Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back to Normality

Brambling (Library Picture)
Can't believe it's been a week since we arrived back from our tour of Canada, but after recovering from the jet lag and getting to grips with the laundry I was out and about locally to catch up on the birding gossip.

I made my usual trip to Brandon Marsh on Tuesday to meet the guys and it appears that from a Brandon perspective I've missed nothing much! Over the past few months it seems that Brandon is going through somewhat of a dormant period in relation to the unexpected visitor. So far this autumn the site has failed to produce anything out of the ordinary with only a few sporadic Greenshank passing through, none of which I've had the pleasure of seeing. Three passage Osprey last year too, but unfortunately none have appeared at the reserve this time around.

My Tuesday visit produced 8 Linnet plus my first Redwing, Redpoll and Siskin of the autumn and an interesting Leucistic Lapwing on East Marsh Pool, this along with 5 Wigeon and 26 Snipe. A few Chiffchaff are still deciding whether to winter or not and I also came across a Goldcrest and a lingering Willow Warbler. A definite visible migration was in progress with Skylark and Meadow Pipit passing overhead and there were a few Butterflies still hanging on with Red Admiral, Small Copper and Peacock.

In relation to visible migration I spent Thursday at home cleaning the exterior of the boat in glorious sunshine, taking the opportunity with my many tea breaks to catch up with the migrants. Good numbers of Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit and Skylark were constantly passing overhead and the heavy rain that arrived in the late evening prompted me to visit Napton Hill the following morning in search of downed migrants.

On the Friday moring I duly arrived at Napton with great expectations, and although I had high hopes of Ring Ouzel or something equally as special it failed to deliver, although two very late Lesser Whitethroat were a definite surprise. Nevertheless an excellent two hours that felt more like spring with both Chiffchaff and a local Skylark singing away. The mist lingered for most of my visit but the sun duly arrived and I managed Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Redwing, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, plus at least 11 Mistle Thrush and around 45 passage Skylark.

After Napton a flying visit to Brandon in the afternoon delivered of interest Goldcrest, Treecreeper and 3 Willow Tit. However, the day was ruined by a couple of stupid mothers who were stood high up on the East Marsh bund with the whole pool in flight, there two brats throwing logs into the pool! Fulfilling my warden duties I duly delivered a lecture in relation to behaviour on a Nature Reserve but alas I'm sure it fell on deaf ears!

This mornings visit to Brandon turned out to be a very enjoyable one and was set up nicely when I had two pristine looking Brambling near the Sheep Field gate! Good numbers once more of Redwing and Redpoll with lots of little mixed flocks around which included Goldcrest, Willow Tit, Siskin and a single Chiffchaff. The pools produced good numbers of Snipe 18, Teal 117, Shoveler 94, a count of 3 Wigeon and record numbers of Gadwall with 73. As I'm not normally a bird counter, today being no exception, credit must go to Fred and Alban for the exact counts mentioned, I'm sure they'll thank me for it!! I personally missed a Dunlin which the guys had on East Marsh Pool while I was spending my time in the covert scrutinising the mixed flocks.

Later in the morning two Pochard dropped in on East Marsh Pool and a walk around the 'Tip' area before departing saw more passage Skylarks with the occasional Meadow Pipit mingled in. Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Heath Butterfly and Migrant Hawker Dragonfly were also recorded in the lovely sunshine.