Sunday, August 29, 2010

Birding Frenzy

Pectoral Sandpiper (Library Picture)
Since arriving back from France on Wednesday evening I've continued somewhat of a birding frenzy by making three visits to Brandon Marsh, spending an afternoons sky watch at the marina, a dawn trip to Napton Hill and a twitch at Eyebrook Reservoir this morning! Amazingly, I've also found time to completely upgrade the Conservation Team Blog, which for interest can be viewed here.

After a lay in on the Thursday morning I joined the Brandon Volunteers on a really appalling day to begin the clearing of vegetation on the East Marsh Islands and banks. Despite the weather a good turnout of regulars managed to complete Wigeon Bank and both Willow and Tern Islands. However, more work is still required to clear the remaining Islands and to also clear the area in front of the main hide. More disruption I'm afraid this coming Thursday September 2nd, but the views for visitors once completed will be to their advantage.

Friday I decided to take a closer look nearer home having watched a Green Sandpiper flying up and down the marina early morning while changing a gas bottle. I spent what turned out to be a a very lucrative afternoon on the end of my pontoon sky watching looking for any visible signs of migration. I was truly rewarded with hundreds of House Martin, Swallow and a number of Sand Martin passing through, the main highlights of my count were: 1 Arctic Tern, 6 Common Tern, 6 Swift, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper and although not seen, at least 1 Ringed Plover heard overhead, I'll certainly be doing this again.

Saturday a visit to Brandon Marsh and despite the lack of Waders, more likely due to the River Avon running quite high and flooding Teal Pool, I did manage Hobby, Water Rail, 4 Snipe and a single Wigeon, which dropped in on East Marsh Pool early morning.

Today I began with Napton Hill at sunrise hoping once again for that spectacular migrant that might just drop in! Sufficed to say it did not, nevertheless an excellent start to my day with at least 6 Spotted Flycatcher around the church area, a very noisy Raven, Treecreeper, GoldCrest, Coal Tit and many House Martin and Swallows. A walk to the windmill and down to the quarry produced 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sand Martin, singing Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail and some very active Kestrels, Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard.

Kentish Plover (Library Picture)
On to Brandon Marsh and I arrived just in time to witness a Peregrine flying on to East Marsh Pool to threaten what was probably around 400 or so Lapwing, fortunately for the Lapwing he left empty handed. A Common Sandpiper on the Island next to the Baldwin Hide, 4 Swift, 4 Snipe, 1 Wigeon and a Green Sandpiper at Carlton Hide, which I didn't venture down to see, were the other highlights.

As it was reasonably quiet at Brandon myself and a couple of the Sunday chaps decided to twitch the reported Kentish Plover currently showing at Eyebrook Reservoir. Around 45-minutes later we'd joined around 40 or so bodies at the site and had immediate excellent views of both Kentish Plover and a Pectoral Sandpiper which was also showing well. We stayed for around another 45-minutes and logged, along with excellent numbers of Wildfowl, 5 Juvenile Shelduck, at least 8 Yellow Wagtail, many Dunlin and Ringed Plover plus
Common Sandpiper, we left just as a Sparrowhawk had wreaked havoc amongst the large Lapwing flock.

To end the day a coffee back at Brandon Nature Centre turned up a Spotted Flycatcher which was showing very well in the trees behind the centre feeders!