Friday, January 04, 2013

1st Day Out!

Dunnock Enjoying The Morning Sunshine!
It was no surprise that I chose Brandon Marsh as my first birding day out of the year, in fact I was astonished to find that it was actually my first visit since mid December!

When I arrived just before dawn I decided to head straight for Carlton Hide in the hope that the odd Barn Owl would still be hunting. I wasn't disappointed when after a few minutes I located one quartering towards the back of the reed beds. A quick flypast by a Kingfisher, (3) Cettis Warbler and (2) Water Rail heard but sadly after an hour no sign of the recent Bitterns. After a brief visit to the screen area, where the best was (4) Fieldfare overhead and a Song Thrush in full song I made my way to Big hide for coffee.

East Marsh Overflow
In the four years I've been at Brandon I've never seen the water levels so high with only three small areas of island still showing. In fact as the enclosed picture shows the water is so high it's flowing out of the the overflow pipe and not the actual sluice.

With the recent rains and flood water the whole reserve seems to have taken on a completely different look with reed beds flattened, dry areas now pools and even the Kingfisher perch at Steetley Hide washed away.

With lots of water comes a lot of waterfowl and East Marsh Pool held some good numbers with: (31) Wigeon, (37) Gadwall, (5) Pochard, (38) Tufted Duck and various numbers of Shoveler, Teal, Canada Goose and Greylag. Also present of note was a single Yellow-legged Gull, the long staying New Zealand Scaup (esc), (20) Cormorant, (8) Snipe and (3) Pied Wagtail, plus around 100 Lapwing which continued on through.

Turkey Tail - Trametes versocolor
With all the dampness around it's a good time to have a look for some decent fungus and I managed a nice spread of Turkey Tail as I walked through Horsetail Glade. The glade had lots of activity with (2) Treecreeper, (2) Nuthatch, (3) Jay, (2♂) Bullfinch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Coal Tit.

By the time I'd toured the rest of the reserve I was encouraged by the amount of Goldcrest on site with (12) recorded. Also of note: Little Grebe at West Marsh, Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk plus various numbers of Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Reed Bunting and Green Woodpecker. All in all not a bad start to the year!