Thursday, May 16, 2013

Evening Gems!

My Tuesday visit to Brandon Marsh started bright and sunny and almost my first notable of the day was a bubbling ♀Cuckoo as I passed Horsetail Glade. My usual morning walk around the Farm Pool area produced a ♂Cuckoo and the usual selection of Warblers, which included a Garden Warbler on the 'Tip' area and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling on the top reed bed.

Brandon Hobbies Performing Well!
Later in the morning a visit to River Pool Hide during a heavy shower produced around 50/60 House Martins low over the water and with the rain still falling when I reached Big Hide a drenched Yellow Wagtail took refuge on Willow Island, before making off when the rain subsided. Before the heavy persistent rain set in later in the afternoon Jim, Mike and I were royally entertained by (3) Hobbies hawking over the Newlands area. Also of note during Tuesdays visit: (5) Ringed Plover, (6) Little-ringed Plover, (3) Dunlin, (4) Redshank, (4) Oystercatcher and (7) Common Terns.

As birders were always excited when a period of heavy rain arrives right in the middle of any migration period and this was the case over Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with these conditions comes downed migrants!

Common Scoter Record Shot - Last Reported In 2005
Unfortunately for me I spent the best part of Wednesday in Liverpool and wasn't able to get to Brandon for my usual early visit. However, as luck would have it Fred Stokes happened to pay an evening visit and having just arrived back aboard the boat (having passed Brandon 30 minutes earlier) I received a phone message from Fred.

Thirty minutes later I had two Brandon firsts in the bag, with 3 Common Scoter, last recorded in 2005, a lone Sanderling, last recorded in 2010 which I missed and the bonus of a single Whimbrel on Willow Island, plus (2) Dunlin.

Whimbrel Over East Marsh Pool
Today, I really didn't expect to be scraping the frost from the windscreen at first light and aware of clear skies overnight I didn't expect too much when I arrived at Brandon some 30 minutes later. As it happens I was completely right, with no sign of the previous nights goodies and in fact the worst Plover count for some time, with only (1) Ringed Plover and (2) Little-ringed Plover recorded on East Marsh.

Mind you a couple of Kingfisher sightings and the Hobbies performing over Newlands once more is always a delight and other highlights included  ♂♀Cuckoo and my first Water Rail for a while. Plenty of Butterflies on the wing today which included various numbers of: Peacock, Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Small White, Brimstone and Comma.