Coach Trip to Brandon Marsh (Warwicks. WT)

Our group, along with our friends from the Stevenage Local Group, took our first coach trip of 2024 to Brandon Marsh near Coventry. This 220 acre reserve is managed by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and is well known for the variety and quality of its scenic pools, reedbeds, grassland and woodland.

Great Egret

En-route we received a BirdGuides report that a Ferruginous Duck had been spotted at the reserve this very morning. It was quite amusing to observe people’s reactions to this news. A few die-hard birders were visibly punching the air with excitement while others were a little more laid back, with reactions like “aw, that’ll be nice to see” and “is it rare then?”.

Ferruginous Duck

Upon our arrival we were warmly greeted by the reserve manager Richard who explained that some trails and hides were inaccessible due to recent flooding. However, this was only a minor setback and we were able to walk around much of the reserve without too much difficulty.

Impassable …

We split into a few small groups and each group chose different routes to avoid overcrowding the trails, hides and viewpoints. Everyone got to see the Ferruginous Duck which was clearly identifiable amongst a number of Tufted Ducks and giving great close-up views. For those “listers” amongst us this was a great year tick and also a “lifer” for many.

Ferruginous Duck

But that’s not all. There was plenty of interest throughout the reserve including a single Great White Egret, five Goosanders, Pochard and numerous other wildfowl on the pools. The surrounding woodland provided us with views of a sizable mixed flock of Siskins and Lesser Redpoll. There were good numbers of Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits and Great Tits and a few of us caught a brief sight of a Marsh Tit. Both woodpecker species were seen at numerous times during the day, as were Treecreepers and Jays.

Male Goosander

It’s quite a rare occasion on our trips when someone reports seeing a Woodcock. Today we had not one but two different sightings, with one flushed in the meadow and another seen flying in front of one of the hides.

Later in the afternoon some of us took a walk around nearby Brandon Wood where Goldcrest were a-plenty, providing clear views flitting from tree to tree.

Mud, glorious mud!

This was a super day out at a brilliant reserve. The staff were so friendly and helpful and the weather was kind to us too. In total, 65 species seen and 3 heard, a very respectable number for this time of year.

One of many Robins singing sweetly, Spring is coming!