Thursday, February 24, 2011


Sand Martin (Library Picture)
Over a week since my last update due to other commitments, not least putting the final touches to my Reptile and Amphibian section for the Brandon Marsh 2010 report.

To be honest, over the last week I would have struggled to put anything together anyway as things have been reasonably quiet on the birding front, plus a non birding trip to Suffolk at the weekend rendered me unavailable.

After the weekend an early visit to Brandon on Monday had me missing out on two Pintail which were reported on East Marsh Pool. It seems that by the time I'd walked from Wright Hide to Big Hide both birds had flown. A pair of Ringed Plover was the highlight on what was a dreary and damp visit.

Today however has been absolutely gorgeous weather wise and news of the first Sand Martin, reported in Exeter this morning, has now got me scanning the skies with even greater enthusiasm! Brandon Marsh did produce a good selection of species this morning with a couple of Dunlin on the East Marsh Pool, along with Ringed Plover, 6 Shelduck, 2 Oystercatcher and 17 Snipe. Teal numbers continue to drop as many of the continental birds head back to the Baltic and Siberia. Shoveler too are now on the decrease along with Lapwing, but it was lovely to see a good influx of about 30 Wigeon around 1.30pm. Jeff Rankin also reported a female Goosander around lunchtime, which unfortunately didn't stay too long and so I never managed to connect.

In other areas a Marsh Tit was seen and calling near the Saga sign, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker were drumming in New Hare Covert, and a lone Goldcrest was on the East Marsh Track. Singing Dunnock were in double figures, Water Rail still remain scarce, and although Cetti's Warbler are calling, numbers are not anywhere near last years peak. Sadly, Wren numbers are still very disappointing with only a solitary bird heard calling today and I fear that December may have taken a hefty toll. Also worth a mention that a colleague came across two Frogs while working on the bottom dipping pond today, a very welcome record!

Colts Foot
More signs of spring too with the first Primroses starting to show, and while walking back with the works party on the Newlands track, Colts Foot was also starting to show and in flower. Word of a few early Butterflies sent me on a final walk around the 'Tip' area after work, unfortunately producing a blank. What I did have however was a count of 6 Buzzard which were out enjoying the thermals.