Sunday, January 17, 2010

Now the Flood!

My first task just before dawn today was to try and locate a Long Eared Owl which I've heard calling just before dawn at the marina recently. Unfortunately, and as ever with birding, there was no sign and no calling on the morning I'd earmarked for a substantial search of the grounds, and so I duly set off for Brandon.

Black ice was a major issue on the back roads this morning and so I made my way gingerly through Birdingbury and Marton village, before finally arriving at 7am. The drive from the main gate to the security gate produced my first real spot of the day as a silhouetted Woodcock flew low just in front of me.

After parking I made my way to the Sheepfield ridge, disappointingly only producing one Barn Owl today, which of course I was too late to see. However, I needn't have worried as shortly after I had good views of a single bird perched just above the 'Oak Tree' box. On to the Wright Hide and East Marsh Pool, which I'm happy to say is starting to thaw nicely, this produced a male and female Goldeneye, Pochard and Little Grebe amongst the usual Tufted, Teal and Shoveler, JR also mentioned 2 Goosander present yesterday, but no sign today. After a further scan the steely eyed 'Bittern Man', as I've now nicknamed him, Mr Geoff Hood, located a single Bittern skulking in the reeds just in front of the Big Hide!

Leaving the Wright Hide we made our way straight to West Marsh, as due to the River Avon currently being in flood the Big Hide, Teal Pool and Carlton Hide are currently un-accessable, much to the disappointment of Brandon's Sunday photographic fraternity!
The West Marsh pool produced a second Little Grebe and a good view of Sparrowhawk as he shot past the hide. On the path leading away we enjoyed an unexpected site of a Field Vole (pictured), who'd obviously been displaced by the flooding. A nice walk over the 'Tip' area and Farm Field had 5 Skylark, Green Woodpecker and Common Buzzard.