A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"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, 3 January 2019
A Visit to Marsh Lane Nature Reserve
Marsh Lane Nature Reserve is located near Berkswell and is adjacent and in the flood plain of the River Blythe - a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Some of you may recall seeing a section of the River Blythe when I've visited Brueton Park in Solihull in the Spring. A company (now known as CEMEX) began extracting sand and gravel over a 75 acre site in 1995 and extraction ceased in 1999. Following this the land was restored by what was then called RMC Aggregates and the owners of the land - Packington Estates. The site was opened to permit holders in July 2001.
The habitat consists of three main pools, several smaller pools, reedbeds, woodland, grassland and some agricultural land - one field is used to grow crops for finches to feed on. There are eight hides. At May 2018 the site bird list stood at 203 birds.
I became a member about 5 or 6 years ago following conversations with several birders at Brandon Marsh NR who all praised the site. It has the huge advantage of being only about 20 minutes from home by car and there are several car parks all behind padlocked gates so it was somewhere I felt happy about birding alone before B retired. The other good feature about the reserve is that it is always quiet - yesterday we saw just one other person. Sadly, I haven't been so often recently for one reason and another but I do hope to visit more this year (the site is good for butterflies and dragonflies in the summer).
The light wasn't good for photography being very dull and gloomy and there aren't too many bird photos - they were either too distant from the hides or too flighty out in the open!
The feeders in the car park were full of Blue and Great Tits, Gold and Greenfinches, Robin, Blackbird and Reed Bunting.
We set off along the North Causeway which contains two hides overlooking pools/reedbeds.
Gorse was flowering profusely and there is an old saying that when gorse is out of bloom kissing is out of fashion which refers to the fact that gorse is always in flower somewhere throughout the year.
View of Car Park Pool from one of the reedbed hides - we saw a pair of Little Egrets here.
Walking towards Oak Hide - we say two Jays flying across the grassland.
Railway Pool from Oak Hide where we saw Teal, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Mallard, Lapwing and Coot.
Distant Lapwings and a pair of
While walking by Railway Copse we saw a flock of Lesser Redpoll feeding on Silver Birch seeds and Alder cones. I nearly managed a photograph but a train nearby frightened the flock off as the camera was focusing!
A pair of Bullfinches were feeding on these berries - again too distant for a photograph.
Siden Hill Wood - I've never been to this part of the reserve which has a separate entrance and car park. Perhaps a visit this year.............
A railway line runs along one side of the reserve - which reminds me that the dreaded HS2 line will cut across a corner of the reserve I believe (not the part we visited yesterday.
We retraced our steps and popped into Car Park pool hide where we saw Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Wigeon, Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen and Goosander.
It was a very enjoyable couple of hours birding with 25 species seen - a good start to the 2019 year list :)
All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.