I also saw a Hornet buzzing around the Ivy flowers on Heath Lane. This is only the second time I've recorded Hornet on the patch.
Later that day, on my way back from Halesowen, I popped to Wassell Grove/Lutley to catch up with fellow local patch birder Craig Round. Whilst I was there we had 6 Swifts over and I also managed to pick up the Lesser Whitethroat (found by CR earlier that morning) feeding on a blackberry in a bramble near Wassell Grove Fisheries.
I wouldn't really like to comment further on my visit here as I cannot do the area justice. I would however recommend checking out Craig's blog (Lutley Birder) at the below link for further information, sightings and visible migration photographs:
Butterfly species have now decreased significantly with only Large and Small Whites being in any numbers. Other butterflies seen were 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Meadow Brown and 1 Speckled Wood.
Early evening I received news that a flock of 8 Curlew Sandpipers had dropped in at Upton Warren flashes. Curlew Sandpiper is an increasingly scarce passage wader in Worcestershire so I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to see these birds. Myself and TS quickly travelled the 10 miles down the road to Upton Warren and got reasonable, but slighlty distant, views of these birds which were towards the rear of the flash. After about 10 minutes of observing the birds they flew of in a South West direction. Also seen during our visit were 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Common Snipe.
A short record video of the Curlew Sandpipers can be seen by clicking on the following link:
Curlew Sandpipers - Upton Warren, 29/08/10:
Elsewhere on the patch, 2 Green Woodpeckers (1 juv) were in Stanklyn Lane paddocks. 14 Housemartins and 7 Swallows were over Witch Lane bean field.
3 ♂ Wheatears were present along Heath Lane just before dusk this evening (TMH). These three Wheatears were all well marked males that were not yet in moult, unusual this time of year as most birds we tend to see are dowdy brown jobs. It is likely that these birds are of the more Northerly races, as Northerly birds tend too moult later than Southerly birds due to climatics.
From Shenstone I popped to Grimley New Workings (Camp Lane) to see the juvenile Little Gull that has been showing well. I wasn't disappointed and this elegant tern-like Gull was literally just flying within feet of me whilst I was stood on the causeway, stunning! Also of note were 2 Greenshank, 4 Little Egrets and a Common Snipe.
No sign of Yellow-legged Gull at Heath Lane today but a mixed flock of c.140 Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls were still present in the field opposite the Islamic School. Also in the same field were c.100 Starlings, 9 Mistle Thrushes, 13 Canada Geese and a Common Buzzard.
The Wagtail passage continues on the south side of the patch, with the spent broad bean field along Witch Lane containing 15 Yellow Wagtails and c.20 Pied Wagtails. Also seen in the bean field were 2 Skylarks. A Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk flew over.
From Shenstone, I decided to pop to Grimley Camp Lane Pits to see the 2 juvenile Knot that were found there yesterday by (TMH). The 2 Knot were still present and one of the birds had a really nice peach hue to its chest. Also of note were a Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Snipe, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Little Egrets and 8 Common Terns.
I went around Shenstone later this morning/early afternoon and there was no sign of the Yellow-legged bull but the numbers of Gulls in the field had increased to c.70 Lesser Black-backed and c.60 Herring Gulls. A Grey Heron was also present in this field. The Wheatear had now relocated to Heath Lane paddock and was perched on a fence post towards the rear of the field. c.200 Starlings were on the telegraph wires and 3 Common Buzzards were again present in the area. A Common Whitethroat was calling along Heath Lane and a Chiffchaff was along Stanklyn Lane. A juvenile Green Woodpecker was also seen along Stanklyn Lane.
On the south side of the patch the Wagtail passage continues with 3 Yellow Wagtails seen in the spent broad bean field along Witch Lane. Also, a Hobby flew reasonably low over this field heading East. This is the first Hobby I've recorded on the patch this year, so needless to say I was somewhat pleased.
From Shenstone I popped a mile and a half down the road to check the fields at Elmley Lovett. This is another good stop off point for passage migrants and this visit provided me with a Wheatear sat perched on top of an old fallen tree.
So, although it was wet and I got just a little damp, todays birding was well worthwhile.
Yellow Wagtail - Shenstone, 23rd August 2010:
Elsewhere on the patch there was c.200 Starlings in the field between Butts Lane and Heath Lane. 10 Goldfinch along Heath Lane. 6 Swallows were over Butts lane and 14 House Martins over Heath Lane. A Kestrel, a Buzzard and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also present along Heath Lane.
Buff-tailed Bumblebee sheltering from the rain - Shenstone 21st August 2010:
I then decided to pop to the south side of the patch and things really improved in the Witch Lane area. On scanning the harvested broad bean field there I found 3 juvenile Yellow Wagtails with a juvenile Pied Wagtail. There must of be plenty of insects about as there was a mass of hirundines over this field with c.80 House Martins and c.40 Swallows present. 8 Common Buzzards were also up soaring here.
Red Admiral - Shenstone, 18th August 2010:
Puffball - Stanklyn Lane, 18th August 2010:
The Ross's Goose has relocated at Wagon Wheel Lane pits, where 2 Common Sandpipers were also present. 3 Common Terns were seen mobbing a Buzzard over Wagon Wheel Lane.
At the Camp Lane Pits, or Grimley New Workings as they are also known (although this name can be misleading as there are now further quarrying operations in progress), there were 4 Little Egrets, 3 Green Sandpipers and 8 Common Terns present. Small numbers of Sand Martins were seen over the water.
From Shenstone I travelled a few miles down the road to Holt & Grimley. On the journey there, whilst waiting in traffic on the feeder road from the A449, I had nice views of a fly-over Hobby. It was flying at a fairly low height, which could have been due to the air pressure and the approaching wet weather.
My first stop was at Holt Sling Pool where I due scanned across the area with my scope and found a white morph Ross's Goose in amongst the Canada Geese. I think its pretty safe to assume that this bird is an escape. But it was still a nice looking bird all the same.
Of note at the Camp Lane Pits (Grimley) there were 5 Little Egrets, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 14 Lapwing, an Oystercatcher and 7 Common Terns (5 juveniles). A further 4 Common Terns (3 juveniles) were at Top Barn Activity Lake.
Other (belated) news from the patch - a pair of Spotted Flycatchers attempted to nest in a location near to Stone church. The birds were present for a number of weeks but then disappeared a month or so back with no evidence of successful breeding (JC).
This afternoon TS and I went to Grimley Gravel pits. The Camp Lane pits were the most productive with 4 Little Egrets, a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and an Oystercatcher present. Small numbers of Sand Martins and Swallows were over the water, as were 8 Common Terns. A Sedge Warbler was feeding insects to young in a bush along the causeway and a Common Whitethroat was in the hedgerow along South Pool. 2 pairs of Great Crested Grebe were seen with a total of 5 juveniles on the main pool. A little Grebe was also seen feeding a youngster there.
Wagon Wheel Lane pits were very quiet with only Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks and Canada Geese present. A single Brown Argus butterfly was seen near the pumping station and a Holly Blue was on the brambles at the top of Wagon Wheel Lane.
Juvenile Great Crested Grebe - Grimley 11th August 2010:
The improved weather today meant that there was a greater number and variety of butterflies seen today. During my Butts Lane circuit I recorded 14 Common Blues, 6 Essex Skippers, 9 Gatekeepers, 5 Meadow Browns, 3 Peacocks and 2 Small Tortoiseshells. The Whites were too numerous to count. The real difference to yesterday though was the increase in numbers of Small Copper seen, with a total of 7 counted today.
Light Phase Buzzard - Shenstone, 10th August 2010:
Small Copper - Shenstone, 10th August 2010:
Also seen today were a ♀ Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrels (a ♀ and a juvenile) and 3 Common Buzzards (2 adults and a juvenile). The juvenile Buzzard was a different bird to that seen last week and was a very grey colour. It also had a gammy leg that seemed to bow out causing it to be unable to stand very well.
Any local birders that have any news from the Shenstone area, during this period, please forward it to email@example.com and I will update the blog accordingly on my return.
2 Common Buzzards (1 adult & 1 juvenile) were seen in coniferous trees at the rear of Stone Manor's grounds. Another adult Buzzard was along Stanklyn Lane. c40 House Martins & 7 Swallows were seen over Witch Lane. A juvenile Pied Wagtail and 3 Common Whitethroats (1 adult & 2 juveniles) were also seen along the Lane.
In the afternoon my wife and I had to pop to Hanbury near Bromsgrove, so on the way back we dropped in to the Moors Pool at Upton Warren for an hour. Things were relatively quiet here with highlights being 1 Green Sandpiper, 52 Lapwing, 4 Common Terns, 1 Kingfisher and an eclipse drake Gadwall.
In total 15 Skylarks flew up from alongside the footpath. 6 Linnets, 10 Swallows, 6 House Martins, 2 Swifts, 2 Common Buzzads and a juvenile Kestrel were also seen.
It was a very good butterfly day and I added a new species to my patch! During the walk around I recorded 2 Brown Argus butterflies in the same location. This is the first time I have seen them around this part North Worcestershire, needless to say I was pretty chuffed. It just shows, the time I have spent monitoring the butterflies on the patch this year has paid off. Also counted on the walk were 32 Common Blues, 1 Small Copper, 19 Gatekeepers, 7 Meadow Browns, 3 Ringlets, 6 Essex Skippers, 4 Small Skippers, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock and a single Speckled Wood. The Whites were too numerous to accurately count. 2 Silver Y moths were also seen.
The Brown Argus butterfly can be confused with the female common blue but there are, if you look closer, a number of key differences. The following websites highlight these differences quite well: http://www.glaucus.org.uk/BflyBlues03.html & http://www.britishbutterflies.co.uk/components/downloads/cb-ba-id-guide-high-res.pdf
From Shenstone I popped to Grimley Gravel Pits. Again things were pretty quite here although a ♀ Redstart at Camp Lane pits was a highlight. Also of note, were 13 Common Terns on the main pool and a Great Crested Grebe was seen with 3 chicks. A Kingfisher was present at the North end channel.
Wagon Wheel pits held a single Common Sandpiper and a ♀ Tufted Duck was seen with 9 young in tow.
Also of interest were 2 Brown Argus butterflies. One was at the Cliff top at the north end of Camp Lane pits and the other near the lay-by along the concrete road near Holt Church.
During the circuit around the reserve we saw 18 Species of butterfly including 1 Marbled White, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 1 (rather worn) White Admiral, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Brown Argus, c20 Common Blue, 3 Small Skipper, 1 Large Skipper, 2 ♂ Brimstones, 9 Ringlets, 3 Commas, 7 Peacocks and 5 Speckled Woods. Gatekepers and Meadow Browns were too numerous to count as were Large, Small & Green-veined Whites.
Also of interest were a 4 Silver Y moths and a Brown Hawker dragonfly. Young Common Buzzards were heard continually calling from one part of the woodland.
Brown Argus - Trench Wood, 1st August 2010:
Green-veined White - Trench Wood, 1st August 2010:
Speckled Wood - Trench Wood, 1st August 2010: