Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Brief Encounter

I left the boat in heavy rain, arriving at Brandon Marsh just after 8am for my first visit of the year. Some of the team were already out and about and by the time I'd caught up with them Martin had told me of a Bittern he'd seen flying on to the Newlands reedbed. Amazingly, this is the first sighting this winter! The guys had planned to do some work over on Newlands but I was keen to see what was about and so Martin and I left them to it.

As you would expect from a reserve situated on the River Avon floodplain the whole place was bursting at the seams and Martin and I abandoned an attempt to get down to the East Marsh Hide, the paths completely deluged and well over our wellies. Martin headed off and I decided to take my old route passed Sheep-field and on into New Hare Covert. As I passed the Sheep-field gate a quartet of Bullfinch with 2♂ and 2♀, a couple of Greenfinch and by the time I emerged from the Covert I'd further recorded: Buzzard, (2) Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, (11) Siskin and Goldcrest.

One of four Goldeneye - Canon SX50
I finally managed to bypass the floods late morning and eventually got through to the Carlton Hide. It was here that I had the good fortune to have yet another close encounter with a dog Otter. This time I had my trusty Canon SX50 HS with me and managed to get a short HD video of the event. I must say I'm really enjoying carrying this amazing little camera around with me, it's great fun to use.

Solitary Barnacle Goose on East Marsh Pool - Canon SX50
At Carlton Hide I also managed a couple of Willow Tit, and another Goldcrest before settling at East Marsh Hide for morning coffee. Willow Island is completely immersed, well almost with around a hundred or so Lapwing seemingly perched on the water! A couple of Snipe on Wigeon Bank and (4) Goldeneye with 1♂ and 3♀. A solitary Barnacle Goose was among the Canada Geese, Little Grebe, (2) Sparrowhawk, Water Rail heard and a couple of Wigeon were other notables.

A brief visit to a very high Napton Reservoir on route home produced of note: a couple of ♂Goosander, (3) Pochard and various numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing, now ground feeding having almost demolished the berry crops!