Friday, March 28, 2014

Calm During The Storms!

With high pressure over Scandinavia feeding in rather chilly easterly winds across many areas along with a scattering of heavy and thundery showers, the last few days have proved to be quite frustrating on the migration front. However, there's better news for the coming weekend with a change to brighter and warmer conditions as the winds veer more south-easterly.

One of today's singing Chiffchaffs - Canon SX 50
An early start Thursday morning at Brandon Marsh before heading off with the work party gave me an opportunity for a look around the Farm Field and top reedbed. A Yellowhammer, quite rare to Brandon was in full song up near the farm and other notables were: (4) Redwing, (2) Linnet and a Goldcrest. As I worked my way around the reserve and on through New Hare Covert a couple of Blackcap were in song. A further sighting of a Marsh Harrier as I passed Newlands may well have been the one I first spotted on the top reedbed on Tuesday, but it was too distant to gain a comparison, so the jury is out. Other highlights were (4) Lesser Redpoll near the Wright Hide and a Red Kite, which drifted south over the River Avon while the team were working on the screen to the back of Carlton Hide.

The Zander Boys!
Arrived at a very misty Brandon this morning (Friday) and although my cup is always half full I wasn't too surprised to find no further spring arrivals. In fact it was one of the quietest visits I've had in some time! Notable's for the morning were a couple of Grey Wagtail, (4) Lesser Redpoll, (1) Blackcap, (3) Cetti's Warbler (heard only), a bakers dozen of singing Chiffchaffs and single House Sparrow, another rarity to Brandon, which greeted me as I passed through the top gate. Plenty of Hirundines late morning, but all Sand Martin and at least a half dozen Buzzard were on the wing. My predictions for the weekend: The first Swallows and Willow Warblers at Brandon and possibly even an early Reed Warbler or two, naturally I'm out of town for the duration!

Back at the Marina the 'Zander Boys' were doing their annual stunning of this invasive species! Each year they pass down the pontoons using the above pictured piece of kit. Electricity is passed through the water stunning the fish which then float to the top and can easily be caught. After extracting the Zander other native species simply wake after a very short period and swim off, fascinating to watch.