Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Diary Update #14

Monday March 13th 2017 ~ A visit to Brandon Marsh produced my first Sand Martins of the year with a single bird over East Marsh Pool mid morning, three more sightings followed! To add to my Brandon year firsts two Redshanks were also noted on the pool, fast asleep along Wigeon Bank. Of interest the visit also produced; (2) Green Sandpipers, (4) Oystercatcher, (6) Snipe, (2) Little Egret, (3) Pochard (3) Goldeneye, (3) Shelduck, (2) Great Crested Grebes, (2) Wigeon, drake Goosander, Peregrine, Water Rail, and singing Chiffchaff! A Brimstone butterfly was also on the wing!

A brace of Grey Partridge at Wolston, Warwickshire!
Thursday March 16th 2017 ~ Worked with the conservation team at Brandon Marsh on the chainsaw and managed to complete my Farm Reedbed Project (clearance of invasive willow from reedbed) in time for the arrival of our summer visitors! On route home stopped at Wolston, finally connecting with a brace of Grey Partridge, recently reported by Paul Cashmore.

Grey Wagtail at Wenchford
☔🌈  Monday March 20th 2017 ~ A Brandon team Away-Day! A thoroughly wet one too in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire! We began at Wenchford picnic area in search of Dipper, which we managed without much effort during last years visit but forgive the pun, dipped on today! The only birds of note while searching were at least four Grey Wagtail.

Hawfinch at Park End by John Osbourne
By the time we arrived at Park End Green for Hawfinch the rain had subsided a little but with the conditions the only birds noted were two high in the canopy, a male a female!

Mandarin Ducks tree climbing at Canop Ponds
With the rain now back to it's heaviest and spirits waning we arrived at Canop Ponds, where only the hardy souls ventured from the minibus. Those that did, myself included enjoyed some classic views of Mandarin Duck tree climbing, remarkably even a pair of Gadwall joining in. Other species of note here: Marsh Tit and Little Grebe.

Drake Mandarin ~ Canop Ponds
Our next adventure was New Fancy Viewpoint and as you can imagine the conditions here were abysmal. After a short stay we abandoned our efforts for Goshawk and decided on a drive out to Ashleworth Ham for reported Green-winged Teal and Garganey. Ashleworth Ham, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust for those who are unfamiliar lies west of the River Severn, on the Ham Road between the villages of Ashleworth and Tirley. This is part of the floodplain and attracts, as you would imagine, lots of wildfowl in the winter. An excellent visit here and can you believe, in glorious sunshine. Sadly another dip with no sign of Garganey but after a short while the Green-winged Teal did show, with most of the team enjoying at least a brief view. Other species included Circa 20 Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, (5) Snipe and a good selection of winter wildfowl, including Pintail.

Tuesday March 21st 2017 ~ A few hours at Brandon Marsh and my first Little-ringed Plover of the year. Plus Caspian Gull and a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly on the wing!