Thursday, March 10, 2011

Canada Beckons!

Newlands Phase Three Project
With all the planning for tomorrows departure to Canada, this past week has been a hectic one to say the least. Fortunately I've still managed to fulfill all my chainsaw commitments at Brandon Marsh, and even managed to fit in a walk around my moorings and the marina grounds.

With only a few weeks left before the Brandon Conservation Team have to suspend work on the Newlands Reedbed Extension, this to allow for the arrival of breeding species, we're currently running two work parties a week to remain on schedule for the final stages of the project in the autumn/winter.

Green Sandpiper
Locally the Marina has been quite active this week with plenty of Tree Sparrow around, several Yellowhammer, the odd Brambling on the feeders, and even a brief visit from a lone Green Sandpiper on Wednesday morning. Our resident Little Owls were even out enjoying the evening sunshine on Tuesday, the local Ravens and Buzzards have also been very actively enjoying the thermals. As the migration starts to build a number of Skylark and Meadow Pipit have been on the move with several passing overhead, and a distant Curlew was heard while laying in bed reading on Wednesday night!

As the official start of Spring is only 11 days away lots of migration reports are starting to emerge. On Monday the first Redshank of the year was recorded at Brandon and on Tuesday our lonesome Ringed Plover was finally joined by a mate, although I personally recorded two briefly a few weeks ago. On the East Marsh Path, under the large Oak Tree, a huge colony of Mining Bees were out in force enjoying the spring sunshine on Tuesday afternoon. Two Kingfisher, which shot by the works party on the same day was a welcome sight, and an unconfirmed report of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in Horstail Glade is an interesting one! Also of note was a Curlew on East Marsh Pool this morning, and I was delighted to see a half dozen Frogs with spawn while working on Newlands today. One of my coleagues who was also working nearby made contact with a least 6 Wood Mice, which quickly scurried away when he moved a log pile.

Other patch sightings such as a single Avocet at Draycote Water, plus a more unusual sighting of 15 in flight over Brandon on the same day. Two Swallows I noticed reported today in Devon and Somerset, and more Sand Martins are now beginning to appear nationally along with sightings of Osprey, Wheatear and Little Ringed Plover, the latter being Brandon's next imminent arrival.

Surprisingly I must say that my trip to Vancouver is somewhat of a bitter sweet event! The Spring in the UK is simply the most exciting time of the year on any birders calendar, and for me something that I live for, from a birding prospective that is! I'll be sorry to miss the start! Having said that, Canada in the spring migration can be a truly awesome place, and something that I'm once again very much looking forward to over the coming weeks.

Well that's about it for my UK birding for now, thanks to Graham and Hazel for 'boat sitting' in our absence (keep out of the wine chest!!!), and I look forward to posting my first update from Vancouver very soon, happy birding!