Monday, April 08, 2013

Encouraging Return

Water Rail In The Channel
With recent illness and holiday today's visit to Brandon Marsh was my first this month and so with a bitter easterly wind still blowing when I arrived mid morning I wasn't expecting too much.

I'd already planned to complete a full BTO species list today and so began with my normal route past the wind pump and on towards New Hare Covert. It wasn't long before things took a real upward turn when clear as day two distinct chorus of Willow Warbler cut through the usual Lafarge works din. A quick scan of the immediate area proved fruitless but nevertheless very happy to have heard my first at Brandon this year.

Redshank On Teal Pool
The whole place is still locked down in winter mode with very little in the way of new growth and it was a topic of conversation as I met Kevin Groocock just after the Sheepfield Gate. A short while later Kevin was good enough to call regarding a single Swallow near the wind pump.

New Hare Covert held a pair of Great-spotted Woodpecker in nesting mode, (2) Nuthatch, singing Goldcrest, singing Mistle Thrush and (2) separate singing Chiffchaff. The channel that flows off near the bench close to the Bluebell patch has also attracted a pair of nesting Mute Swan, so lets hope their more successful than last year.

Snipe Feeding On Teal Pool
The Wright Hide probably provided the best cover of the day and here (2) Little-ringed Plover were on Willow Island and also on the pool of note were: (3) Shelduck, (1) Great-crested Grebe and a pair of Oystercatcher. Gulls included (5) Lesser black-Backed, (4) Common and (15) Black-headed.

Probably a third singing Chiffchaff as I passed the path down towards the memorial garden and although a brief stop at Grebe Pool for a shot at Kevin's earlier Swallow proved negative, I was rewarded with my very own as I paused at the Saga sign overlooking Goose Pool. A second Swallow over Central Marsh and when I arrived at Teal Pool Hide a Green Sandpiper, Redshank and single Snipe were feeding on the mud.

Osprey Over Brandon!
Two Sparrowhawk in display over The Covert but the best of today's visit was undoubtedly a passage Osprey which I located from the Big Hide over towards the Baldwin Hide at height. The bird seemed to drop rather rapidly before moving off west, but not before I managed a few distant record shots. Two Water Rail and a single Little Grebe were the other highlights and water fowl included all the regulars with Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Teal and Gadwall all recorded. At one stage a Mallard with 10 young appeared in front of Big Hide before marching here family up the bank and away.

A walk around the Farm Field area after lunch produced two Common Buzzard, Kestrel, (3) Fieldfare and (3) Redwing. Finally, twenty minutes sitting of the bench by the wind pump hoping for my first Sand Martin drew a blank, but did produce a Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly and to end a very encouraging visit a third Swallow of the day overflew the Nature Centre as I left. Species 62