Sunday, 13 December 2015

Draycote Water :: 12 December 2015

A windy day to be going round Draycote Water, and the constant threat of rain, but the chance of seeing the drake smew had pushed me on. Wind into my face round to the hide brought me only a sighting of one of the great northern divers, a reward in itself on any other day. LapwingGood numbers of ducks on the water and wildfowl around the edge. Some birds taking refuge in the rocks around the water's edge.

Passed the valve tower and still no sight of the smew. While scanning the water a kingfisher shot across the surface of the water and passed me, stopping at the valve tower outlet. Another great northern diver (becoming commonplace round here) and back to the visitors centre. No smew but plenty of birds, Great Northern Divermost starting to congregate for the roost around the pontoons and near water.

Species noted (38) included: blackbird, black-headed gull, blue tit, canada goose, carrion crow, common gull, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great crested grebe, great northern diver, great tit, grey heron, greylag goose, kestrel, kingfisher, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, moorhen, pheasant, pied wagtail, robin, rook, starling, teal, tufted duck, wigeon, woodpigeon and wren.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Farmoor Reservoir :: 04 December 2015

After three long weeks, including a trip to China, it was time for a day off. Grey PhalaropeReports of a long staying (now pair of) grey phalaropes took me off to Farmoor Reservoir. Spots of rain as I arrived so waited just a few minutes for it to pass. Up onto the path and soon came across the pair of phalaropes feeding along the waters edge, seemingly un-phased by my presence. I was joined by a few others to watch as they progressed back and forward in front of us. Walked around F1 further and had the opportunity to talk with a volunteer from WkWT Brandon Marsh and spot the red-necked grebe.

Grey PhalaropeA most enjoyable visit, despite the arrival of rain again as I left to sort out my car down on the Cowley Road.

Today's sightings (21) included: blackbird, black-headed gull, carrion crow, coot, cormorant, fieldfare, great-crested grebe, grey phalarope, grey wagtail, lesser black-backed gull, little grebe, magpie, mallard, moorhen, pied wagtail, red kite, red-necked grebe, redshank, redwing, tufted duck and woodpigeon.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Draycote Water :: 21 November 2015

A cold walk around Draycote Reservoir. Temperatures dipped to just above freezing but were accompanied by a bitter wind. Met a couple of birders heading for the Visitor Centre cafe and they let me know that heading clockwise would probably allow me to catch greater northern diver, scaup and goosander. Great Northern DiverThe common scoter was meant to be around the pontoon outside the Visitor Centre but it wasn't visible from my viewpoint.

Good numbers on birds and quite a few cormorant to eliminate as possible great northern divers. Soon spotted a female pintail foraging on her own. No sign of the GND but while watching a group of goldeneye and goosander caught a glimpse of the scaup. Unfortunately it dived as I pointed it out to a nearby birder and I lost it again.

Common Scoter - femaleNo GND on the trip round to the valve tower and getting to the point where the sun was dropping quickly so headed back to the Visitor Centre and passed along the footpath in the other direction. In only 100m I found the common scoter, then round the bend, in fading light, I spotted the GND. A successful day!

Sightings (32) included: black-headed gull, carrion crow, chaffinch, common gull, common scoter, coot, cormorant, goldeneye, goldfinch, goosander, great-crested grebe, great northern diver, lapwing, lesser black-backed gull, little egret, little egret, magpie, mallard, meadow pipit, moorhen, pied wagtail, pintail, reed warbler, robin, rook, scaup, starling, teal, tree sparrow, tufted duck, woodpigeon and yellowhammer.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Grimsbury & Pitsford Reservoirs :: 31 October 2015

An alert on the phone told me that @grimsbury_birds had found a black redstart on my local patch - at Grimsby Reservoir. Black redstartPopped by, meeting Jason Coppock who was already in attendance. Unfortunately, though showing well, stayed at some distance throughout. Photo hampered by distance and light but recognisable - Jason's video was quite special though (view here).

Left to go and see if I would add Great White Egret to my year list; five had been reported at Pitsford Water. Never been there before, but will certainly go back. Great white egretA good 7 mile circular walk might make it an enjoyable long afternoon one weekend. Caught up with distant views of the GWE on the far shore and later slightly closer from a hide. So many birds on the water. Eventually glimpsed the Slavonian Grebe that someone on-site had mentioned, although missed it on the first pass as it seemed to be diving more than it was on the surface. Two for the UK life list on the same day and in different places!

Also managed to add grey wagtail and redwing to the year list.

Sightings at Pitsford Water (32) included: mute swan, cormorant, canada goose, greylag goose, lapwing, wigeon, coot, carrion crow, mallard, black-headed gull, little egret, starling, tufted duck, great-crested grebe, great white egret, grey heron, coal tit, redwing, blackbird, woodpigeon, shoveler, teal, chaffinch, wren, slavonian grebe, common gull, sparrowhawk, great tit, yellowhammer, robin, dunnock and pochard.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

RSPB Arne :: 27 October 2015

Again on our own waiting for eldest daughter to finish for the day. We decided to head over to RSPB Arne but on getting to the site the rain crashed down; no way to start a walk round the reserve, even if it started through woodland. Off we went to Corfe Castle, well to see the castle of course but also to grab an early lunch. Rain was due to clear by around 1.00pm and a window of 2hrs dry would allow us to make a quick circuit of the reserve.

Getting back to the reserve the rain had indeed stopped and off we set. Sika deerThe first sighting we had was of grey squirrels; normally we might have been taken with them but we had been spoilt with reds the day before. So many squirrels in singles and up to fours. Then we passed fields and woods containing sika deer. They seemed quite happy when feeding at the other end of fields but when we encountered groups in the woods they were obviously keen to maintain an acceptable distance from us.

Good ranges of habitat from woodland, then moorland, then coastal, then moorland and then back to woodland. From the coastal turn we started seeing all manner of birds with goldcrest being added to the year list. BramblingFrom the Visitor Centre we also noted siskin and brambling in the fading light around the feeders. Some firecrests were leading some birders a merry dance around the car park but we unfortunately had to get on our way before catching up with them ourselves.

Well worth coming back again soon.

Sighting (28) included: woodpigeon, brent goose, little egret, oystercatcher, mallard, redshank, wren, carrion crow, black-tailed godwit, black-headed gull, cormorant, great black-backed gull, herring gull, nuthatch, curlew, coal tit, great tit, chaffinch, magpie, starling, goldcrest, long-tailed tit, robin, greenfinch, siskin, brambling, blue tit and dunnock.

Brownsea Island :: 26 October 2015

Our eldest was off to her course at University for the morning and so we had an early breakfast and headed for the ferry to Brownsea Island. The weather was overcast but it was not due to rain. A smooth crossing on the 10.00am boat and paid up for the pleasure of landing.

From the Visitors Centre we could see across a bay where hundreds of Avocet and Black-tailed godwitsavocets and black-tailed godwits were sleeping and feeding; at one point the flocks were flushed an showed in quite a spectacular take-off and landing. Near the front, feeding in the shallows was spotted redshank, a life tick. On into the site and a detour around into the Dorset Wifelike Trust Reserve. Quite a few red squirrels appeared and were a joy all the way round. From one hide we had views of the visiting spoonbills, 35 in total. Groups of curlew, dunlin and oystercatchers congregated in numbers.

Wherever there were feeders they appeared to be inundated by Red squirrelcoal tits; there didn't appear to be any other species! We also watched red squirrels hijacking the bounty, quite acrobatically at times.

Before embarking on the ferry to return we had lunch in the National Trust Cafe. Good food. An amazing place to visit and now one of my favourites.

Sightings (32) included: teal, avocet, spoonbill, black-tailed godwit, shelduck, shoveler, brent goose, dunlin, mallard, wigeon, little egret, turnstone, oystercatcher, cormorant, great black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, magpie, curlew, woodpigeon, grey heron, black-headed gull, moorhen, carrion crow, wren, gadwall, spotted redshank, redshank, coal tit, great tit, chaffinch, robin and tufted duck.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Draycote Water :: 17 October 2015

After a frustrating morning had a relaxed stroll around Draycote Water. The cool breeze was quite a contrast to the last time I was there. Meadow pipitHaving no coins for parking I was forced to visit the shop and buy a Twix - my story and I am sticking to it. Charms of goldfinch and flocks of meadow pipit on the grass slopes near the main visitor centre started the visit off well. On the water there were great congregations of tufted ducks, great-crested grebe and coot; later I was to find some of this was due to Toft Shallows being almost dry, most visible when viewing from the hide.

Never have I seen so many little grebes, in singles and in groups of up to 10. Little grebeOnly my second green woodpecker of the year was seen through the railings into the water treatment facility on the far side from the Visitor Centre. Met Sarah and Jeremy Vasey at the halfway point for a short chat - nice to bump into people in unexpected places.

Turned out to be a good decision to go but unfortunately didn't see the rock pipit or common sandpiper. Maybe moved on or just keeping out of my way.

Sightings (32) included: mallard, mute swan, tufted duck, meadow pipit, reed bunting, blue tit, goldfinch, blackbird, pied wagtail, dunnock, robin, starling, little grebe, woodpigeon, cormorant, carrion crow, great-crested grebe, black-headed gull, magpie, great tit, long-tailed tit, lesser black-backed gull, green woodpecker, little egret, grey heron, common gull, rook, moorhen, teal, wren, canada goose and greylag goose.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Banbury :: 06 September 2015

Usually feeding the birds result in photos of birds, but not today. Wood MouseWatched this cute fella after I scattered seeds, suet and nuts under the pole for ground feeders. He certainly is one, but not necessarily the intended recipient - he is more than welcome though.

WWT Barnes, London :: 05 September 2015

After a busy week in Switzerland, Germany, France and the office, Saturday was Ailsa's PiXL Choir event in Vauxhall/Oval. Off just after 7.30am and a reasonably smooth journey down the M40/M4/A4 and over Vauxhall bridge. Ailsa and two friends delivered to the Lilian Baylis Technology School I decided to make the 7.5 mile journey to WWT Barnes London. Journey took 50+ minutes - what a way to live.

Eventually got to the site, paid and tried to remember the best route from my only previous visit, but couldn't. Green woodpeckerHeaded off on the West Route. Stopped at the Headley Discovery Hide but nothing of consequence seen there. Better further on at the Wildside Hide. Nice but distant views of a green woodpecker. Bizarrely I haven't managed to catch up with one of the this year until now. Thanks to a chap in the corner who brought my attention to a sparrrowhawk passing over the lagoon.

Back round, through the Visitor Centre and across to the Peacock Tower. More visible from here but still relatively quiet - I say quiet but in terms of number there was a "swarm" of house martins all across the water and periphery. A good spot by one of the locals of a wheatear bobbing on a far bank was the highlight. Unfortunately missed the snipe that were supposed to be visible from here but had to leave due to time pressure. Grabbed a sandwich in the cafe and off back to pick up Ailsa and friends. Hammersmith Bridge was rammed and so back across Putney and another 50min journey to collect.

Sightings for the day (29) included: coot, moorhen, mallard, feral pigeon, house martin, lesser black-backed gull, woodpigeon, carrion crow, mute swan, canada goose, tufted duck, green woodpecker, grey heron, great crested grebe, black-headed gull, shoveler, sparrowhawk, lapwing, starling, blue tit, cormorant, teal, pochard, wigeon, gadwall, wheatear, little grebe, jackdaw and magpie.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Brandon Marsh :: 22 August 2015

So the spotted flycatcher became the 100th species tick for 2015. Brandon turned up a few extra species and with favourable weather, if not a little hot in the hides - 28.5 C if the car temperature gauge was to be believed.

Blue morph snow gooseThe usual start with a sandwich in the Badger Tearoom. Nothing on the feeders, partly due to them being mostly empty. Still on the reserve and surprisingly few people around; perhaps the Birdfair at Rutland had drawn them all away, leaving only those avoiding Rutland due to the Birdfair. On the outward trail we saw a large range of butterflies, including a beautiful small copper. While photographing a willow or marsh tit flushed from the bushes but disappeared before an ID or record shot could be taken.

The main purpose was to get onto East Marsh Pool as there were reports of ruff. Ruff in the roughNothing from Wright but distant views from East Marsh hide itself. A bonus was the blue morph snow goose either cruising with greylag or sleeping just off the scrape.

In Carlton we were lucky to meet a chap who had spotted a spotted flycatcher. While waiting for it to emerge we caught a willow warbler passing by. The flycatcher eventually rose and showed high into the sky - 100.

Today's sightings (32) included: great tit, blue tit, black-headed gull, swallow, house martin, dunnock, cormorant, magpie, wood pigeon, carrion crow, coot, mute swan, greylag goose, canada goose, moorhen, lapwing, blue morph snow goose, grey heron, lesser black-backed gull, shoveler, mallard, sand martin, robin, green sandpiper, ruff, teal, gadwall, willow warbler, spotted flycatcher, kestrel, shelduck and wigeon.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Clyde Marina / Ardrossan Harbour :: 07 August 2015

While the girls were off shopping in the supermarket Sandwich Tern. I took the opportunity to walk around the Clyde Marina / Ardrossan Harbour. A beautiful sky and calm waters in the harbour and beyond.

Only a herring gull in the marina itself but then three black guillemots around the harbour entrance. A few gulls were bobbing or flying around and these were accompanied by a group of fishing sandwich terns.

Waited for the call to come back to the car watching the terns successfully feed until I had to leave.Black Guillemot

Friday, 7 August 2015

Portencross Castle and Beach :: 06 August 2015

Today the weather improved so after lunch we went for a walk between Portencross Castle and Ardneil Farm. The pavement was slightly overgrown which made passage with the wheelchair a little more difficult. We saw swallows in the usual nests in the eves of the house at the top of the path leading down to the beach, but there appeared to be few visits to the nests themselves.

When we returned to the car park near the castle, we decided to have a sit looking out over the water. Seamill, West Kilbride, Portencross.From here we spotted gannets fishing past us, a single ringed plover which flew past into the rocks beyond and also terns diving as they fished close to shore. In the distance we could see what looked like guillemots or manx shearwaters quartering the waves; unfortunately they were too distant to be sure of an ID but shearwaters are often seen in this area in number and we have seen them from the Ardrossan-Arran ferry previously.

The sky and sea were looking blue in the breeze which Sandwich ternset off the rocks and castle walls beautifully. Once Dad felt uncomfortable in his chair Mum, Dad and Magnus headed back up to the house while we continued down onto the beach. The gulls were all close due to the tide being quite close in. At the turn we could see that the fishing terns had been sandwich terns and were being kept company by curlew on the rocks offshore. A beautiful day for a walk on the beach.

Today's sightings (29) included: house sparrow, kestrel, feral/rock pigeon, blackbird, house martin, collared dove, chaffinch, blue tit, great tit, jackdaw, pied wagtail, woodpigeon, willow warbler, goldfinch, magpie, herring gull, swallow, lesser black-backed gull, greater-black backed gull, gannet, oystercatcher, ringed plover, redshank, curlew, sandwich tern, common gull, black-headed gull, rook, and cormorant.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Brandon Marsh :: 27 June 2015

Out birding with her indoors. A stop at the Badger Tearoom for lunch before we went onto the reserve proper. Very Long-tailed titThe area outside the tearoom was overgrown and much of the ground area was not visible - we were honoured with good views from a great-spotted woodpecker.

On the reserve the conditions were so peaceful and there weren't too many people around - it was good to see a few families around. We did come across rather an odd looking long-tailed tit fledgling with brown head rather than the dark / black I am used to seeing. It also had a very long tail from our viewpoint.

From teal hide we saw the green sandpiper but the (probable escapee) fulvous whistling duck had moved on. From the final hide we were treated to a hobby hunting over the fields and returning each catch to a tree opposite - nice. On passing through the Visitor Centre, everyone had gone and we were treated to the swallows darting around the beams and roof - a good way to finish.

Today's sightings (38) included: magpie, feral pigeon, swallow, blue tit, great tit, reed bunting, great spotted-woodpecker, blackbird, carrion crow, willow warbler, tufted duck, woodpigeon, common buzzard, long tailed tit, greylag goose, canada goose, lapwing, common term, black-headed gull, lesser black backed gull, herring gull, oystercatcher, starling, cormorant, mallard, sand martin, coot, moorhen, wren, green sandpiper, redshank, grey heron, mute swan, goldfinch, linnet, chiffchaff, hobby and pied wagtail.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Seamill, Ayrshire :: 11 June 2015

A short walk on the beach before setting off home after the funeral. Quiet, still, warm and an absolute indulgence. Seamill beachPeople greeting you as you passed by, birdsong and a feeling of calm. Just 15 minutes each way to take in the morning adding great black-backed gull, ringed plover, eider, herring gull and sand martin to the year list.

The species noted (22) included: ringed plover, house martin, herring gull, swallow, feral pigeon, great black-backed gull, collared dove, sand martin, eider, jackdaw, starling, lesser black-backed gull, blackbird, woodpigeon, grey heron, oystercatcher, mallard, pied wagtail, black-headed gull, rook, goldfinch and house sparrow.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

RSPB Otmoor :: 16 May 2015

A glorious afternoon at RSPB Otmoor. Even on entering the reserve, red kite and hobbys were soaring and diving - a great reception. Not to be outdone, hobbys were in an abundance as they hunted dragonflies all across the reserve. The return of swifts was evident with groups joining swallows as they streaked across the sky, fields and water. Caught a good view of a turtle dove as it purred in a tree just off the bridleway - it could be heard from some distance and didn't Turtle Dovedisappoint in showing itself on a number of ocassions. Nice chat with a couple of guys also on a solo visit.

Large numbers of reed bunting sang, joined by whitethroat too. Just passed the first screen, we were lucky enough to have direct sight and sound of a cuckoo - my first of the year. Just to be seasonal the skylarks also erupted like fireworks, singing to great heights then dropping back to earth.

Sightings for the afternoon (39) included: hobby, carrion crow, red kite, kestrel, chaffinch, lapwing, magpie, blackbird, great tit, swift, goldfinch, reed bunting, pheasant, mute swan, mallard, blue tit, turtle dove, little egret, coot, oystercatcher, canada goose, greylag goose, grey heron, redshank, woodpigeon, shoveler, skylark, common tern, tufted tuck, pochard, gadwall, cormorant, cuckoo, swallow, great crested grebe, buzzard, common whitethroat, moorhen and greenfinch.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Burton Dassett :: 11 April 2015

Just finished breakfast and checked with @bobhazell whether the Ring Ouzel from yesterday had been reported at Napton Reservoir this morning. Ring OuzelWhile waiting for a response, @grimsbury_birds tweeted to say that he had just spotted one near the Burton Dassett Country Park. I jumped in the car and found where they were viewing from. Initially I joined Gareth and Allan in viewing from the road but after a while they decided to take a stroll to get a better view down in to the hollow. No view from there either. Eventually they had to go but about 20 minutes after they had gone it appeared at the bottom right of the field. Another tick for me.

Also managed to tick yellow wagtail and jackdaw with a single swallow flypast. Entertained by a buzzard attempting to catch a thermal on the edge of the hill, and it appears that @grimsbury_birds managed to catch a photo, possibly of the same bird, on the ground later.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Brandon Marsh :: 06 April 2015

The reserve car park was rammed when we arrived. Great to see so many people out on a glorious Easter Monday. Fortunately there was space for us both in the car park and the Badger Tearoom. The feeders outside the Visitor Centre were relatively quiet with just a few species visiting. Much busier inside.
Common ToadUnder blue skies we had a beautiful walk around the reserve and encountered amphibians on the verge of the footpath as well as in the water - notable was a common toad. Onwards and it was obvious that so many butterflies were around - peacock, comma, brimstone, large white, ...
Added oystercatcher, redshank, swallow and sand martin to my year list on East Marsh. Great watching buzzard, kestrel and canada geese too.
Today's sightings (37) included: Canada Geesegreat tit, blue tit, blackbird, chaffinch, robin, reed bunting, canada goose, long-tailed tit, tufted duck, mallard, moorhen, dunnock, greylag goose, carrion crow, coot, shoveler, lapwing, redshank, black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, oystercatcher, teal, mute swan, shelduck, magpie, sand martin, wren, gadwall, cormorant, woodpigeon, buzzard, jay, swallow, kestrel, chiffchaff, goldfinch and great spotted woodpecker.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Farmoor Reservoir :: 01 April 2015

Noted on a post from Lee Evans (@LeeEvansBirding) that there was a red-necked grebe at Farmoor Reservoir. Having had a late lunch out with the family we returned home at 3pm. Everyone else seemed to have plan so I thought a quick dash to Farmoor Reservoir was in order.

As soon as I stepped onto the reservoir I was greeted by a pair of red-crested pochard - a year tick. Information suggested that the SW banks of F2 were the most likely to spot the RN grebe. Red-crested pochardSet off in a cold wind but thankfully avoided any rain. Most inhabitants had been pushed to shore by the choppy waters and the few windsurfers and boat being driven along by the stiff wind. Nothing doing and was beginning to think it had been a wasted journey when I spotted something about 50m off the W shore. And there it was. I won't include the photo as it was just a record shot - it is on Flickr though. Lost it almost as soon as I found it and was unable to locate for the rest of the visit.

Completing the circuit I added a few more to the year list: reed bunting, dunlin and meadow pipit - 5 for the day.

The day's sightings (26) included: red-crested pochard, great tit, chaffinch, coot, mallard, pied wagtail, tufted duck, black-headed gull, woodpigeon, carrion crow, rook, cormorant, kestrel, great-crested grebe, greylag goose, red-necked grebe, goldeneye, reed bunting, chiffchaff, wren, blackbird, robin, little grebe, magpie, dunlin and meadow pipit.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Draycote Water :: 14 March 2015

Caught a battle of wits between a female sparrowhawk and a robin in the back garden. The robin was chased around lavender, ceanothus & hid in forsythia. The sparrowhawk flushed the robin out several times but in the end escaped, much to the disappointment of the sparrowhawk who hung around various fence posts hoping for another potential victim to appear.

The were reports from @grimsbury_birds (Gareth Blockley) on Twitter that a red-crested pochard had dropped onto Grimbsbury Reservoir the previous day. Black-necked grebeI decided to take a look on the chance that it had roosted there overnight ... no such luck. As I had my boots and binoculars in the car I decided to continue on to Draycote Water to see if I could spot the long-staying black-necked grebe or the Iceland gull. Despite a temperature of around 8C, the breeze into your face on the path around the water was biting. I looked forward to the return when at least it would be on my back. I don't think I have ever seen so many little grebes on the same day; groups of 5, 3, 2 and a few on their own. ChiffchaffIn amongst these was the black-necked grebe, close to shore. Further on towards Toft Bay two groups of geese swam past: the first containing two white fronted geese; the second a single pink-footed goose. These geese were new ticks for me and added to the year list along with the bn grebe, little grebe and a chiffchaff.

From the hide in Toft Bay there were numerous great crested grebe displaying and looking like the weed dance may be moments away. Unfortunately they still seemed to be practicing.

A productive and very enjoyable day.

For the visit sightings (30) included: black-headed gull, mallard, teal, little grebe, coot, cormorant, lesser black backed gull, great crested grebe, pied wagtail, tufted duck, moorhen, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, wren, chiffchaff, greylag goose, canada goose, dunnock, pink-footed goose, carrion crow, magpie, rook, white-fronted goose, blackbird, goldeneye, woodpigeon, robin, sparrowhawk and black-necked grebe.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Grimsbury Reservoir :: 21 February 2015

Started following @grimsbury_birds (Gareth Blockley) on Twitter. On his updates I noted that there were some long staying goosander on Banbury Reservoir. As they hadn't been added to my year list I thought I should pop along to have a look. Very quiet on the wall to the far end of the reservoir to catch up with the goosander group but soon was rewarded with a few other species, Goosanderincluding a flypast from a kingfisher heading along the river towards Spiceball Park. Made it back before the rain came.

Today's sighting around the reservoir (21) included: carrion crow, blackbird, blue tit, great tit, dunnock, black headed gull, pied wagtail, raven, kingfisher, buzzard, cormorant, great crested grebe, wren, mallard, magpie, woodpigeon, rook, kestrel, robin, goldfinch and lesser black backed gull.

Brandon Marsh :: 20 February 2015

Overcast, cold but an enjoyable visit to the reserve. Just the usual suspects on a tour around - Robinperhaps spoilt by the views of water rail and kingfisher last time. X-rated from the final hide with a pair of kestrels "getting it on" in the far distance. Tea cakes in the Badger tearoom brought an end to a pleasurable visit. Couldn't resist another seed feeder from the shop on the way out.

Sighting on the reserve (38) included: carrion crow, magpie, blue tit, nuthatch, great tit, dunnock, robin, feral pigeon, chaffinch, coal tit, song thrush, blackbird, buzzard, wren, mute swan, Kestrel - getting it oncanada goose, black headed gull, cormorant, coot, tufted duck, gadwall, shoveler, pochard, mallard, lapwing, moorhen, lesser black backed gull, shelduck, teal, wood pigeon, common gull, goldeneye, great crested grebe, rook, kestrel, jay, bullfinch and greenfinch.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Brandon Marsh :: 11 January 2015

Arriving at the reserve I found cars parked from the entrance right down to the visitor centre. It appeared that Morris dancers were celebrating the wassail at Brandon Marsh. Fortunately there were still spaces in the car park. The tearoom was rammed full so I went straight out onto the reserve - possibly a first.

An amazing number of jays were visible around the site, as were people from Mansfield. The RSPB Mansfield Local Group had brought a bus load. Great to see so many enthusiastic friendly people around. Water railStopped to talk with a couple of the guys only to find they had spotted a water rail skulking alongside the path and we stalked it down the path until it disappeared from view. No photo as the little blighter just wouldn't show in the clear.

No such problem later when a water rail decided to pose and then swim to cover. A decent record shot. Almost immediately followed by a kingfisher catching fish out of the other window. KingfisherLots of excitement for a few minutes.

Sightings for the day (37) included: buzzard, blue tit, feral pigeon, moorhen, carrion crow, black headed gull, kestrel, bullfinch, jay, coot, mute swan, gadwall, shoveler, mallard, tufted duck, cormorant, lapwing, wigeon, shelduck, lesser black backed gull, blackbird, chaffinch, water rail, canada goose, magpie, teal, wood pigeon, stock dove, kingfisher, greylag goose, pochard, goldeneye, robin, great tit, nuthatch, coal tit and dunnock.