Friday, April 30, 2010


Having travelled into London on business yesterday I was sure glad to be back at the marsh today, and what an excellent days birding it turned out to be.

I arrived at around 9am, rather later than normal, but a nice start as I drove past the coach parking area with a lovely looking male Wheatear on the bund. By the time I arrived at the Wright Hide, meeting Alvin Burton on the way, I'd recorded 3 Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Garden Warbler, plus a calling Goldcrest in New Hare Covert. When I arrived at Wright Hide the 2 Dunlin, which Alvin had mentioned on passing, were on Willow Island looking lovely in summer plumage, along with 5 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Ringed Plover.

My biggest surprise, and what has now become a dilemma for me, is what I believe may be an Iberian Chiffchaff calling from atop a tree just outside the Wright hide! My frustration of this bird revolves around its very odd song and is very similar to this recording. The identification of Iberian Chiffchaff is almost solely based upon the song and call, and despite some extremely subtle plumage and bare-part differences, there is no other certain means by which they can be identified with absolute certainty in the field. Some very subtle differences in plumage and structure can also be noted: a relatively long tail, wing and bill, as well as bright plumage coloration and well-marked supercilium, and having observed this bird for some time, all of the above were noted! So it remains to be seen and I would ask that anyone hearing an odd sounding Chiffchaff to make sure you check it out completely, the jury is still out.

Having moved on, deep in thought, I made my way around to the River Pool Hide to pick up on the 5 Black-tailed Godwit which still remain on site. In the Big Hide, where I remained for an hour perusing the pool, which was literally awash with Swift, Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow, I also recorded of note 5 Common Tern, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank and surprisingly still with us 4 Snipe.

Another Garden Warbler singing on route to the Carton Hide made 3 for the day and a 45 Minute stint within failed to produce the recent Marsh Harrier, which still remains a bogey bird for me at Brandon, the highlight being a male Cuckoo calling from big dead tree.

When I finally drove off the reserve back up to the main car park I decided to have a further look at the male Wheatear, which I'd seen on arrival earlier and was presented with my bird of the day. Sitting on top of a nearby Hawthorn was not only the male Wheatear but a stunning male Whinchat (pictured), my first for the reserve. I immediately put in a call to Jim Rushforth our site recorder, who made straight over. By the time Jim had arrived I'd made a quick dash into the cafe, which was about to close, for a pasty (gotta feed me belly!) and so had lost sight of both birds when we met up! No need to panic though as both birds were re-discovered after a short sortie by us both, much to my delight and to the delight of others I'd managed to contact in the interim, Richard, Dave and Dennis. Phew!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day out!

Well I enjoyed my lay-in this morning rising about 6.30am, before departing for Draycote Water to meet up with a few of the Brandon Conservation Team members. On arrival at 7.30am we were greeted by an almost flat calm water as we walked down from Thurlaston village, noting House Sparrow and Swallow on route.

As we reached the gate into Draycote a Blackcap singing was the first birding record of the day, closely followed by Willow Warbler. The walk around Toft Shallows surprisingly produced very little, and in fact the only birds of note until reaching Farnborough Bank were the usual Great Crested Grebe, a small flock of Goldfinch, containing a single Linnet, several Pied Wagtails, Green Woodpecker and a singing Lesser Whitethroat. As we approached the Bank things picked up quite rapidly with Common Tern, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 in flight and a pristine male on the grass bank, 3 Wheatear, 2 female and 1 male, and just prior to moving on we managed distant views of Great Northern Diver.

Site knowledge is always a bonus and as we met up with Bob Hazell, a very regular Draycote birder, it wasn't long before we were looking at an extremely attractive male Garganey (pictured), which had flown in as we approached. Bob also mentioned a Common Sandpiper nearby which we never managed to pick up on, but did have a Little Ringed Plover near the fishing pontoons.

After a brief rain shower we stopped at the picnic area for morning coffee and were joined by two more members of the conservation team. Just prior to moving on we suddenly located 2 male Garganey near Rainbow Corner, plus a single Shelduck out in mid-water. Great views of one of the Garganey as we arrived at the corner, the second seemed to have flown off, and as we walked from the Inlet up to the Valve Tower we recorded Garden Warbler, Yellowhammer, more Lesser Whitethroat and our 3rd Common Tern of the day.

By the time we turned the corner at the Valve Tower the wind had increased considerably and as we met up with Bob once more a Grey Wagtail dropped down right in front of us. After a catch up and a farewell to Bob we continued on and stopped for a wind swept lunch near Dunns Bay, here we had excellent views of one of the Great Northern Diver not too far out. A good days birding but a slight disappointed with no sign of the Little Gulls or Black Terns recently reported.
Other birds of note today included : Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat, Swift, House Martin, Shoveler, Gadwall and Little Grebe.

If your unfamiliar with Draycote Water below are a couple of good links to the site.
Draycote Birding Website Google Map of Draycote Water

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hobby & Godwits

Early morning visit to Brandon Marsh today and more Grasshopper Warbler, 2 easily audible from the path leading past Newlands, one of which could be seen low in a Willow near the bench, and a single bird on the top reed bed later in the day. A single Cuckoo was perched and calling in the big dead tree at Carlton Hide very early on, but no further signs after departing West.

No sign today of the Lesser Whitethroat which I'd located on previous visits near the Sheep Field area but plenty of Common Whitethroat were visible, a lack of Garden Warbler too with no birds heard singing during my stay. Reed Warblers however, now seem to have taken over from Sedge Warbler on the singing front, the latter probably already beginning to pair up.

As you would imagine lots of Butterflies around enjoying the spring heat today with my first two Speckled Wood of the year. Male and Female Orange Tip seem to be in abundance already and early signs of a good Butterfly Summer with Peacock, Green-Vein, Comma, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell also recorded in decent numbers for the time of year.

Yesterdays reported 6 Black-tailed Godwit (pictured) had reduced to 5 birds, firstly on East Marsh Pool but then spending most of the time during my visit on Teal and River Pools. Common Tern had increased to 4 birds, JR having 6 early on, and the usual Little Ringed and Ringed Plovers along with 2 Redshank and 4 Oystercatcher at one stage. The best of the day arrived at around 1.30pm with my 1st Hobby of the year at Brandon with a single bird heading straight toward the Big Hide from Newlands, before departing East.

Finally I've just received a text reporting a Marsh Harrier at Brandon from an excellent source, typically spotted shortly after I'd left today! Well you can't win em all!! A nice day out to Draycote Water to look forward to tomorrow.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Visits

Two visits to Brandon Marsh over the weekend, which produced a first for me on the reserve, plus a nice walk on the local patch this afternoon ended a very fruitful weekend.

At Brandon there seems to have been a good influx of Grasshopper Warbler (pictured) recently with at least four birds reeling from various areas across the reserve, a great improvement on last year when only two birds were recorded. After the first Swift appeared on site Thursday morning, followed by more over the weekend, the only remaining regular summer visit left to arrive and be seen is the Hobby, unfortunately no sign of any thus far but high hopes for the coming week. Keep an eye and ear out too for other possible spring passage visitors seen over recent years but absent thus far. Wood Warbler, Whimbrel, Garganey, Greenshank, Dunlin and Osprey if your extremely lucky, plus Spotted Flycatcher, 2009 being a great year on site for this species, but it's a little early so plenty of time yet!

A first for me at Brandon after 18 months at the reserve was a female Wheatear which we eventually discovered, after a text message to JR, just over the bank at the coach parking area, a species that was fast becoming a bogey bird for me, with only one on site the whole of last year, and missing out on last Monday's visitor!

Another Yellow Wagtail over the weekend on Wigeon Bank and the Lesser Whitethroat, which I had good views of on Saturday, can still be heard singing near the Sheep Field gate. Also worth a mention, if your on route from the Big Hide to Carlton Hide, is a Garden Warbler which I've heard singing twice this weekend on the path down.

After Brandon today a nice afternoon walk with the wife around Napton Reservoir and the footpaths around Ventnor Marina. Always good to get out locally and a pleasant surprise too were the several Skylark singing in various locations. Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff are all in evidence around the locality as you'd expect, and a Cuckoo calling from across Napton Hill was Dee's first of the year. A number of Butterflies out today too with Orange Tip, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and our first Painted Lady of the year, although not in pristine condition.

The Reservoir was busy with fisherman but Cettis, Reed and Sedge Warbler were all on site within the reed bed, plus Pied Wagtail, followed by a lone Yellow Wagtail which dropped in briefly before departing West. A bit of a surprise at the marina when we arrived back was a late staying Fieldfare which flew off noisily as we walked down the west path back to our mooring.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Even More Arrivals

At last the Sedge Warblers have finally reached the marina, at least two singing this morning as I left for Brandon in a chilly -3C. Other local news is the discovery of a Ravens nest not far from my location, after noticing aerial acrobatics on several occasions I finally managed to locate the nesting pair this evening. Great news too as I can actually watch the birds coming and going with the aid of my scope from my current mooring.
Spent most of the day down at Brandon Marsh with the conservation team replacing the screens at Baldwin hide, arriving at the crack of dawn for a few hours intense birding beforehand. The usual trek around to the Sheep Field gate, where I spent an enjoyable 20 minutes observing more Whitethroat arrivals and listening to the usual cacophony of other warblers, the odd Linnet, and a Lesser Whitethroat which I heard singing briefly.
Four Grasshopper Warblers reported from around the reserve today by the team, personally I managed two, one of which I was able to observe perched low in a Hawthorn. East Marsh Pool produced the usual waders, including Common Sandpiper, and this morning a brief visit from a Yellow Wagtail on Tern Island. As we passed the Saga sign near Goose Pool the first Swift of the year flew east high above the Poplar trees, I managed a second later in the morning.
A couple of Redshank on Teal Pool and as we approached the Carlton Hide a Cuckoo could be heard but very distant. A much closer one, probably the same bird, called several times while we completed the Baldwin Hide repairs. The first Reed Warbler of the year was also heard singing on site today too and I managed to pick him up while standing at the Olive Wood Seat around mid-morning. I was also lucky enough to get a good view of a Tawny Owl, the first I've seen at Brandon for a good while.

Above : Library picture of Lesser Whitethroat

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Arrivals

Well I suppose it was inevitable that my 6.30am flight to Spain, for what I hoped would be several days birding, was finally cancelled at 9pm last night. With my cancelled flight the only other alternative was to get down to Brandon for an early start and a good days UK birding before the depression set in!

Before I get down to business I'd like to confirm that the individual pictured in my earlier post 'Help Wanted' was caught red handed by yours truly as I left Brandon yesterday afternoon, bunking in over a fence on Brandon Lane. Without going into too much detail my hope is that we can now draw a line under the incident and let things take there natural course! Thank you to those who responded with information.

At Sheep Field gate there was a marked increase in singing birds this morning with 4 Whitethroat and 2 Linnet being the best of the bunch, but today also saw more spring arrivals, firstly with my first Lesser Whitethroat, heard singing around the Sheep Field area at around 7.15am. Moving on past Newlands where a couple of Sedge Warbler were singing, a pretty quiet East Marsh Pool early on for any new arrivals, with the exception of a Common Sandpiper, which I did manage to pick up yesterday during a brief afternoon visit. Kudos to Jim who yesterday morning had Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail on the Islands, Wheatear being a very rare visitor to Brandon with only 1 sighting during the whole of last year.

Arriving at the big hide a short while later some excellent views of another first arrival for me this spring in the shape of a Garden Warbler, which we watched singing in the Hawthorn on the path down to Carlton. Mid morning a Common Tern arrived looking slightly exhausted and spent the rest of the day resting on the Island and goal posts, it was still there when I left at 3pm.

More House Martins than previously seen today but unfortunately no Swifts which was a bird on today's hit list as an early arrival. The Cuckoo which graced us last weekend appears to have moved through, unusual as they tend to hang around once they arrive at Brandon, and no sign of the recent Avocet.

2 Common Sandpiper today, one of which I manged to snap quickly yesterday, also seen on site were Ringed Plover, Redshank and Water Rail, plus much more evidence of nest building and birds sitting, including Little Ringed Plover of which there were 5. A slight surprise today too were 2 Lesser Redpoll which flew over near Newlands early on, honestly Jim myself and Peter are 100% confident!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spain off!

Well it seems an absolute certainty now that my planned trip to Spain on Tuesday for several days birding is a non starter, disappointing of course but I'm just grateful that I'm not stuck out in some far away airport with no way home! With the volcano still in full flow and no foreseeable change to the current weather patterns I'm even doubting that my next trip in May will take place.

My usual Sunday morning trip to Brandon today and a surprise too as the Avocet, which was on site Thursday and Friday, has unexpectedly reappeared. The bird doesn't seem to be able to decide whether to feed on Teal Pool, River Pool or East Marsh Pool at present and can be seen flitting to all three. The Cuckoo which appeared yesterday morning over East Marsh was calling earlier today from the back of Newlands reed bed, visible with a scope in one of the tall trees.

Jim, who arrived earlier than anyone today, reported a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the West Marsh reed bed, and a delight to us all at around 9.40am was the return of a single Common Tern (pictured), which flew around East Marsh Pool for a few minutes before moving off West. By the end of the week I predict that we'll have several more of these delightful birds on site. Also on the main pool early on was a lone Green Sandpiper, a species which I suddenly realised I hadn't yet seen on site this year, and so another site year tick.

After a tour of the remainder of the reserve a couple of fellow birders mentioned the first goslings of the year, with 5 Greylag on the golf course. An excellent species count today too with 61, you'd be really hard pushed to go anywhere in the midlands where you'll come up with such an excellent haul, well done Brandon!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quick Update

Just a quick update with reference to this mornings visit to Brandon Marsh. The Avocet which was on site Thursday and Friday appears to have gone but picked up the first Cuckoo of the year, not actually calling but seen flying across East Marsh Pool at around 9.30am. Did have a further brief glimpse of the bird perched on a dead tree from Teal Pool Hide before it flew across towards Newlands.

More Sedge Warblers on site today with 3 heard singing, 2 from Newlands reed bed while standing at the 'no entry' sign and 1 on Central Marsh as you walk down the path towards Big Hide. A Grasshopper Warbler was also heard reeling from Newlands at around 7am. Whitethroats are also growing in numbers with 2 just past the Sheep Field gate behind the Gorse and 1 on the 'Tip' area.

It's amazing just looking up at the cloudless blue sky at the moment, no aircraft or con-trails, just birds! However, it does have a down side for me personally as I was hoping to go birding in Spain for several day on Tuesday!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cracking Day

I hadn't intended to update my blog today but after the visit of a bird which has only graced Brandon on two separate occasions since August 1990, It was obvious that I had to record this historic event.

I was actually slightly later than normal arriving at Brandon Marsh today, appearing just after 7am, but immediately after entering the lower car park I received a phone call from Paul Norman, who was ringing down by the Olive Wood Bench with Jim Rushforth. An Avocet had dropped on to East Marsh Pool and was showing well! The last time an Avocet decided to visit Brandon, strangely enough during the same week last year, it only stayed for a short period and so the rush was on.

I drove straight down to the Saga sign which overlooks Goose Pool and made a quick dash for the Balwin Hide. Fortunately today I'd brought my spanking new video camera and hastily made a grab for it before I set off. Turns out that I needn't have tried to induce a near heart attack, as the bird was still on site feeding happily at 4pm when I left. I recorded some excellent video of the bird and some stills, well I think I recorded some good video as I haven't played it back as yet but time will tell!

An excellent day all round with some other good personal sightings to mention, a Grasshopper Warbler calling from the Goose Pool reed bed, and a second heard calling from Swallow Pool reed bed by Jim and Paul earlier in the morning.

Settling back down to my normal routine after all the excitement, I began with a Whitethroat at Sheep Field, a Raven over Newlands, and a amazing 6 Little Ringed Plover later in the afternoon, plus 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Redshank were also recorded on East Marsh Pool. Newlands produced a further 2 Sedge Warbler with the usual numbers of Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Willow Warbler, what a cracking day!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Help Wanted!!

The individual captured in this PHOTOGRAPH has been seen twice now at Brandon Marsh, more recently wading out to one of the Islands on East Marsh Pool and stealing eggs! If any regulars to Brandon have any information relating to this individual can they please contact me in the strictest confidence via my Email address in the sidebar, or any other members of the team. Many thanks in advance on behalf of the Conservation Team.

Slight Slowdown

With the winds now changing to north or north easterly the recent early influx of migrants to Brandon Marsh has slowed significantly. The early Whitethroats I picked up on Saturday and Sunday appear to have moved on, and you really have to work hard to pick up on any Sedge Warblers on site, although I did manage 2 today, eventually! Having said that 2 early Hobbies recorded in the region at Marsh Lane today are an interesting record, and have certainly put me on early alert at Brandon!

I'm glad to report that I finally picked up my first House Martin of the year during Sunday's visit, and actually had another on site today. One other species that's been high on my hit list at Brandon recently has been Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and I was beginning to wonder if I'd pick one up at all this spring, with the tree canopy quickly coming into bloom, time was certainly running out. A glut of sightings over the previous week has prompted me to spend more time in Horsetail Glade than I would normally do, but today I'm glad to report it finally paid off, with an albeit short but superb view of a male bird on one of the many Silver Birch. My thanks to JR for the initial find and who actually has both male and female recorded for today!

Another first for me this year at Brandon, and a rare visitor to the site too, was a White Wagtail which dropped in later in the day on East Marsh Pool, a very pristine example it was too of this European species.

Other nature notes today consist of the Butterfly population now beginning to flourish with more sightings of Comma, Brimstone, male Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell and circa 20 Peacock. Bumblebees are also well in evidence with many Buff-tailed and a good few Red-tailed around today too. Flowers such as Lesser Celandine, Violet, Primrose and Marsh Marigold are also starting to show well and another first for me today was the sight of a pair of mating Common Buzzard, now wouldn't that be something to have, a breeding pair at Brandon.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cuckoo and Whitethroat!

Where to start really. I seem to be spending every waking hour down at Brandon Marsh lately trying to pick off the spring arrivals as they fly in overnight, and to be honest I've not done too badly recently, credit must also go to my wonderful wife who gets a rude awakening each morning at 5.30am as I crash around the boat getting organised!

Yesterdays highlight (Friday 9th) was a single Yellow Wagtail, my first of the year, which gave a brief but enjoyable visit on Wigeon Bank first thing. Prior to this I recorded 3 more Sedge Warbler which could be heard singing across Newlands from the No Entry sign. I definitely missed out on Thursday though, when I spent the day in Liverpool visiting mum, as one of the conservation team picked up the first Grasshopper Warbler while transiting across Newlands Reedbed. Also recorded on Thursday was the first concrete evidence of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker on site, as Max Silverman managed to snap a record shot of a single bird in Horsetail Glade.

This morning I set off at around 6am but got a nice shock as I stepped out onto the pontoon, NO! I didn't fall in, but did hear my first Cuckoo of 2010 calling from somewhere over near Napton Reservoir. I arrived at Brandon full of hope but to be honest things were pretty quiet in comparison to previous days, or am I getting slightly complacent? I picked up the usual numbers of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcap but had a complete blank on Sedge Warbler. An Oystercatcher is now sitting, plus another 3 were also around and I further recorded 2 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Ringed Plover and 2 Redshank on East Marsh Pool. However, a nice highlight was 2 Grey Wagtail which landed briefly on Tern Island.

Things did get better around mid morning while I was sitting in the Steetley Hide. Totally unexpectedly I heard the call of a Little Owl coming from across the Central Marsh Area and so went to investigate. As I approached the large Black Poplar on the central path, probably the biggest tree on the reserve, a single bird took flight and headed off west towards the River Avon, my first Little Owl at Brandon and quite a rare visitor too. A walk on the 'Tip' area before breakfast produced more Butterfly with Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip and Brimstone, plus an 18" long Grass Snake which slithered away as I past the Lafarge wash outlet.

In the Nature Centre later while having a bacon butty I was alerted to a possible Whitethroat (pictured) near the Sheep Field gate, and so off I went. Sure enough I was greeted with my first of the Spring and thanks to Chris, you were spot on! A final stop at the Baldwin Hide produced 3 more Grass Snake, two of which were probably mating, and so after a slow start not a bad day at all, Cuckoo tomorrow?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday Birdings Back!

After the Easter break it was nice to get back to Brandon Marsh this morning for a good days birding. With the conservation team suspending work on the new phase 3 reed bed project to allow for breeding birds, it meant a welcome return to our Tuesday birding day, something I've dearly missed. Being the most exciting time of the year on any birders calendar, you simply don't want to miss a thing, anything can drop in at any time!

Firstly though I have to mention quite a worrying and bizarre situation reported to JR and myself which took place yesterday evening at around 7.30pm, when it appears some stupid individual actually waded out in jeans and t-shirt to one of the Islands on East Marsh Pool and stole a Canada Goose egg. This very brave lady, who relayed the story to us this morning, confronted this young idiot and managed to get the stupid individual to replace the egg before extracting him from the reserve, and more importantly gaining photographic evidence, something we can act on!

Back to the birding and after locating my first singing Blackcap at Brandon on Saturday it wasn't long before I'd registered a few more today, they've certainly now arrived in good numbers. There's now plenty of nest building activity in progress too with the discovery of more Long Tailed Tit nests, newly drilled Woodpecker holes and many Sand Martins moving in and out of the artificial structure. A Yellow Wagtail was also reported to us as being seen close to the wind pump mid morning.

A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was also reported on JW's site, The Unofficial Guide yesterday, but having read the sightings book in reception, it appears the bird was only heard, so no concrete sightings of a bird on site yet. Many Buzzards and a few Sparrowhawks were observed today enjoying the thermals, but while taking an afternoon walk across the 'Tip' area a very pleasant alternative as a Red Kite (pictured) appeared over West Marsh and gave good views before rising high and heading south-east, the first record of this superb raptor this year.

The usual waders were observed on East Marsh with many Snipe, 2 LR Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Redshank and 2 Oystercatcher and while completing a short survey on the Sheep Field area, 5 Meadow Pipit flew over. The second reported Sedge Warbler on site this spring was also heard on West Marsh from the Steetley Hide and a couple of Butterfly species, too distant to ID were also seen.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter

My only visit to Brandon Marsh over the Easter period today due to other commitments, not least my birthday, but a good one nonetheless with 60 species recorded. I arrived just after sunrise with two target birds in mind, Blackcap and House Martin.

Blackcaps it turns out are like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along at once. Not the first sighting of a singing Blackcap at Brandon this spring but the first for me, located in New Hare Covert shortly after arriving. While passing Newlands by the Olive Wood Seat a large flock of circa 50 Lesser Redpoll were feeding in a nearby Alder. Probably using the area as a staging post before moving off, up to 70% of the British population migrates to the Low Countries and some even reach as far as Italy and Portugal.
East Marsh Pool had the usual water birds on offer but a small increase in the wader population with 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Oystercatcher and 3 Redshank, having said that, Snipe numbers were down to 18. It was also good to see a number of Sand Martin using the nesting structure, probably some of the 57 birds ringed on site last year returning.
A walk across to Farm Field late morning produced some remaining Fieldfare, 7 in total, and a slight surprise as a single Red Legged Partridge went scurrying across the path near the top gate.
A few notable numbers in the final count for today were 2 Blackcap, 5 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 3 Coal Tit, 1 Nuthatch and 3 Treecreeper, not forgetting 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Green, but alas no House Martin.
I'd also put my Golden Eagle sighting of April 1st (pictured above) in the reserve sightings book, a bird which I located perched on the large dead tree at Carlton Hide, and can't imagine why someone had put a pen through it, fools!


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Migration Update 3

With the loss of those magnificent southerlies which graced us for over a week recently, throwing up some very early migrants, it's all change as March roars out like a lion and normality returns with Atlantic lows.

At Brandon Marsh with the recent rain it's been quite difficult to get the water levels down on the pools of late and unfortunately a good proportion of the Islands on East Marsh Pool are still underwater. Having said that the Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Little Ringed Plover seem to have established themselves well and I've witnessed all species mating! Tis the season!! Another bird which I watched mating today was Goldcrest, the first time I've been lucky enough to catch this and so hopefully we'll have a nesting pair.

Swallows, Sand Martins, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs have now arrived in good numbers but I've still failed to register a single House Martin or singing Blackcap on site. Yesterday (Wednesday) I missed 7 Black-Tailed Godwits which made a brief visit to East Marsh Pool and although a few birders are registering 2 Yellow Legged Gull I remain unconvinced. I've seen these 2 birds every day for the past week and to me they appear far too dark, and in my opinion are definite Lesser Blacked Backed Gulls, but I'm no Gull expert!

The recent Sedge Warbler I picked up singing at Brandon on Saturday March 27th did in fact turn out to be the earliest ever record since Brandon records began, so I'm very happy with that accolade. I should also mention too that the Annual Report 2009 for Brandon Marsh, which is produced by the voluntary conservation team, will also be available from this weekend.

On the home front the marina is playing host to group of circa 50 Pied Wagtails which have taken up residence and declared a roost not far from my berth, a real pleasure to watch each evening.

To finish this post I have to mention the 2 idiots who were standing right next to the Kingfisher post staring up at me when I opened the hide flaps to the Steetley Hide at Brandon on Sunday afternoon! No need to go into too much detail on my reaction as to why they shouldn't be there and their response, which confirmed I was dealing with a couple of complete numpties, what don't some people understand about KEEPING TO THE MARKED PATHS!!