Large numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares were feeding on the stubble in the model aircraft field and when (at one point) they all went up I estimated that there were c.100 Redwing and c.40 Fieldfare. Along the hedgerow on the left side of the field were a flock of 8 Yellowhammers (2 adult ♂). A Common Buzzard was also seen at the rear of the field.
Prior to visiting the patch I had done a bit of gull watching at the nearby Hartlebury landfill site. The things you do during the winter months to make your birding more varied....roll on Spring migration! Actually its not as bad as it sounds and during certain tines of day the gulls all sit in a nearby field which allows for easier scanning and a much more pleasant experience!
On today's visit there were c.200 Black-headed Gulls, c 60 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 20 Herring Gulls present. The highlight though was a single adult Yellow-legged Gull, a scarce but increasing bird in the county. Also present in the same field were 9 Pied Wagtails.
I started at a very frozen Captains Pool where there were 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 38 Black-headed Gulls on the Ice. Whilst here I also counted 45 Mallards, 2 Canada Geese and 3 Moorhens. Earlier this morning 17 Siskins and 10 Goldfinches were seen feeding on the ground below an Alder (TS).
Stanklyn Lane paddocks were empty so I swiftly moved onto the beet field where there were 17 Starlings, 2 Mistle Thrushes, c.60 Wood Pigeons and a Robin.
From the beet field I headed to the carrot field footpath. Here a large mixed finch/bunting flock of c.100 birds was present. With them was a single ♀ Brambling which I managed to get a good look at and I'm pretty sure it is the same bird that I have been recording around the Stanklyn Lane area in November and early December. The flock mainly consisted of Chaffinches with small numbers of Greenfinches, 4 Yellowhammers (2♂)and 3 Goldfinches. Also present in the hedgerow at the back of the carrot field were 2 Redwings and a Blackbird.
After finishing Stanklyn I popped up to Heath Lane where the only birds of note were 1 Common Buzzard and 3 Redwings.
There were now 3 ♂ Blackcaps feeding in the garden today. This means that with the ♀ Blackcap seen on the 12th December, there have been 4 individuals visiting my humble little garden this winter (it just shows what you can attract, even on a terraced street in an urban area). 7 Long-tailed Tits, 5 House Sparrows and a Starling were also present.
A flock of 7 Fieldfare flew over and 2 Ravens were present on top of the Weavers Wharf chimney stack for about 30 minutes from11am before flying WSW straight over our garden!
The 2 ♂ Blackcaps were again present at the bird table this morning.
The highlight today was a Peregrine that was seen perched on top of the old brick chimney stack at Weavers Wharf retail park. I can see this stack from the bedroom window and below I have attached a dodgy distant record shot (taken through the window). Double glazing, poor light, distance and digiscoping...not a good combination!
Peregrine - Weavers Wharf, 21st December 2010:
Sunday 19th Dec 2010 - Garden Birdwatch
The harsh weather had pushed many thrushes into the back gardens. Within a day they had stripped the Rowan (there goes my chance of more Waxwings!). At one point I counted 15 Blackbirds, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 2 Redwings, a Fieldfare and a Song Thrush all in or around the gardens. In fact, when I opened the back door, 7 Blackbirds flew out of my Pyracantha. Also of note today were 2 ♂ Black Caps feeding at my bird table and 3 Cormorants that flew over heading SE.
Redwing - Kidderminster, 19th Dec 2010:
Bewick's Swans are Britain's smallest Swan and migrate from their Arctic breeding grounds between October-November. They return between March-April. In the UK, they are found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire with concentrations at the Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire).
On today's visit there were 207 Bewick's Swans present with good numbers being seen at The Rushy. Also seen at this part of the reserve were a single Pink-footed Goose, many Greylag Geese, large numbers of Pintails, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Shellducks and small numbers of Teal. One drake Pochard was seen that had been tagged with a sky blue nasal saddle and the alpha numeric code read 'C='.
Anyway, back to the 7th. When they are not feeding on the landfill, a large flock of up to 500 Gulls will sit in the opposite or adjacent fields. On scanning through the gulls I recorded c.300 Black-headed Gulls, c.80 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, c.40 Herring Gulls and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.
I noted that one of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls was colour ringed (see photo at bottom of this entry). The ring was black with a yellow 4 digit alpha numeric code that read T2HC. I checked out the ring details on the "European Colour - Ring Birding" website and it appeared that this colour ring and prefix was used in a project up at Tarnbrook Fell, Forest of Bowland. I emailed the projects coordinator and have since received a email back confirming that it was indeed a Tarnbrook bird.
The Lesser Black-backed was ringed as a 30 day old juvenile at the colony on Tarnbrook Fell (SD6258) on 11.07.1998. The sightings history of the bird is as follows:
11/07/98 Tarnbrook Fell, Lancashire
22/11/02 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 4 yrs 134days)
27/11/02 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 4 yrs 139days)
17/12/02 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 4 yrs 159days)
24/12/02 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 4 yrs 166days)
31/12/02 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 4 yrs 173days)
15/01/04 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 5 yrs 188days)
29/01/04 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 5 yrs 202days)
01/11/04 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 113days)
03/12/04 WEL Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 145days)
20/12/04 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 162days)
13/01/05 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 186days)
18/01/05 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 191days)
24/01/05 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 197days)
08/02/05 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 212days)
14/02/05 SAN Gloucester landfill, Gloucestershire (242 km, S, 6 yrs 218days)
07/12/10 JKN Hartlebury, Worcestershire (188 km, S, 12 yrs 149days)
I would like to thank the NW Gull Project's coordinator David Sowter for his swift reply and providing me with this information. To report a colour ringed bird either go to http://www.cr-birding.be/ or http://www.euring.org/
Lesser Black-backed Gull T2HC - Hartlebury, 7th Dec 2010:
At 9:10 this morning, 25 Siskin were present in the Alders at Captains Pool for short period of time (TS).
2 ♂ Blackcaps were again present in my back garden.
Arrived at the patch midday today. The weather was initially sunny but slowly turned overcast. Temperature wise things were a little milder. I started my visit on Witch Lane where 1 Common Buzzard, 4 Fieldfares, 7 Black-headed Gulls, c.60 Wood Pigeon and a Meadow Pipit were recorded.
At the Back/Butts Lane triangle there were 13 Fieldfare, 6 Blackbirds and 2 Redwings in the Hawthorns hedge next to the A450.
Heath Lane paddock held 2 Robins, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Fieldfare and a Blackbird. Another Fieldfare and a Blackbird were in the Hawthorns at the bottom of Heath Lane.
On doing my walk around the beet field I saw 1 Common Buzzard, a ♀ Kestrel, 1 Jay, 1 Robin, 15 Fieldfares, and 29 Linnets. A Grey Heron flew over heading towards Captains Pool and c.60 Skylarks were flushed from the adjacent stubble by a dog walker. The Carrot field was quiet with the only birds of note being 2 Redwings and 4 Chaffinches. Stanklyn Lane paddocks held 2 Green Woodpeckers and 16 Redwings. A flock of 11 Long-tailed Tits was also recorded along the lane.
Also of interest today were 3 Blackcaps (2♂ & 1♀) that were seen visiting my back garden (BK). This is an excellent winter record as I live on a terraced street in the middle of a town. Last winter I recorded a single Blackcap and this was the first for my garden list.
Unfortunately I just missed them by about 30 minutes as I was in Birmingham at the in-laws when Mark found them. I guess I will have to wait a little longer for that patch tick.
There was some consolation in the fact that there were 2 Waxwings seen in the back gardens for about 10 minutes (BK) and when I was walking the dog mid-morning i had a further 6 Waxwings at Perrett Walk.
I started today at the Butts/Back Lane triangle where 4 Fieldfares, 2 Blackbirds and a Redwing were busy feeding on the Pyracantha hedge until being flushed by a ♀ Sparrowhawk. Also of note in this area was a single Common Buzzard perched in its usual tree at the back of Stone Manor.
I then parked up on Stanklyn Lane and walked a circuit through the beet field, down to Captains Pool and back. The beet field seemed fairly quiet with only 7 Linnets, 5 Dunnocks, a Robin, a Wren and a ♀ Kestrel noted. That was until c.120 Skylarks were flushed from the adjacent stubble by a dog walker whose pooch wasn't on a lead. The path down to Captains provided me with 12 Chaffinches, 6 Robins and a Jay. A ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the trees at the back of the pool.
On arrival at Captains pool I started scanning the alders and bingo! I finally managed to connect with some of the Siskins. In total there were 4 Siskins (1 adult ♂) along with 6 Goldfinches feeding in an alder by the dam. Seen on the pool were the usual Mallards, 60 Canada Geese, 17 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Moorhens.
On the walk back I noticed 2 small birds perched in the large tree that stands in the middle of the beat field. At first I thought Linnets but the on viewing them in the scope I could see that they were both Lesser Redpolls....result, they are fairly scarce birds on the patch with only a handful most winters.
I started at Back Lane where 5 Blackbirds, 3 Redwings and a Fieldfare were feeding on the Hawthorn hedge at the top of the triangle. Heath Lane was devoid of birds and Stanklyn Lane paddocks were not much better with a single Common Buzzard being the only bird of note.
Luckily the Stanklyn Lane beet field was much more productive with c.80 Linnets feeding below the large tree in the middle of the field. c.60 Wood Pigeons were feeding in the adjacent stubble and c.40 Skylarks flew up there when spooked by a walker. C.40 Starlings, a ♀ Kestrel and a ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker were present in the trees bordering the field. The mixed finch/bunting flock was again feeding at the back of the carrot field and as well as Greenfinches and Chaffinches, it still contained 3 Yellowhammers (2♂), the ♀ Brambling and small numbers of Goldfinch. 11 Long-tailed Tits were seen along the hedgerow here and 2 Sparrowhawks (1♂ & 1♀) went through the finch flock on a couple of occasions.
Greenfinch - 5th December 2010:
Thursday 2nd Dec 2010: 2 Grey Herons were over frozen pool having a tussle and 15 Siskin were in the alder near boathouse until being seen off by a Jay.
Friday 3rd Dec 2010: c.25 finches were in or around the alders today. They were mainly Goldfinches, a few Siskin and Chaffinches on the ground eating fallen Alder seed. At 3.30 pm a Song Thrush was in the leaf litter hammering away at a snail until it was bullied by a male blackbird. The Mallards continue to keep a small area of the pool ice free.
Saturday 4th Dec 2010: A flock of c.20 Goldfinches and small numbers of Siskin were feeding in the Alders on the North side of the pool today. The drake Shoveller had returned to the pool today. 2 Jays were also present.
Due to the conditions on a number of the lanes around the patch I decided to just visit Stanklyn Lane (its on the flat and is the most well used). I parked up and started by walking the beet field. Here I had c.80 Linnets, 55 Skylarks, 4 Meadow Pipits and 1 Pied Wagtail. A single Lapwing flew over heading West. Along the edge of footpath between the beet field and the small field (carrot field as I call it....well the farmer grew carrots there last year and I have to give these places names!) there were c.20 Chaffinch feeding on the ground with 3 Yellowhammers (2♂). At the back of the carrot field was a large mixed finch flock containing many Chaffinches, Greenfinches, 40+ Linnets, 10 Goldfinches and a single ♀ Brambling. 4 Redwings were in the Hawthorns along Stanklyn Lane.
Yellowhammer & Chaffinches - 30th Nov 2010:
Just a brief update on the Waxwings in Kidderminster. This morning there were 4 Waxwings feeding between the Wood Street back gardens and Perrett Walk. On returning from the patch, this number had increased to 8 Waxwings which were present until 1:50 pm when they flew off towards the Bewdley Road. I was unable to re-locate them after.
I started at Witch Lane where 2 Kestrels (1♂ & 1♀) and 11 Black-headed Gulls were seen. Not a single Lapwing was present today.
From Witch Lane I headed down to Stanklyn Lane. 4 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings and 6 Blackbirds were in the Hawthorns by the paddocks. c.60 Linnets and 27 Skylarks were seen at the beet field and c.80 Meadow Pipits flew up out the field opposite.
Captains Pool was almost frozen with a small area being kept free by c.60 Mallards busy circling around. Also in the free water were a Mute Swan and a drake Shoveller. 11 Black-headed Gulls and 3 Moorhens were seen on the ice.
In the morning, there were c.40 Linnets and small numbers of Chaffinch and Greenfinch perched in the tree in the middle of Stanklyn Lane beet field. Also, a Common Buzzard was seen over being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crows (MP).
On the afternoon, I started my tour of the patch at Witch Lane where there were now only 10 Lapwings present. Also seen in this area were 6 Skylarks, 7 Long-tailed Tits and a Mistle Thrush.
The only birds of note at the Back Lane/Butts Lane triangle were a Common Buzzard and a single Fieldfare. Heath lane was equally as devoid of birds so it was quickly on to Stanklyn Lane beet field. As well as the c.40 Linnets that were still present, I also had 23 Skylarks and c.40 Starlings (which were looking rather resplendent perched out in the afternoon sun - see photo below).
My final stop of the day was Stanklyn Lane paddocks where a Green Woodpecker and a Buzzard were present. The small field adjacent to the public footpath (opposite junction with Heath Lane) contained 17 Meadow Pipits and a further 20 Linnets. Whilst scanning this area I had a flock of 32 Golden Plover fly over heading West. Interestingly enough fellow local patch birder Craig Round had, presumably, the same flock fly over his patch (Lutley) heading SW only a matter of 10-15 minutes before. Lutley is about 12 miles away from my patch and this is an interesting correlation between the 2 sites. For more information/sighting details for Lutley check out Craig's blog at the following Link: http://lutleybirder.blogspot.com/
Starling - 28th November 2010:
Whilst popping out into the back garden, just after mid-day, I noticed that a single Waxwing was feeding on the Rowan 2 doors down. I set up my scope and took a few photos. This handsome chappy was very photogenic and a lot less flighty than the flock earlier in the week. It stayed in the gardens till about 1:30 pm and later relocated to the nearby Perrett Walk.
What a result..much better than a spending the afternoon watching a load of kids prancing about on stage! All I need now is to pick one up on patch...this week, surely!
Waxwing - Kidderminster, 27th November 2010:
I started at the Butts Lane/Back Lane triangle where 3 Common Buzzards were up on arrival. After a short while a ♀ Kestrel went over the large stubble field at the top of back lane and this put up c.40 Skylarks. As expected, there were no Waxwings on the Pyracantha hedge here...in fact it was performing as good as usual with just a pair of Wood Pigeons perched on top. A flock of 18 Redwing flew over heading West.
From the triangle I headed across the A450 and onto Witch Lane. The ploughed field only contained 51 Lapwings today but much to my joy there were 2 Golden Plover with them. Also in this field were 8 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Herring Gull and c.100 Starlings. The stubble field opposite the old grain store contained 20 Stock Doves.
I finished my visit today at a very quiet Captains Pool. The only birds of note here were a 2 Shoveller (1 drake).
From Shenstone I headed 12 miles across Worcestershire to Lower Bittel Reservoir to try and see the ♀ Red-breasted Merganser that had been present since yesterday (a county tick for me). On arrival I scanned Lower Bittell and picked up the bird with 3 ♀ Goosander. It was a result but a bit unsatisfying as the bird was fairly distant and the light wasn't great. I decided to wait and see if it came closer and after about 30 minutes it flew over with 6 ♀ Goosander and landed on the smaller Mill Shrub pool on the other side of the road...my patience was rewarded and much better views gained.
All I need now is to get one on the patch at Captains Pool. Not outside the realms of possibility as fellow local birder (TS) recorded one there a number of years ago.
Quickly I grabbed my bins, scope and camera and went out in the garden to get some photos. The birds were feeding in the Rowan and then perching up in a nearby taller tree. They stayed for a about 25 minutes. I later relocated them at Perret Walk (a cul-de-sac at the end of the road which has a number of Rowans). This is the second time I have recorded Waxwings in this location. In winter 2004/2005, I discovered a flock of over 200 Waxwings here...not bad for a terraced street in the middle of Kidderminster! Anyway here are a couple of today's record shots from by garden.
Waxwings - Wood Street, Kidderminster:
Additional Note - The Waxwings were present at Perret Walk until approx 1:30pm when they where seen flying South (Andy Shaw). This could have been due to the 2 Sparrowhawks seen in the area just before or the feisty Mistle Thrush which had been having ago at them every time they went near the Rowans!
I arrived at Stanklyn Lane late morning and there was some serious mist/fog in the air , needless to say visibility was restricted. I started by walking the paths around the beet field. c.100 Linnets were perched up in the large tree in the centre of the field. c.80 Starlings were in the stubble towards the top of the field as were c.40 Wood Pigeons. Also seen in the beet field area were 14 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Dunnocks, 1 Meadow Pipit and a ♂ Kestrel. Stanklyn Lane paddocks were very quiet with only 2 Mistle Thrush and a single Goldfinch of note.
From Stanklyn I headed over to the Butts Lane/Back Lane triangle. 3 Corn Buntings and a Linnet were perched in one of the trees along Butts Lane. A Common Buzzard was seen perched in its usual spot in the trees behind Stone Manor. The flight call of a Pied Wagtail and those of a number of Skylarks were also heard here. Whilst in this area I decided to scan the berry laden row of Pyracantha at the top end of the triangle - well there could have been a Waxwing! There wasn't of course but perched on a fence post between some of the bushes was a nice Sparrowhawk.
Heath Lane was almost devoid of birds with the exception of a flock of 25 Linnets perched on the telegraph wires next to the paddock. 5 House Sparrows were seen bathing in a puddle at the top of the lane next to The Granary Hotel.
By this time the sun was starting to burn through the mist allowing for a period of clearer skies and better visibility. I popped over to Witch Lane to scan the fields. Only 4 Lapwings were seen in the now seeding up field, along with c.70 Starlings, 6 Black-headed Gulls and a Buzzard. A single Cormorant was also seen flying over and dropping down at the nearby Winterfold Fisheries.
Additional Note: The Shoveller numbers have fluctuated over the past few days at Captains Pool with a drake present on the 17th, 2 drakes and a ♀ on the 18th and a single drake again today (TS).
I started at Captains Pool (well... Tony's Cafe to be honest) where the 4 Shoveller (3 drakes) were still present. Also of note on the pool were a Great Crested Grebe and 15 Black-headed Gulls. A tit flock passed through the trees at the edge of the pool and with it was a Goldcrest - not thick on the ground around the patch (I believe last years cold winter didn't help matters).
From Captains pool Tony and I visited the Butts/Back Lane area next. In the large tree next to the pull-in were 2 Corn Buntings looking rather resplendent in the glow of the suns light. C.70 Linnets flew into the same trees as did 2 ♂ Chaffinch and a ♂ Yellowhammer. 25 Skylarks were also noted in this area.
Witch Lane was the next area visited. Whilst traveling down the lane we had a stonking ♂ Sparrowhawk that would perch up on the hedge for a few seconds and then carry on flying low to the road. In the ploughed field were 78 Lapwings, c.300 Starlings, 38 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Common Buzzards. Towards the bottom of Witch Lane, near the former grain store , came the real highlight of today's visit, 5 Corn Buntings perched in one of the trees here. This is the first time I have recorded them in this area of the patch - (in my experience) around Shenstone they tend to be very localised and stick to within a certain radius of the breeding areas pretty much all year long. Needless to say I was pleased with this discovery. Also in the same tree were 3 Yellowhammers (2 ). Seen in the large stubble field opposite were 14 Meadow Pipits, c.20 Linnets, 3 Goldfinch and a number of Skylarks.
Heath lane was almost completely dead with the exception of a single Fieldfare that flew cross the lane and into a Hawthorn. Stanklyn Lane paddocks were also very quiet with the only birds of note being a Rook, 2 Jays and 1 Fieldfare.
The final stop today was as Stanklyn Lane beet field. We undertook a walk around the edge field and recorded C.60 Linnets, 26 Skylarks, 2 Meadow Pipits and 6 Dunnocks. A ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker was in a tree bordering this field.
All in all it was an enjoyable few hours birding... I just need to find myself that patch Waxwing now!
Corn Bunting - 15th November 2010:
Alternately, click on the link in the 'additional pages' section on the right hand side of this blog.
A Shenstone Birds Gallery will be set up some point in the near future.
If any local birders/wildlife enthusiasts have any photos from the Shenstone area they wish to have included in the galleries please email me at the below address:
I am feeling a lot better this evening after my latest dose of man flu, so I am hoping to get back around the patch tomorrow. A bit of fresh air...that's what I need!
Unfortunately today I had too many other things going on to get around the patch. This included popping over to Halesowen this afternoon and by the time I left I only had a limited amount of light left. So on the way back I decided to check out Brakemill Pool near Hagley. The wooded area near this pool turned up 3 Firecrests in 2008 and the pool itself has turned up Goosander on occasion.
On scanning over the pool I could see that there were only 38 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Mute Swans and lots of Mallard present. Then I noticed a fairly small duck foraging on the bank on the far side, it was a ♀ Wigeon. This was a pleasant surprise as I wouldn't have expected any Wigeon at such a small pool.
From Brakemill Pool I headed the 1/4 of a mile or so down the road to the nearby Stakenbridge Pool. Much to my amazement (this place always looks dead when you view it) there were 2 ♀ Goosander. Also present was a single Grey Heron and a manky white farm yard goose. All in all not a bad half hour and a good use of limited daylight and time. I must try and get around Shenstone tomorrow though...I've got withdrawal symptoms!
We started at Back Lane where there was a single Corn Bunting, 7 Linnets and 2 Greenfinches all perched in the same tree. A Kestrel was also seen in this area.
On the way along Stanklyn Lane we had 2 Common Buzzards soaring up high over the Gallops field. The beet field was quite productive today with 13 Skylarks, 25 Linnets and 10 Chaffinch seen. Also, whilst at this location, 30 Redwing flew over heading W.
At Heath lane we had cracking views of 20+ Fieldfares feeding in the Crab Apple and Hawthorn trees opposite the model aircraft field. I finally managed to get a half decent Fieldfare photo today as the sun was shining, the weather was still and a few of the birds were quite obliging. Also in these trees were 6 Greenfinches and 5 Yellowhammers were in the model aircraft field.
The Lapwing flock was up to 134 Lapwings today at Witch Lane but there was no sign of any Golden Plovers. Also in the same field were 14 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Common Buzzards. A ♂ Kestrel was also seen and 2 Cormorants flew over heading S.
Fieldfare - Shenstone, 10th November 2010:
Shortly after arriving at the Butts/Back Lane triangle c.60 Skylarks flew over heading W. A ♀ Kestrel was perched in the dead tree next to the triangle and 9 Fieldfare also flew over heading W. In the stubble at the top of the triangle field were 2 Yellowhammers, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Dunnocks and a Robin. A Redwing and 2 Blackbirds were seen feeding in an adjacent Hawthorn.
Actually there was a general increase in the numbers of Blackbird around Shenstone today as our resident population is swollen by winter migrants. This was most noticeable on Stanklyn Lane where 7 Blackbirds were seen in the hedgerows next to the paddocks and a further 5 Blackbirds were feeding on the Hawthorns at redstart hedge. Also feeding in this hedge were 3 Fieldfares. 2 Green woodpeckers were in the paddocks. The beet field was almost devoid of birds with only a Wren and a single Dunnock seen.
What was really pleasing was the sight of the Yellowhammers starting to flock together at Heath Lane. A flock of 13 Yellowhammers were on the hedgerow at the model aircraft field.
The real highlight of today's rounds came at Witch Lane, where 2 Golden Plover were with the flock of Lapwings in the ploughed field. The flock had increased in size again up to 105 Lapwings. Also in this field were c.300 Starlings, c.200 Linnets and 57 Black-headed Gulls. 4 Fieldfares were in the trees at the back of the large seeded field.
In addition to the above, a drake Shoveller was present on Captains Pool today (TS).
Although I appreciate that we are going through some tough economic times and the Government is trying to save money but this latest news is disturbing. 'Caroline Spelman, the Environment Secretary, is expected to announce plans within days to dispose of about half of the 748,000 hectares of woodland overseen by the Forestry Commission by 2020'.
'The controversial decision will pave the way for a huge expansion in the number of Center Parcs-style holiday villages, golf courses, adventure sites and commercial logging operations throughout Britain as land is sold to private companies.'
So I ask you all to please click on the below link and sign the petition.
This is a great Raven record for the patch as normally there are only a pair that frequent the area.
On arriving at Heath Lane, a Kestrel was seen hovering over the gallops field. There were 4 Green Woodpeckers present at Stanklyn Lane paddocks. 6 Blackbirds were feeding on the Hawthorn berries along 'redstart hedge' - why is it local patch birders give their own little names to different parts of their patch? I may have to post a customised map with all these names on.
On starting my walk around the beet field I saw that a Merlin was again present and was flying towards Summerfield whilst being mobbed by a Carrion Crow. This diminutive raptor (about the size of a thrush - which it can actually mimic the flight pattern of to get close to its prey!) looked tiny compared to the Crow that was mobbing it. Also at the beet field were 2 Corn Buntings, 7 Linnets and 2 Meadow Pipits. 21 Skylarks flew over heading N and a Pied Wagtail flew NW. c.60 Starlings were on a pylon in the field opposite.
3 Buzzards were up soaring over Heath Lane and 22 Redwings flew over heading NW. A ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees next to the paddock. Also in this area were 3 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Blackbird and a Robin.
From Heath Lane I headed over the A450 onto Witch Lane. The Lapwing flock had dispersed with only 36 Lapwings present today. c.200 Starling, 39 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Grey Herons were also present in this area. A Common Buzzard soared over and a ♂ Kestrel was perched in a tree close to the former grain store. A highlight along Witch Lane were 3 Fieldfares that were perched on a Hawthorn. These were the first Fieldfares this Autumn, that I have had around Shenstone, that haven't been just flyovers. Unfortunately they were a bit too distant and the light a bit to dull/overcast to get any decent photos. Ah well I've got all winter to bag the shots!
At Heath Lane, c.80 Wood Pigeons were in the paddock and 15 Skylarks were up over the model aircraft field.
At Stanklyn Lane paddocks there was a Song Thrush, 2 Green Woodpeckers (1♂ & 1♀) and 1 Jay. 17 Skylarks were up over the beet field.
At 11:47am, a Merlin was seen over the beet field being mobbed by Carrion Crows - the bird then flew off towards Summerfield (TS).
6 Skylarks flew NW over Back Lane. A Buzzard was present in the trees at the back of Stone Manor and a ♀ Kestrel was on the wires near the junction with the A450.
There were c.80 Linnets on the wires next to Heath Lane paddock. At the model aircraft field there were 42 Starlings present, a Skylark was up singing and 4 Meadow Pipits flew up and drop back down into the stubble.
Whilst on Stanklyn Lane a flock of 10 Chaffinch flew over heading SE. The real highlight of this visit was an immature Merlin that was perched on a bush at the edge of the beet field until it was mobbed by Magpies and flew off towards Summerfield. Also at the beet field, 4 Skylarks flew W and a few minutes later a Meadow Pipit also flew W.
Stanklyn Lane paddocks were very quite today, although not surprising due to the usual weekend disturbances....Horsey types, joggers and dog walkers. All that there was of note in this area was a Pied Wagtail, 2 Carrion Crows and a Green Woodpecker.
From the paddocks I went further down Stanklyn Lane and did a walk around the edge of the beet field. Whilst on this walk, 6 Redwings flew over heading NW and the Common Buzzards were up soaring. Also seen in this field were 6 Dunnocks, 1♂ Blackbird, 1(imm.) Linnet and a ♀ Chaffinch.
I checked out the area around Butts Lane/Back Lane first. This area of the patch was relatively quiet at first glance other than the 120+ Wood Pigeons feeding in the stubble. After a little while I had 2 Skylarks (one was up singing), 1 Jay and a fly over Pied Wagtail & Meadow Pipit.
For something a bit different I decided to walk the periphery of Stanklyn Woods. Its private land so I can only skirt 2 sides along which the lane runs. Here I picked up a Great-spotted Woodpecker and a Tree Creeper. I also saw a Marsh Tit in a tit flock alongside Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. Picking up Marsh Tit was quite pleasing as they are not exactly thick on the ground around the patch. Also on this section of the patch I had a flock of 13 Redwings fly over heading NW.
Whilst walking further along Stanklyn Lane towards the paddocks I had a mixed thrush flock of c.150 Redwing and 20 Fieldfare over heading W. About fifteen minutes or so later a flock of 33 Fieldfare flew over, also heading W. The paddocks themselves were quiet with only 3 Mistle Thrushes and a Green Woodpecker present. Also seen over Stanklyn Lane were a Common Buzzard and a Jay.
Heath Lane model aircraft field had 9 Skylarks over heading W and a Kestrel was seen hovering at the rear of the field. On the wires next to the paddock were c.70 Linnets and a Mistle Thrush. A flock of 12 Fieldfares flew over heading NW.
Witch Lane was unusually quiet with the only birds of note being 2 Grey Herons and c.60 Wood Pigeons in one of the fields and 2 Common Buzzards down on the deck in a ploughed field eating worms. Yes they really do, its probably why Buzzards are so successful and spreading so rapidly...they are adaptable when it comes to feeding habits and food types.
There were still a few insects to be seen today, especially with the Ivy flowers attracting good numbers of Wasps and small numbers of Bees. The highlight in terms of insects today though was a single Migrant Hawker Dragonfly seen zipping about at the edge of Stanklyn Wood. I only wish the little beggar would have landed so I could have got some photos. Not that it mattered as it had been quite an enjoyable visit today.
There seems to have been an increase in the numbers of Skylark around the patch with a large group of c.60 Skylarks in a field along Witch Lane. Also present in this area were 78 Lapwings, 61 Black-headed Gulls, c.140 Starlings, 9 Stock Doves and a single Grey Heron.
At Heath Lane model aircraft field there were 8 Pheasants (5 immature), a Common Buzzard, and a ♀ Kestrel. 3 Skylarks flew over heading West. 2 Pied Wagtails were present in Heath Lane paddock.
Stanklyn Lane beet field contained 17 Skylarks, c.120 Wood Pigeon, c.60 Starlings, 9 Magpies, 5 Carrion Crows, 1 Jay, 5 Dunnocks, 2 Robins and a Wren. A further 6 Skylarks were seen in the gallops field and a Common Buzzard was on a fence post at the paddocks. A Grey Heron was seen flying West.
There was no sign of Fieldfares or Redwings on or over the patch today.
The highlight of today's visit was 8 Corn Buntings in the bet field along Stanklyn Lane. Corn Buntings I here you cry , they aren't ten a penny. But they are a breeding bird on my patch and are present all year round. Also present at the beet field were 69 Starlings, 7 Dunnocks, 2 Meadow Pipits, 6 Skylarks, 1 Wren and a ♀ Kestrel.
Stanklyn Lane paddocks contained a Pied Wagtail, a Common Buzzard and a Green Woodpecker. A single Skylark was up singing over the field opposite.
A ♂ Kestrel was on the wires over Heath Lane paddocks and 4 Skylarks flew over heading NW.
Witch Lane was devoid of bird life other than a single Grey Heron sat in one of the fields.
On a different note, today I reached the milestone of 5000 visitors to the blog. I would like to say a a big thanks to all who read the blog and I hope you continue enjoy it in the future.
Stanklyn Lane paddocks contained 2 Pied Wagtails, 10 Goldfinches, 2 Jays and 1 Green Woodpecker. A Kestrel was over the beet field and dropped down to catch a Yellowhammer that just flew out of the way to escape by the narrowest of margins. Also at the beet field, a flock of 10 Meadow Pipits dropped in for a few minutes before flying off E. 8 Skylarks flew over heading S and 14 Long-tailed Tits were also present in the trees at the edge of the field. A Common Buzzard was also seen over Stanklyn Lane.
At Heath Lane paddocks a flock of 15 Fieldfares flew over heading NW (JK & TS). These were the first seen over/on the patch this autumn and they look resplendent as the sunlight caught them. A light-phase Common Buzzard was seen perched at the rear of an adjacent field. Also, a single Small White butterfly was seen at Heath Lane.
There was no sign of any Lapwing at Witch Lane today but I was treated to a stunning adult ♂ Peregrine sat in the middle of a field there. Unfortunately whilst I was setting up my scope on it to take some pictures the bl**dy thing flew off! Ah well, it was still a stunning bird to see and only the 2nd Peregrine that I have recorded on the patch. In other fields around Witch Lane I recorded 14 Stock Doves, 4 Red-legged Partridge and a Grey Heron.
Grey Heron - Witch Lane, 22nd Oct 2010: