Monday, March 31, 2014

Playing catch-up!

With family commitments keeping me up in the north-west for the weekend my birding exploits over the period have been non existent. Fortunately, the chaps at Brandon have kept me abreast of the situation and of course the inevitable happened when I received a text on Sunday morning, 'Osprey over East Marsh Pool', many thanks to FS for keeping me up to speed!

Willow Warbler - Another Amazing Journey!
Notwithstanding I arrived at Brandon Marsh at first light this morning, a little later than normal thanks to the onset of 'British Summer Time'. With the present airflow over the UK my hopes were for a few new arrivals dropping in and I began with a circuit of the 'Tip' area, Farm Field and Top Reedbed.

A couple of Blackcap were happily singing away when I reached John's allotment and as I turned along the bund towards the old farm buildings the song of my first Willow Warbler of the year. A single Redwing, becoming few and far between now, Skylark, (2) Linnet and (2) Chifchaff, plus signs of the many cherry trees beginning to take blossom along the Brandon Lane boundary. As I turned to cross between the Farm and Top Pool reedbeds quite a scruffy looking Stonechat appeared on top of the protruding willow but my eye was then taken to a second bird low in the rose-hip. This turned out to be my second first of the year, a Sedge Warbler, a bird I normally hear first at this time of the year before actually connecting with.

Blackcap - One of today's new arrivals?
From here, two Great-crested grebe on Grebe Pool and then a leisurely stroll down to the East Marsh Pool through New Hare Covert produced three more Blackcap, a definite influx since Friday and a second Willow Warbler to the rear of Wright Hide. A Little-ringed Plover was calling over the pool, occasionally settling on Willow island, but had moved on by the time I reached East Marsh Hide. Other notable's on the pool: (2) Great-crested Grebe, (4) Redshank, (4) Oystercatcher, (1) Shelduck, (2) Wigeon and (8) Snipe. After a trip to Carlton Pool, where I'm sad to say that the dreaded Crassula helmsii is making an unwelcome return, I settled back at East Marsh Hide.

The remainder of my stay in the hide had my first Stoat at Brandon for some time, when a cagey looking character came up to the left of the hide, posing briefly but sadly too fast for me to grab the camera. Also the encouraging sight of two Sand Martin taking nesting materials into one of our nesting structures. Before heading off, a nice chat with Mr Potter and a walk through Horsetail Glade which gave up two more singing Blackcap and a singing Goldcrest. Butterflies on the wing included (3) Small Tortoiseshell, (7) Peacock and a single Comma.

Finally back at the Marina a singing Willow Warbler and a hatrick of year firsts for the day, when a ♀Orange Tip butterfly graced the car park.