Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Nightingale Sang!

Nightingale (sadly a library image)
After a slow start to the spring migration things have finally started to hot up as I discovered immediately I stepped foot off the boat this morning.

Sedge Warbler have finally arrived at the marina with at least one singing from within what remains of our reed beds. Don't get me started on that one again! On the walk up to the car park 2 Common Tern flew over heading north, a Skylark was singing and as I was scrapping the light frost from the windscreen a Whitethroat was sitting atop a Hawthorn happily singing away.

I arrived at Brandon Marsh a little after sun up and took my usual route passed Sheep Field and through New Hare Covert, stopping briefly for a listen at Goose Pool, where at least two Reed Warbler were singing. The usual Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and unprecedented numbers of ♂♀Blackcap were recorded and within the Covert, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest and Song Thrush.

As I passed the golf course two Whitethroat and a Water Rail were calling from the reeds to the right. I paused for a good while in our newly created observation areas to view Newlands, which has now finally sprung to life. At least 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler and 2 Linnet, plus reeling away towards the back of the reeds, my first Grasshopper Warbler of the year!

Chiffchaff (Only decent picture of the day!)
A coffee with Jim at Wright Hide, who was having a break from ringing near the 'Olive Wood Bench' and then a walk around to the Big Hide produced the usual Waders on East Marsh Pool: 4 Oystercatcher, 4 Little-ringed Plover and 2 Redshank. The walk to Big Hide produced a number of birds gathering nesting materials but no further new spring arrivals, a Cuckoo paid a brief visit to the 'Big Dead Tree' calling for a short time, 3 Common Tern, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Garden Warbler were also seen.

After a trip to the Carlton Hide and the screen area, bumping into Fred Stokes and narrowly missing out on yet another Otter sighting, Fred seems to have the force with him on that one, I eventually met up with Alban Wincott. We headed for coffee in Big Hide, where we were joined by Chris Wiltshier, another Saturday regular. What followed next was one of those moments that will live forever in my birding memories, a bird suddenly singing from right outside the hide suddenly had Alban and I simultaneously leaping to our feet with the call 'Nightingale'. As we gently opened the hide door we were treated to 30 seconds of delightful bird song, then silence!

We eventually re-located him further down the path towards Carlton Hide, and were once again treated to some bursts of delightful song, at one stage obtaining some brief views from within the Hawthorn, before once again silence reigned. After being joined by some of the local photographers I left them to it with my first Brandon Nightingale in the bag. A later text message informed me that after completing his ringing session I'm glad to know that Jim Rushforth re-located the bird at the back of Teal Pool hide just after midday!