7th May

We've now had the first week of May. Usually there is one more week of good potential birding before things start to tail off. This week has been solid enough without anything really stellar. As a mark of this, there have been no new additions to the year list.

Starting off with waders, the star of the week was a Bar-tailed Godwit that spent the day on the floods midweek. Unlike the large flock that flew over last month, this singleton on the floods in May is the more usual way that this species gets onto the year list. In any event it was a nice opportunity for local birders to catch up with this species on the Meadow.

The Barwit above and below courtesy of Matthew Lloyd

We also had up to 7 Ruff (actually Reeves) on the floods. The two sexes of this species migrate separately which is why the flock was all female. Apart from that we had two Whimbrel fly over, a single Redshank on the floods, and a smattering of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. 4 Oystercatcher also dropped in one day. This last species seems to have disappeared from the floods of late after being regular visitors earlier in the spring.

The seven Reeves courtesy of Matthew Lloyd

The only news on the duck front was the continuing presence of up to 9 Shelduck and a few Egyptian Geese. Actually there was a report of some goslings recently so they may well have bred once again on the Meadow. We've also got the usual non-breeding gathering of Mute Swans with over 50 counted at a peak. There are a few Gadwall and Mallards still about but no more Wigeon or Teal.

On the raptor front we were lucky to get two further Osprey sightings. We had the usual brief fly-over on Friday but on Saturday, one lingered for about half an hour in the pouring rain where it was seen to hunt and catch a fish in the river. It even landed on the grass in the Hinterland for a bit. Apart from that there was a Hobby seen hunting House Martins over Southmoor Rd one evening.

The Osprey hunting along the river in the pouring rain

Rounding things off, a Great White Egret was seen flying over the floods mid morning today and was in fact reported first thing on the floods. There have also been a few late Yellow Wagtail  seen though numbers have predicatably dropped right off now. Finally, we had a singing male Redstart and another male Cuckoo in Burgess Field one day. 

While it's always dangerous to make any kind of prediction with birding, as I said at the beginning, we've probably got one more good week before things start to tail off. In terms of waders that we still need for the year list Knot and Sanderling are the two remaining ones. As a sign of how tough these two are, neither has been recorded at all in the last three years on the Meadow. We've yet to have Glossy Ibis and as I mentioned last time, Spoonbill is an outside possibility. Actually some of the Meadow locals have been talking about Black-winged Stilt as a possibility and indeed one did turn up reasonably close at Otmoor so it's not impossible. The reality is that it's going to get a lot tougher from now on to add new year list ticks. Let's see what this coming week brings.

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