16 April 2013

Back to Brandon Marsh

Another trip to Brandon Marsh today - and at last, it seems that we are seeing genuine spring weather :-) warm, cloudy and not that great for photography - but still a welcome change from the cold northerly winds.

Now that the weather has picked up, and winds are coming from the south we should start to see an influx of the summer migrants. Thus far most species, which we would expect to see at this time of year are either in low numbers, or are completely missing. Goldeneye, for example, are usually on the ponds of Brandon in early March - we have seen none thus far in 2013.

And so to the good news - today I was in the carpark area shooting Swallows, and great it was to see them too....early in the session I was trying to set up the camera - D7000 this time - and was shooting Swallow from very long range, just sorting out the AF mode that would work best in the conditions.

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Several shot of pigeons flying by, for the same reason - captured a bunch of shots of Swallow - or a least I thought I had....when I got home and viewed the images it turned out that the very long range images were not Swallow, not House Martin, not Sand martin, not even birds - they were of a bat (no idea as to which species – not my forte) which was hunting in broad daylight amongst the hirundines you can imagine my surprise, and frankly, delight.....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Walked into the Sensory Garden, a pair of Grey Wagtail flitting around, we knew they were there, but great to see them again.

Brandon Marsh - Early spring

Walk to the Baldwin hide, Oystercatchers on the island, very close and appealing - we love these birds. A Chiff Chaff flitting through the bushes on the far side of the island took my gaze for a while, and then back to the island - a Greylag female has been sitting on her nest for several days now - with her partner doing his best to see off anything that gets too close....Teal and Tufted ducks along with Mallard all resplendent in their spring colours and set for breeding are dabbling around and generally getting in everyone else's way....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring

Look across to where the Great Crested Grebes nest was - bad news - flooded out and eggs lost, but at least it is very early in the season and they can try again.....

A few hours pass and then a walk to the East Marsh hide - a pair of Garganey are the stars of this particular show - again we have known of their presence for a few days...great to see them. The drake Garganey is a stunning looking duck.....the female, not so, but where would the one be without the other :-)

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
Another half hour or so passed and i've had enough.....pain pain pain pain pain......start walking out of the reserve - it's only a few hundred metres back to the car, and. Spotted my first Brimstone Butterfly of the year....Brimstone are usually the first to show in the spring, but it is always noteworthy when one sees the first of the year....

Brandon Marsh - Early spring
So, all in all, an interesting visit....lots of birds we know well and see often, a bat hunting with Swallows, Oystercatchers, pair of Garganey, Chiff Chaff and nesting geese :-) and a pair of Grey Wagtails...delightful. Oh, and not to forget the Brimstone...how could I forget this bright green leaf imitating butterfly :-) silly me.....

UPDATE: 17 April 2013.

Happy to state that my report of the demise of the Great Crested Grebes nest was premature – they are holding on……

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