Quantcast
Jun 272012
 

Each year around this time Dee and I like to take in a night visit to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve near Coventry and amongst other things we love to go searching for Glow Worms. These amazing and fascinating little bio-luminescent creatures are great fun to find. Females have only a few weeks in which to attract a mate and lay eggs. After this, sadly they die. As well as attracting a mate, the glowing green abdomen is also a warning to predators to stay away.

This years visit was also going to be a little different! Over recent years Brandon Marsh has played host on two separate occasions to the amazing Spotted Crake and because of this the reserve has been a part of this years RSPB Spotted Crake Survey, only the second time this has been done. The RSPB survey, organised at Brandon by Alban and Jim from the Brandon team, has been taking place during May and June and having missed out on the previous surveys due to our travels we had arranged for our visit to coincide with the final one.

Spotted Crakes are virtually impossible to see during the breeding season — anyone trying to do so will most likely end up disappointed, and with wet feet — but their distinctive, repetitive ‘whiplash’ call is far-carrying across lowland wetlands on calm nights. Spotted Crakes may call through most of the night, from half an hour after sunset onwards, and in good listening conditions (rare so far this year) may be heard from a kilometre or more away.

Tonight (Monday) was absolutely perfect weather for both events with not a breath of wind and a comfortable temperature of around 18C. On arrival at around 8:45pm Dee and I made straight for the Carlton Hide and here we were greeted by Martin Durkin another Brandon regular, with the words every nature lover wants to here “you should have been here 10 minutes earlier” Martin had spotted a lone Otter at the top end of the pool!

Notwithstanding I like to pride myself on the fact that I have a good working knowledge of the reserve (spending most waking hour here) and I wasn’t too disappointed at this point. Smugly I predicted the path that the Otter may take to reach the nearby River Avon, having surveyed the area a number of times and finding spraint I was quietly confident. Thankfully I was rewarded some 15 minutes later when two Otters took my predicted path, but enough of the self praise just an amazing thing to see, especially for my wife Dee.

Brandon Marsh after dark is such an amazingly different environment and the rest of the evening was just a sheer delight. Orchids, Daubenton’s Bats skimming across Kingfisher Pool, Pipistrelle Bats flying past your ears and the eerie call of a Barn Owl hunting and a Muntjac calling. Sadly, but as expected no Spotted Crake was forthcoming but an end count of seven Glow Worms delighted everyone. (Alban, Jim, Abi, Lee, Martin, Dee and myself. It was also a pleasure to meet Lesley Davis the trusts Ranger from Ufton Fields Nature Reserve)

Keith Yates

Keith Yates

I've been living on water aboard my 60ft traditional English Narrowboat for the past 9 years and wouldn't change that for the world! I'm currently moored on the junction of the Oxford and Grand Union Canals at Napton-on-the-Hill Warwickshire, England. I'm a Passionate conservationist and Warden with Brandon Marsh Voluntary Conservation Team, Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, England UK

Leave a Comment

  • http://focusingonwildlife.com/ Ken Billington

    Keith, welcome to our blog. But isn’t it always the case? You go out with the intention of watching one species – in this case the Spotted Crake – but are compensated by seeing other unexpected species – Brandon Marsh sounds a delightful place for wildlife.   

  • http://www.whalesworldwide.com/ Nic Slocum

    Your post takes me back to my childhood Keith…lovely.

Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days

  1. Join the 1st World Giraffe Day and help save these gentle giants » [783 Views]
  2. Shot Egyptian vulture leads conservationists to bizarre black-market for bird parts » [603 Views]
  3. Cuckoos’ shameless egg-laying tactics revealed » [459 Views]
  4. Japan kills 30 minke whales in first hunt since UN court order » [441 Views]
  5. POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [430 Views]
  6. Albatross Internet Darling Takes First Flight » [366 Views]
  7. Elachuridae: Ornithologists Describe New Family of Passerine Birds » [349 Views]
  8. Software can decode bird songs » [316 Views]
  9. Threatened Species ‘Red List’ Warns 90 Percent of Lemur Species Face Extinction » [315 Views]
  10. Video: Polar Bear Cam Provides Unique View into Arctic Life » [314 Views]

Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months

  1. POLL: Should the Slaughter of Grouse be allowed to continue? » [33741 Views]
  2. POLL: Should bear hunting be banned in the US? » [27995 Views]
  3. Massive Bird Slaughter Around the Mediterranean – Shocking Photos » [12169 Views]
  4. POLL: Should China’s shameful tiger farms be closed down? » [12097 Views]
  5. Petition: Stop Lion Canned Hunting in South Africa – Shocking Video » [9859 Views]
  6. POLL: Should the Faroe Islands’ whale slaughter be allowed to continue? » [7862 Views]
  7. POLL: Should the fox-hunting laws in the UK be relaxed? » [6998 Views]
  8. Trophy Hunting in Africa – Wildlife Slaughter in Graphic Images » [5526 Views]
  9. POLL: Should the Dolphin Slaughter in Taiji Cove be stopped? » [5269 Views]
  10. Wildlife Photography – Ethics and Conservation Issues? » [5096 Views]