7 December 2010

Brandon Marsh– On ice.

Seri is off to see her parents, in Malaysia, and is currently missing all this wonderful weather in the UK. Cold cold and then, just for a change, more cold. Unseasonal weather for early December we are caught in what seems to be a never ending cold spell, with temperatures in parts of the UK dipping as low as minus 21 deg C. We, here in Coventry and Warwickshire, have  been a little more fortunate in that we have seen little of the snow which is paralysing parts of the wider country, and the temperatures have not been below minus 10 deg C – so far.

Seri phoned me last night and told me it is 35 deg C in her parents house, a few days ago we were talking and she said “I'm wearing bed socks here, but I will be sleeping with the air-con at full volume in Malaysia” and so she is :-) my is she in for a shock when she gets back to this weather LOL make the most of the heat sweetheart :-)Coventry D2h  07-12-2010 11-16-25

Anyway enough background – lets just agree that it is cold….

So I decided to make a trip to Brandon Marsh this morning – minus 5 deg C in the car, but it started first time, (Citroen - C3 Pluriel) so off we go. Slippery roads, and lots of idiots going too quickly, but what’s new….. Turn off the main roads onto Brandon Lane – just on the outskirts of Coventry – in Warwickshire – this is the start of the rural environment, and what a sight it was – every tree covered in ice crystals, every blade of grass shining in the winter sun, my god this is beautiful.

I was so taken aback by the scenery that I stopped the car before I got to Brandon Marsh and just had to get the cameras out. This trip I’m carrying the Nikon D300s with 120-400mm Sigma lens and the old Nikon D2h with my new toy, the Nikkor 12-24, for wide angle shooting.

The view over the farmland was incredible –  Shetland Ponies prancing around on the snow – it is not really snow, more frozen dew, but you get the idea – lots of white cold stuff on the ground. These little guys were having a whale of a time to the bemusement of their large horse cousins and field-mates.  What a glorious scene…… but back into the car and drive the final mile or so into the reserve……

The reserve is very quiet – only small birds and a few Mute Swans, Black Headed Gulls, Ducks of various breeds and lots and lots of European Robins to be seen.

I walked to the Baldwin Hide, to see little but an ice bound lake and a couple of birds. Walked on to the East Marsh and Teal Pool Hides, a little way up the main path, same again, but less so….. more Robins but not much else.

Sat around for an hour or so looking for signs of Water Rail and Bittern (A.K.A. Eurasian 0r Great Bittern), which, if they are going to appear at all, will usually show up around this time of year, but alas nothing doing – not a peep from any of them.

Walked back through the reserve and decided to go up towards the golf course area, just to see what is about, and there is very little. Visited the Wright Hide briefly, to find a large spider in residence – normal for this time of year. There is a Short Eared Owl that has been frequenting the reserve, in the golf course region,  in the past few weeks, and there were a few photographers and bird watchers, waiting around to see it, but it did not show, at least not whilst I was around (not long) :-)

So I carried on walking – came across a very sad sight – a Stoat with the back of its neck bitten through, can’t think what would have killed, but not eaten, it? Apart – perhaps – for another Stoat…….. Anyway it is still a good sign, where there was one there will doubtless be more. This is the third time we’ve seen stoats on the reserve……. on the previous two sightings they were actually alive……

So after taking a few record shots of the deceased I walked on, and eventually back to the car. Not a long walk, but good exercise nonetheless….. So how was the day? sounds boring right? Guess again, the scenery is so dramatic with everything wreathed in ice – it was spectacular.

I have deliberately not given too much detail of the meagre wildlife sightings on this trip – sometimes it is better to just show the photographs and let the reader make their own minds up :-)

Hope you enjoy the views around this little winter wonderland……

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