Wednesday, 12 June 2013

3 Day Weekend: Otmoor Again!

Sunday was supposed to be a bit cloudier, and after the long day on Saturday, a glance past the curtains at the overcast conditions allowed me to take a lie in without feeling like I was wasting any good weather. I was "on call" too that day, as Kate had mentioned that she might need me to help her set up for her Gardening World Live Show exhibit at the NEC. Just before midday, I checked with her, and she was fine, saying she'd welcome our help at the close of the show later in the week. The clouds outside were starting to break up, and I gathered my gear. Initially I had considered going to Upton Warren, but the lure of hobbies at Otmoor won out, and I was soon trundling down the lane to the reserve.

Again it was cooler there than expected, so I found the hobbies weren't flying much, which was rather annoying. Plenty of red kites around again, being chased by lapwings and the odd redshank.

I decided to lurk near the metal gate and see what presented itself to me. Lugging the camera gear around is tiring and hurts my shoulder, so if I can find an excuse for staying where I am, I do.

Was a good move. Something was moving at speed down the track towards me. Having forgotten my bins, I focused the camera on it and realised it was a brown hare, lolloping along at some pace. The view was slightly obscured by the long grass, but I started to take some pics as it got closer. Thinking I was about to get a great shot, I held off on the shutter in case it heard, when it suddenly stopped anyway. It looked in my direction, then turned and legged it. Damn, must have heard me.

Standing back from the camera, I saw a reflection in the back of it. Two birders stood on the path in plain sight behind me, pointing at the now distant hare. I need an eye-rolling smiley for this moment.

Back to photographing other things, with linnets feeding from the ground and perching on the wooden fence. I like them - the males are quite striking with their red-feathers. They were fluttering round in small flocks making the most of seed provided by the RSPB.

Then out of nowhere, a dove caught my attention, as it flew in front of me, and landed on a metal gate. A double-take and I realised it was a turtle dove! Fantastic.

After I'd taken a few shots, it dropped down into the long grass out of sight to feed, at which point another tog (Hi Andy!) wandered over and joined me. Like me, he was after hobbies, but when the dove flew back up and perched on the fence, he took full advantage.

As is often the case, the sight of photographers focused on something attracts more, and we were soon joined by a number of interested folk, who like us, were amazed that the normally shy turtle dove was posing for us all.

After posing, it fluttered down to the ground, and wandered round, feeding on the seed, mooching in amongst the grass before settling in the open on the path, to enjoy the warmth from the sunshine. Remarkable really, given how they aren't normally seen.

When it finally headed off, we tried for some more hobby shots, though they rarely ventured close. One performed a seemingly suicidal dive into the grass for something, which was exciting to watch.

I stayed late hoping to see hobbies becoming more active in the afternoon warmth, but they stayed miles off. I could also hear a cuckoo and a pair of grasshopper warblers, but none showed. So home once more to get ready for the third day of fun.

1 comment:

Stephen Portlock said...

Stunning photos mate!!