Monday, February 14, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Ringed Plover (Library Picture)
With alarms going off in the boat this morning just before 6am telling me that our external electric supply had failed, I took the opportunity, once I'd reset the system, to get down to Brandon Marsh for a few hours unscheduled birding.

Yesterdays weather system, which had produced some well needed rain, had moved east producing a clear blue sky and I wasn't surprised to be scraping the windscreen of ice when I reached the car. As I was doing so a Woodcock flew east towards Napton Hill, and a single Yellowhammer was already singing from the nearby phone lines.

I reached Brandon around 7.40am and took my usual walk past Sheepfield and on through New Hare Covert. The Covert provided three very boisterous Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and two Treecreeper. When I emerged near the Golf Course some 20+ Redwing were feeding at ground level, these accompanied by 5 Fieldfare, and a Barn Owl suddenly appeared heading towards the back of Newlands, obviously catching up on supplies after last nights rain!

The Alder at Olive Wood Bench had a collection of some 14-Siskin, 4-Goldfinch and 3-Lesser Redpoll.

Once in Big Hide for coffee a good scan of East Marsh Pool produced of note: 6-Shelduck, 2-Wigeon, 5-Pochard, 1-Great Crested Grebe, 12-Snipe and various numbers of Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal and Tufted. Only 1 of Saturdays 2 Oystercatchers was on site, but amongst around C300 Lapwing was a single Leucistic, probably the same bird which appeared for a week or so late last year.

The bird of the day though has to be the first Ringed Plover of the year at Brandon which I watched fly in at around 9:15am while sitting alongside John Walton, the bird having then departed after a brief visit reappeared and was still on Tern Island when I left around 10:30am.

A brief sighting of Bittern flying low across the path from Teal Pool and into the reed bed in front of Big Hide as I left should really be my bird of the day, but the first Ringed Plover at Brandon is always a sign that Spring has Sprung!!