"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A Busy Brandon Marsh

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

Greylag Goose

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.


Pete said...

like the canada sequence!

your tern has a fish ! and I've yet to see a tern or hear a cuckoo!

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks Pete. The Canada encounter was highly amusing and the "body language" had to be seen to be believed.

I was chuffed I got the photo with a fish in the tern's beak (it was that poor I probably wouldn't have posted it otherwise :D).

I think the terns are recent arrivals and I was pleased to hear a cuckoo as I didn't hear one at Brandon last year. The only one I heard was at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens!

I am sure your year list is still much higher than mine :D - I still haven't seen a chiffchaff!