Friday, August 07, 2020

Normality Returns ( almost)

After a six week break from blogging and social media, mainly taken up by boat refurbishment it's back to a little normality for me. As the day draws ever closer towards our big move up to Scotland in October I'm confident I'm still on course to have the boat ready for the sales pontoon when that sad but exciting day finally arrives.

Talking of normality, yesterday the Brandon Marsh Voluntary Conservation Team were finally allowed back on-site at Brandon Marsh by the 'Trust' and I joined the team for some 'social distancing' well-needed path clearance. It was hard work but great fun and of course lovely to meet up once more with the guys. As you can imagine the paths and indeed reserve itself are not looking at their best!

It's been so frustrating for the BMVCT not to be allowed back earlier by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust who in my opinion have handled the whole situation in relation to the Brandon Marsh closure badly. But frankly, that doesn't surprise me! As a dedicated team who've been associated with the site for well over 50 years, I feel we've not for the first time been totally neglected and kept entirely out of the loop. In fact when the 'Trust' finally decided to allow a very limited number of members back on to the reserve two days a week the first we knew was through social media! Anyway, the politics and relations between the BMVCT and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are not what this blog is about so let's get to the wildlife.

Record shot
Record shot of Little Stint ~ First since 2009
Having arrived ahead of the team to visit the John Walton Hide the day started with a 'Brandon Lifer' for me in the form of a Little Stint, the first at Brandon since 2009, which of course I missed having been on my travels. Other highlights of the day included two Spotted Flycatchers and a terrific view of a Roe Deer, which ran out in front of us while walking the 'Tip' area. Hobby, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Blackcap were all noted and a single Grass Snake. Sadly it was raining when I went to search for Butterflies later in the afternoon but Small Heath and mating Common Blues were nice finds.

One of two Spotted Flycatchers at Brandon today
Over the closure period, it's been hard to keep track of how the summer has faired for the regular nesting species at Brandon but I've managed to ascertain that it's been a mixed bag. Common Terns, for example, have had an excellent year with 7 pairs fledging 16/17 youngsters, a good few of which were still on site yesterday.

Sadly, not so good for our Sand Martins with an inexplicable failure of both nesting structures, this compared to many previous successful years! One pair of Oystercatchers fledged a single youngster and both Little-ringed Plover and Redshank sadly failed to fledge any youngsters.