Curslow Lane was also very quite but I did add Common Buzzard and 2 Red-legged Partridge to the list. Whilst at a mostly frozen Willow Marsh Fishery a single Grey Heron was of note.
It was a very foggy morning at Stanklyn when I visited for my walk today with a lovely hoar frost covering the trees and shrubs. Snow still remained on the fields in places too so it gave a very wintry feel.
This afternoon I met up with local photographer & fellow local wildlife enthusiast Dave Williams (aka Spenells Pensioner) to go and view the ever increasing wintering Linnet flock at Stanklyn fields. The flock has steadily grown as autumn/winter progressed. Back on 24th November 2020 I recorded c.700 there and on this very morning Dave had recorded over a 1000. In a normal winter there are usually a couple of flocks of around 200-300 in the local area so this year is looking exceptional. This winter the fields they are favouring are full of a green manure called Fodder Radish which has gone to seed and has become like a magnet for the Linnets to feed on. Other mixed flocks other finches such as Chaffinch, Greenfinch and even a couple of Brambling have also been drawn to it. Anyway, back to our amble.
We started off by checking out the frozen Captains Pool. All that was present were 14 Black-headed Gulls and a single Lesser Black-backed Gull on the ice. At the rear of the a number of Mallards were swimming around keeping a small area of water open.
Black-headed Gull & Lesser Black-backed Gull on Captains Pool
Heading to the fields we were greeted by a huge flock of around c.1200 Linnets that were swirling around over the crops in an almost Starling murmuration-like fashion. The flock would then split for periods of time into 2-3 smaller flocks before merging again. As the afternoon drew on more and more parts of the flock broke off to in the nearby trees. It really was fascinating to watch. Check out the video below.
Linnet flock at Stanklyn Fields - 3rd January 2021
Also of note in the area were 5 Skylarks and a female Kestrel. Sadly this would be the last time I would catch up with Dave for a while for a walk as the country yet again entered lockdown restrictions due to the Covid pandemic. That said I will still be undertaking solo exercise walks around the local fields and lanes with my camera/binoculars in hand, so these blog posts will continue.
After a break of over 6 years I have finally decided to restart my Shenstone Birder blog. Why? you may ask. Well, although I moved on to a new local patch for a few years (Hartlebury Common), I never really stopped visiting the area loosely known by local birders as Shenstone (Stanklyn, Stone, Shenstone etc). Having still visited each year, all be it less frequently, the area very much still holds a special place in my heart. In 2020 with the pandemic and numerous lockdowns/restrictions it was local area that I could reach easily for my exercise walks and wildlife recording fix to maintain my sanity. Doing so made me realise that perhaps for 2021 I should restart this blog.
During the intervening years my interests in the natural world have diversified further and are not solely limited to birds. You could say that I also have a fascination with invertebrates and this resurrected blog will also reflect this as well as focussing on our feathered friends. Also this year I will be travelling further afield (when restrictions permit) for a variety of wildlife within Worcestershire and neighbouring counties. So the blog, much like in its later years, will not just be about Shenstone or Birding. Of course, I could change the blog name to something different or started a fresh once more but Shenstone Birder has a rich back history of 700+ posts and the name has a kind of special place in my heart as it was my first and most successful blogging venture.
So there you have it. Shenstone Birder starts a new after a lengthy hiatus. I hope you all find it as interesting as first time around and enjoy the upcoming posts (coming very soon).
Corn Bunting - Stone, 30th May 2009