|The Humble House Sparrow|
My first stop was Brandon Marsh and looking at the weather forecast for the week ahead I probably picked the best day, a chilly start with clear skies, something we don't seem to see much of these days.
A check from the road bridge looking across Sheepfield before entering the reserve produced an early Kestrel but sadly no Owls. Passing the Sheepfield gate a Song Thrush was happily singing and 5 Jackdaw passed overhead. New Hare Covert had 5 long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Jay and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and by the time I reached the Newlands bench 2 Raven came cronking over and several Feildfare, Siskin, Goldfinch and Redwing had also been recorded.
As I approached the Wright Hide a Buzzard was seen taking flight from New Hare Covert, and a small wader was in flight along with the circa 500 Lapwing flock, which had been spooked by a Sparrowhawk seen heading east. A scan from within the hide confirmed 3 Dunlin and also recorded on East Marsh Pool were 14 Wigeon, 4 Pochard and a pair of Goldeneye. Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Teal were in good numbers plus a lone Great Crested Grebe, my first at Brandon for some time. Mixed in with around 150 Black-headed Gulls was a single Herring Gull, 3 Common Gull and 2 Lesser Black Backed.
At Big Hide I managed to pick up 8 Snipe, camouflaged nicely on Wigeon Bank in the short reed near the waters edge. On my return to the car 4 Lesser Redpoll were feeding on the Alder near the volunteers car park.
This afternoon Dee and I cycled around the local patch which was alive with literally hundred's of Fieldfare. A Kestrel was perched near the turn towards Napton Reservoir and Stockton Road held around 25 House Sparrows as we approached the Crossroads Garage. A brief view of 5 of the marina's Tree Sparrow population and a lone Yellowhammer as we cycled back down the path towards our mooring.
Some excellent views of the International Space Station as it headed east around 16:55 ended an excellent day.