Sunday, September 07, 2014

Brandon - Week in Focus

Spent most of last week working at Brandon Marsh helping to complete the strimming of the Islands and banks and even managed on Tuesday to make a start on the areas in front of the new Ted Jury hide! It was a wonderful surprise to encounter a couple of Water Voles on East Marsh Pool, prompting us to abandon the cutting of the vegetation in that particular area! Frogs, Toads and Field Voles were also in evidence and it was also encouraging to see plenty of fish in the pool. The 'Bittern Rides' are now cut into the reed beds in front of the East Marsh Hide for better viewing of our wintering Bitterns. However, as you can see from the image below it didn't take long for the local Water Rails to take advantage.

One of two Water Rails in the 'rides' on Friday morning.
There have been several Otter sightings over the past week and I've found several locations with fresh spraint, obviously a good sign that there's currently more than one on site. There remains a good deal of warblers still around too with Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all recorded in the first week of September, the latter two actually still in song. The first Cetti's Warblers have also started to call deep within the reed beds and out of sight as usual! Our Sand Martins have all moved on with over 50 juveniles ringed by JR this season in the nesting structure, a real success story. SwallowsHouse Martins and he odd passage Sand Martin continue to pass through but I've not managed to record any September Swifts thus far. Willow Tit's have also began to make an appearance, after what seemed a summer absence, with one on the Central Marsh Path and two at the new hide.

Wigeon slowly appearing.
Wigeon are beginning to make an appearance with eight recorded on one particular day and both Teal and Shoveler numbers continue to increase slowly. A flock of over forty Linnet were up near the farm area on Tuesday but only a lucky few managed to catch a glimpse of a Marsh Harrier, which passed through on Wednesday afternoon. Meadow Pipits are also starting to make an appearance with five seen in various areas over the week and one or two reports of Grey Wagtail, a Yellow Wagtail I could hear calling on Friday morning was never located.

Common Snipe
Waders have certainly been thin on the ground with a couple of Green Sandpipers, mostly on Teal Pool and a count of four Snipe on Friday morning is the highest for me this month.

Female Migrant Hawker
Finally, lots of Dragonflies on the wing with some excellent numbers of Migrant Hawker, along with Southern Hawker, Ruddy and Common Darter. It's also a good time to see Speckled Wood butterfly in the shaded areas around the reserve