Ministry of Propaganda

Ministry of Propaganda - 10/Feb/2008: "Afternoon at Otmoor Nature Reserve"

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Afternoon at Otmoor Nature Reserve

No, this blog isn't dead yet. Just didn't have anything to post about really. But with the days getting longer again and the weather improving there might be the odd update here again. On Friday I found this YouTube video of Starlings at Otmoor after reading the ‘Starke Stare’ entry on the German ‘Spreeblick’ blog. Realising that the RSPB Otmoor Nature Reserve is only about an hour from Swindon my plan for the weekend was set. I was going to visit the reserve to try to see the starlings. Walking to the hide some of the first birds I saw were geese though:

Picture of a flock of geese over a flat landscape with a church tower in the distance

Arriving at the hide I joined quite a few other people and two RSPB wardens to wait for the starlings. Soon the first flocks showed up:

Picture of two flocks of starlings over a flat landscape

The flocks were nowhere near as big as in the video, but I'd still estimate a few hundred birds:

Picture of a flock of starlings in the evening sky

In the fading light they were quite difficult to photograph, especially when further away. They did form some smaller swirling clouds, unfortunately I didn't manage to take any good pictures of it. Here's another group flying closer to the hide:

Picture of a group of starlings flying over some bare trees

With the light now rapidly failing we decided to leave and walk back to the car park. The wardens told us that they think with some of the warmer than usual weather in January a lot of the starlings might have left for the continent already. The best time to see them would be around Christmas time, something to remember for later this year.

Picture of swans on a lake in the last light

On the way back we spotted a few swans in the largest lake on the reserve, although they didn't fully cooperate when I took the picture and kept their heads down. The last light was brilliant, with a new moon on a clear and colourful beautiful sky:

Picture of the last evening light with a new moon in the clear sky

Just after I took this picture I had my last bird sighting of the day: An owl silently flew past, a magical sight. It only lasted for a few seconds, no chance to take a picture of it. So that picture will have to remind in my head as the perfect end to a very nice afternoon. I plan to be back in December.

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