Wednesday, 1 September 2021

WkWT Brandon Marsh :: 28 August 2021

I arranged to meet Kevin Heath at WkWT Brandon Marsh at 6.15am hoping to catch up with some of the birds reported the previous day. In a break from the norm, we headed straight for the Teal Pool hide as this seemed to be the centre of all the action and found it to be empty. We looked out and immediately could see three juvenile water rails feeding amongst the teal and moorhens. Soon we added a wood sandpiper and a green sandpiper but there was no sign of the greenshank - greenshank I believe tend to stay for a couple of days and move on, so we may have missed it. We sat patiently with another birder (@BrandsbayBob) that had followed us in - eventually we added two adult and five juvenile water rails - absolutely amazing.

We made a tour of the hides further into the reserve, but everything was very quiet, so we made our way back aiming for the East Marsh hide. As we approached John Coakley and Bob appeared at the door of the Teal Pool hide and announced that the greenshank had been back, but it had flown just two minutes before in the direction of East Marsh. They showed a photograph and I tried not to turn green. We all crossed into the East Marsh hide and could easily find the green sandpiper that had flown at the same time and in a few minutes the greenshank was also located. I took a record shot and hoped it wouldn't be the only photo I'd get. In moments the greenshank took to the wing and disappeared in the direction of Wolston.

I stopped in the hide talking with John while Kevin wandered off - after about 15 minutes he reappeared to announce that the greenshank had return to Teal Pool. We decamped and connected with David Bird who had been further up the track. We all had the opportunity to watch the water rail, greenshank, green sandpiper, and wood sandpiper feed within feet of one another. A most enjoyable sight. Two grey herons appeared and one took exception to the presence of the other, resulting in some nifty evasion moves.

Greenshank and wood sandpiper
Wood sandpiper
Water rail
Water rail
Grey heron

We decided that we should leave the hide to other visitors and made our way back and past the Mick Taylor/River Pool hide. There were numbers of reed warbler and chiffchaff feeding in the reeds and soon one popped up for his photo call. A kingfisher was also seen across this pool.

Reed warbler
Reed warbler

We noted that there were many moorhen around and suspect it has been a good year for them - perhaps also why we saw five juvenile water rails? Another kingfisher view brought us back to the circuit in and past the Wright hide. From here we could get a better view of a couple of juvenile little ringed plover. A flock of swallow and sand martin passed overhead.

Little ringed plover

We circled Swallow Pool and into New Hares Covert and heard and saw both great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch; the nuthatch was balancing acorns on a branch and pounding the shell to open them. We tried not to laugh as it accidentally knocked one off and it tried to follow the fall - it was quite comical, and we imagined the bird swearing to itself.


We totalled our sighting sand were surprised to have run up 48 species - time for home.

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