Birthday Birding 2019!

Recently, it was my birthday, and over the past few years one activity has become a bit of a tradition either on or around the day: birthday birding! This year, myself and two members of my family went to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve, which is one of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s reserves.

When I go birding with my family, or friends who don’t necessarily do a lot of wildlife watching, I go to a big reserve that has a visitor centre and a cafe. This is so that everyone can take the day at their own pace, we have the facilities we need, and we can all warm up and grab some tasty treats! I had never been to Brandon Marsh before but after spending the day there I will definitely be going again! It is packed with wildlife, and there are a number of different trails to try. We also had a lovely lunch in the cafe (called Badger’s Tearoom) and we finished the day by having a good look around the gift shop (I bought a hedgehog keyring…because why wouldn’t you?!).

Robin © Catherine Leatherland

As it was winter, most of the trees had shed their leaves – on the down side you miss all the colour, but the positive is that the birds are much easier to spot! We used our ears to follow the sound of the birds into the trees and ended up seeing loads of robins and blue tits as a result. As we went around the trails of the reserve we saw many other birds, both from the trail and the hides, including:

  • Carrion crows
  • Buzzard
  • Canada geese
  • Mute swans 
  • Teal
  • Pochard
  • Tufted ducks
  • Mallard
  • Shelduck
  • Shoveller

As we all know by now: I love ducks – so I was particularly happy with how many were using the pools on this reserve!

At lunch time, we were lucky enough to get a table by the window, which looked out at the feeders. We enjoyed spotting all the birds that were tucking into their very own tasty lunch. All of a sudden there was a commotion and something hopped into view – a rabbit! I thought it looked huge, but that’s probably because I haven’t ever been so close to a wild rabbit before. I put my cup of tea down, grabbed my camera, and started taking photos. You can’t miss an opportunity to capture a moment like that! There was something comical about watching a rabbit hop around amongst a load of birds, and I wanted to remember it.

Rabbit © Catherine Leatherland

The feeders were of course worthy of watching on their own merit (rabbit or no rabbit). Here are the species we saw at the feeders, with no effort at all, while we munched on lunch:

  • Blue tit
  • Great tit
  • Long tailed tit
  • Reed bunting
  • Woodpigeon
  • Nuthatch

We all had a lovely time at Brandon Marsh, and after all the excitement we decided it was time to head home for a cup of tea – and, of course, some birthday cake!

Find out more about The Wildlife Trusts and the reserves that you could visit, by heading to the Wildlife Trusts website.