Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Long Day!

Sunrise Over Wigram's Turn Marina
I was out just before dawn this morning with the intention of fitting in three different venues. The first stop on route to Brandon Marsh was Napton Reservoir.

It was a gorgeous start to the day and before I'd even reached the car I'd recorded Linnet, Yellowhammer a singing Lesser Whitethroat and around a dozen or so Swallows with a few House Martin skimming low over the water before heading off south. The reservoir was reasonably quiet with more Swallows overhead and the only waterfowl of note was a lone ♀Red-crested Pochard, probably the same bird Richard Mays had mentioned on his blog recently.

Chiffchaff - Within The Flock!
On arrival at Brandon Marsh a flock of around 20 or so Goldfinch were feeding on the various Teasel and in fact I'd no sooner parked the car in the volunteers car park before I'd located a large mixed flock of birds. At this time of year its always advisable to check these flocks with a fine tooth comb as they can often throw up the unexpected. This particular bunch included Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler ♀Blackcap and Goldcrest.
Speckled Wood

♂Common Blue
As I rounded the corner by the Olive Bench at least six Swift were feeding low over the Newlands reed bed along with numerous Swallows and four Common Tern flew onto East Marsh pool. The pool itself held 2 Kingfisher, good numbers of Greylag and Canada Goose and still among the flock was the lone Pink-footed Goose asleep on Willow Island. By the time I reached Big Hide for coffee the River Pool Hide had yielded over 50 Teal, 4 Green Sandpiper and a solitary Snipe. From Big Hide 4 Shoveler were noted and a surprise was at least 6 Sand Martin still using the nesting structure, one of which appeared to be feeding a young bird sitting just inside one of the holes.

Peacock - Good Numbers Today!
Today's weekly Butterfly Transect, completed by myself, Tony, Alan and Brenda was the best of the year thus far and very encouraging. The highlights were 6 Common Blue, very 'uncommon' this year at Brandon and various numbers of: Brimstone, Large White, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. Outside of the transect area I'd earlier recorded Large and Small Skipper, Comma and four species of Dragonfly, Brown Hawker, Black-tailed Skimmer, Common Darter and Southern Hawker. Also worth a mention was my first Grey Partridge of the year at the reserve when I inadvertently flushed one near the top reed bed whilst completing the transect.

My final venue of the day was back at the marina where a scan of the top meadow had the usual selection of Butterflies plus a Grass Snake near the grass cutting heap.