Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pleasantly Mild

Local Tree Sparrow Population
A very mild autumnal morning when I reached Brandon Marsh at first light with the temperature well into double figures, helped by a rather warm and brisk south-westerly wind.

The unusual site of 3 Buzzards circling just before dawn and no sign of the recent Short-eared Owl, but offset by good views of a hunting Barn Owl near the golf course and two Tawny's. A good deal of visible migration too with a constant flow of Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Redwing and Fieldfare. Also recorded were circa 30 Skylark over and 2 Meadow Pipit.

East Marsh Pool was once again devoid of any decent waders, other than the usual excellent numbers of Lapwing and 2 Snipe. 17 Pochard today too, plus good numbers of Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Teal, unfortunately only 2 Gadwall were seen. The escaped New Zealand Scaup, which has re-appeared once again, was in amongst the Tufted, easily identifiable by it's upright tail and flattish head, another sign if observed for any length of time is it's aggressive nature towards other Tufties.

The remainder of the reserve produced of note: 5 Pied Wagtails, Grey Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, 3 Cetti's Warbler, Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit and Bullfinch.

After watching the destruction of Manchester Utd on Sky I took the opportunity to have a late afternoon walk around the marina grounds and surrounding fields. Several Linnet, Goldfinch and small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare were feeding in the numerous Hawthorn. 2 Buzzard on the wing, plus Kestrel and 2 cronking Ravens heading off towards Napton Hill were also seen. Our resident Tufted Duck seems to have been joined by two new friends who seemed only to happy to accept some hospitality I provided from the boat hatch.

The bird feeders provided by some of the other boaters were a little quiet with so much natural food currently on offer, and as usual it was good to see that our resident Tree Sparrow population is still as healthy as ever with 9 birds counted! A great moment of excitement was short lived when 5 Swans heading over Napton Reservoir turned out to be Mute! Also from my vantage point which overlooks the reservoir a group of 15 Wigeon were also seen in flight.

The surrounding fields held several Skylark, probably downed by the strong breeze, and a closer look at a small flock of Lapwings produced 2 Golden Plover amongst their number.