Friday, 12 May 2017
A Long Overdue Visit to Brandon Marsh NR (SSSI)
B and I spent the afternoon recently at Brandon Marsh NR. It is my favourite nature reserve but for one reason and another I haven't visited for ages - not quite sure really how I have managed to stay away for so long!
The reserve is the headquarters of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and contains a Visitor and Education Centre. It covers 92 hectares with 10 main pools, 8 bird hides and over 220 species of bird have been recorded here. It is next to the River Avon and has developed over the last 10 decades as the result of sand and gravel extraction and mining subsidence. This wetland reserve has pools, wet and dry woodland, marshes, grassland and reedbeds.
This is the Sensory Garden at the rear of the Visitor Centre.
The path onto the reserve winds its way through Hope Wood (a memorial wood). Cowslips and Hawthorn were flowering.
There are many paths you can follow on this reserve but we began by making a circuit of Grebe Pool where we saw the first of many butterflies - Peacock, Speckled Wood, Comma, Orange Tip and Small and Green-veined White. I took the Canon bridge camera with me for a change thinking the zoom lens would come in useful but I failed to get one photo as the butterflies were very active in the sunny, hot weather.
We made a detour to New Hare Covert to see the bluebells. This small woodland has Oak, Ash, Scot's Pine and Larch.
My first damselfly sighting of the year - unidentified!
and back to the path to complete the circuit of Grebe Pool.
We spent some time watching a pair of Blackcaps and Blue Tits busy feeding young.
We continued our walk past Central Marsh with
Marsh Marigolds in flower and
there are still Primroses on Primrose Bank
A Tern Raft (and yes there were Common Terns) and island on East Marsh Pool as seen from the Jon Baldwin hide.
Great Crested Grebe on nest
On along the path that skirts Central Marsh - plants in this area include Common Reed, Reed Sweet-grass, Pond Sedge, Common Reedmace and Teasel.
View over meadows towards the church at Ryton-on-Dunsmore.
We spent some time in Carlton Hide which overlooks the Newlands - a large reedbed with open water and pools.
Along the path to the newest hide we saw Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroat. There were a lot of warblers in among the reeds but it was difficult to get good enough views to be 100% sure of id.
From the Ted Jury Hide you can see the Osprey platform - erected in the hope that one day this species will nest on the reserve.
Birding highlight of the trip for me was a pair of Goosander seen from the East Marsh hide as we stopped off on our return to the Visitor Centre.
Sir David Attenborough opened the reserve in 1998 - we were fortunate to attend and the children managed to get his autograph. He is as charming and delightful in real life as he is on tv.
Tea and cake in the tearoom - sorry forgot to take a photo of the cake itself but it was Coffee and Walnut:)
Full list of birds seen - Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Wigeon, Canada and Greylag Geese, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Common Tern, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Grey Heron, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls, Common Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Mapgie, Wood Pigeon and Goosander.
Bumble Bee species seen - Tree, White-tailed and Common Carder and there were loads of Bee Flies about.
It was so good to return to this very special reserve and I hope we won't leave it as long between visits in future!
By the way is anyone else having problems uploading photos to Blogger? I've found it has been playing up recently but today it was at its worst every time I uploaded one photo and tried to do the next Blogger crashes with the message "Aw snap something went wrong....." or words to that effect!