Trip reports

Field Trip - Brandon Marsh

Field Trip - Brandon Marsh
Muntjac deer at Brandon Marsh - Bob Russon

Sunday, 8 March 2020

We arrived at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Brandon Marsh nature reserve near Coventry shortly before 10am. The forecast was for sunny intervals and showers.

We started well, with a kestrel spotted even before we left the coach. Some of us headed straight for the cafe which gives great views of the bird feeders and a sparrowhawk was soon seen waiting on the top of the bird table. However, this didn't stay long enough to deter chaffinch, reed bunting, dunnock and various members of the tit family, all of which were regular visitors to the feeders during the day

Brandon Marsh is made up of several pools with extensive reed beds, interspersed with woodlands. There are nine hides scattered around the reserve and these gave splendid views of a wide variety of ducks, waders and wildfowl including great and little grebes, little egret, grey heron, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, shoveler, tufted duck, goldeneye, moorhen, coot and oystercatcher. A lone water rail was seen by a lucky few and a kingfisher was showing well from one of the hides - though again not seen by all of us.

Cormorant, mute swan, lapwing and both greylag and Canada geese were however seen by all and there were plenty of gulls - mainly black-headed but also lesser and greater black-backed and herring gulls. Several buzzards soared above and stock dove were abundant in the woods and on Alban's Reedbed.

As some off us walked through the woods near Wright Hide, we came across two redpoll and a siskin around a large puddle in the middle of a path. In the surrounding trees were a group of long-tailed tit and a flock of goldfinch. Two treecreepers were flitting between the trees looking for food and there were several very friendly robins along the way allowing several people to get close-up camera shots. Green woodpeckers were calling loudly and heard by nearly all but only a lucky few managed to get views of them, mainly flying between open fields and woodland.

Cetti's warblers were heard at several spots around the reserve but most, as usual, proved very elusive - even though they were clearly sometimes very nearby. We also heard nuthatch, greenfinch and bullfinch. Other birds recorded included pied wagtail, wren, song thrush, redwing, blackcap, goldcrest and jay. But it wasn't all birds, with members of our group also spotting muntjac deer, peacock butterfly, bumble bees, seven-spot ladybird, rabbit and grey squirrel.

Despite occasional heavy showers, Brandon Marsh proved once again to be a lovely place to spend a day wandering though the woods and wetlands. It is a place for quiet enjoyment where there is something to spot around every corner.