Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Burns Night

Pink-footed Goose (library picture)
One of the bonuses of being married to a Scots lady is Burns Night. Celebrated in great style aboard 'Quidditch' with traditional Haggis, Neaps, Tatties and a wee dram to wash it all down. The reason I mention this is simply the fact that I need to do a quick blog before festivities begin (he pours a quick one) and any typo's should be forgiven.

Out and about over the last week as usual and yet another early start at Brandon Marsh on Sunday morning. Firstly though a good sweep of the Marina on Saturday afternoon produced a slight increase in our Tree Sparrow population with 22 recorded, my previous best was 18. No signs of Brambling this time around on the various feeders but as dusk fell the local Little Owls were vocal once again, I didn't even bother to count the Gulls on route to the Draycote roost, which literally numbered thousands!

Back to Sunday at Brandon and only a single Barn Owl at the Carlton Hide this time around. East Marsh Pool produced 2 Shelduck and the long staying pair of Goldeneye, plus 2 Snipe and a Bittern in flight, suddenly thrusting up from the reeds in front of the hide and heading off towards the Sand Martin structure.

In other areas a small flock of Siskin are still hanging around but I only managed to locate 2 Lesser Redpoll within. A walk around Farm Pool had 2 Skylark over and good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing on the adjoining fields which, having now devoured ever berry in sight, have now begun ground feeding. Also my first drummimg Greater Spotted Woodpeckers of the year were heard and a quick look around the main car park before departing produced a couple of Linnet near the Lafarge works.

On arrival today's visit produced very little of note, apart from a lone Barnacle Goose on Swallow Pool and similar species to Sunday, until around mid morning when another Keith sitting next to me in the Big Hide located a Pink-footed Goose within the large Greylag flock which had just dropped in. The flock only stayed a short while but did reappear a little time later once again accompanied by the Pinky. Interesting to note too that a small number of the large Lapwing population appear to be on station.

Short of time (more chores) I made a quick visit to West Marsh where the escaped New Zealand Scaup has reappeared, but the best of the day was on my return to Big Hide. A quick look to the rear of River Pool from Big Hide steps picked out a Bittern just diappearing into the reeds towards the river. Then as I sat for a quick lunch a second took flight, firstly producing a complete circle back into the reeds, then a short time later heading towards what seems to be a favoured flight pattern, heading for the Sand Martin structure before vanishing behind.