Today my musical work took me to Radley College, near Abingdon, and so I decided to leave home a couple of hours earlier than necessary so that I could stop off at the RSPB reserve of Otmoor, near Oxford. I’m surprised that I’ve never actually visited this reserve before, but I will certainly go there again as it turns out to be a very large area of flood meadows, reed beds, scrubby woodland and field edges – far too much to explore in a couple of hours.

A panoramic view of part of the RSPB Otmoor reserve

It will certainly be alive with warblers in a few weeks time, but even today there were large flocks of lapwing and wigeon, a handful of marsh harriers and red kites, some pintails, bullfinches, various other small birds and plenty of Canada and greylag geese. There has been an American wigeon there, which would have been a new UK record for me, but it was apparently being seen at the very far end of the reserve, and would have given me a round trip of about six miles – too far for the limited time I had available!

So I was content to discover an interesting new site, with good views of species I always enjoy seeing, and was not expecting to add anything to my bird list…..and then I saw a crane! These are wonderful birds which have started to recolonise the UK, with pairs beginning to breed in Norfolk in the 1980s after a gap of 400 years. There are now many more birds, in Norfolk, Somerset and elsewhere, but I didn’t know they were at Otmoor until today, so seeing one was really pleasant surprise.

New species for March 2nd:
Birds: common crane

Birds = 134
Moths = 7
Wildflowers = 23