Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dreary Day!

An incredibly quiet birding day both at Brandon Marsh and locally with stops at Napton Reservoir and Napton Hill on route home.

Battle-Scared Red Deer on Napton Hill
A misty dank drizzly morning greeted me at Brandon Marsh and the usual energetic dawn chorus was once again subdued, with most birds deciding to keep a low profile. However, I did manage a distant Cuckoo, a few singing Reed Warblers around the Farm and Top Reedbed, and even a Skylark helped out on an otherwise dreary walk back to the car for coffee.

Things brightened up a little weather-wise for my next walk, which took me past Sheep Field, on through New Hare Covert and into Wright Hide. The Covert produced a little more activity and with families to feed Great-spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper and Nuthatch were all busy foraging away.

Napton - Great-crested Grebe
A first look at East Marsh Pool failed to throw up any surprises, except for the fact that the usual Hirundines and Swifts, usually down on the water during these conditions, were very few in numbers. Plovers were also thin on the ground with only (3) Little-ringed and (1) Ringed to be found.

A trip to the screen area with the usual Tuesday regulars did provide a little hope, when we lingered for a good while listening to a possible Marsh Warbler, only to come away entirely unconvinced. A second trip for me with the guys around the 'Tip' area and Farm Field, this time in the company of Jim, Martin, Bob and Adrian, plus our resident plant guru Mike Lee, came up with a dreaded Spanish Bluebell, yet another invasive species and one which requires monitoring.

The rest of the days notables included: ♂♀Cuckoo, Hobby, (7) Common Tern, (3) Redshank, (4) Oystercatcher, (2) Garden Warbler, Sparrowhawk and (3) Buzzard. Hirundine and Swift numbers did pick up around mid morning and a welcome flypast of Kingfisher.

Reed Bunting
Napton Reservoir was equally as quiet with water levels well up since my last visit, perhaps even threatening some of the nesting Warblers. Lesser Whitethroat, Little Grebe, GC Grebe, Yellowhammer and a few smart looking Reed Bunting were the best of of my visit, with not a Gull or Tern to be found.

Finally Napton Hill, which was unbelievably quiet and despite the sun finally breaking through on occasions and plenty of flying food in the churchyard, hardly a bird to be found. The sun did bring out several Green-veined and Large White Butterflies, and a walk to the windmill and down to the old brick works was pleasant enough, with the Highland Cattle to keep me company, plus the superb sight of a well battled Red Deer. However, still no sign of Spotted Flycatcher, which despite now arriving in coastal areas, have yet to disperse.

For a guy who's cup is always half full it's difficult to stay positive on my worst birding day for some time and don't get me started on the weather!