Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick Update

I've been finding it a real struggle of late keeping the blog updated with other commitments taking priority, but in the interests of continuity thought I'd better get a few notes down while I have a spare moment.

Great Norther Diver - still an attraction at Draycote Water
From a local perspective things have remained pretty much as was with the now long staying selection at Draycote Water of: Great Northern Diver, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser and Long-tailed Duck. A visit to Napton Reservoir on route home from Brandon Marsh yesterday produced of note a couple of ♂Goosander, two ♂Pochard and the welcome sight of my first Kingfisher at the reservoir for some considerable time. It seems that Saturday's storm has also had an impact, with one of the large trees at the southern end literally chopped in half!

Drake Smew - During a recent visit to Draycote Water
A little further afield a Hume's Leaf Warbler is causing a twitch at Ham Wall, apparently Warwickshire's first county record buts it's unlikely I'll get the opportunity to get over for a look.

Few diving ducks to be found but the dabbling ducks are still around with good numbers of Gadwall at Brandon
Brandon Marsh remains flooded out with little in the way of diving ducks on offer, likely due to the birds having the whole country to choose from during the current climate. The odd Woodcock can be found on site, normally inadvertently flushed while walking the perimeter of the Farm Pool reedbed and Jack Snipe have also been seen while the conservation team are out working. One bird which remains elusive is probably the only current Bittern on site. However, this bird seems to be a creature of habit and over the past several days can be found regular as clockwork just before dawn. Position yourself by the bench at the top of the track which overlooks Newlands reed bed and you stand a good chance of seeing the bird fly in from it's roosting point, probably somewhere on Swallow Pool. Another surprise during yesterdays visit was an early Oystercatcher, Brandon doesn't usually see it's first until well into February.

Dunnock - Now beginning to sing!
Finally, the marina has been playing host to at least a half dozen Tufted Duck, which regularly fly in to roost overnight before heading off mid morning. The adjacent fields are a haven for Fieldfare and Redwing, now ground feeding and at least a dozen Skylark were flushed over the weekend. The feeders continue to attract the local Tree Sparrows and at least one Blackcap is regular, a Chiffchaff can also be heard regularly along the hawthorn. The eerie call of Fox has also been a feature of late, the Dunnocks are starting to sing but the local Owls are a little quieter at present.