21st of June 2012

WWT - Brandon Marsh

With today being the longest day, an evening at Brandon Marsh was a good idea, however, the weather was not on the same wavelenght!

Upon arrival, I went straight towards the East Marsh hide which had no visible unusual birds of particular interest, then I proceeded to the Carlton hide. My quest for the evening was to hopefully see an Otter, which of course many of my birding friends have already seen?

After half an hour the heavens opened and the light declined, at 9.30pm I decided to pack up and put the binoculars and camera away in my bag, to ensure that the walk back to the car would not get rain water in to the gear etc! Once everything was stowed away, something caught my eye, to the left of the pool, a tumbling mammal was seen in the water, okay, image this, bag - closed - camera in bag and switched off - lens locked! By the time I got it out the Otter was disappearing in to the reeds on the right hand side of the pool.

I did manage to fire off a number of shots, however, due to the poor light, my efforts were later deleted!

Hopefully, a future visit will produce a much better opportunity for Otter photograghs? To see an Otter in the wild in Warwickshire, was a truly memorable sighting!

10th of June 2012.

Tarka Trail – River Taw Estuary – North Devon

Species seen 45.

After many days of torrential rain, the weather changed for the better for our last full day in North Devon, and what better way than to take a leisurely walk along the Tarka Trail to view the different areas of Farmland (from the trail) Trees, Meadows, Ponds, Mudflats and Salt Marsh. The tide was going out and this meant that any waders would be quite a distance from the footpaths! Although the species count was 45 for the day, there was not a great deal of birds actually in the River area!

The open grassed area again gave up superb views of Adult and juvenile Dunnock and there were plenty of Skylark heard and seen high above us. Stopping to chat to two local birders from Barnstable, we swapped Birding stories and pointed out the locations of recent sightings of Cetti’s, Reed and Sedge Warblers.  Also seen was a Redpoll by the farm.

The estuary had the usual Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Black Headed, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Great Black Backed Gulls and that was it. At Yelland Quay we caught sight of a single Rock Pipit, a treat for me, as I don’t get to see many of these in the Central area. A pair of Pied Wagtails were busy amongst the pebbles foraging for food, but were soon off due to an extremely loud Oystercatcher passing over.

While walking back towards Fremington Quay, a Buzzard, which was seen quite a few times overhead during our walk, perched it’s self on one of the electric masts. Here it stayed for a few minutes before swooping down towards some trees were it took a Wood Pigeon. Nature at its most intense and a reminder that when you go looking at wildlife, that’s exactly what you get!
This pictured Buzzard, didn't go hungry.
I’m already looking forward to my next visit to North Devon and as always will be checking the superb Devon Bird News  for interesting reports each week.

4th of June 2012.

RSPB Isley Marsh – North Devon

Species seen 37.

A beautiful sunny afternoon spent along the Tarka Trail and the RSPB Isley Marsh area which is situated along the River Taw Estuary. In terms of birds seen the afternoon was very quiet as only 37 species were viewed!

On the open grassed area a great many Dunnock were seen and Skylarks were chirping in the grass and many were seen above, slowly flying higher and higher once airborne.

Over the estuary Shelduck, Grey Heron, Herring, Black Headed, Lesser Black Backed Gulls were feeding on the sandbanks. A solitary Oystercatcher flew past as did a flock of forty plus Dunlin. Sadly the Dunlin were the only waders seen?

The pond area was a perfect spot for lunch, while there birds within the reeds were Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Reed and Sedge Warbler. Heard but not seen here were Little Grebe.

While walking, a Speckled Wood Butterfly was busy making its way alongest the bushes and it was good to see many Bees too. A single Weasel with its chestnut backed fur was seen briefly along with many Rabbits.
My last stop was Fremington Quay where a Chaffinch was observed singing in a bush; it stayed there constantly singing for over fifteen minutes! With the exception of three Mallard ducks, there were no birds seen along the Fremington inlet?

The hedgerow produced a family of Blue Tits with the parent bird seen feeding the youngsters.
 As always the wild flowers on route were vibrant with their colours showing even brighter in the good sunlight.