Friday, November 08, 2013

Sunshine and Gloom!

Today's star attraction - The infamous Draycote Albino Squirrel
As we're all aware this year has produced a bumper berry crop but I have to say that with several visits locally over the past week I can already see that our winter thrushes are making inroads! At Brandon Marsh on Tuesday good numbers of Redwing were making short work of the hawthorn berries near sheep field and at Carlton Hide a group of Fieldfares had similar ideas. At least a half dozen Bullfinch were also making good use of the excess. Skylarks are continuing to move south, although in fewer numbers than previous weeks and Golden Plover are also beginning to appear inland, with over a hundred or so at Brandon on Thursday, a good fifty of which hung around East Marsh Pool for most of the day. A single Ruff, which occasional goes AWOL was once again showing well and a Green Sandpiper was also heard but not seen.

Grey Wagtail  - Is that a fly he's eyeing up?
Today a morning visit to Draycote water in glorious sunshine, followed by an afternoon visit to Brandon Marsh, by which time the rain and gloom had completely set in. First Draycote, starting off with a couple of Treecreeper in the car park when I met up with Keith Foster. Along Farborough bank there still remains a good number of Meadow Pipit, along with the usual Pied Wagtail, and a couple of Grey Wagtail, which gave a few photographic opportunities. Out on the water distant views of a ♂Goosander over near the inlet, along with a couple of 'Redheads', closer in and a whole-lot more obliging, one posing nicely in the morning sunshine.

Goosander enjoying the morning sunshine!
I'm always surprised by the sheer amount of Great-crested Grebe that reside at Draycote and today was no exception, I didn't have the patience to count them all but they must have been well in excess of 200. Tufted Duck were also well represented, along with a single Little Grebe, several Gadwall and a couple of ♀Goldeneye. After Bob Hazell joined us we decided to walk as far as the hide (Sparrowhawk on route) in the hope of catching up with the infamous albino squirrel. Sure enough and right on cue I managed to finally get a couple of decent images for the scrap book. By now the sun had gone and with the sky looking laden we made our way around to the windsurfers car park, where a small number of Brambling had been showing. Thirty odd Golden Plover over the valley as we made our way, but sadly no sign of Brambling, having been forewarned by Richard Mays that a Sparrowhawk had crashed the party. We did manage a couple of Goldcrest, (six in total for the day), a lone Chiffchaff and a second Sparrowhawk before the rain came.

Another Albino shot to finish!
A short stay at Brandon Marsh in the rain and gloom after leaving Draycote, the highlights of which were: Yellow-legged Gull, Water Rail, Kingfisher, (3) Snipe and Goldeneye, which to me looked to be a different bird than the one seen of late! No sign of yesterdays Golden Plover and just prior to heading off a group of twenty or so Wigeon ended the day.