Brandon Marsh - 8th May 2016

We set off for the last field trip of the season, on a glorious summer morning, to Brandon Marsh Nature Centre, the Headquarters of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. Set in 20 acres the reserve consists of large pools created by gravel extraction acknowledged at the first pool with a SAGA sign, nothing to do with the “over 50’s” but an acronym for the Sand and Gravel Association in recognition of a restored gravel pit award.

We initially arrived at the John Baldwin hide. Sightings from there included two Common Terns, one of which skilfully fed the other a fish whilst it was sat on a stump of wood. On the opposite side of the pool Sand Martins were entering and exiting a bank of holes with a Little Egret standing in front of them.

Walking up the path to the next hide a Hobby could be seen in distant flight. On arrival at the hide the Hobby obligingly put on a closer display of dashing flight. Swifts and swallows were also flying over the water and a Reed Warbler could be seen.

A Whitethroat could be heard initially quite elusive but finally gracing us by sitting out on an open branch to perform its song this was one of many throughout the day.

Walking next to the reed beds Sedge Warblers could be heard I struggled to actually see them but with the patience and advice of two expert twitchers I was finally rewarded with a good view of one on a reed stem.

Other warblers that were heard or sighted during the day included Cetti’s Warbler, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Goldcrest - a sign of a true summer’s day.

A Cuckoo could be heard around the reserve, other members reported that it had been seen from Carlton Hide where it had been for a few hours. On our arrival we were lucky enough to be able to get a good view. Our timing and luck couldn’t have been better as it flew away within a few minutes after us seeing it although we continued to hear the distinctive “cuckoo” from different parts of the reserve during the afternoon.

In the afternoon whilst in search of a Kingfisher a Greylag Goose approached us taking an afternoon stroll along the path with a family of goslings. We stepped aside to let them past but she decided to usher them all into the water. An Oystercatcher and chicks were also seen. The Kingfisher evaded us although other members caught sight.

A group of us went in search of Hide 8 but ended up taking a wrong turn which took us through some meadows in addition to birds we saw some butterflies including orange tip, brimstone and a comma, all of which were new to me. Sometime later on route back we met other members of the group who were thrilled to report that they had seen a Montagu’s Harrier from near the golf course and from the hides overlooking the Newlands Reed bed. This was clearly the sighting of the day for those fortunate few.

Overall 70 species of birds were seen during the trip and it was a good day to finish the season on.


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