Although boat maintenance matters have taken precedent over the past week I've still managed to fit in some good birding sessions, mostly early morning and mainly at Brandon Marsh.
Spring is now definitely in the air with a few warm days more recently and last Tuesday I managed my first Butterfly of the year with a Small Tortoiseshell at Brandon. With the warmth building the first Grass Snakes should soon emerge and under one refugia I checked a Field Vole was enjoying a nap before the rude awakening. The flowers are also starting to break through with Coltsfoot, Cowslip, Lesser Celandine and Primrose already recorded and Frogspawn was discovered in one of the pools on the conservation area. Various Bee species are also out and about and a population of Mining Bees
has once again inhabited the ground near the large Oak Tree on the Central Path.
Over the week I've dicovered a number of nesting birds on site, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren and a Green Woodpecker was busy escavating in one of the woods. I'm certain too that a pair of Willow Tit I've been following recently will nest and the amount of Goldcrest on the reserve is very encouraging.
Yesterdays visit produced my first Little Ringed Plover of the year and this morning I managed my first two Sand Martin, when two birds broke through the murk over East Marsh Pool. With the weather set to continue in a similar vein, early migrants that have made it into southern Europe should begin to pour north. The high pressure system that is now over the UK stretches all the way from northern England to the northern shores of the Mediterranean, with the whole area experiencing light winds. I fully expect to hear the first Willow Warblers at Brandon over the coming weekend.
This mornings Brandon session was blighted by mist and fog but it was good to see four Shelduck on site, two of which spent a long lingering time investigating the newly refurbished Shelduck burrow on Willow Island. A Green Sandpiper was on Teal Pool and at one point the recent two Redshank were joined for a short while by two more, which after some debate flew off north. Good numbers of Chiffchaff are singing throughout the reserve and there are still a few winter visitors around with Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Fieldfare and Redwing all recorded over the past few days!