Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brandon Return

Goldcrest at Brandon
A Raven in the adjacent field while topping up the feeders at the marina before I headed off to Brandon Marsh for my first visit in over three weeks.

On arrival I took a slow stroll through New Hare Covert but the wind howling away through the trees made birding quite difficult, the only species of note Goldcrest & Treecreeper. As I emerged near the golf course I managed ten minutes with Phil the greens keeper who was busy clearing up after several Moles had encroached onto one of his greens. A real source of information is Phil and still insisting on telling me the story of a 'Big Cat' seen several times and apparently still roaming the area and more recently making short work of a Muntjac on hole 16! But I'll save that story for another time.

During my visit I took the opportunity to check out a couple of areas I know where Otters cut through to individual pools and it looks as though there is still activity at Brandon with fresh spraint found in two of these areas, so well worth keeping a look out.

Willow Tit
The surprise of the day was while chatting to Bob Lee near Central Marsh Pool. As we were watching a small group of Lesser Redpoll in the surrounding Alders a Pipistrelle Bat came whizzing over our heads, obviously displaced from it's hibernation and very rarely seen during the winter months and particularly in the daytime.

Not surprisingly the reserve is recovering from recent flooding with the main East Marsh Pool the highest that I can remember with very little of any Islands showing. However, all the usual wildfowl were represented: Shoveler, Teal, Tufted, Gadwall, Wigeon and (4♀) Pochard. The only Wader of note a lone Snipe in the reeds in front of Big Hide. Two Buzzard, two Sparrowhawk and a lone Kestrel braved the conditions with some excellent aerobatics in the gale force winds but little else braved the conditions.

Finally, lunch in the Carlton Hide produced little with the exception of Willow Tit and Bittern, when I managed two good views of a single bird flying towards the rear of the reed bed. An enjoyable return to Brandon but sadly still no camera back from repairs so I've used some of my previous images taken there recently to brighten up the post.