9th of December 2012.

WWT – Brandon Marsh.

Arriving today as I turned in to the car park there was a small collection of birders with cameras and binoculars aimed at the trees close to the visitor centre. I immediately parked then joined the group to see my first Waxwings of the winter.

Today it was a very blustery day, the sky was one minute blue with white clouds, and the next, very grey, added to this the light was poor for those wanting to take any photographs!

The two birds seemed very happy to stay around feeding on the many berries available to them. The best part for everyone was the close up opportunities for everyone to appreciate them; the spectators didn’t have to move closer to see the birds, as they came very close to unintentionally pose for everyone.
What a good afternoon watching these beautiful birds and I look forward to seeing whatever drops in to Brandon Marsh next week?

1st of December 2012.
Warwickshire Wildlife Trust – Brandon Marsh.

Species seen 62.
My visit to Brandon Marsh followed an extremely beautiful drive through the Warwickshire Countryside via Kings Newnham and the surrounding area.

On route the hedges were full of many Dunnocks and Tree Sparrows, at the fields near Bretford; I stopped to view 30 Mute Swans in the hope that as in previous years before there may be a Bewick Swan amongst their numbers?

Stopping again, having sighted a Kestrel perched in a tree very close to the roadside, I managed to fire off a couple of shots before it took flight. Not too far away, again I stopped, this time to view a Buzzard. Parking up and using the car as cover, I managed to get reasonably close for a few more photographs.

Arriving at Brandon Marsh the first sighting was that of Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the car park area, after signing in at the visitors centre, I made my way in to the reserve, the Alder trees were full of a mixed flock of Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinches.

Taking in Horsetail Glade, I caught sight of a Red Fox and when it saw me, it looked as if it gave a huff, and then trotted off out of sight! Also seen was a very friendly Robin.

The hides were all very cold due to the weather, so I didn’t stop too long, but long enough the chat with other birders.

I also caught up with photographer friend Helen and we chatted in the Carlton hide for a while hoping to see the Bittern that’s been reported over the last few weeks. Not too long after arriving I caught sight of a bird coming towards the hide, the binoculars confirmed that approaching was indeed a Bittern.  Instead of being brown ochre in colour the suns fading light made it look almost red in appearance.

Thanks to Helen Scarsbrook for the Bittern image as mine were a total disaster.

Another superb day at Brandon Marsh where anything can turn up and quite often does!  

10th of November 2012.
River Taw Estuary – North Devon.

Species seen 41.

We spent a weekend away in Coombe Martin getting the caravan cleaned and ready for the winter.  
The weather was extremely good with two sunny days, one of which was the day we walked the Tarka Trail and then took in the RSPB Isley Marsh area, walking around to Yelland Quay and Instow.

My highlight was Spoonbills a total of four were seen in the mud flats, they were too far away for close up photo’s however I managed a few record shots, this being one.
As always we stopped at the small pool near the old power station, where we heard, then saw our first West Country Water Rails.

Also heard was what sounded like a single Grasshopper Warbler? while observing the local cattle being annoyed by a Magpie. Other Birds of note were Rock Pipit, White Wagtail and numerous Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Curlew, Little Egret and Redshank.