A couple of Barn Owls to start on their normal hunting ground on Sheepfield was a good place to begin, and then on to the Wright Hide as per usual, where the thaw is progressing nicely on East Marsh Pool. The surprise here was 13 Mute Swan, good numbers for Brandon, eventually rising to 15 for the day, plus male and female Goldeneye with the usual other wildfowl evident. A Kingfisher, my first of 2010, also went skimming across the pool just prior to moving on, nice to see after the recent cold snap.
With the flood water receding a trip to Teal Pool, Big Hide and Carlton Hide were possible and on River Pool 12 Wigeon and 4 Gadwall were noted, along with good numbers of Teal.
The first result of the day came at Carlton Hide where Mike Lee, another Conservation Team member had a quick glimpe of a Bittern walking across the ice, unfortunately the rest of us missed it! However, we needn't have been too concerned as almost immediately 2 more Bittern rose from the reed bed and flew a short distance before dropping back in. Amazingly 3 Bitterns in quick succession was a stunning result and for me the first time I'd seen 2 together in flight at Brandon!
As if this wasn't enough a further and unexpected surprise was also on the cards. As the work party were making their way back across Newlands at around 1.30pm I had word, courtesy of Jeff Wesson, of a male Green-Winged Teal (pictured) on East Marsh Pool, which had apparently been viewed from the Wright Hide. As luck would have it the team were passing right by the hide enroute back to the Nature Centre and so it wasn't long before we had him in our sight, the first at Brandon since May 2004. We enjoyed some excellent views of a bird that looked to be in pristine condition, and I suddenly realised that for me personally this was my first in the UK.