Friday, October 04, 2013

Staying Local

Temp - 18C - Breezy with Showers and Occasional Sunny Spells - Wind SW @ 14 Knots

I spent yesterday (Thursday 4th) with the work party at Brandon Marsh, where we finally began the painstaking process of ridding Carlton Pool of the dreaded Crassula helmsii. Otherwise known as New Zealand Pygmy Weed, an invasive pond plant first introduced to the UK in 1911 from Tasmania and damn near impossible to get rid off! Birding highlights: (149) Wigeon, (2) Grey Wagtail, (2) Chiffchaff and the first autumn flock of Siskin/Lesser Redpoll, with around forty feeding in the alder near the Baldwin Hide.

Tackling the dreaded Crassula helmsii on Carlton Pool!
Today and with recent early starts I decided to stay local and begin at a civilised hour this morning, taking in Draycote Water and Napton Reservoir. Arriving at Draycote around 8:30am my first birds of the visit were a couple of House Martin, which passed overhead while I was getting organised. As I came up the bank I met up with Keith Foster, who immediately put me on to a Ringed Plover which was feeding close in near the pontoons.

One of two ♀Goosander - Riding the wash
Conditions were quite blustery with cloud cover and there was a definite sign of showers in the vicinity. We set off along Farborough Bank with the usual Pied Wagtails recorded and along the grass banks around twenty or so Meadow Pipits. Overhead a dozen Skylarks, in fact by the time I returned to the car park there had been a decent passage, with around 40 or so seen during the visit. A couple of ♀Goosander and after a catch up with Tim Marlow, who'd been lucky enough to see a Great Skua here on Wednesday, we paused for a while to check out the fields to the back of Farborough Spit. Down by the fence in one of the nearby hawthorns, a small warbler turned out to be a Chiffchaff.

The dynamic duo of Richard and Pete next and stories of a Warwickshire first for delighted Richard, with a Four-spotted Footman in his moth trap the other morning, well done to him. Keith and I paused for a cuppa in the hide during a downpour, Toft Shallows having excellent numbers of Tufted Duck, Great-crested Grebe and at least a dozen Little Grebe. No sign of the now infamous, Albino Squirrel in the area!

Wheatear - Thank you to the lovely lady!
On route back to the car park, more Mipits and Skylark, plus a single Jay but nothing more of interest to report. A stop off in the cafe for a coffee, where a delightful lady who we'd met earlier in the hide mentioned a Wheatear she'd spotted on the grass bank along Farborough Spit. Not wanting to be outdone, Keith and I decided to back track slightly after coffee and picked up the bird just where the lady had said! Final bird of the visit while packing the gear away, a single Siskin calling overhead.

On to Napton Reservoir, which to be honest was almost devoid of any waterfowl, save for several Great-crested Grebe and a single Tufted Duck, plus the usual Mallard and Coots. Grey Heron over and more Meadow Pipits here on the fields with at least a couple of dozen, a single Skylark over and two Swallows passed through before the rain came! Still a few dragonfly on the wing despite the conditions, with Migrant Hawker and Common Darter recorded. Skipped Napton Hill and headed back aboard for a snooze!