap Grounds. I had a Holly Blue in my garden over the weekend as well as a couple of Hornet Hoverflies - they are spectacularly huge beasts!

Hornet Hoverfly
On the mothing front I trapped for the first time in quite a while over the weekend and was rewarded with a good catch. It's always fascinating to watch the changing composition of the catch as the weeks go by. Suddenly you've got Large Yellow Underwings, Copper Underwings and Old Ladies in the trap which you weren't getting a few weeks ago.

Old Lady - a large though rather drab moth
With still no water on the Meadow we're missing out on the bonanza of Wood Sandpipers that are passing through the country and county this autumn. Until we get re-flooded it's a case on sifting through the hedges and watching the skies for something good.

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