Friday, September 18, 2015

Brandon Marsh

With the weather looking quite encouraging early morning I decided to dust off my Canon 7D and my big lens and head over to Brandon Marsh. More recently my sole companion has been my trusty Canon SX50 but to be honest I was a little disappointed with it during my recent visit to Spain. Excellent camera tho it is the eyepiece can be quite cumbersome in harsh light and I missed out on a few good opportunities.

Comma enjoying the plentiful fruit
I spent little time in the hides today deciding to check out the peripheral of the reserve, with so many mixed flocks to search through you just never know. The first excitement of the day came while passing through New Hare Covert when a Hobby drifted quickly over the treetops, a distressed Swallow trying desperately to struggle free from it's grasp. The mixed flocks produced lots of Goldcrest, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and even Treecreeper within, but nothing out of the ordinary. Speckled Wood butterflies were numerous, (18) in total and also recorded were (4) Green-veined White, (3) Comma and a single Gatekeeper. Lots of odanata on the wing with Migrant Hawker, Southern Hawker and Common Darter well into double figures, (2) Ruddy Darter also noted.

Migrant Hawker - Double figures today
I took the opportunity to nip over to the Ted Jury hide to check out how the heavy plant work was proceeding on the phase 3 reedbed project and glad I did. While there a small raptor caught the eye flying low over the reeds and my immediate thoughts were Merlin. The bird perched briefly in a distant tree, no scope today, but the views I had only increased my first thoughts. Luckily as I walked back along the track to the Carlton Hide I bumped into Bob Wetherall and Terry Southgate, who had thankfully seen the bird too from the Carlton Hide, my 1st Merlin at Brandon in six years!

Spotted Flycatcher - This one from the tops of Willow on the 'Tip' area!
Final numbers for the day included two Spotted Flycatchers, the first at treetop level in the willows which run along the 'Tip' area and Willow Wood, the second in the hawthorn on Farm Field. Over (20) Chiffchaffs with several singing, a flock of (11) Siskin, (8) Blackcap, (4) Nuthatch, (2) Sparrowhawk and (6) Buzzard. What little time I did spend in the hides produced of note (3) Snipe, (1) Green Sandpiper, (2) Kingfisher and a juvenile Great-crested Grebe on East Marsh.

Spotted Flycatcher - This one in hawthorn along Farm Field!