Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Brandon First!

Brandon's 1st Ever Whiskered Tern
With family taking precedent over birding at the weekend I still felt I had a perfect opportunity for a quick twitch while visiting Liverpool and hopefully my first UK Little Swift.

Not being a twitcher by nature I felt that I couldn't really miss an opportunity of a slight detour to one of my old birding haunts at New Brighton where the bird had been showing near the RNLI Station. Mind you in those days New Brighton had a glorious sandy beach and as a child it was always a Sunday treat to take the Mersey Ferry across!

Sadly as luck would have it, having been around for well over a week the bird chose the very same day I intended a visit to go AWOL! This is one of the reasons I don't twitch.

Today I decided to make a start around the marina before heading off for my Tuesday visit to Brandon. Although the rain was falling once again two Skylark were singing over the adjacent fields and three Yellowhammer were also in good form along the phone wires. By the time I reached the car park I'd further recorded a single Lesser Whitethroat and four of the resident Tree Sparrow population.

With the rain still falling when I reached Brandon Marsh I took the decision to head straight for the hides. An adult Grey Wagtail was on the smaller Island at Goose Pool but no sign of the recent juvenile. A party of young Treecreeper could be heard near the Saga sign along with a nearby calling Goldcrest.

What happened when I reached the Teal Hide for my first look at the pools will go down as one my most memorable moments ever at Brandon without even knowing it. A number of Common Tern fishing towards the back of River Pool immediately took my eye but a smaller bird darker in colour firstly had me thinking juvenile Black Tern. Soaking wet and struggling to get the camera from the bag I just managed to fire off three quick shots before the bird was forced over the willow towards the River Avon by the Common's. Also on the pool and worth a mention was a single Green Sandpiper.

I'd ended up with 3 slightly blurred images having not had time to sort the settings and not being one to scrutinise my photo's immediately it wasn't until I sat in Big Hide with a few other members of the team before I realised what I actually had, thanks to Alban for giving me a heart attack! It turns out that this is the first ever record of Whiskered Tern at Brandon Marsh and I couldn't tell you how delighted I am to have unwittingly found it!

Suffice to say that most of the team spent the remainder of the morning in the hides hoping for a better glimpse which sadly never came. Also worth reporting of note: Hobby, 2 Adult Ringed-plover + 1 Juvenile, 2 Little-ringed Plover and 6 Oystercatcher.