Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spring In The Air!

Heavily Cropped Marsh Harrier!
Spring has certainly been in the air this weekend with plenty of activity both around the marina and at Brandon Marsh. Song Thrush, Blackbird, Great Tit and Chaffinch were all heard in full song.

In relation to Brandon we suffered another setback last week in our efforts to reduce the current water levels, particularly on East Marsh Pool, when more heavy rain plunged the River Avon back into flood and thus scuppered our earlier attempts.

Notwithstanding the sluices are once again operating to capacity and with a forecast of a short dry spell we live in hope! Reports on Saturday of both Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher means that it's even more critical to retrieve Willow Island form its current watery grave as these species are yearly breeders to Brandon.

Tree Sparrows at the Marina
This morning I arrived before sunrise in the hope of catching up with Saturdays Marsh Harrier reported by George Wootton and Steve McAusland. When I arrived in the lower car park it was obvious that yesterdays other new visitors, a couple of Oystercatchers, were still on site as even from this distance they could be heard chattering away on East Marsh pool. In fact by the time I got down there, the number had increased to three.

Goldfinch - Quick, He's Coming!!
It was a few hours later when I finally connected with the Marsh Harrier when Fred, Jeff and I picked it up over Newlands from the screen area. We spent a good while watching the bird and despite rattling off a considerable amount of photographs the above is the best of the batch. The general consensus is that the bird is a juvenile, and possibly a male♂ as a slight grey was showing on the plumage.

The marina has had the usual selection of birds on the feeders, including good numbers of Reed Bunting, and good numbers of greedy Goldfinches too, who continue to eat me out of house and home! I defy anybody to tell me that House Sparrows aren't making a comeback in rural areas with a count of 33 at one stage. I was a little worried that our Tree Sparrow population may be ousted by the rowdy Housies but they appear to be living in complete harmony.

Finally, I'm currently running a short survey which can be found in the top right sidebar, the aim of which is to get a general consensus as to what brings visitors to boatbirder.com. The information can then be used to hopefully improve certain areas of the site. Please take a few seconds to take part.

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