Friday, April 24, 2015

Week in Focus

Another work party day at Brandon Marsh on Thursday and after strimming Bee-bank and lunch in the Wright Hide, where Jim, Peter and I had our first Swifts of the year, a nice wonder around the reserve. Lots of warblers now on territory and several butterflies on the wing but walking the bund that runs along to the derelict farm area a bird caught the eye! A Pied Flycatcher gave three tantalising views as it flew along the bund before disappearing from sight. Unfortunately, after work and returning with more members of the team for a search the bird wasn't relocated.

A very regal looking Yellow Wagtail
I woke up on Friday morning to a Lesser Whitethroat singing at the bottom of our pontoon just after sunrise. Of course camera in hand and armed with the first coffee of the day I had to go and investigate. As per usual with these birds it led me a merry dance up and down the hawthorn and never even looked like showing. Even a couple of noisy Common Terns which arrived and drifted around the marina for a while didn't offer any photo opportunities, so breakfast it was. On route to the car park I did manage to put the camera to work when a very regal looking Yellow Wagtail was showing well on the west-side.

One of three Common Sandpiper at Draycote Water
I decided on another go at Draycote Water, in the hope that the flies had become less of an issue and as I turned into Tomlow Road a Barn Owl was day hunting and flew across the road in front of me! I spent the morning and early afternoon completing a circuit of Draycote with Bob Hazell and Keith Foster in very pleasant conditions, even the flies weren't too much of a burden. A couple of Yellow Wagtails were along Farborough Bank (4 in total), single Little Egret, two Common Tern were busy overhead and while Bob was on the phone a single Whimbrel dropped down just along the water line from us. Unfortunately the bird didn't stay long enough for Bob or I to attempt a photo and flew off towards the centre, emanating its unmistakable call as it flew. A Wheatear next at Farborough Spit and while Bob took yet another phone call, two Swifts flew high and north.

Sparrowhawk over Draycote
A Treecreeper at the 'board-walk' and as we emerged a large, probably female Sparrowhawk circled overhead. Good numbers of Blackcap around the circuit, each one scrutinised for Garden Warbler but sadly not. Other notables along the route included: (3) Common Sandpiper at 'The Inlet', (2) Sedge Warbler, (1) Grey Wagtail, (1) Lesser Whitethroat, a second Wheatear, a third Common Tern, several Yellowhammer and a couple of Tree Sparrows at the feeders. A worrying aspect to the visit was the complete lack of Hirundines during my stay with only a couple of Swallows and House Martins noted.

A stop off at Napton Reservoir on route home had Reed Warbler singing from the southern Reedbed, Sedge Warbler, ♂Bullfinch, Common Whitethroat, a brace of Lesser Whitethroat and across in the field through the second kissing gate a Tree Pipit, most likely the same bird I'd photographed last week.