Sunday, March 31, 2013

Blank March!

Typical morning view from aboard!
Having been hammered by a real bout of man-flu over the last 48 hours I was determined to drag myself out this morning no matter what. Another reason for wanting to get out today was the fact that I can't remember the last time I've failed to record local Sand Martin, Swallow or Willow Warbler in the month of March.

It seems that over the past weeks the weather routine has resembled something similar to ground-hog day. I wake up to a frozen canal and beautiful sunshine, the canal thaws, the cloud comes late afternoon, the skies then clear, temperatures plummet and the canal freezes over once more!

Fieldfare moving through
When I finally stepped off the boat this morning I was greeted by a cacophony of Fieldfare passing overhead. By the time I reached the car park Linnet, Redwing and Meadow Pipit were also among the flock ground feeding on the top meadow. I also managed to pick out a single Chiffchaff within the Hawthorn, once again only calling and not in full song.

When I reached Brandon Marsh I noticed a good few birds ground feeding on the 'Tip' area and decided that instead of making my way to the hides I'd have a walk down to river meadow and the farm area in the hope of catching any spring arrivals. Nearly all the ground feeders were Redwing, along with (2) Song Thrush and (8) Goldfinch.

Chiffchaff (still not singing)
Old Hare Covert held a dozen or so Jackdaw, several Starling and (3) very frisky Great-spotted Woodpecker, their drumming and calling constant. However, the best was a lone Brambling in flight which disappeared into the covert and which I was unable to relocate. As I walked around the Farm Field area Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard and Kestrel were recorded along with another 'hweeting' Chiffchaff. A couple of Nuthatch were calling high up in the Poplar and when I arrived back at my car in the volunteers car park for a coffee no less than 6 Jay were having a real set-to in Horsetail Glade.

Finally catching up with a few of the chaps on my way to the hides it appears that once again things have been happening during my absence, with no less than three separate Marsh Harriers recorded, along with Woodcock and Chiffchaff actually singing. The best I managed during my brief visit to the hides was a single Little-ringed Plover on East Marsh and Chiffchaff (not singing) on the Oak tree next to Carlton Hide!