Saturday, April 28, 2012

Amazing Brandon!

Record Shot Today Of A Brandon Otter!
Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve has played a considerable part of my life since joining the conservation team a little over three years ago. I spend endless hours on this amazingly diverse reserve birding, working and sadly on occasions acting as warden when certain enthusiasts get carried away.

As a proud member of a committed team of volunteers I'm privileged to be able to access areas of the reserve that the general public don't normally get to see. A wonderful selection of Butterflies can be seen in the summer months, along with and array of other flora and fauna. As a committed conservationist I'm also bound to keep certain things away from the public domain. In the winter months we're lucky enough to have roosting Long-eared Owls and on many occasions while working the more illusive birds such as Jack Snipe and Woodcock are accidentally flushed.

Otter Spraint
As you would imagine I've now developed a deep knowledge of the reserve and over the past several months I've been keeping a keen eye on several areas where Otter spraint has been discovered on a regular basis. In fact Otters have actually been part of the reserve for some time, mostly illusive but I think the secret is finally out! Sightings of these magnificent creatures have increased more-so over recent months and this month Otters have been seen out and about on the open pools more than ever.

This morning I was again lucky enough to watch, in not so quiet awe, as three swam past right in front of Big Hide, much to the delight of Jim, Alban, Fred and I. It's just incredible to think that here in the heart of the English Midlands Otters are now a regular feature. Kudos to Brandon!

As I arrived at Brandon this morning I made my way directly to Newlands, thanks to a text from JR, where a ♀Marsh Harrier quartering the reed bed was finally sent south by an harassment of Buzzard and Crows.

Willow Warbler (best pic of the morning)
East Marsh Pool was an array of Swallows, low over the water, accompanied by a few House and Sand Martin. I'd missed 3 earlier Yellow Wagtail, 2 Badgers and a lone Fox but caught up with a selection of other bird species: 3 Common Sandpiper, 2 Redshank, 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Little-ringed Plover and Cuckoo. Later in the morning and after the deluge a Hobby, Swift and Sparrowhawk over Newlands, Lesser Whitethroat near Sheepfield and the usual selection of Warblers.

As a sub-note, over coffee in the Nature Centre George Wooton, a regular photographer at the reserve, had finally captured a decent shot of the illusive Nightingale, which George tells me was singing happily out in the open at Carlton Hide this morning. Here's the link to George's picture!