Its always nice wherever you are in the world when your the finder of something scarce, but it's even more exciting when you find it on your home territory, and in particular somewhere you regard as your second home.
|♀Woodchat Shrike - Scarce Visitor|
I arrived at Brandon Marsh just as the sun was creeping over the horizon and took my now usual route across the 'Tip' area and around Farm Field. The first highlight of my day was actually seeing my first Garden Warbler of the year, strangely something that had eluded me over the previous week.
|♀Woodchat Shrike With Breakfast!|
A Cuckoo was calling but I never quite made eye contact and I stopped for while as I always think it's nice sometimes to let the birds come to you. Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Common Whitethroat all made an appearance and after moving off once again a check of Old Hare Covert and down towards the River Avon revealed a Starling with nesting materials, Green Woodpecker and the usual hoard of cackling Jackdaws.
The farm area was pretty quiet save for (2) Linnet and a few early morning Swallows, quite a rarity to Brandon a Collard Dove was sitting on the phone wires across on Brandon Lane. On the reed bed Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away over towards the Willow Wood.
|Lesser Whitethroat - FINALLY!|
What followed next was strange enough as I could have easily missed this bird! Pausing on the top bund which crosses the reedbeds to listen to the Gropper, I had a final scan of the Farm Pool Reedbed and immediately spotted something I know very well from my trips to France and Spain, Woodchat Shrike. Unmistakable in the bright morning sun and nowhere to be seen when I passed the exact area minutes before. A really exciting find and only the second in Brandon's history, I actually missed the last one in 2009. Also worth a mention and with attention firmly on the Shrike, a Muntjac Deer went almost completely un-noticed, watching us watching the Shrike!
With business in the late morning I managed another couple of hours heading off around the rest of the reserve, finally managing a few shots of the Lesser Whitethroat, which has been singing its heart out for well over a fortnight near the 'Olive bench'. Great to see the Marsh Marigold in full flower, along with the 'Cuckoo Flower
' Ladies Smock and the Bluebells are also out in New Hare Covert.
A few Butterflies on the wing mid morning and these included: (5) Comma, (4) Peacock, (1) Brimstone and (1) Small White. My first actual view of a Gropper this year with a brief glimpse of a reeling bird in the Swallow Pool reeds opposite the golf course. No time to do the pools any justice today but several Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were all enjoying the thermals however, I still await my first Hobby of 2013!