Saturday 31st July 2010 - Shenstone

It was a great day on the patch today, with the first of the autumn passage migrant, a stunning ♂ Redstart along the wires/hedgerow along Stanklyn Lane. Things are just starting to begin in terms of migration and fellow local birder Terry Hinett found a juvenile Whinchat a couple of miles up the road at Barnett Brook, not long after I found the Redstart.

Also of note at Stanklyn Lane were 3 Green Woodpeckers (2 juveniles), a Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard.

Other news from the patch, the pair of Kestrels that nested near the Vicarage at Stone managed to successfully raise 2 chicks. Unfortunately only 1 has survived and fledged. the other bird was found on the ground below the nest site in a very poor underweight condition and died not long afterwards (JC).

Friday 20th July 2010 - Shenstone

There were more signs of successful breeding today with 2 juveniles and 2 adult Green Woodpeckers seen in the Stanklyn Lane area. A juvenile Common Whitethroat was seen on Brambles opposite the Vicarage on Butts Lane. A healthy House Sparrow flock of c50 birds was also present nearby.

Today was also good butterfly day, with quite a variety seen around the patch this afternoon. Highlights included 8 Common Blue (7 ♂ & 1♀), 4 Holly Blue, 1 Small Copper, 2 Essex Skippers, 1 Small Skipper, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 6 Speckled Wood, 2 Green-veined Whites and 1 Ringlet. Large & Small Whites, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were abundant. A single Silver Y moth was recorded.

Holly Blue - Shenstone, 30th July 2010:

Common Blue - Shenstone, 30th July 2010:

Small Copper - Shenstone, 30th July 2010:

This weekend, its the last couple of days of the Big Butterfly Count, so why not spend 15 minutes in your garden or at your local patch and record the species you see. Further details can be found by clicking on the following link:

Wednesday 28th July 2010 - Captains Pool

Overnight I ran my moth trap alongside Captains Pool, at the northernmost edge of the patch. As my trap is only a Heath Trap, I wasn't expecting a vast array of moths to be caught, but overall I was quite pleased with the results. A total of 14 macro moths were caught with highlights being Gold Spot, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Large Yellow Underwing, Lime-speck Pug and Dingy Footman.

I would like to thank Tony Smith for his help in using the trap at this location and his wife Jean for a bostin cup of tea!

Gold Spot - Captains Pool, 28th July 2010:

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing- Captains Pool, July 2010:

Dingy Footman - Captains Pool, 28th July 2010:

Tuesday 27th July 2010, Shenstone

Another encouraging visit to the patch this evening was met with a sighting of 2 juvenile Corn Buntings (and 1 adult) on the fence wires near to one of the known territories. Also of note were a flock of 13 Mistle Thrushes in Heath Lane paddock and a ♀ Kestrel at Butts lane. A Common Tern was over Captain's Pool at 8:30pm.

Corn Bunting - Shenstone, 20th November 2009:

Monday 26th July 2010 - Shenstone & Grimley

3 Little Owls were seen at Shenstone this morning (2 adult & 1 juvenile). Also worth noting was that an adult Great Crested Grebe was seen on Captain's pool carrying 2 very young looking chicks on its back, indicating a 2nd brood. The other adult and the now well developed 1st brood juvenile were also present.

From Shenstone, myself and TS went 10 miles down the road to Grimley. The highlight of this visit was discovering a ♀ Common Scoter on one of the pits just off Wagon wheel Lane. Its always great to see this sea duck at inland sites and this bird was a first for Worcestershire this year. Again...I wish I had my camera, although I did manage to digiscope a handheld record shot using my wife's camera and fortunately the bird seemed fairly settled so a number of other local birders got down to see it.

Also of note at Grimley were 2 Little Egrets at Camp Lane pits. A good variety of butterflies were also seen there including good numbers of Common Blues, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. Small & Large Whites, Comma and a single Essex Skipper were also seen.

Common Scoter - Grimley, 26th July 2010:

Comma - Grimley, 26th July 2010:

Meadow Brown - Grimley, 26th July 2010:

Sunday 25th July 2008 - Shenstone.

Great news from the patch, the re-located Little Owl pair have successfully bred. One adult was observed in close proximity contact calling to a still slightly downy juvenile.

Also of note were a charm of 14 Goldfinch (10 juveniles) along Butts Lane and 5 Mistle Thrushes in a tree at the edge of Heath Lane paddock.

Butterflies were on the wing in good numbers today with 2 Holly Blues, a Green-veined White and a Peacock were seen along Heath Lane. At Butts Lane, 9 Gatekeepers, 4 Meadow Browns, 2 Peacocks, 7 Small Whites, 1 Large White & a Green-veined White were observed. Also seen along Butts Lane was the nymph of a Troilus Luridus Shield Bug. I found this particularly interesting as I have never seen one before. Being camera less, I took a record shot on my mobile phone (not the best picture but it serves a purpose).

Troilus Luridus Shield Bug Nymph - Shenstone, 25th July 2010:

Saturday 24th July 2010 - Shenstone

A relatively quiet day around the patch although a number of Yellowhammers, Skylarks and Linnets were in good voice. A juvenile Common Whitethroat was showing well on Back Lane. A Common Buzzard was perched in the trees behind Stone Manor and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was also present there. Along Stanklyn Lane, a Green Woodpecker and a ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker were recorded.

The only butterflies seen today were Small Whites - probably due to the overcast somewhat cooler weather.

I'm going to cheat with todays photo. My camera is away for repair, so here is one I took earlier in the year.

Yellowhammer - Shenstone, 30th March 2010:

Wednesday 21st July 2010 - Oversley Wood

Today myself and TS went butterflying at Oversley Wood (near Alcester) in Warwickshire. This wood is well known by butterfly enthusiasts as a programme to re-introduce the Purple Emperor butterfly was undertaken at this and two other sites in the county approx 6 years ago. I had never seen one before so I was keeping everything crossed!

The walk around this woodland was very productive with 19 species of butterfly recorded. We counted 22 Silver-washed Fritillaries, 1 Dark Green Fritilary, 9 White Admirals, 1 White-letter Hairstreak, 5 Purple Hairstreaks, 10+ Common Blues, 2 Holly Blues, 6 Peacocks, 3 Red Admirals, 3 Commas, 2 Large Skippers and a ♂ Brimstone. The following species were too numerous to count - Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Skipper, Large White and Small White. Also seen were a Silver Y moth and 7 Brown Hawker dragonflies.

Did I say 19 species of butterfly were seen, but I've only mentioned 18.....oh yes...on the walk back along a ride we had already been down something caught my eye gliding across the ride onto an Oak leaf. On getting my bins on it I was front of me was a very good looking ♀ Purple Emperor with her wings open in the sunlight. I was not only struck by its beauty but its sheer size...the Silver-washed Fritillaries, large butterflies in there own right, are dwarfed by these stunners!

All in all a good day was had...if only I could get a Purple Emperor at Shenstone! ah well wake up Jase!

Male Brimstone - Oversley Woods, 21st July 2010:

Male Common Blue - Oversley Woods, 21st July 2010:

Red Admiral - Oversley Woods, 21st July 2010:
(a rather worse for wear) male Silver-washed Fritillary - Oversley Wood:

Monday 19th July 2010, Stubbers Green and Belvide

Today, myself and TS went across the border into the neighbouring counties of West Midlands and Staffordshire.

The first place visited was the Gull hot spot of Stubbers Green (just outside Walsall). Many Gulls were present here at the waters edge, resting after feeding at the nearby landfill site. The highlight was 2 Yellow-legged Gulls and a Common Gull. Also present were large numbers of Lesser Black-backed , Herring and Black-headed Gulls. A Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper were seen along the waters edge and a Common Tern was seen fishing.

Yellow-legged Gull - Stubbers Green, 19th July 2010:

After visiting Stubbers it was along the A5 into Staffordshire to visit the West Midlands Bird Clubs Belvide Reserve. Here we were treated to a 1st Summer Arctic Tern, 2 Turnstones, a Dunlin, c.20 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 10+ Little Ringed Plover, 5 Oystercatchers and a Little Egret.

For membership info/permits for Belvide -

For all the latest bird news from Belvide -

Arctic Tern (1st Summer) - Belvide, 19th July 2010:

Saturday 17th July 2010 - Grimley

Today I visited the former gravel extraction pits at Grimley in Worcestershire today for a bit of birding.

At the Old Workings there were 5 Common Terns (3 juveniles) on the Island Pool tern raft. An Oystercatcher was on the island.

At the Camp Lane Pits there was a Hobby over, 2 Little Egrets and a Common Sandpiper were present. There were 10 Common Terns (4 adults and 6 Juveniles) and two Great Crested Grebes were nesting (one of which had 2 young). Also, many Sand Martins were zipping about over the water. Swallows and House Martins were also present. An adult Lesser Whitethroat and a juvenile were seen in bushes along the South Pool, along with a number of juvenile Goldfinches.

A number of butterflies were on the wing and highlights included a Holly Blue and 2 Essex Skippers. A Black-tailed Skimmer Dragonfly was also seen.

Juvenile Common Terns - Grimley, 17th July 2010:

Thursday 15th July 2010 - Penny Hill Bank

Today, I returned to Penny Hill Bank Nature Reserve near Martley in Worcestershire. There was lots of Scabious and Knapweed in flower and huge numbers of Six-Spot & Narrow-bordered Five-Spot Burnet moths were present. As with my previous visit in early June, butterflies were very very numerous. Highlights included 12 Marbled Whites, 3 Brown Argus, 2 ♂ Common Blue, 1 Ringlet, 1 Large White, 4 Green-veined White, 2 Small White and too many Gate Keepers & Meadow Browns to count!

Also seen at the reserve was a juvenile Marsh Tit. Green Woodpecker and Chiffchaff were heard. Slow Worms were also seen.

Brown Argus - Penny Hill Bank, 15th July 2010:

Slow Worm - Penny Hill Bank, 15th July 2010:

Wednesday 14th July 2010 - Shenstone

Good numbers of Skylarks were singing around the patch late afternoon. A Common Buzzard & a Kestrel were present over Butts Lane, otherwise very little to report bird wise.

Things were much more productive in terms of butterflies, especially along Butts lane where at least 4 Essex Skippers were seen as well as similar numbers of Small Skipper. 1 Small Copper, 7 Gate keepers, 3 Meadow Browns, 2 Ringlets, 6 Small Whites and 1 Large White were also seen.

Also of Interest was a number of Labyrinth Spider webs along Butts Lane. At one end of the web there is a funnel shaped retreat, which sometimes leads it to be confused with the dangerous funnel web spider which does not exist in the UK. Behind the funnel is a labyrinth of tunnels which gives this spider its name. Hidden in the centre of this maze is an egg sac containing the developing young.

I cannot take credit for the excellent Essex Skipper photos below, as they were taken by my wife ...ah well maybe mine will be as good next time!

Essex Skippers by Bev Kernohan - Shenstone, 14th July 2010:

Labyrinth Spider - Shenstone, 14th July 2010:

Sunday 11th July 2010, Shenstone

A Tawny Owl was calling from Oak tree at edge of Captain's Pool this morning between 2am and 2:30am (TS).

Friday 9th July 2010, Upton Warren

Today the birding drought around Shenstone was starting to get to me, so myself and the better half decided to pop to Upton Warren nature reserve.

For those readers of this blog from outside the West Midlands region, Upton Warren is Worcestershire's premier bird reserve. It is located between Bromsgrove and Droitwich and is only 10 miles from the edge of Birmingham. It is owned by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and is also known as the Christopher Cadbury Wetland Reserve. The reserve consists of a series of pools, freshwater and saline, created by land subsidence resulting from local brine extraction. The two main areas reserve are the Moors Pool & The Flashes.

First stop was the Flashes and it was great to see a summer plumage Black-tailed Godwit. Also of note were 10 Green Sandpipers, 8 Little Ringed Plovers (2 of which were very young chicks) and 20 Curlew. A Brown Hawker Dragonfly was seen along the path to the hides.

It was then on to the moors pool where we saw a Little Egret, 1 Green Sandpiper and an eclipse ♂ Pochard. A Brown Hawker and a Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly were also seen here. Small numbers of Bee Orchid were in flower along the causeway.

From the west hide of the Moors Pool we wondered along the River Salwarpe into the education reserve where we saw large numbers of Banded & Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies. And good numbers of butterflies including Red Admiral, Comma and the star species....a single White-letter Hairstreak on the underside of an Elm leaf.

Black-tailed Godwit - Upton Warren, 9th July 2010:

Red Admiral - Upton Warren, 9th July 2010:
Bee Orchid - Upton Warren, 9th July 2010:

For more information on Upton Warren Nature Reserve visit the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust:

and for sightings and up to date news visit the Bird Forum Upton Warren thread:

Wednesday 7th July 2010, Grimley & Monkwood

After Shenstone (see below post), it was on to Grimley. Things were very quite here in terms of bird life but it was great to see that the Common Terns had got a chick on the tern raft at the Island Pool. Things were Slightly better at Wagon Wheel Lane Pits where 4 Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper were seen. An Essex Skipper was also seen in the rough grassy field next to the Wagon Wheel pits.

From Grimley it was a short drive to nearby Monkwood Green. Here there were many butterflies on the wing with the highlight being a count of 22 Marbled Whites. Also present were Large, Small and Essex Skippers. Ringlets and Meadow Browns were numerous and small numbers of fresh looking Gatekeepers were present.

Marbled White - Monkwood Green, 7th July 2010:

Gatekeeper - Monkwood Green, 7th July 2010:

Wednesday 7th July 2010, Shenstone

Had a fantastic day at the patch yesterday with big highlights. Firstly I was able to confirm that there is a pair of Little Owls along Heath Lane, with the two birds sitting next to each other on the branch of a tree. Secondly, I recorded a new species of butterfly for the area, that being an Essex Skipper along Butts Lane. Essex Skippers are almost identical to Small Skippers but can be identified by looking at the tips of the antennae. On an Essex Skipper the tips are black, where as on Small Skipper they are orange/brown.

Male Essex Skipper - Shenstone, 7th July 2010:

Tuesday 6th July 2010, Shenstone

Still very quite in terms of bird activity toady although it was great to see 3 juvenile Swallows on the wires at Eastfields Farm along Butts Lane. Also of interest was a Common Buzzard seen hovering over Heath Lane. Hovering isn't exclusive to Kestrels and Common Buzzards can be seen doing this occasionally. The Little Owl was also present at Heath Lane.

Good numbers of butterflies were again recorded along Butts Lane with 14 Ringlet, 2 Meadow Brown, 4 Comma, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Large White, 3 Small White and 1 Small Skipper. A Small Copper was seen along Stanklyn Lane.

Small Skipper feeding on Red Clover - Shenstone, 6th July 2010:

Monday 5th July 2010, Titterstone Clee Hill

Today I decided to go to the Shropshire Hills and spent a few hours up at Titterestone Clee Hill. This is an amazing place that has been shaped by years of quarrying and is a fantastic viewpoint. Today, being a clear day, I could see across to the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains in Wales.

Titterstone Clee is one of the few places I know in the Midlands area where Wheatears breed and today I saw 12 (8 of which were juvenile birds). I also saw 9 Kestrels, 6 Ravens and 5 Pied Wagtails (2 juveniles). Meadow Pipits and Linnets were numerous there.

I was pleasantly surprised to see many Small Heath butterflies, 30+ in the area which I walked around. 2 Small Tortoiseshell were also seen.

Juvenile Wheatears - Clee Hill, 5th July 2010:

Small Heath - Clee Hill, 5th July 2010:

Monday 5th July 2010, Shenstone

Circa 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Captain's Pool and a single Herring Gull (a scarce bird for Captain's Pool) . Also, a Great-spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming there today...quite un-characteristic for this time of year! (TS - all sightings).

Saturday 3rd July 2010, Trench Wood (again)

My birdwatching sabbatical continued today as I returned to Trench Wood in Worcestershire for more butterflying (is that a proper word?). There were fewer White Admirals on the wing today with only 12 counted during my circuit but since my last visit small numbers of Gatekeeper have now stated to emerge. Again there were large numbers of Ringlet, Large Skipper and Meadow Brown but the real highlight was a Marbled White, which was the first I've seen this year and not a species I've seen at Trench Wood before. Other butterflies seen were Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White and Small Tortoiseshell. Also of interest was a stunning bronze coloured Red-legged Shieldbug.

Also seen on the walk were Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tits, Common Buzzard and Chiffchaff. Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Jay were all heard. A Slow Worm was also seen. For those of you who may not know, a Slow Worm may look like a snake but it is actually a legless lizard.

White Admiral - Trench Wood 3rd July 2010:

Slow Worm - Trench Wood 3rd July 2010:

Red-Legged Shieldbug - Trench Wood 3rd July 2010:

Friday 2nd July 2010 - Wyre Forest

This afternoon I went for a walk around the Wyre forest, in the Knowles Coppice & dis-used railway line area. As with most places this time of year, the birding was pretty uneventful with the highlights being 3 Juvenile Grey Wagtails along Dowles Brook and seeing juveniles of both Treecreeper and Nuthatch.

The butterflies were the main reason for this amble and I wasn't disappointed. The stars of the day were 2 ♂ Silver-washed Fritillaries that I saw along the disused railway. Also seen were 3 Small Skippers, 5 Large Skippers, 10 Speckled Wood, 1 Large White, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and too many Ringlets to actually count!

Thursday 1st July 2010, Shenstone

During my walk around the patch today I saw further signs of successful breeding, with 6 juvenile Starlings, 2 Juvenile Goldfinches, and a number of young Great Tits and Blue Tits seen.

There were quite a few butterflies on the wing today, with the set aside at the edge of Butts Lane being particularly good. This area that is between the lane and the field is full of wayside flowers and butterflies seen along here were 8 Ringlet, 3 Meadow Brown, 3 Small White, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Speckled Wood and 1 Small Skipper (the first I've seen this year). There were also small numbers of Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars feeding on the Ragwort.

Wayside Flowers - Butts Lane 1st July 2010:

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar - Butts Lane 1st July 2010: