It was a lovely, mild sunny day yesterday and, with the forecast not looking good for the rest of the week, I decided to pop over to Brandon Marsh for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
It seemed like everyone else had had the same idea because when I got there the car park was overflowing - I don't think I have ever seen it so busy!
Brandon Marsh NR is a Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Reserve covering about 92 hectares with a variety of habitats - pools, reedbeds, grassland and woodland.
Leaving the Visitor Centre behind me I headed first for Horsetail Glade where I had great views of a lesser spotted woodpecker a few winters ago. No sign of one today but there were plenty of blue, great and long-tailed tits.
I spent some time in the John Baldwin Hide overlooking East Marsh Pool and had fun practising with my new lens. Here's a few of the photos I took - some are not that sharp - but it was a good opportunity to get some more practice.
Drake Tufted Duck
These 3 Canada Geese seemed to be saying "What exactly are you looking at?!"
This drake Mallard was having a good scratch
I don't think I have ever seen so many Greylag Geese on the reserve - here's just two of them on a nearby island
A few more shots of Mallard
There were hundreds of lapwings on Willow Island but unfortunately too far away to even attempt a photo.
I walked up to Carlton Hide which overlooks the Newlands Reedbeds hoping that there might be a bittern about - sadly no sign. In fact, the only birds were a couple of mallard and a moorhen.
I called in at East Marsh Hide but it was standing room only - most of the recent excellent bittern sightings have been seen from here. It didn't look as though anyone was going to vacate a seat in the near future so I didn't linger long!
The reserve was looking beautiful in the winter sunlight.
I paused by Grebe Pool hoping for a kingfisher and a couple of Canada Geese came over to say hello
I walked back to the car park via New Hare Covert and around the back of Grebe Pool. Highlights included a robin singing and male and female bullfinches.
A short-eared owl was seen several times over sheep field last year but I don't think it has been seen in 2011.
I dipped on the bittern (I think I'll try and persuade my husband to go to Ladywalk with me soon to try and see one - it might be quieter there!) and only managed to see 27 species but it was lovely walking on such a lovely day. 4 species were added to the year list - greylag goose, lapwing, teal and shoveler so I've managed to see over 50 now! ((I don't think I shall be breaking any records this year!!) I also added rabbit to the 2011 mammal list.
Up on Swallow Heights
4 hours ago