Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brandon - 25/04/09

Arrived this morning before the short downpour to a Cuckoo calling from across the marsh. I'd made a commitment today to assist KB with a guided walk of the reserve, with guests from St. Pauls church, Stockingford. Prior to the walk, which was scheduled to begin at 9.30am I had the opportunity to visit both the Wright Hide and Main Hides.
On the walk past Newlands reedbed I picked up the usual Warblers with the Sedge in particular showing well. After JR arrived we had a good scan of the main pool, picking up an additional Little Ringed Plover, now numbering 3, and noted 2 Shelduck, not seen for the past few weeks. At one stage 9 Lesser Black Backed Gulls were on site and for a short while it felt as though we were at the seaside!
We decided to track back to Newlands for a more thorough look and were rewarded by a Grasshopper Warbler reeling a short distance in. After a short spell in the Main Hide, prior to tracking back for my walk, we'd picked up 2 Common Sandpiper, only the second time this year the species had visited, plus 3 Common Tern.
The highlight of the day was to come during our guided walk and was indeed a bit of a surprise. As the group were leaving the Baldwin Hide a cry of "Otter" suddenly erupted, which immediately sent me spinning on my heels, only to reveal an American Mink glaring in my direction from the boardwalk, then just as suddenly he was gone. After ushering the group back into the hide after the excitement I made a quick call to JR with the news. As bold as brass, and while I was discussing our alien predator, the little chap had the audacity to re-appear and stood glaring at me once more, he even had a good walk around the boardwalk before departing! A beautiful creator to behold but a very unwelcome visitor to any reserve.
Prior to the end of today's visit I'd claimed my first Common Swift of the year, quickly followed by several more and a first Garden Warbler near Sheepfield.