Monday, March 07, 2016

Diary Entry #16

Crisp, clear and frosty mornings have been at somewhat of a premium this winter and so when I peeked out of the hatch shortly after 5.30am to listen for Tawny Owls I knew I was off to Brandon. An amazing starry sky and just the tiniest sliver of the waning moon in the pre-dawn light, plus two distant Tawnies calling as I walked to the car park.

Brandon Marsh was full of birdsong when I arrived: Song Thrush, Wren, Chaffinch and Great Tit the main orchestra. I decided to take my usual route past the wind pump and around towards New Hare Covert. Here (7) Redwing in the hawthorn, at least two drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the covert and a Marsh Tit with it's unmistakable call. Over the reed beds Reed Buntings were also in song, along with distant calls of Water Rail and a closer Cetti's Warbler. I made a quick visit to the Wright Hide to check out East Marsh Pool, which was reasonably quiet, the highlights being (4) Oystercatcher, (4) Shelduck, (2) Great Crested Grebe and a large selection of Gulls, which yielded nothing unusual.

Goldcrest enjoying the glorious sunshine!
The main area of activity from here was between the River Pool path and East Marsh Hide. Here the Alder was awash with Redpoll, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit, (3) Goldcrest, (2) Treecreeper and a Willow Tit. An hour in East Marsh Hide with Fred discussing his recent trip to Spain (Sparrowhawk and (5) Buzzard while here) before heading off to Carlton and Ted Jury Hide. Along the right-hand reeds which run along the River Avon between Carlton and Jury Hides the distinct calls of Bearded Tit! I stayed a while but never quite managed to connect before things finally fell silent.

From here on to Horsetail Glade, where a second Marsh Tit of the day and a very vocal Nuthatch. A circular walk around the Farm and Top Reedbeds to finish produced (2) Fieldfare and I displaced a Woodcock while passing along the top bank.

One of two Grey Wagtails at Wolston
Finally a stop at Wolston gravel extraction on route home produced (30+) Linnet, single Grey Partridge and (2) Grey Wagtails. As a sub note the wife arrived home this evening very excited having watched a Barn Owl at close range quartering the dog walking meadow as she parked up!