Sunday, 25 March 2012

Brandon Marsh :: 25 March 2012

With Charlotte out playing tennis for the second day running, it was time for a visit and walk around Brandon Marsh. With kids in tow, we arrived for a late lunch in the Badger tearoom. Views of bird from here was restricted by one of the staff filling up the various feeder and tables outside the window - no nuthatch or great spotted woodpeckers today.

With ice-creams in hand, we set off around the reserve. The weather was stunning again - you just can't believe we are not in the middle of summer and that there are still few leaves on the trees. Immediately we saw kestrel and buzzard overhead, then geese on the golf course before we got onto the water and the various ducks and gulls. Best of all was the sight of a grass snake swimming passed the front of the hide, not far from a beautiful great crested grebe.

The reserve still seems quiet, perhaps waiting for the changing of the guard as migration kicks in. The change was brought home with my first sighting of a swallow this year, not far from the East Marsh Pool hide.

Great crested grebeTodays sighting numbered 38 and included: carrion crow, blue tit, great tit, magpie, robin, greenfinch, reed bunting, dunnock, woodpigeon, chaffinch, mallard, blackbird, black headed gull, buzzard, greylag goose, canada goose, long tailed tit, mute swan, shoveler duck, lapwing, moorhen, teal, cormorant, tufted duck, coot, great crested grebe, lesser black backed gull, common gull, raven, snipe, oystercatcher, little ringed plover, redshank, grey heron, pheasant, wren, kestrel and swallow.

Perhaps the whitethroat, chiffchaff and cetti's warbler will be out in larger numbers when I get back again - missed them all on this visit.

Farmoor Reservoir :: 19 March 2012

Well, it had come to that time of year; the annual car service and MOT. Unfortunately the boot release was also playing up and so it would not be a short visit. The garage is in Botley and so it was an early start at work followed by a lunchtime exit. By 12:30 I had dropped off the car and was on on my way for a stroll round Farmoor Reservoir. Not only a relaxing way to spend the afternoon but it turned out to be stunning weather too.

On arrival there was the matter of having lunch (packed), sorting out the car insurance and finally the car breakdown cover. This out of the way, I could chillax.

I've only ever walked around the Farmoor I on previous visits and so when I got to the far end I decided to drop down and have a look at the Pinkhill Meadow and hide - beautiful. As soon as I left the reservoir the number of birdcalls increased substantially, led by a pair of Chiffchaffs - my first sighting for the year. Must do this again with the family.

I was informed that there was a little gull out on the water amongst the black headed gulls but if it was I couldn't identify it.

ChiffchaffA relaxing afternoon which yielded 29 sightings, including: coot, mallard, black headed gull, mute swan, cormorant, gadwall, tufted duck, pied wagtail, carrion crow, great crested grebe, chiffchaff, wren, reed bunting, chaffinch, robin, magpie, blue tit, canada goose, rook, woodpigeon, dunnock, long tailed tit, moorhen, redshank, grey heron, blackbird, great tit, bullfinch and whitethroat.

When I got back to the garage the news wasn't too bad. Boot fixed, car serviced and MOT done with no reported problems. Not cheap but no more than quoted. Phew!