Monday, March 09, 2015

In Anticipation!

With the recent south-westerly winds things are finally beginning to hot up around the country with the first arrivals of Sand Martins, Ospreys and Wheatears. For me and of course most birders it's an exciting time to be out in the field with every visit filled with anticipation during spring migration.

Willow Tit - Several sightings bodes well for the Brandon project
Plants are springing to life at Brandon Marsh with Primrose, Lesser Celandine, Snowdrop and Coltsfoot all in bloom with Marsh Marrigold close behind. There's some good bird movements too at present and visits over the weekend and today have been quite productive. A Saturday morning session threw up a couple of pristine looking Chiffchaff, along with a count of ten Lesser Redpoll, soon to disperse. A couple of Willow Tits were found around the River Pool path, in close proximity to one of our specially designed boxes and this bodes really well for our ongoing Willow Tit project. Oystercatchers, ranging from two to six at times are now established on east marsh and it's hoped that like previous years there on site to breed once more.

Cetti's Warbler - At least two on territory at Brandon
Sunday morning a Marsh Tit gave himself away calling near Sheep Field and my first singing Chiffchaff along the path towards Carlton Hide. The wintering Bittern, proving so elusive recently, has been on the move with a couple of sightings, including great flight views from the Ted Jury Hide, along with equally good views of a Water Rail directly in front. At least  two Cetti's Warblers seem to have established territories and are calling regularly and during my ongoing tour three pairs of Bullfinch, two pairs of Goldcrest and a single Linnet near Olive Bench!

Corn Buntings in Warwickshire, a rare treat!
This morning trios of Pink-footed Geese and Shelduck, plus a single Dunlin on East Marsh Pool before Jim picked out a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull among the Black-headed Gulls! A couple of Great Black-backed Gulls too over the weekend, March can be a very lucrative month for Gulls at Brandon. After which Jim and I headed off to check out some Warwickshire Corn Buntings. On arrival we were greeted to a birding frenzy with 100+ Stock Dove, even larger numbers of Yellowhammer, at least twenty Corn Buntings and to top it all a hunting Merlin attacking the flock, awesome stuff!