Sunday, April 20, 2014

Contrasting Visits

Some very contrasting visits over the Easter period with a glorious Good Friday morning at Brandon Marsh, followed by low cloud and a bitterly cold north-easterly to contend with today. Then to end the day today, a rainy but rewarding walk at Draycote Water.

Sedge Warbler -now in song around the reserve.
Firstly an early morning Good Friday visit to Brandon and unfortunately both Wheatears discovered by Martin on Thursday morning across on the farm field had moved on. However, I'd managed Cuckoo, (3) Whitetroat and a couple of Sedge Warbler on the reed beds before heading off for the pools.

Little Egret - Teal Pool
On Teal Pool a Little Egret was showing well before heading off east and shortly after a Green Sandpiper made an appearance. East Marsh Pool had a good deal of activity with (4) Little-ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, (2) Oystercatcher and (3) Redshank. Good numbers of House Martin over the pools mixed in with the Sand Martins and Swallows, seven my best count. A real surprise came as I was making my way out along the Central Marsh path, when a Marsh Harrier came up from the reeds not yards in front of me!

A very early visit today (Easter Sunday) but the low cloud and biting north-easterly wind seemed to dampen the usual dawn chorus and keep most birds well under cover. A couple of Cuckoo heard from different areas of the reserve while I was on the top reedbed can only enhance the fact that Brandon is one of the top sites for these iconic birds within Warwickshire.

Green Sandpiper - three on the reserve Sunday
My first Reed Warbler of the year when one was very vocal near the River Pool Hide and most of us missed an unprecedented flypast of (5) Little Egrets, which Fred observed from the East Marsh Hide while the Sunday boys were all down at Carlton. Grasshopper Warblers and Common Terns have been recorded by most of the team over the last few day, although I seem to be dipping on these presently. Other highlights for me today: Ruff, (4) Little-ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, (3) Green Sandpiper, (3) Redshank, (2) Oystercatcher, (3) Sedge Warbler and Yellow Wagtail.

Yellow Wagtail - I cannot recommend the Canon SX 50HS Bridge Camera enough. Taken in rainy dull conditions! What a cracking little camera.
Finally, Draycote Water and Dee and I took a stroll in the rain along Farborough Bank as far as the hide and back. At Toft Bank several Arctic Terns were enjoying the blustery conditions and as we approached the hide two Red-legged Partridge flew out from the wood opposite. At last Dee caught up with the now infamous Albino Squirrel and a count of seven Yellow Wagtails on the way back to the car park ended a very rewarding walk.