Sunday, January 15, 2017

Diary Update #2 ~ 2017

Leading on from my last post I had a very lazy Wednesday and spent Thursday 12th with the volunteers at Brandon Marsh. We decided to go with the full team and complete the required works at West Marsh (Steetley Hide), hopefully before the rain set in! This included replacing the Kingfisher perch and taking out invasive willow and birch throughout the reedbed, at the same time clearing the small island directly in front of the hide! The weather was dreadful but a nice fire kept spirits high. I also ringbarked or Girdled several trees at the top end. Brandon has lost far too many of it's iconic dead trees in recent times and it's worth preparing a few more of the larger trees for the future.

More willow bashing ~ This time on West Marsh!
After work Thursday and tea in the nature centre Alan Boddington and I decided to track back to the Steetley Hide and spend an hour. It was also a good opportunity to check out our handy work too. While here a very prompt tweet from Paul Cashmore alerted us to a couple of Waxwings, literally a ten minute drive at Wolston village and so off we went. We weren't disappointed, with two birds dropping down occasionally from the treetops to feed on whats left of a Sorbus Trees berries. Sadly too dark and dank for any decent photos.

Friday 13th January... I had a late start, stopping briefly at Wolston for another look at the Waxwings before ending up at Brandon Marsh in the company of Bob Lee. The birding was pretty dire to be honest, a count of ten Pochard the best on offer but was brightened considerably by the sight of two, possibly three Otters, which swam past directly in front of East Marsh Hide. A cracking sighting and one which I managed a very short video of (above).

One of the many Bewick Swans wintering at Slimbridge!
Saturday 14th January... Dee and I made our annual January visit to WWT Slimbridge. Not everyones cup of tea but a place we very much enjoy. Its a perfect opportunity to see species you may never see in the wild and also an excellent chance to study the species which we do often encounter, but at close range.  It also has several good hides to visit which can boost the year list without too much effort. Today mine was extended by Bittern, Crane, Barnacle Goose (110+),  pair of Peregrine,  Ruff, Snipe and the sites speciality, Bewick Swans.

Wild Crane's ~ These likely released in the Somerset Levels from the 'Great Crane Project'