Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Surprise Visit!

Brandon Sacred Ibis (Pete Worthy)
With the boat renovations proceeding well I've actually managed several trips to Brandon Marsh since my last post, the latest of which was this morning in the rain.

Firstly, what have I missed over the past week or so? Well I thought a major wind-up was taking place when on Thursday morning I received a text from Jim Rushforth from the Brandon Conservation Team alerting me to a Sacred Ibis which had allegedly dropped in to East Marsh Pool. Thursday is work party day at Brandon and I had decided to give it a miss and felt this may have been the reason for the wind-up! I won't repeat my reply to Jim but after several back and forth texts it took a phone call from Mike Lee to actually convince me it was a true story.

Small Tortoiseshell (Rare This Year!!)
Anyway here's a little background on this sub-Saharan African species: A Feral breeder in France - Birds escaped from Branfere Zoo, Morbihan, Brittany and have been observed in the wild since c.1980. They first bred at the beginning of the 1990s at Huric, Golfe du Morbihan and in 1994 in a heronry at Lac de Grandlieu, Loire-Atlantique. Population in France est. 280 pairs in 1994. As an African species it is not in category A of the British List so no ticks on this one guys. As for Brandon it will likely go down in the 'Exotica' section of the annual Brandon report.(research by: Jim Rushforth)

The other highlights at Brandon over the past week have included greater numbers of Butterflies on the wing and having hardly recorded any Small Tortoiseshell this year, I'm glad to report that two were noted this week. Peacock, Red Admiral, Essex Skipper, Small Skipper and Large Skipper were also noted. Gatekeepers are now in reasonable numbers after a slow start with Meadow Brown being the most prolific. It goes without saying that this is still a disastrous year for Butterflies.

Ruddy Darter
Odanata have included Common Darter, Ruddy Darter, Brown Hawker and good numbers of Common Blue Damselfly, mainly over the pool areas.

Finally, on the birding front I managed Hobby, Little Egret and a lone Snipe on Saturday morning and after a slow start this morning in the rain three Green Sandpiper on Teal Pool and single Dunlin and Common Sandpiper on East Marsh Pool were the best of the day. As for breeding species, 3 families of Tufted Duck (4,5,1) plus a lone Gadwall chick was the best of the morning. With only two adults on site this morning Brandon still remains devoid of any Common Tern chicks this year!!