Spent the best part of an enjoyable day touring Brandon Marsh with our former BMVCT chairman Paul Norman, meeting in East Marsh Hide early morning. Amazingly it was Paul's first visit to the reserve in over three years.
Juvenile Little Grebe on a gloomy East Marsh Pool
Before Pauls arrival a scan of the Islands revealed a small selection of waders including a single Ruff, (6) Snipe, (2) Ringed Plover and a couple of Common Sandpiper. Numbers of Teal and Shoveler seem to be building on the pools and also of note, two Pochard and a young Little Grebe. A Mandarin Duck later found asleep on the Island, which I tweeted at the time as a female, is actually a male in eclipse. Thanks to Paul Cashmore for the photo. Teal Pool was extremely quiet, recently a haven for Green Sandpiper but none today, best while here a pristine looking Sedge Warbler briefly. At least four Chiffchaffs were actually singing on route to Carlton and Ted Jury Hides and feeding on the ripe elderberries, Blackcap, Bullfinch and more Chiffchaff. Paul hasn't actually seen the Ted Jury hide since it was erected just over two years ago and so it was nice to get his thoughts on both the hide and the phase 3 reed planting project! While at the hide a Greenshank was constantly calling but we never quite made contact.
One of the young Green Woodpeckers around the 'Tip' area!
After a good catch up and lunch at the nature centre we took a tour of the old 'Tip' area, Farm Pool and the top reedbed. A Hobby was a nice surprise perched up in one of the dead trees overlooking Horsetail Glade and at least six Green Woodpeckers, including juveniles and a single Marsh Tit before we arrived back at the centre. Plenty of Swallows and several House Martins around the reserve, including a late family of Swallows, which are almost ready to fledge at the centre, lets hope they make it!