Friday, May 13, 2011

Local is Best

Common Restart (Library Image)
It seems that more recently the marina has provided the best birding locally for me, with other nearby areas such as Napton Hill and Napton Reservoir not throwing up anything out of the ordinary.

My latest good fortune at the marina came on Wednesday morning while having my usual early morning stroll around the grounds. When I got to the marina entrance a gorgeous looking ♂Common Redstart was perched on top of the canal junction bridge. I can tell you that there’s nothing 'common' about these stunning looking guys, especially with the rising sun shining directly onto him! I can tell you too that I was absolutely gutted that I'd stupidly left my camera back aboard the boat!

Shortly after being mesmerised by the visiting Redstart a very proud pair of Mute Swan’s came passing through the entrance with 5 Cygnets in tow, a very serene and relaxing sight and what has now become an annual event.

Four Spotted Chaser
I did have better luck with the camera later in the afternoon when I went on a Butterfly and Dragonfly hunt in the surrounding fields. My first Four-spotted Chaser of the year followed closely by my first local Small Heath and Small Copper Butterflies. Lesser Whitethroats seem to have taken a shine to the grounds too with the addition of another bird now singing constantly, this now makes three birds on site.

Two visits to Brandon Marsh this week with my usual Tuesday birding day and the Thursday work party. I’m happy to report that thus far the four Oystercatcher chicks are still doing well and there’s now a good collection of Lapwing, Mallard, and Coot chicks to be found, plus Greylag and Canada Goose goslings. On Thursday Swifts seemed prolific with many birds skimming just above the waterline taking on water, two Hobby and a Cuckoo were also seen.

The Mount cousin’s, or as I call them ‘The Boys From The Black Stuff’ discovered a brand new Butterfly for the reserve on Tuesday, when they came across a Green Hairstreak, a picture of which can be found on Brandon Birding. Also worth mentioning that as part of a reintroduction program to the reserve the Butterfly Conservation have released two species back on site, Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper, the latter of which has already been photographed by Jeff Rankin, one of the Brandon regulars.