Sunday, November 17, 2013

Patch Review

Increase in Goldeneye
Highlights over the last several days have been a Peregrine Falcon at Brandon Marsh on Thursday morning, followed a little later in the day by my latest ever inland Swallow, seen while working with the team on Carlton Pool. To be honest though, by the time I got onto it (busy strimming), it was a dot in the distance, but thankfully most of the guys had good views as it flew through. On board yesterday evening around 10pm, the unmistakable honking of Whooper Swans overhead the marina. One of the bonus's of having the hatches open on such a mild night.

Fieldfare - Large increase this past week!
Back to Brandon and Woodcock finally appear to be arriving in small numbers, with several sightings around the reserve and both Siskin and Lesser Redpoll are now well established, making good use of the alder seeds. Equally, Fieldfare numbers have increased dramatically, this on the back of earlier arrivals of Redwing, Goldcrest and our overseas Robins. Bullfinch numbers have also increased with (4)♀ and (2)♂ feeding near sheep field on Thursday morning. There is still a small visible migration of Skylark over the reserve, with nine counted on Thursday. Golden Plover have also been a regular feature more recently, with around fifty or so birds maintaining a presence on East Marsh Pool, (5) Snipe were also recorded today. Wood Pigeon, a bird not normally associated with migration, have also been on the move in big numbers.

Wood Pigeon - On the move!
Winter wildfowl have increased over the week too, the best personal sighting I've managed was this morning with (3) ♀Goldeneye, (3) ♂Goldeneye, (1) ♂Pochard, (3) ♀Pochard and of course both Shoveler and Teal remain in good numbers and are now emerging into full plumage. Wigeon have declined from the unprecedented numbers of early November, but fifty or so are a regular feature, dropping in occasionally late afternoon. However, we still await the arrival of this winters first Bittern sighting, last years initial arrival being November 2nd. Finally, a couple of Willow Tit calling near the inlet while walking back from Carlton Hide this morning are worth a mention. A bird on the UK's red-list but thankfully still a regular to Brandon Marsh.

Redwings - Stunning winter visitors!
I enjoyed a nice amble around Draycote Water on Friday, along with Keith Foster and Bob Hazell, on a beautifully crisp and flat calm morning. A couple of Shag were first seen atop the valve tower from distance and then by the time we arrived back at the sailing club, better views of the pair just offshore. Plenty of Meadow Pipit along Farborough Bank, a single ♀Goosander off Farborough spit and a very elusive Little Egret at the inlet were other highlights. Bob tells me that a Nuthatch we heard calling within the copse at the feeding station was quite a rarity for Draycote and of course watching the Tree Sparrows around the same area is always a treat, such smart looking birds! Other notables for the visit: Grey Wagtail, (4) Treecreeper, (8) Siskin, a half dozen Goldcrest and a single Yellow-legged Gull.