Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pleasant Tuesday

Purple Hairstreak butterflies are like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along at once! Having never quite managed to connect with this shy and elusive species at Brandon Marsh before, I've now managed two separate sightings in the course of three days.

Purple Hairstreak - So difficult to pick out in the Oak!
A quick tour of the marina this morning before heading off for my regular Tuesday visit to Brandon Marsh had the long staying Yellow Wagtail on the west-side bund, plus (2) Yellowhammer, (5) Linnet, (17) Pied Wagtail and the usual congregation of Swallows and House Martins on the phone wires.

Young Blackcap - Feeding up on the elder berries
Brandon started off pretty slow but things improved as the morning wore on, lots of mixed flocks feeding up on the ripening berries, in particular the Elder fruit and these included Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. In fact even at this late stage in the breeding season both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff were both heard in song today.

Although East Marsh Pool was initially quiet, Water Rail, two Snipe and a single Greenshank were found after we returned from the screen area, where the only species of not were Reed Warbler and Kestrel.

By mid morning plenty of butterflies and odanata were on the wing, providing the perfect opportunity for a good troll of the reserve. Goose Pool was awash with Red-eyed Damselfly, which were mainly resting on the floating patches of vegetation. Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker, Brown Hawker and Common Darter were also noted throughout the reserve.

The River Meadow provided my second Purple Hairstreak of the week and on the river Avon itself, two Water Rail were also recorded. The walk past the farm area had two Hobby hunting over the farm pool reedbed and butterflies of note included various numbers of Whites plus: Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Small Heath, which are now showing in good numbers.

Small Tortoiseshell at Napton Reservoir
Finally, a last look at Teal Pool before leaving had an increase in Green Sandpiper, now six and a cuppa in the nature centre before heading off had the only two Small Tortoiseshell of the day, which were seen on the Buddleia from the window.

Young Great-crested Grebe at Napton Reservoir
A stop off at Napton Reservoir before home threw up a pleasant surprise in the form of a single Clouded Yellow butterfly. I'm sure the fisherman thought they were watching a demented birder, as I spent a good 15 minutes chasing around for that all important record shot, which I duly failed to secure! Four juvenile Common Tern came through during my stay and a single Grey Wagtail was another highlight. I spent a final few moments taking shots of two very young Great-crested Grebe before ending a really enjoyable day.