Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gloomy but Happy!

New addition at Brandon!
I can't believe that this time last year I was twitching a Western-scrub Jay on the outskirts of Vancouver Canada, were on earth has the year gone!!

This week back in the UK I decided to stay local and after a successful day at Brandon Marsh on Tuesday recording 63 species and a year first (Green Sandpiper) today proved to be really hard work. I can take rain, I can take snow and I can take wind but the last few days of low cloud and misty (sometimes foggy) depressing calmness with high pressure dominating is personally my worst nightmare.

Still for those who know me, my cup is always half full and so a visit to Napton Reservoir, Draycote Water and ending up at Brandon once more was my lot for today.

Napton was its usual quietness and it was noticeable that the powers that be had once again been at work cutting down anything that has the audacity to grow. This time it was the reed cutting machine that had sliced away at the bank reeds and then dumped the excess in any place available, most were still floating around. Consequently the only wildfowl of note were various numbers of Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, along with 2 Great-crested Grebes and 2 Little Grebes which were calling from within the far reed bed. Probably wondering what the hell had happened. Common Gull numbered around 50+ and also seen of note during my walkabout were: 5 Skylark, 3 Snipe, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Green Woodpecker and a lone Fieldfare.

Draycote Water was sadly even worse and this was summed up on arrival when I immediately bumped into the Draycote duo Bob and Richard, who told me to turn around and get straight back into the car. I don't think I've ever seen these guys looking so depressed, not because they'd both missed Sunday's Glossy Ibis, ouch!!, but after about 15 minutes I could understand why. Fisherman on the banks, fisherman in boats, works traffic and workers coming and going. All this combined led to a completely devoid water with the exception of about 30+ Goldeneye and the usual Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail and Grebes. I was soon off and on route to Brandon after a dismal 30 minute stay.

Ah sanctity!! I arrived at Brandon and took a leisurely stroll past Sheep Field, through New Hare Covert and on to Big Hide, where I spent the next few hours chatting with Bob Lee and scanning for the imminent Sand Martins and Little Ringed Plovers! During my walk I'd probably ended up with similar sightings to Tuesday, the exception being Redshank and Ringed Plovers which today were absent from East Marsh Pool.

So an interesting and varied day but as usual I'm always glad that god graced me with yet another days birding. I've posted the above a picture of the new Osprey Pole at Brandon Marsh which is now complete. Sadly a new hide for phase 3 is a ways of but in the interim an observation screen is currently in the making and when complete the general public will have their first look at the new project.