NAPTON ON THE HILL WEATHER

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fuente de Piedra

Temp - 28C/31C - Windy with Scattered Cloud, then Clear - Wind ENE @ 18/22 mph
Laguna de Fuente de Piedra
The Laguna de Fuente de Piedra is a vast saline lake almost 7 kms in length and 2.5 kms in width. The lake, together with the areas of scrub, marsh and reedbeds that immediately surround it, has been given the status of Reserva Natural and has been fenced off to prevent human interference. That said there's a modern visitors centre with viewing gallery and plenty to explore, along with a couple of hides to investigate.

When you arrive at the centre you can't help being taken aback by the shear amount of Greater Flamingo that live and breed here. An initial scan of the lagoon from the observation area yielded small flocks of Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, a couple of Black-necked Grebe, Little Egrets and various numbers of Teal, Gadwall and Mallard. 


One of three Whinchat's during our visit
A central track runs left from the centre a leads between mixed agricultural fields and ends at a railway crossing around a kilometer away. By now it was almost blowing a gale but it didn't stop a Great Reed Warbler from appearing briefly, offering short but excellent views. A single Cattle Egret seemed wedged in the treeline, wings askew but after a short battle it managed to settle in the swaying trees. Before long a check of the fences around the perimeter gave up a couple of Spotted Flycatchers and at least two pair of Stonechat. Overhead small passages of Meadow Pipit, with a few settling on the fences, plus a constant flow of both Red-rumped and Barn Swallow. It seems that the terns have already moved on but a steady stream of gulls, mainly Black-headed with a few Yellow-legged. The fields on the opposite side of the lagoon are always worth a look but unfortunately unlike our last visit in April 2012, when they had just been ploughed, the crop was yet to be sown. Still, we did manage Crested Lark, Northern Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail.

Peek a Boo! - a gorgeous Little Owl
Heading back past the centre a lone Common Kestrel overhead, the call of Cetti's Warbler and a distant Booted Eagle, plus an opportunity to search a few of the larger trees and rocky knolls. Here, perched in one of the trees and to Dave's delight a gorgeous Little Owl, which gave a few photographic opportunities before making off and perching on a nearby rock.

One of several Stonechats
It's always a risk coming here in the late summer, and although the lagoon is fed by several small streams, it is dependent on adequate rainfall to supply other flood meadows. Unfortunately, as we approached the boardwalk, which was rich with waders during our last visit, the lack of water was very obvious. However, we still walked down to that area and were rewarded with a single Lapwing♂Stonechat and around a half dozen Yellow Wagtail, which included at least one juvenile Blue-headed Wagtail.

Juvenile Woodchat Shrike
Moving off the boardwalk and heading off to investigate the lagunetta hide a juvenile Woodchat Shrike perched nicely on the fencing. A good deal of water still here and this is where we eventually found the waders. Three Spotted Redshank, along with Redshank, Sanderling, at least two dozen Greater Flamingo, Kentish, Little-ringed and Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Black-winged Stilt, Avocet, Dunlin, Little Stint and a lone Common Snipe.

Record shot of Long-legged Buzzard!
Once you have investigated this part of the site you can drive around the rest of the lagoon, It's best you do this in an anti-clockwise direction. As you can imagine it can be a stop start affair with lots to investigate and as it happens this was the case. Short-toed Eagle, Whinchat, Zitting Cisticolas and Marsh Harrier were all recorded. At one point at Mirador de Cantarranas a group of around six Marsh Harriers were mobbing a single large raptor, at first sight an Eagle Sp. was suspected but after returning home I believe it to be a Long-legged Buzzard, and although not uncommon these days around this area, another Andalusia first to end this trip!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Guadalhorce Revisited

Temp - 26C/30C - Clear - Wind S @ 8 mph

It was back to Guadalhorce on Friday morning, arriving well before the heat of the day at around 9.30am. We decided to head first for the eastern section of the reserve, having not done so on our previous visit on Wednesday.

Little Egrets
Crossing the footbridge the usual Little Egrets were fast asleep along the river bank, two Cetti's Warbler called but remained hidden and several Red-rumped Swallow, along with the odd House Martin were busy feeding low over the reeds, a few Common Swift passed high overhead. At this stage the first large raptor of the day turned out to be a Honey Buzzard, which drifted nonchalantly over and out towards the sea.

Violet Dropwing - Is this guy wearing sunglasses?
As we approached the first of two hides, this one overlooking the Laguna Cassilas, a dragonfly deep red in colour took my eye and after a short while I managed a few shots of a Violet Dropwing (thanks to GR for I.D.). A lone Reed Warbler in the reeds ahead, a couple of Sardinian Warbler and the usual Zitting Cisticolas. The water contained around eight Pochard, a single juvenile White-headed Duck, several Coot, three Little Grebe and a lone Snipe. Dave set eyes on a large raptor approaching from the west, a Booted Eagle, which was strangely mobbed by a lone Kestrel, before both birds headed off.

Zitting Cisticolas - Not too much zitting at this time of year!
On to the second hide which overlooks the wader pool and just prior to entering several noisy Monk Parakeet, a real specialty of Guadalhorce! The pool contained a couple of Little Egrets feeding close in, four Grey Heron, at least three Little-ringed Plovers and a single White Wagtail, which flew after a short stay. As we continued our vigil a dashing Kingfisher and then a number of Spotless Starling came up in the distance and it wasn't long before the culprit, a ♀Marsh Harrier drifted close by, causing the usual mayhem. At this stage a bird in flight heading straight for us turned out to be a Little Bittern, which gave great views before turning and dropping into the distant reeds, where the hell was my camera!

Kestrel
Continuing on to check out the old river, the Rio Viejo, which held plenty of water and here a good number of waders to be found on the mud. The first, around a bakers dozen of Black-winged Stilt, several Dunlin and a lone Greenshank. Further scans produced a single Little Tern, fast asleep on one of the raised muddy areas, and feeding on the peripheral were Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Also recorded before heading off to the sea, Little-ringed Plover, at least three Kentish Plover, a lone Ringed Plover, several Yellow-legged Gulls and two Crested Lark.


Sanderling - Dee's favourite
As we approached the beach the temperature was now into the high 20Cs with plenty of fisherman, walkers and several, shall we say exhibitionists! Avert your eyes Dee!! A number of gulls, mainly Black-headed with the odd Yellow-legged, along with the only other tern of the day, a Sandwich Tern. Dee's favorite next with a single Sanderling scurrying around and by the time we reached the turn back into the reserve, a single Whimbrel flew overhead and down onto the flats.

Audouin's Gull - regular at Guadalhorce
A few Barn Swallows began to move through as we made our way to the final hide at Laguna Grande, and I managed at least a single Pallid Swift, before a welcome sit down in the hide. From here a Black-necked Grebe was showing well towards the rear of the pool, three Greater Flamingo, which included a single juvenile, at least two Shoveler and a good number of gulls once more which included: Little Gull, a single Audouin's, two Mediterranean and several Yellow-legged. Additional waders from earlier included Common and Green Sandpiper.

A stop at the Laguna Escondida before heading off held ♀♂White-headed duck, several Little Grebe and during our stay a single Teal flew in. The walk back to the car produced a dozen or so Greenfinch with several Goldfinch around and a single Serin.

**It's worth noting that if visiting Guadalhorce NEVER park on the rough road areas near the footbridge! Our research did mention several break ins in this area and you are advised to park at the church and walk down! Sadly this was proven first hand when a group of Dutch birders we'd met during our stay parked within this area. As we passed them on the walk back to our car, which was parked at the church, all their suitcases and belongings which they had  left inside had been taken!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cantera los Arenales

Temp - 24C/27C - Clear - Wind S @ 6 mph

On Thursday morning Dave decided that he'd quite like to take Dee and I up above Mijas and into the surrounding sierras, an area he'd recently walked with the local ramblers. The area in question starts at a disused quarry Cantera los Arenales and from here, where thankfully the temperatures are several degrees lower, you make a steep climb up through the scrub and into the Pine forests. Although only a few around today, It's worth noting that this is a popular mountain bike area, so it's worth keeping your wits about you!

Record Shot of one of six Honey Buzzard passing through.
A pretty quiet start to begin, a lone Kestrel over the quarry, but it wasn't long after entering the forested area that things began to improve. The first bird of note was a single Rock Bunting, which flew up into the pines from a rocky crevice, sadly not hanging around long enough to be photographed. As we made our way further into the forest a noisy Jay could be heard from deep within, one or two Coal Tits were singing from the tree tops and a Wren was seen skulking low in the vegetation. Small groups of birds then began to emerge and during one stop to investigate, a small group of Long-tailed Tits had a least two Crested Tit within.

Short-toed Eagle over Hoya de Malaga
More small flocks of foraging birds to be found and these included good numbers of Chaffinch with little gems within, the best of which were Firecrest and Short-toed Treecreeper. At around 1000ft the paths open up to produce stunning views across the Hoya de Malaga and it wasn't long before the first large Raptors of the day appeared. Our attention was first drawn to a couple of Ravens harassing a large bird, which turned out to be a Booted Eagle, one of three seen during our walk. A couple of Short-toed Eagle next, a surprise Red Kite, followed soon after by the superb sight of six Honey Buzzard, which enjoyed the thermals before moving off south, a great raptor migration spectacle!

Clouded Yellow - Just prior to liftoff!
Before long it was also apparent that the area was an excellent habitat for butterflies and dragonflies with Swallowtail, Small Copper, Common Blue, Clouded Yellow, Large White, Silver Studded Blue, Grayling and Wall Brown all recorded.

Booted Eagle
After dropping back down towards the quarry a smaller dark looking raptor came shooting in low, and before moving off high into the sun I managed a brief close up in the bins. At first I was a little unsure but having since sent an image I captured while the bird was high up to my birding guru JR back in the UK, the general consensus is Black Kite.

Black Wheatear - An Andalusian 1st
Finally, an Andalusian first for me just prior to arriving back at the car! Mountain bikers do have their uses when it comes to birding it seems, as without them these birds may well have gone unnoticed. The birds in question were a couple of Black Wheatear, which flew up from the quarry workings after being flushed, perching nicely for several minutes and enabling me to obtain several record shots, a great end to a good day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Evening At Guadalhorce

Temp - 27C - Clear - Wind E @ 8 mph

Having finally shaken off my heavy cold it was time to venture out and so in the late afternoon Wednesday, after the main heat of the day had passed, Dee, Dave and I took the relatively short drive down towards Guadalhorce. This reserve is quite close to Malaga airport and begins at the mouth of the river Guadalhorce, it consists of old gravel pit workings and ponds make up a wetland habitat with coastal access.

Audouin's Gull
After parking at the local church we began our walk by accessing the site at the footbridge which takes you easily across the river. The first birds of note were a Kingfisher on the river, a single Kestrel and a couple of Monk Parakeet, in fact during our walk there were a number of these noisy marauders. Several Little Egrets were entrenched along the river bank and the familiar sound of Cetti's Warbler from within the reeds, but as per usual not seen. A couple of Sardinian Warblers, a bird that seems to enjoy giving me the runaround, and a number of Zitting Cisticola before arriving at the hide which overlooks the Laguna Escondida. 

♀Marsh Harrier - Golden head glistening in the evening sunshine!
Just prior to entering a Marsh Harrier was giving the surrounding pools a good old scare. However, a couple of Cormorant perched on a large dead tree just seemed to look on in amusement. A large raptor appeared from the south-east and although we only managed a brief glimpse, could well have been the tagged Osprey from Germany, which I'm told regularly winters here. From the hide a collection of Coots and Little Grebe and a pleasant surprise with a quartet of White-headed Duck, including juvenile

White-headed Duck on Laguna Escondida
From here we took the path that leads around to the hide at Laguna Grande, bypassing the eastern arm. The walk to the hide produced a flock of around twenty or so Greenfinch and a couple of Crested Lark also took flight from the scrub area.

Black-winged Stilt - Laguna Grande
The hide which overlooks the Laguna Grande provided a nice selection of waders and these included a good number of Black-winged Stilt, several Common Sandpiper, a selection of both juvenile and adult Ringed Plover, a lone Little-Ringed Plover, a single Turnstone and a late arrival, when a gorgeous looking Greenshank dropped in.  On the water a handful of Shoveler, a couple of Little Grebe, a mixture of Grey Heron and Little Egret, plus a pair of Greater Flamingos, what seemed to be a mother and juvenile.

Mediterranean Gull - Laguna Grande
The Gulls, which were plentiful offered many Black-Headed, but a good scan provided a single Audouin's, a single Mediterranean and Yellow-legged, of which there were several, including a good few juvenile. During our stay at the hide there seemed to be a constant passage of Collared Doves and over in the distance, where the ♀Marsh Harrier was performing once more, some large groups of Spotless Starling. An excellent first visit, even more enhanced by a constant passage of Red-rumped Swallows and Common Swifts.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Nature From The Terrace

Panoramic views from the terrace!
We arrived at Dave's villa in Mijas after a 4 hour drive from Torrevieja in the early evening of Monday. I'd forgotten what a stunningly beautiful location this is, with panoramic views of the town of Fuengirola below, the Mediterranean shimmering to the south with Africa in the distance, along with high Sierra's to the north, you run out of superlatives to describe the place.

Red-rumped Swallow
It's a birders paradise and I find myself spending hours just sitting on the patio watching the passing groups of birds in the clear blue sky: Red-rumped Swallow, which take respite on the phone wires in the early morning, Common Swift along with odd Pallid and always hopeful of an elusive Alpine. Small pockets of Bee-eaters occasionally pass by and a couple of skittish Sardinian Warblers have provided a small challenge in trying to obtain a decent image. Peregrine, Kestrel, the occasional Little Egret but strangely none of the larger raptors such as Booted or Short-toed Eagle, plentiful on my last visit in April.

Swallowtail butterfly
Butterflies, moths, geckos and lizards are another grateful distraction, with Swallowtail and Spanish Festoon butterflies plentiful, beautiful moths such as Crimson Speckled Footman in the evenings and the most intriguing of visitors, Wild Boar! Dave has had several visitations recently and while sitting out enjoying our first evening we were alerted to snorting and munching from below the wall. At least two of these nocturnal beasts were almost among us, just managing to pick out the faintest of shadows in the moonlight as one shot by, closest I've ever, or wanted to be!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spain, Torrevieja

Temp - 31C - Clear - Wind S @ 3 mph

Greeting from Spain and a quick update on how the current trip is progressing. We arrived after our crack of dawn flight to Alicante on Friday 13th, not being a superstitious chap it was no surprise we got here safe and sound and without mishap.

However, only hours after arriving I went down with a heavy cold and along with temperatures in the 30C's our birding has been limited thus far. Nevertheless, we've managed a few hours out and about at La Mata Natural Park Lagoons just on the outskirts of Torrevieja and today a mid morning trip to El Hondo, around a 30 minute car journey.

Red-rumped Swallow at La Mata
First birds of note at La Mata were a couple of Southern Grey Shrike, Hoopoe and a hand full of Crested Lark. By the time we reached the hide, around a 20 minute walk from the nature centre, the heat haze was unbearable, making recognition by scope quite a challenge. Sadly, the birds are a good way off from the hide at present but we did manage several Kentish Plover, Little-ringed Plover, a couple of Grey Plover and a decent number of Sanderling and Dunlin along the shoreline. Some large flocks of Spotless Starling were also feeding and Gulls included Yellow-legged and Mediterranean. On route back to the car park at least 3 Swallowtail butterfly were on the wing and a short drive around the reserve produced at least 15 Red-rumped Swallow.

Greater Flamingo on the Lagunas
Today we took the 30 minute drive out to El Hondo reserve before the temperatures rose. Turning into the driveway at least a half dozen Bee-eater were perched on one of several dead trees. On the recently ploughed field a lone Cattle Egret, a few White Wagtail and overhead the odd Zitting Cisticola! No surprise to find the nature centre closed after parking up and so we decided on a short visit to a couple of hides. Here the sun was in a direct line and so scoping was difficult once more, the lack of muddy areas was also a definite minus. Most of the wildfowl were a good distance away but Black-necked Grebe, Red-crested Pochard, Little Grebe and  Green Sandpiper were all noted. At least four Marsh Harrier, a fly over of eight Glossy Ibis, two Kestrel, Little Egret and Cattle Egret were the other highlights.

Juvenile/1st winter Slender-billed Gull
Finally, feeling like crap once more we took a stop on route home to check out the large numbers of Greater Flamingo on the local mudflats. Lots to see here with Slender-billed Gull,  Sandwich Tern, Common Tern and Little Tern, plus Turnstone, Common Sandpiper, Kentish Plover, Avocet and the surprise of the day, 2 Caspian Terns fishing over the open water.

Tomorrow we drive further south to Mijas, just south of Malaga and a week with my old mate Dave and hopefully I can throw this damn cold!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Autumn Lull

Generally speaking its been a much quieter period both locally and at Brandon Marsh over the last week or so. The tree line is starting to show early signs of colour change and with the weather now taking on a much more autumnal feel about it, with north-westerlies taking control, the coast is the place to be right now. There have also been the first reports coming through of Lapland Buntings in the north.

Water Rail at big hide!
With the east marsh Islands and banks having had there annual trim at Brandon last week, the chances of spotting anything of interest have been greatly improved. Water Rail are now a regular feature moving across the water line in front of big hide.

Solitary Pintail at Brandon
Another autumn visitor taking advantage of the main pool over the last several days has been a rather pristine looking Pintail, showing well during my visit yesterday. The odd Wigeon have begun to drop in and Snipe numbers continue to increase slowly, with (14) during my visit yesterday.

Snipe at big hide - numbers now on the increase
Another sign that autumn is upon us are Robins in song and if your visiting Brandon over the next few weeks you'l notice a gradual build up as our resident birds are joined by immigrants from Scandinavia, continental Europe and Russia. Also worth a mention during my visits Monday and Wednesday: (3) Green Sandpiper, (1 Adult - 3 Juv) Common Tern, Willow Tit, Blackcap, Goldcrest, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, a late record Oystercatcher and at least two Kingfishers, which have been extremely active.

Grey Wagtail at Napton Reservoir
Nearer to home there have been no further sightings of the Napton Reservoir Spotted Crake. However, during a visit on Monday I did manage Reed Warbler, (4) Grey Wagtails, at least (8) Yellow Wagtails and a solitary Sand Martin, which passed through with the now dwindling numbers of Barn Swallows and House Martins. A Lesser Whitethroat has been present at the marina over the past few days and one or two Meadow Pipits have been heard passing over.

For me it's the chainsaw at Brandon Marsh this morning and then it's off to sunny Spain this Friday 13th so stay tuned,  good job I'm not the superstitious type!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Hot Norfolk Wednesday!

I was joined by Ken Sherlock, another Brandon regular, for an intense days birding on the north Norfolk coast on Wednesday, arriving at our first stop of Holme Dunes shortly after 7am in glorious weather.

Curlew - good numbers today!
Parking at the Beach Road car park near the Royal West Norfolk Golf Club our first bird of the day was a Hobby, when one was hawking over one of the greens as we approached the boardwalk. From here we took the well maintained coastal footpath, eventually ending up at the Holme Bird observatory. There are a range of coastal habitats including sand dunes, freshwater pools, grazing marsh and saltmarsh to explore. Much of the site consists of natural habitats maintained largely by coastal processes.

Wall Brown - Lots along the coastal path.
Even at this early hour the heat was building, allowing a good deal of butterflies to take to the wing. These included Wall Brown, Small Heath and Small Tortoiseshell, a single Clouded Yellow flew east across the sand dunes. Along the shore line a constant flow of Terns were noted, Little, Sandwich and Common, the latter included good numbers of juvenile. A Marsh Harrier flew high in from the sea and during an extended sea watch Arctic Skua and Great Skua (bonxie) were seen, the bonxie giving a Lesser black-backed Gull a really hard time! Up towards the observatory a small fall of Meadow Pipit and the return walk produced a Mediterranean Gull, which flew west over the dunes. A list of other species compiled upon returning to the car park contained: Barn Swallow, House Martin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Bullfinch, Little Egret, Bar & Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover and Curlew.

Little-ringed Plover
By the time we reached RSPB Titchwell the temperature had reached the high 20's and here we met up with Pete Worthy, another Brandon team member who happened to be staying locally. Along the west bank path towards the beach at least (5) Spoonbill, including a juvenile on the freshwater marsh, two further Marsh Harrier, plus Cetti's Warbler, Linnet, Juvenile Shelduck, Ruff, Ringed & Little Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, several Curlew Sandpiper, Avocet, Snipe and Dunlin. Lunch on the beach produced juvenile Eider on the sea, but unfortunately with the tide well out a reasonably quiet period produced nothing more of note.

Ruff 
Late afternoon, Norfolk Wildlife Trust Cley Marshes in 29C and a good look at Pat's Pool. Here at least (5) Curlew Sandpiper, Green and Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Dunlin and our only Little Stint of the day. Wildfowl consisted of Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Shoveler. A reported Pectoral Sandpiper was apparently showing well from the Bishop's Hide, unfortunately just as we were about to move across for a look a juvenile Peregrine dashed our hopes, scattering the whole pool in typical fashion. At Bishop's Hide a painstaking search for the now displaced Pectoral proved negative, the third time I've bombed on a Pectoral in Norfolk, (3) Egyptian Geese were the final notables, ending a long and fruitful day.

SUBNOTE:

In typical fashion while enjoying Norfolk, news came through locally of a Spotted Crake at Napton Reservoir. After the initial disappointment, I'm happy to report that thanks to John Judge I caught up with the bird just before dusk this evening, a super little shy bird and well worth seeing. On another positive note, at least 35/40 Yellow Wagtails also came in to roost at the reservoir during my visit, another local mystery solved.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Not So Gloomy Monday!

The day began while having coffee in the dinette when I was alerted to the call of Yellow Wagtail. To my absolute amazement as I opened the blinds two birds were perched on neighboring boats. The first on next doors spotlight and a second looking for insects on one of the fenders a couple of pontoons over, fortunately both birds stayed put while I darted for the camera.

Perched on neighbors spotlight
Looking for insects!
Along the surrounding hawthorn and bramble Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Linnet, a dozen or so Goldfinch and a single Lesser Whitethroat. The reed bed produced the usual Reed Buntings, which included several juveniles.

Pied Wagtail (Juvenile)
Goldfinch
The phone wires were buzzing with at least fifty or so Swallows during my walk and the Pied Wagtail roost, which was just dispersing held will over eighty birds, including another (4) Yellow Wagtails!

Barn Swallow - Ready for the off!
A good local day was rounded off later this afternoon when firstly a Red Kite drifted over towards Southam, closely followed by a Peregrine, which the many Swallows seemed to see off, safety in numbers perhaps! Also of note: A couple of juvenile Common Terns.






A poser to end! Which of the above is the Willow Warbler and which is the Chiffchaff? Or are they both the same!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Impromptu Visit!

Taking the boat out late on Saturday afternoon to meet up with Narrowboat Enigma on the Grand Union canal I'd planned to give Brandon Marsh a miss this weekend. However, after getting woken around 3.30am with one of my buoy's grinding in the stiff breeze (can be quite painful that!) and seeing a crystal clear sky and a nice wind, the signs looked good for 'things dropping in', and so I was on my way.

A scout of the marina grounds at sunrise had at least (4) Yellow Wagtails mixed in with the Pied. I had no idea that these species mixed with the usual marina roost, but over the past few weeks this seems to have been the norm. Still hearing singing Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler around and a Yellowhammer on the wires was the only other bird of note.

Whinchat - A Brandon year first
My decision to visit Brandon paid off immediately as I reached the main gate, when a bird atop one of the willows among the top reed bed caught my eye! A quick call to JR with news of a Whinchat had him over in quick time, even managing to drag Fred from big hide, where he'd just been lucky enough to photograph a couple of Otters and fortunately catch up with the eclipse Garganey I reported on Thursday.

Still a number of Whitethroats still to be found!
The 'Tip' and farm areas were awash with warblers, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat all recorded, a Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Nuthatch were also seen along the walk to the farm. Four Common Buzzards were constantly in the air and calling over Old Hare Covert, I suspect at least two were juvenile, reasonable evidence for a nesting pair at Brandon?

Jim had a couple of Lesser Whitethroat from Carlton Hide, but unfortunately I missed out on these after a brief search however, the sight of a Barn Owl on one of the box steps was an encouraging sign. Teal Pool produced (6) Green Sandpipers, (4) Snipe and (2) juvenile Water Rail.

Normally shy Bullfinch offered good views!
An hour in Big Hide before heading off home had of note juvenile Little-ringed Plover and a very obliging Bullfinch, normally a shy bird but this one right in front of the hide. To end a really enjoyable session a couple more juveniles, when two Ruff dropped onto East Marsh Pool.