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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Branton Gravel Pits

Branton gravel pits , situated just west of Powburn was the subject of a visit last week not a bad day weather wise got there first thing went over to the Hedgeley site east of Powburn to find the Black headed Gulls where nowhere to be seen apart from from a few Tufted and the usual gang of Canada Geese the usually raucous sounds of the large colony of Gulls nesting on the island was gone , two Common Sandpiper on the larger pool and 2 Buzzard over  so I headed for Branton , again large numbers of Canada geese one group had thirty young , two pairs of Black headed Gulls nested on a small platform one had three young but I couldn't help think that at least on a grassy island the juveniles could wander around picking up flies etc: here they where just stuck on a small platform till they fledged an easy target for the larger gulls,a walk around and I picked out  a wader on another island this also had BH Gulls nesting but difficult to see in the long grass, the wader looked like a Knot but as I only had my compact bins for dragonflies  I came back with the scope to check it out indeed a Knot , I did not think they went to far inland on passage obviously they do.
Still Garden Warblers,Blackcaps , Willows and Chiffs singing it was nice to hear early in the morning with very little background noise , only a few Damsels on the wing and no Dragonflies a chap I talked to told me last year they had also had Broad Bodied Chaser here , and Osprey ( one reported the next day ) pleasant enough couple of hours   but there is an awful lot of geese around , nearby I had my first Spotted Fly of the year although Iv'e not actually gone and looked for them this year , I have actually got it on my garden list  not bad for the centre of a  town. 

 Knot feeding on what little shore there is on one of the islands
 Whitethroat giving it  some from it's favourite perch

 Distant Spotted Fly
Two pairs of BH Gulls this with three young not sure how many the other pair had but all on a platform about 5' wide

 Great Crested Grebe apparently has not successfully bred  here for a few years, actually in common with a few other sites I know of .
 Long Tailed Tits are they  not just great to see this chap in a party of about 10 not sure how many where juveniles , they flit around so very quick only got the two shots.

 View across the larger pool that's an island
 and this further right than the above the nesting platform in view

 Looking back across the site
 Came out the site and had a look at the river , not hard to see just what they Quarry from this area , still the wildlife does benefit from a newly created habitat
 Looking back east , that's a Ford across the river ,but I wouldn't recommend crossing it in a Ford or any other car for that matter   !!!
A very substantial footbridge has been erected , I have yet to look on the map to see where it goes

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