I visited Brandon Marsh NR, Warwickshire, yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours. It was cold but pleasant walking in the Spring sunshine and I managed to start catching up with some of the summer visitors. I put the 70-300mm telephoto zoom on the camera before leaving home but the birds were too far away really for attempts at photography so the photos below are a few poor "record" shots!.
As I drove along the entrance road I spotted a couple of Pheasants and tried to get some more photos of this species for Chris at Las Aventuras. My field skills aren't up to much and this is the view of the male Pheasant "legging" it away as I got out of the car.
Mrs Pheasant wasn't keen on my presence either!
There weren't many birds around as I started my walk through Horsetail Glade but plenty of bracket fungi growing on trees.
As I walked across Central Marsh I spotted my first Peacock butterfly of the year and the Marsh Marigolds are coming into flower.
On the path by Teal Pool there were more bracket fungi
and one of the species of Speedwell is flowering. No sign of the mining bees I saw digging burrows in the sandy soil under one of the Oak trees around this time last year.
There were plenty of Teal be seen on the appropriately named Teal Pool and I saw my first Redshank of the year. I spent a while in East Marsh Hide overlooking East Marsh Pool watching Oystercatchers, Lapwing, Shelduck, Shovelers, etc., and had my first sighting of Little Ringed Plovers.
I carried onto Carlton Hide overlooking a small pool and Newlands Reedbed and saw my first Swallow and Chiffchaff of the year. I managed to get a few shots of Coots - you might be able to make out the nest hidden amongst the reeds with the female in situ and the male is carrying some twigs to add to the nest.
There is a new short footpath to a viewing screen over Newlands where you can see the Osprey Platform that has been erected in the hope of attracting this species. It would be wonderful if it was successful. I did try to get a photo but I'm not very tall and couldn't see properly out of the viewing holes in the screen let alone get my camera to focus!
I retraced my steps stopping off at the John Baldwin Hide where I usually manage to get some photos but today the only bird remotely close enough was this Canada Goose.
There were more butterflies along the path - 2 more Peacocks and a male Orange Tip but no sign of the tame Robins on the corner by Goose and Grebe Pool.
I didn't have time to walk the full Onyx Nature Trail which goes by the golf course and through New Hare Covert but I walked around Grebe Pool seeing Great Spotted Woodpecker and a female Blackcap. The Wren in the photo below was singing its heart out seconds before.
A view of Goose Pool from by the Wind Pump
Ths windpump is used to transfer water to the top reed bed.
More Marsh Marigolds around the Dipping Pool near the Education Centre
and an Insect House
A couple of sculptures located by the entrance to the Visitor Centre
Map of Reserve
I managed to see 31 species during my walk which I was pleased with in the short time I was there.
I'm still hoping for a Water Vole sighting after their re-introduction to the Reserve last year - but it was a shame to hear from one of the ladies on reception that herons have been seen disposing of some of the voles.
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