Field Event Reports

6 June: A visit to Otmoor RSPB Reserve

Watching a Turtle Dove was one of the highlights

A group 11 members plus our leader David Hastings met in the Otmoor Car Park at 10.30am on a fine, sunny and warm day so the omens were good for our hunt for dragonflies and other insects. Our path followed the Old Roman Road, bordered on one side by mature trees and on the other by tall shrubs, and then out onto the Causeway with views across the open marshland of Greenaways on one side and hedgerow on the other. On reaching the main hide a short rest ensued before a more brisk walk back to the Car Park, arriving at 1ish where thanks were conveyed to David. In all a good day with excellent finds on all fronts, personal highlights being the Black Hairstreak butterfly (which we failed to see on a previous visit), the Turtle Dove (such a rarity now but still comes back to Otmoor - an event watched for with anticipation each Spring) and distant Marsh Harriers. The account and lists following have been provided by David Hastings, as displayed on his web site (

Graham Bateman

Today I led a small group from the Abingdon Naturalists Society on a dragonfly hunt at Otmoor. I got there a bit earlier than the start time and found a female Brown Hawker along the Roman Road. There were many Azure Damselflies about, but only a few Blue-tailed, Blue-eyed and Large Red Damselflies. There were some Four-spotted Chasers along the Old Roman Road, but up on the Causeway there were many more. Hairy Hawkers were also present, with two being seen along the road and another on the bridleway. A teneral Ruddy Darter was found along the bridleway. At the hide a Black-tailed Skimmer was spotted over one of the pools, along with a male Emperor and an ovipositing female. Three male Banded Demoiselles were seen on the bridleway.

On the insect front, at least eight Black Hairstreaks were the highlight, along with two Red Admirals and a Painted Lady. We also found a group of Peacock larvae, and a single Small Tortoiseshell larva. Among the moths, a Blood-vein and a Silver-ground Carpet were the best sightings.

As far as birds were concerned, a Turtle Dove was feeding on seeds at the cattle pens, and there was another one calling from somewhere south of the Roman Road. A Marsh Harrier and a couple of Hobbies were seen over Greenaways.

David Hastings


Azure Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Red-eyed Damselfly, Banded Demoiselle, Brown Hawker, Hairy Hawker, Emperor Dragonfly, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, Black-tailed Skimmer, Ruddy Darter.
Butterflies & Moths:
Brimstone, Orange-tip, Large White, Black Hairstreak, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Speckled Wood, Peacock & Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars, Silver Y, Silver-ground Carpet, Cinnabar' Blood-vein.
Other insects:
Dark Bush-cricket, Tree Bumblebee, Cardinal beetle.
Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Dunnock, Oystercatcher, Turtle Dove, Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Black-headed Gull, Marsh Harrier, Cormorant, Hobby, Red Kite, Kestrel, Moorhen, Mallard, Coot, Grey Heron, Lapwing Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Redshank, Blue Tit, Pheasant, Little Egret, Carrion Crow.
The following birds were heard but not seen:
Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Cuckoo, Wren.

Felicity Jenkins, Sally Gillard, Michael Bloom, Caroline Gregory, Vivienne & Hugh Summers, Eleanor Dangerfield, Graham Bateman, Richard Lewington, Barry & Beryl Stayte.