"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, 31 January 2020

Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve

B and I paid a visit to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve earlier this week. It is the headquarters of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the south part of the reserve covers 220 acres with 10 main pools and over 230 species of bird recorded. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) The range of habitats includes open water, streams, reedbeds, grassland, wetland and woodland.

Sir David Attenborough opened the Centre some years ago and D and E who were then little queued to get his autograph and he was so very kind to them.

Memorial Tree

We walked through Hope Wood onto the main part of the reserve.

We then took a path that wends its way round the back of Grebe Pool.

At regular intervals along the path were wood carvings which I haven't seen before.

We then took the path into New Hare Covert

A glimpse of Swallow Pool.

Many of the robins at Brandon Marsh are very tame and this one was no exception.

Coming out of the woodland the path continues with the reserve to one side and a golf course on the other.

Alban's Reedbed

We stopped a while in Wright Hide which overlooks East Marsh Pool. Here we saw Tufted Duck, Mallard, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Black-Headed Gull, Coot, Shelduck, Lapwing, Moorhen and Teal.

Ryton on Dunsmore church in the distance.

Leaving the hide we came across a larged mixed flock which included Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Lesser Redpoll feeding on alder cones. Other people who were watching them also spotted a Siskin and Greenfinch.

Mute Swans on Grebe Pool

As time was getting on we decided not to take the path which continues around East Marsh Pool where there are 4 hides but instead continued to walk by Goose Pool.

This area of the reserve is quite primeval and "swampy".

We then took the path through Horsetail glade. Many years ago at a similar time of year I once saw a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - one of only three I have seen since my mid twenties. The other two were at Ladywalk NR and at a wood near Fillongley which ever since we have called "Woodpecker Wood".

We then made our way back to the visitor centre.

Alder Cones and Catkins - I also saw male and female flowers on Hazel but my photo was blurred :( B was hurrying me along and muttering about why I always had to take a camera with me and stopping constantly to take photos so I didn't have chance to try and take better pictures!

We did stop off in the tearoom for a cup of tea and cake! I had a piece of a raspberry crumble shortbread which really I shouldn't have (cholosterol!!!) but my excuse was they had stopped serving lunches and cake was all that was available!!!!!!

Map of Brandon Marsh

The reserve has now been massively extended on the other side of Brandon Lane to include Brandon Reach and Piles Coppice so I picked up a map of this area as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust is still developing paths. It looks a good place to explore in the future. It is a mosaic of grassland, scrub, early successional woodland and a mature ancient wood.

A total of 28 species of bird were seen including 13 new for the 2020 year list :)

Last time we visited in Autumn 2018 and we said then we must visit more regularly which sadly we failed to do. This year another resolution to try and go each month.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2020

I know many of you have done the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and it is always interesting reading what other people have seen.

As everyone seems to find a few of the "regulars" were missing during the hour but this is what I saw

Magpie x 2
House Sparrow x 4
Robin x 1
Great Tit x 1
Blackbird x 2
Wren x 1
Blue Tit x 2
Wood Pigeon x 3
Long Tailed Tit x 3
Collared Dove x 1
Carrion Crow x 1

Wren and Long Tailed Tit were a pleasant surprise as they are not usually seen on a daily basis.

The RSPB also ask what other wildlife you have seen and in the last year we have had a couple of Fox sightings, Grey Squirrels are seen on a daily basis and Frogs (and Smooth Newts) occur in the pond.

Friday, 24 January 2020

A Few Photos from Coleshill

Last weekend D and I popped to Coleshill mainly to visit the secondhand charity book shop there.

I usually try and park in Church Hill which used to be the market square and then we walk past the church.

St Peter and St Paul - Coleshill Parish Church - built in the 14th/15th centuries.

War Memorial


Remains of Preaching Cross

Old Bank House which is Late Georgian

Books Revisited - the bookshop we visit about once a month.

Queen Anne House which is late 17th century and has a tympanum above the door decorated with flowers, swags and foliage.

Then a cup of hot chocolate and a biscuit in Costa. My cake eating days are likely to be limited for a few months as a blood test for cholesterol levels revealed it was just over 5 (I knew having such a blood test just after Christmas was a bad idea!). I have to have another blood test in 3 months so cakes will be limited for a while!!!

Early 18th century Swan Hotel once a coaching inn.

A few purchases made at the bookshop - I rarely come away empty handed!!!

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Reference: "The Buildings of England Warwickshire" by C Pickford and N Pevsner