Sunday, May 22, 2011

Quiet week!

Lots of other commitments over the past week has meant that birding has been at a premium, but I have managed visits to Brandon Marsh and of course kept close contact around the marina and locally.

Fortunately it’s been a much quieter week and it would appear that the main thrust of the migration has come to an end. However talking to other birders and keeping a close eye on the forums it appears that good numbers of House Martins are still missing from breeding colonies. Hopefully these birds should arrive at any time, there was certainly a few more around at Brandon today. The odd rarities still continue to show up though nationwide, Gull-billed Tern in Norfolk and Black-winged Stilt, plus locally a Black Stork near Weedon, which I never got time to see!

Yesterday I took a late evening stroll around the marina grounds and was rewarded with a trio of Owls. Firstly, a Barn Owl was quartering the adjacent field and the large Oak Tree within is still playing host to a family of Little Owls, I managed two perched silhouettes. Finally, a Tawny Owl was calling from the general direction of Napton Reservoir but I never managed to make eye contact.

Common Toad
We seem to have a small population of Pipistrelle Bats here too, as at least 3 spent the evening doing their level best to convince me that they were about to collide with my head at any moment. I’ve also noticed a very healthy community of Common Toads and several had to be avoided as I walked the paths. At least one Lesser Whitethroat is still singing daily and finally the first fledgling Sedge Warblers are starting to appear.

Today an early morning visit to Brandon Marsh, which produced a couple of site year firsts for me. Teal Pool hide, which thanks to Jim Rushforth’s sluice management, is now once more carrying plenty of water, gave up a very pristine looking Greenshank and later in the main hide a juvenile Osprey came floating over East Marsh Pool, before heading off towards Coombe! Surprisingly this is only my second sighting of Osprey at Brandon since joining the team in December 2009. A brief glimpse of a solitary Hobby over Central Marsh Path and the usual selection of warblers and waders were also seen. I was amazed at how quickly the young Oystercatchers had grown, but sadly after starting with four chicks only three remain.