Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Brandon Return!

A welcome return to Brandon Marsh this morning and no sooner had I turned into the lane than the heavens opened. With the rain turning even heavier I decided to make a quick dash to the East Marsh Hide, forgoing my usual migrant hunt around the farm and top reedbeds.

Cardinal Beetle
Amazingly, almost the first bird of the day turned out to be a Wood Sandpiper, when immediately after opening the hide flaps one dropped onto Willow Island. There was no point venturing from the hide so I decided to concentrate my efforts this morning on the pools. Firstly, in the hope that the heavy downpours might drop more migrants in, but also to catch up with the news when the Tuesday mob arrived.

During the morning I managed a decent count of waders with: (3) Little-ringed Plover, (4) Ringed Plover, 2 pair of Redshank including (4) young and 2 pair of Oystercatcher with (3) and (4) young respectively. In addition at least (3) Lapwing chicks were on Tern Island. Common Tern numbered (3) on and around the rafts and an excellent count of (5) Shelduck, with birds taking a great interest in one our man-made nesting holes! A couple of Yellow Wagtail also settled for a brief stay.

The rain turned to heavy showers mid morning so we took a walk to the screen area and Carlton Hide in between. It's great to hear the reedbeds, bramble and hawthorn alive with birdsong: Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Garden Warbler all noted.

Banded Demoiselle
After one particular downpour there seemed to be a sudden influx of Cardinal Beetle, with many on the nettles and I also managed to try out the macro with the Canon SX on a Banded Demoiselle, which rested long enough to get close up.

Small Copper
I eventually managed a tour of the farm and top reedbed area without any rain interruption after lunch. As I passed Willow Wood the call of a Red-legged Partridge from inside came as a surprise. At one stage a Cuckoo was calling and perched briefly on one of the dead tree's before moving off.

With the sun shining and the heat building a few butterflies took to the wing and Small Copper, Comma, Orange-tip, Green-vein White and Brimstone were recorded. A Drinker Moth caterpillar was also discovered near the 'Olive Seat'.