Sunday, February 26, 2012

Status Check!

Brandon Willow Tit
To Brandon Marsh this morning for my usual Sunday visit and a catch up with the guys. One topic on the agenda was yesterdays reported Iceland Gull, which none of the team had the good fortune to see! As it happens, after pictures posted on the Brandon Guide show, this was actually a Glaucous Gull, which nevertheless is an excellent sighting!

I've always felt that amongst Brandon's many virtues the reserve also appears to be a haven for a few of the nations declining species. The RSPB status alerts list Willow Tit, Song Thrush and Lapwing as Red and Golden Plover, Common Snipe, Stock Dove and Green Woodpecker as Amber. Another bird regular to Brandon during the winter months and on the Red list is the nationally rare Bittern.

Common Snipe
So today as a change to my normal routine I decided to take a closer look for these species and ended up recording 4 singing Song Thrush, 3 Willow Tit, 11 Stock Dove, 75 Lapwing, 1 Bittern, 2 Green Woodpecker and 12 Snipe. Those who regularly visit Brandon will also know that just prior to Christmas we also played host to anything between 20 to 150 Golden Plover on a regular basis. It's also worth noting that my top daily numbers over the previous 3 months of Lapwing have topped over 500, Snipe 34 and on one visit earlier this month no less than 5 Willow Tit. It seems that as far as declining species go Brandon is definitely a winner!

Long-tailed Tit
Back to the rest of the visit highlights and East Marsh Pool still had the long staying pair of Pintail, plus 2♀Goldeneye, 1♂Goldeneye, 2 Shelduck, 5 Pochard, Water Rail, Kingfisher and 6 Oystercatcher. Numbers of Shoveler and Teal continue to decline as we head towards spring, and by the time I left I'd also recorded of note: 8 Treecreeper, 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker (3 drumming), 4 Lesser Redpoll, 6 Common Buzzard, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Cetti's Warbler, 2 Skylark over and several Long-tailed Tit flocks.