Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wet, Lazy Weekend

Burton Dassett
With the recent spring-like conditions it's easy to forget that it's still February, well for 24 more hours anyway! Normal service was resumed this weekend when the Atlantic fronts regained control and we're now into more normal wet and breezy westerlies, much chillier too.

Having said that, this mornings weather looked very nice through my bedroom window, my first lay-in for sometime, and by the time I was out and about after brunch the rain had already set in, so I didn't spend much time in the field.

A visit to Brandon Marsh yesterday morning was a damp affair but I was delighted, having reported the lack of Wren activity in my last post, when I'd recorded six singing during my visit. There was also a temporary increase in Oystercatcher numbers earlier on when 4 birds were reported by JR, but by the time I'd arrived in Big Hide, two had departed. I'd spent the earlier part of my visit in New Hare Covert searching for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. These very shy and secretive birds have appeared around this time at Brandon for the past few years and with the tree canopy not yet in bloom it's a perfect time to search for them. A lone Nuthatch and 3-Treecreeper were the best I could muster.

The other highlights of the morning in or around the pools were 1-Ringed Plover, 31-Snipe, 2-Wigeon, 1-Little Grebe, 4-Shelduck and 6-Cetti's Warbler. In other areas Redwing, Fieldfare and around 40-Siskin were recorded, but the best was 15-Lesser Redpoll, some in beautiful summer plumage, which were feeding on the sandy ground near the Mouse Maze, sadly no Mealy amongst them!

Back at the marina a Yellowhammer was, as per usual, singing on the wires, good numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare in the surrounding fields and a bonus when a single Golden Plover overflew calling.

Where's The Cake?
Today a nice but albeit damp and breezy walk with the wife through Burton Dassett Country Park, an excellent place for migrating birds stopping off. Last time I was here in September I'd recorded Redstart, Yellow Wagtail and Spotted Flycatcher, no such luck today of course but some fantastic views of Common Buzzard feeding at ground level on a nice selection of worms. Also seen were Goldcrest, Pied Wagtail and some small flocks of mixed Redwing and Fieldfare. Once the rain became more persistent we called it a day and headed off for tea and cake back aboard. An enjoyable but lazy weekend!

NB- Worth mentioning that if your planning a visit to Brandon Marsh this coming Tues/Thurs please be aware that we will be working on the East Marsh Pool Islands. This is preparation work for the forthcoming nesting season. Full details on the BMVCT blog.

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