27 October 2014

Time for a chat?

I suspect my son's enthusiasm for Brandon Marsh might have as much to do with the tearoom milkshakes as it does for the wildlife, but I wasn't complaining as once again he chose it as the destination for a family trip :-)

East Marsh was lively, the lapwings and black-headed gulls being kept company by good numbers of teal and shovellers; with a handful of common and lesser black-backed gulls, a single cormorant and two snipe on the far bank.

The long-staying green sandpiper was on the Teal Pool, and of course there were plenty of other birds around (Charlie enjoyed particularly good views of a great spotted woodpecker on the feeders).

But the bird I had set myself to find today was at least one of the stonechats which had been reported reasonably regularly of late, especially around the new Ted Jury Hide. And in that regard there was mixed news.

Many years ago I was told that the way to find and study birds was with ears first, eyes second, and optics third. Well, on that basis I scored one-and-a-half out of three.

I certainly heard it, calling repeatedly and distinctively from the reeds in front of East Marsh Hide: chink chink, chink chink. I'm pretty sure I saw it, but sadly just as a dashing shadow in the corner of my eye. But I certainly didn't get my binoculars on it. I waited for as long as a bored eight-year-old could bear, and then headed somewhat reluctantly back to the tearoom for a consolation milkshake.

Very nice. But not that much of a consolation for the over eights among us.

Bird of the day: Teal (Anas crecca), a stunning little duck which is at its absolute best and brightest at this time of year.

No comments: