If your like me and believe that spring starts on March 1st then what a cracking start to the new season.
On Monday I thought I'd take full advantage of the good weather and do a full re-fuel of my boat, plus tend to a few maintenance issues. However, it wasn't long before the birding took over and any maintenance took a back seat! Firstly, the call of a Common Buzzard had me looking skyward where no less than 4 were riding a thermal in a clear blue sky, shortly followed by 2 Raven heading East. Over a mid morning coffee a large flock, circa 50, of Fieldfare overflew, and by the time the sun went down a Little Owl (Recently Pictured) was calling from the nearby Hawthorn. I did manage to get my chores done though.
With the clear skies at this time of year comes the frost and a shock to the system was the -7C at the marina before departing for Brandon on the Tuesday morning. Nothing too unusual to report but the Snipe numbers are continuing to grow with a healthy 21 dotted around East Marsh Pool. The 2 Oystercatcher are still on site but are currently spending the latter part of the day on the golf course feeding. On the way across to Newlands for more work on the Phase 3 project I lost count of Reed Bunting numbers which have suddenly exploded. Other notables where a single Goldcrest in New Hare Covert, 4 Water Rail, 6 Cettis Warbler calling, a Kingfisher on Swallow Pool and a flock of circa 100 Redpoll.
Today's visit and works party once again didn't throw up much from the norm but it's interesting to see the decline in Teal on site as we march ever closer to summer. That said excellent numbers of Thrushes around with Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush all recorded today, with Siskin and Redpoll still feeding in the Alder. A small flock of 19 Linnet on Farm Field were also well worth the walk with a singing Skylark overhead. 2 Shelduck on East Marsh along with 3 Great Crested Grebe are also worth a mention.
The senseless minority. It has to be said!!
One disappointment today was when I popped into the very busy East Marsh Hide on the way back to the Nature Centre with other members of the conservation team. We have some excellent photographers at Brandon Marsh who are great company, always friendly, helpful and thoughtful and take some stunning shots of birds from the comfort of the hides, without resorting to the tactics displayed in the above photograph. Recent Bittern photographs from the hide have been stunning, but how long before a few mindless idiots chase the bird away?
I become extremely frustrated when I see certain idiots, the minority, who insist on having a 2ft lens 90% out of the hide flap. One particular person today had positioned themselves in such a way that anyone sitting either side of them would have no chance of seeing past the protruding monstrosity! There's good and bad in everyone, birders and photographers alike but for goodness sake let common sense prevail!!
(Picture displayed was taken from East Marsh Hide looking over to Baldwin Hide late last year, without sticking the lens out of the flap!)