Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bitter Sweet Day!

Small Fall Of Chiffchaff Today!
I arrived at the crack of dawn at Brandon Marsh in pouring rain in the hope that some early migrants had finally arrived. My targets for this morning were Wheatear, Sand Martin and Little Ringed Plover, but sadly with the rain hammering down East Marsh Pool lacked any additions.

The best of the early arrival was a Barn Owl quartering Newlands during a lapse in the downpour. Other species of note were 2 Kingfisher, 4 Shelduck, 28 Snipe, 5 Wigeon, a pair of Goldeneye, 5 Oystercatcher and 5 Great Crested Grebe, two of which were displaying.

After many scans of the Gull flock for Mediterranean, having missed yesterdays two pristine specimens by half an hour, the best was a juvenile Yellow-legged. Shortly after I set off with Jim Rushforth for a tour around other areas. It was obvious by the time we got back to the car park that we'd had a nice fall of Chiffchaff overnight when at least 5 were seen and heard singing! Also of note during the walk were 7 Buzzard, 1 Siskin, 1 Lesser Redpoll and 3 Goldcrest. Now here's the bitter sweet news! I've just been informed by a Brandon regular that 2 Wheatear were on Farm Field this morning, an area I normally check but failed to do so today, great to know but what can I say!!

Local yellowhammer Doing Well
This afternoon Dee and I cruised out of the marina and moored at Bridge 101 of the Oxford Canal on route for Braunston, where on Monday morning 'Quidditch' will come out of the water for hull blacking. The cruise was our first of the year and remarkably quiet, only passing one other boat before mooring up. The local Yellowhammer population looks in great shape with 14 recorded on our journey.

This evening I took a walk along the disused Weedon to Leamington railway line which runs right next to our mooring and noticed that a lot of work has been completed in the surrounding area clearing the ditches. This has resulted in a good flow of water around the area and from a birding perspective its actually paying dividends already, when I inadvertently flushed a Jack Snipe from one. Several Hare were in the nearby fields and another 5 Yellowhammer were recorded, along with 2 Kestrel, 4 Skylark and 2 Linnet.