My final visit to Brandon Marsh today before Christmas and an interesting one too! As you can imagine all the pools are currently frozen so reduced numbers in the way of wildfowl species.
I arrived at dawn on a stunning but bitterly cold morning and caught up with others from the 'Sunday Crew', who I found strategically located overlooking Sheepfield. Three Barn Owls had been spotted quartering before my arrival but I did manage good views of the one that remained. I was lucky enough to see a second later in the morning from the Carlton Hide, which was out of the box in daylight at around 10am. A single Snipe in flight and an estimated 400 Lapwing, also passing by, are worth a mention.
Other sighting of note were 4 Meadow Pipit which flew across Newlands Reedbed on my way through, 2 Water Rail near the sluice and a third which shot across the front of Main-Hide. After leaving the Carlton-Hide, en route for my Full-English breakfast, a flock of circa 30 Golden Plover overflew East Marsh as I passed by the Main-Hide.
After breakfast both JR and I had a good tour of the the 'Tip' area and Farm Pool Reedbed, with some interesting results! Firstly, an extremely light coloured Buzzard, calling from a nearby tree caught our attention, but after dreaming of Rough Legged etc it turned out to be Common, warmed us both up though! Moving on around the perimeter of Farm Pool a Red Legged Partridge took flight from the reedbed, quickly followed by a single Woodcock.
A very rare visitor to Brandon is Yellowhammer (pictured) and JR had one earlier near Newlands, probably the only confirmed sighting on the reserve since 2007! You can imagine our delight when a second bird was heard and briefly seen as we passed through the area near to the farm buildings. Finally, as we made our way back to the Visitor Centre, a second small flock of Golden Plover overflew in the opposite direction from the earlier flock, around another 30 birds, maybe the same flock as earlier?
Well things have come full circle for me at Brandon! I joined the Conservation Team a year ago this week and have experienced some memorable moments over the past 12 months, covered as part of this blog. I've also met some fantastic people around Brandon and wish them and my reader a very Merry Christmas!