I finally managed to fit in a quick visit to Brandon Marsh NR (Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's flagship reserve) this afternoon. It was very busy there today both with birds and people. Luckily, its a big reserve and its easy to get away from the crowds once you leave the main paths.
Highlights of the visit were 5 year ticks. I was really pleased to get a brief view of a kingfisher whirring low over the water and the common terns are back perched on poles near the tern nesting raft. There were several common whitethroats and a willow warbler seen as I walked around the back of Grebe Pool and I heard my first cuckoo.
I spent a lot of time taking photographs from the John Baldwin Hide which overlooks East Marsh Pool - I've found this the best hide over the last few visits for photography as the birds tend to come quite close.
As I opened the hide window I "surprised" a pair of Canada Geese who were on the bank right under the hide window. They may have been prospecting for a nest site as I remember them nesting on the bank at the side of this hide before.
One of the birds was less than impressed with my intrusion
and turned round to give me a dirty look!
He later returned to see if I had left!
Here's a poor record shot of a common tern - well it is heavily cropped and they were quite a long way away!
A pair of mallard were upending for food and preening just in front of the hide
Mallard may be common and familiar birds but I just love the colours of the drake
The pair of Great Crested Grebes were still around although there was no sign of any young or even a nest
There were a lot of spring flowers - marsh marigold, cowslip, bluebell, red campion, cuckoo flower/lady's smock, dandelions, violets, primroses, forget me nots and white dead nettle.
Primrose bank is now full of flowering plants
Bluebells in new Hare Covert
There were plenty of swallows about although I failed to see any sand martins. Here's a photo of one of the artificial nesting banks created by volunteers for the martins
There were lots of butterflies on the wing - brimstone, peacock, orange tip and speckled wood and several "whites" that were just too far away to positively identify.
A lovely walk around a beautiful reserve in the sunshine. The only downside were the number of dead road kill animals I saw during the journey - badger, fox, hedgehog, rabbit. This year I seem to have seen more dead mammals on my travels than live ones.
Up on Swallow Heights
4 hours ago