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.