My journey was interrupted on the back road towards Long Itchington by a Muntjac Deer, which suddenly took fright and began darting all over the road. Fearing for its safety I pulled up just as he managed to slip through a hole in a nearby fence and made his escape across the field.
When I eventually arrived at Brandon there was a definite feeling of spring in the air. By the time I reached West Marsh for a Bittern vigil prior to starting work I'd recorded 4 Dunnock in song, 2 Goldcrest calling, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming in Horsetail Glade and 2 Song Thrush also in song.
My search for the illusive Bittern proved to be unsuccessful but I did spot my first Little Grebe on site this year, when one of two finally emerged from the reed bed after calling to each other for a good 10 minutes. A text from JR, who was on the east marsh, regarding a ♂Pintail persuaded me to finally give up my search and I made my way over through the central marsh path. On route across: 2 Mistle Thrush, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, 2 pristine Willow Tit near the Black Poplar tree which were constantly calling, 4 Siskin in the Alder and a small group of about 10 Lesser Redpoll passed overhead.
|♂Pintail (still on site this afternoon)|
Good numbers of the usual Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Duck, plus several Gadwall and at least 5 Snipe, but I was unable to make contact with the Pintail from Big Hide as he was busily upending near the west bank, totally hidden from view by the reed bed. A welcome sight were the 2 Kingfisher which darted past towards Carlton Pool, one chasing the other which had a nice fish in its beak.
A little chain-saw maintenance was required prior to attacking more of the invasive Willow, so as I made my way back to the tool stores I dropped into Baldwin Hide to finally make contact with the Pintail, still happily feeding near the bank. Another surprise along the path were 3 more Willow Tits on the central marsh area, giving me a best ever Brandon total of 5 for the day.