"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

Friday, 15 April 2016

Local Birding

I paid a brief visit yesterday afternoon to Marsh Lane Nature Reserve as it's been a long time since my last trip there. After a lengthy ten minute session trying to work out how the padlock and catch worked on the new gate, I finally made it into the car park!

This small pool which is right next to the car park is good for dragonflies in the summer months. The field beyond, now ploughed, is used to grow crops which are left over winter to provide a food supply for seed-eating birds.

Gorse in flower along the Causeway and it was good to see my second Blackcap of the year.

A pair of Mute Swans on another of the smaller pools and a

coot nesting in the reeds.

Near Oak Hide Pheasants were hoovering up seeds under the feeders - other birds feeding included Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbird and Starling.

A view of Car Park Pool

Railway Pool and Sidden Hill Wood in the background. The channel just in front of the hide is a good place to see Snipe.

Another view of Railway Pool towards the rail bridge. Birds on the water included Canada Geese, Lapwings, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Moorhen, and my first Common Tern of the year.

Black-headed Gulls

and my first Oystercatcher of the year. At this point the camera battery went flat! - I had taken along the Canon Bridge SX50 as (once I get the hang of it - yes, I am still struggling!) I think it will be more versatile on nature reserves than my Olympus dslr with 70-300 lens attached.

Despite the warm weather, there were no butterflies about although I did spot a few white-tailed bumble bees whizzing around (too far away and moving too fast for exact id).

I called into the hide overlooking Car Park Pool on the way back - similar bird species to those mentioned above but Oystercatchers were feeding very close to the hide - shame about the camera battery :(

I stopped off at the farm shop on the way home to buy a couple of lavender plants and an Oregano. The lavender is for my Green Man pot and I think I will sow some Nasturtium seeds around the edge and I am going to grow even more herbs this year as the flowers act as magnets for bees and butterflies.

In other garden news (can't be bothered to do a post on the other blog!) B has ordered a dozen or so Yellow Rattle plants for the Wild Flower Meadow just in case the huge pack of seed he sowed last autumn fails to germinate! He is determined to tackle the couch grass!


Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Lovely oystercatcher! Been a difficult day here, rain and tiredness demotivated me totally!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks Simon. Hope you have a better day tomorrow - its been horrid here too :( Had to go into Birmingham City Centre though :( so to cheer myself up I went to see the Staffordshire Hoard.

Rosie said...

Lovely photos of your visit to the reserve. Great to see the oystercatcher, I hope to see some when we go to the coast in a few weeks time. It looks as if there are quite a selection of water birds on the pools and lots of lovely smaller birds too on the feeders. I love to see the ducks and pheasants hoovering up the bits dropped by the other birds. The blossom and gorse look lovely too:)

David said...

Looks like a good spring visit to the reserve and excellent news as regards the return of the Common Terns :-) I think you are certainly getting the hang of that bridge camera now, the shot of the Oystercacther is excellent :-)

Hope the new plants and herbs bring plenty of bees to the garden as well.

Have a great weekend and my kindest regards :-)

Margaret Adamson said...

Lovely sselection f birds in this post. Weather awful here this week but the sun is out today. Have a lovely weekend

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie - Thanks very much Rosie. It is a good reserve for birds and usually there are few people about so it is nice and quiet. Most of the hides are fairly closely to the car park so it is a good place to go when you haven't got too much time. It is only about 15 minutes from home too :)

David - Thanks so much for your kind words David. I've started using the viewfinder on the camera now rather than the fold-out screen which I find easier. I use similar settings to what I would use with the dslr in aperture priority mode. It is hard to hold the camera steady though when on full zoom! and because I don't use it that often I keep forgetting how to change settings!! Its very light though and easier to carry around!

The garden is still very quiet insect-wise - wish it would warm up a bit!

Have a lovely weekend too.

Best wishes Caroline

Margaret Adamson - Thanks Margaret. The weather has been pretty awful here too this week and it is very cold for April. Have a lovely weekend too.

Wendy said...

You had an interesting visit to the nature reserve - it sounds peaceful there. So many of the reserves around me are so busy. I love all your photos. I've got the same camera as you and I carry it around, too, because it's so light. But I haven't really explored all the settings on it - I know I can do so much more with it. I like the sound of your seed purchases. I still haven't seen many butterflies here and I hope this changes soon.

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy - Thanks very much Wendy. Marsh Lane, Ladywalk and Whitacre Heath are always quiet although Marsh Lane is the only one I will visit on my own as there are two locked gates so only members can get in! I think Ladywalk is going down the same route. Brandon Marsh is busier but it is a big reserve so you can find quieter places there.

I know I keep saying it but I do need to read the Canon manual - such a pity its not printed but on a disc! You are right I think you can do a lot with the camera.

Hopefully, weather will get warmer soon and butterflies will appear for us both :)

Toffeeapple said...

Are you like me when you see Gorse? I simply have to inhale the scent, it is so like coconut and I love it.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Oh yes!! :) I always have to do the same - sometimes also get a whiff of vanilla :) Thanks :)

amanda peters said...

Nice things spotted, I do like to see Oystercatchers. Shame there were no butterflies about, still haven't seen one!
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks Amanda. Only seen 2 butterflies here - both Small Tortoiseshell (1 in my friend's garden and one Temple Balsall). Think it must be the cold weather and you're even further north than me. Hope it warms up soon and you start seeing them.

Pete Duxon said...

well done on the Tern, yet to see one although yet to go anywhere I might :(

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks Pete. Hope you get to go somewhere soon where you might see one - would imagine they are only just arriving.

Deb said...

Lovely shots of the different birds. Thanks for sharing.:)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb- Thanks so much :)

Millymollymandy said...

Looks a very interesting place and a nice selection of birds. Love the oystercatcher shot - I've only seen them very distantly. What a shame about the camera battery! I always carry spare ones as I'm paranoid about that happening. :-) Sorry I can't manage to catch up with all your posts but we have been away again and no internet (nice actually) and I have a load to do in amongst trying to sort out my own photos and maybe getting a post up! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks very much Mandy. I ought to buy spare batteries for both cameras - especially the Canon as it doesn't last as long as the Olympus. Spare camera cards might be a good idea too although I do have two for the dslr.

Please don't worry about not being able to catch up - I know what it is like when you get back from holiday - hope you had a really lovely time and look forward immensely to your post. (I keep off internet when away even if place has wifi - well apart from checking weather and details of places we might visit!).