Sunday, March 01, 2009

Brandon - 01/03/09

Pinch punch it's the 1st of the month! Due to attend a meeting today at Brandon Marsh I thought I'd rise early and get some more birding in beforehand.
After leaving my boat at around 6.15am I was greeted by a Tawny Owl calling from the field adjacent to my mooring, we regularly get Tawny's here at Wigram's. Walking down the path to the car park my first birds of the day were Reed Bunting and Wren foraging in the reeds and Chaffinch and Song Thrush singing from the Hawthorn.

I arrived at Brandon at around 6.50am, just slightly too late to catch a glimpse of the Barn Owls but was delighted to here and see several Song Thrush, once again singing in and around New Hare Covert. It was noticeably colder this morning and I knew straight away that I hadn't put enough layers on!
After continuing on my normal route past Newlands Reedbed I heard Cetti's Warbler, Little Grebe and a couple of Water Rail calling from deep within the reeds. Entering the Wright Hide and having my first scan of East Marsh Pool I picked up 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Oystercatcher as well as an excellent number of Lapwing, 124 were counted by another team member who was present. The usual ducks & geese were on view in addition to 4 Goldeneye (2M 2F) and a lone Barnacle Goose. A Kingfisher came flashing past at one stage but I only heard it as it went wizzing by! Also in my count were Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, 3 Shelduck and 9 Snipe. No sign of Wigeon today and our two recent Cape/Australian Shelduck hybrids appear to have vacated.

The Carlton Hide added to my numbers and produced Reed Bunting and a male and female Bullfinch, always a delight to see.
Once in the Main Hide I took a good scan of the many Black Headed Gulls and yielded Immature Lesser & Great Black Back, plus a single Common. On my way back to the visitor centre for my meeting I decided to take the route through Horsetail Glade in the hope of catching Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but the Glade was extremely quiet apart from a short burst of song from a Mistle Thrush. I arrived for my meeting a shivering wreck and no sign of the Bittern for me today, although other members of the team got a sighting shortly after I'd left the Main Hide! Typical!!

The highlight of the day was to come on my way back to the car around 12.20. As I was just about to drive up the main track to the gate several birders were definitely interested in something which on inspection turned out to be a Peregrine Falcon, a first for me at Brandon this year. Although I watched it for a good five minutes I never really got any good views as it remained extremely high for the duration.
Arriving back to Wigram's Marina at about 1.15 our 2 regular Buzzards were circling to the East.