|Brandon Sunrise over Goose Pool|
I'm simply running out of superlatives to describe these wonderful autumnal mornings but once again as I stepped foot onto the pontoon this morning the air was crystal clear and the morning sky just stunning!
As I reached the car 3 Snipe silhouetted against the brightening sky flew east and the drive to Brandon Marsh wasn't without it's moments. A Barn Owl cutting across the road in front of me near Stockton and having to break hard at one time to avoid at least 3 Red-legged Partridge.
Plenty of birds on the move taking my normal route around Brandon with Goldcrest, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet and the usual flurry of Thrushes. When I finally met up in Big Hide with the other guys I discovered that Derek B had accidentally flushed a Woodcock near the stream area, I then discovered I was only minutes behind him, bummer!
The ♀Smew is now into day 7 of her visit and although elusive could be seen skulking under the overhanging trees in between Baldwin and Wright Hide, occasionally coming out into the open. Sparrowhawk a couple of ♂Goldeneye, various numbers of Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, plus 7 Wigeon, 7 Snipe and 3 Kingfisher were the highlights until Chris Wilshier ably spotted a couple of Little Egrets passing over the reserve to the north. Two Wrens provided a little entertainment in front of Big Hide and a Cetti's Warbler was intent on avoiding me as it flew in and out of the reeds.
A trip to the screen and Carlton Hide added to the morning list with Willow Tit, 3♀ + 1♂Bullfinch and a couple of Skylark over. Finally before heading off a further brief look at Big Hide produced a Water Rail, which did the usual flight from left to right before disappearing into the reeds.
Just a quick mention to finish off as I've been asked a few times over the weekend about the large cages spread strategically around the reserve. This weekend the Trust are beginning a Badger inoculation programme along with the Badger Trust and the early signs are very encouraging so kudos to them!