"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

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

A Trip to my Favourite Local Nature Reserve

I felt the need to "escape" for a while today so decided to visit Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve.

Brandon Marsh is a Site of Special Scientific Interest located to the east of Coventry and is the headquarters of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. The reserve covers around 200 acres and is a mosaic of pools, wetlands, grasslands, scrubland, reedbeds and woodland.

After walking through Hope Wood I spent some time near the Wind Pump overlooking Grebe Pool searching for Dingy Skipper as I knew one had been seen at the weekend. No Skippers but I did spot my first Small Copper butterfly of the year.

I walked round Grebe Pool (it felt very hot!!!) and paused by Goose Pool to take a quick photo of a Mute Swan.

I spent some time in the Jon Baldwin hide overlooking East Marsh Pool. There was an Oystercatcher on a nearby small island

and close by one of her young. - Sorry record shot only - sadly the 70-300mm telephoto lens with no IS has limitations!

In this photo you can see the artificial Sand Martin nest banks which were being used.

Common Terns were on the nesting rafts and I could see a Redshank on another of the islands. The former a new species for the year list.

Yellow irises are coming into flower on Central Marsh.

I walked along the path to Carlton Hide

View from Carlton Hide which overlooks a pool and Newlands Reed Bed. Saw a Common Whitethroat from this hide - another news species for 2013.

The dead tree in the distance often has Hobby (and sometimes Cuckoo) perched in it - sadly neither were showing today whilst I was in the hide. I didn't even hear a cuckoo today which was one of my main reasons for visiting!

Damselflies were flying round nettles as I left the hide. I am still trying to work out if they were Azure or Common Blue damselflies - I do wish I'd had an id guide with me at the time!

Edit: Many thanks to David Turner for confirming this as Azure.

Walking back along the path

I spotted a Cardinal Beetle crawling along.

Also this day-flying carpet - again not sure of species. Possibly either Silver-ground or Common Carpet??

Edit: Many thanks again to David for identifying this moth as Common Carpet

Greylag Goose

The reserve was fairly quiet bird-wise today although I did get sidetracked with butterflies and damselflies! I also saw several Brimstone and Red Admirals and various Whites.

A year or so ago Water Voles were re-introduced onto the Reserve and I did hear they had been quite heavily predated by Grey Heron :( However, it was good to see a note in the Sightings Book at the Reserve Visitor Centre that one had been spotted today.


SeagullSuzie said...

What a lovely place to visit. Those butterfly images are stunning with the orange of the butterfly and yellow of the flower. Sorry you didn't get to hear the Cuckoo.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thank you :) Its a lovely reserve - always come home after a visit with batteries fully charged :) Have a horrible feeling might not now hear cuckoo this year :(

Em Parkinson said...

Fabulous images as ever. I love the beetle and the damsel flies, whatever they are!

David Turner said...

That's a pleasant looking reserve and it's good to hear that they are trying to reintroduce Water Rails despite problems with predation etc :-) The Small Copper was lovely to see though the number of butterflies this year has been worryingly low, at least up here. I think the Damselfly is an Azure and the moth is a somewhat weathered and beaten up Common Carpet :-)

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi That was a wonderful walk and may things to see an share with us. Good to e the Sand Martins home is being used. They have just built one at Oxford Island but I don't know yet if it has been used. I haven't heard a Cuckoo this year either. Margaret

Ian said...

A great selection of photos of such varied wildlife seems like a wonderful day out.

Wendy said...

It sounds a terrific place to visit and watch wildlife. Lovely photos - especially the Small Copper. I love watching a Sand Martin colony, they are wonderful little birds. I've hardly heard a Cuckoo at all this year; just for a few days over the last few weeks.

Ragged Robin said...

Em Parkinson - Many thanks :) I loved the beetle too - such a striking colour which I suppose is how it gets its name!

David Turner - Thanks David. I was really pleased with the Small Copper - butterfly numbers seem low down here too :( Thanks for help with moth :) and damselfly. Having looked at id guides I thought probably Azure so great to have confirmation :)

Margaret Adamson - Thank you :) Sad news re: cuckoos and their decline. They have been heard at Brandon Marsh so think I was unlucky yesterday. Hope the new Sand Martin colony near you gets used.

Ian - Many thanks. Yes I love the reserve. If it was closer I would be there every week!

Wendy - Thank you so much. Worrying news re: cuckoos (and so many other species :( )

David Turner said...

Hello again RR - just a quick message to say that should have read Water Voles but for whatever reason I wrote Water Rails instead (I really should double check my comments ;-)).

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) So glad you were able to visit your favourite reserve. It does look such a lovely place to 'escape' to, I hope it did the trick and recharged the batteries. Lovely photos again, I especially liked the ones of the Small Copper. I haven't seen one yet this year although I've had few opportunities for one reason or another. Lovely photo of the Oystercatcher too, a bird I very rarely see.

Glad to see there has been a sighting of a Water Vole. I didn't realise Grey Herons would take them, I'm ashamed I didn't know! That explains then that when I have seen them in fields they were looking for rodents, I have always been puzzled by that and obviously should have looked it up long ago :-)

Sorry to have missed commenting on your castle visit but I enjoyed the post and all the lovely photos of both the castle itself and the beautiful flowers. I think you are right about the ice house, there is one very much like it at a place near us. How very bizarre to see what indeed did look like a Christmas Tree growing out of the wall!!

Over the years we have visited many of the local gardens participating in the NGS, It used to be a regular Sunday afternoon outing, an interest which started when I would go with my parents as a young teenager. The Coffee and Walnut is my very favourite cake and the sound of yours made my mouth water :-)

Countryside Tales said...

What a lovely place. You're way up on me for butterflies- I've still only seen 3 whites and an orange tip.

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Hello again David. I realised you meant water voles - its so easy to mistype :)Please don't worry :) Best wishes Caroline


Hi Jan - Thank you Jan - it did recharge batteries thanks until today when I had meeting with Social Worker re: mum!!!! :( Could have done with making another trip after :)

TBH I don't see too many Small Coppers in this part of Warks although we did used to get them occasionally in the garden. But like so many other species they have disappeared garden-wise :(

I did mean to visit the hide where the water vole was seen but ran out of time plus its in the very marshy area and it was so humid yesterday I had visions of being bitten to bits by insects!!!Brian was surprised that a heron could swallow a water vole as they are almost guinea pig size. Can't remember now who told me that herons had eaten a lot at BM - it was someone on a past visit.

Glad you enjoyed the castle visit :) Thanks for confirming the ice house :)

Thanks for NGS recommendation - will certainly look out for more in future. Would have taken cake photo but Brian would have had a blue fit - he and David are horrified at me taking photos of cakes etc.!!!!! :) I had to take a very quick shot of the cake table at distance!

I do hope you are able to get out and look for butterflies soon Jan.

Countryside Tales - Thank you :) Must admit I seem to go butterfly "hunting" more than birdwatching these days!!!

Lou Mary said...

Your favourite reserve definitely looks wonderful! So many different habitats! I haven't seen any small coppers yet but the red admirals have been emerging the last couple of days down in Kent. I do hope you get to hear a cuckoo before they leave again! Great selection of photos :)

Ragged Robin said...

Lou Mary - Many thanks :) Yes,its a wonderful place :)I'll keep an eye open for Red Admirals - hope you see Small Copper soon.

Think I may have missed Cuckoos calling but we'll see!