|Short-Eared Owl ( Library Picture)|
Birding, for those who are passionate about this fascinating and sometimes frustrating pass time, consists of various periods of ups and downs, and the past few weeks for me personally have been just that. My last post, aptly entitled 'Birds I didn't see' was basically in response to my recent dormant sightings period of which all birders are familiar, a period when everyone around seems to come up trumps while you seem to arrive too late for the event, or are just simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The last week however has seen a reversal in fortunes and one of those nice periods were everything in the garden is rosy. While working on Newlands Reed Bed at Brandon Marsh last Thursday for example I inadvertently flushed my first Woodcock of the Autumn, and today's usual Sunday visit also came up with the goods.
After a few attempts to make contact with the recent Short-Eared Owl, which has been reported on Sheep Field of late, I finally made contact this morning just after first light and had some excellent but brief views as the bird quartered the field before dropping out of sight, having probably found it's unsuspecting breakfast. Continuing on through New Hare Covert and just after rounding the path to overlook Newlands Reed Bed my first Autumnal Bittern was seen flying low over the reeds in the direction of the River Avon. Unfortunately not seen by all in the party, but thankfully by Jim Rushforth our official site recorder!!
After a stint in the Wright Hide which produced of note a male Muntjac on Wigeon Bank, 2 Little Grebe, 1 male and 2 female *Goldeneye (* a second male was seen later from big hide), plus over 40 Snipe, we made our way through the Central Marsh Path where a Little Egret flew south-east towards Teal Pool.
The best however was probably the last bird of the day and which also turned out to be a first for me at Brandon. Literally on my way out of the reserve at around midday word came through of a number of Waxwing reported in the main Car Park. As I said earlier, 'the right place at the right time' and within seconds I emerged into the car park along with Derek Bennett, immediately beginning our search along with several other enthusiastic souls. Scanning what was a large flock of Lesser Redpoll/Siskin which had congregated in the nearby Birch, Derek had spotted something a little larger near the top of the tree, and yes a single Waxwing, no sooner identified than gone, but a definite sighting nonetheless and a very welcome first for me at Brandon!