Tuesday 31st August 2010 - Shenstone & Wassell Grove

Again things were relatively quiet around Shenstone this morning, although I did pick up 2 Common Whitethroat in the bushes alongside the Islamic School on Heath Lane, so all was not lost. Also of note were a Little Owl sat perched in its regular spot and a juvenile Kestrel.

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:


Monday 30th August 2010 - Shenstone

A very quiet day around the patch today, so I decided to walk the Butts Lane circuit. Of note were a flock of 30 Linnets, 2 Yellowhammers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Common Buzzard and a juvenile Kestrel.

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.

Sunday 29th August 2010 - Grimley and Upton Warren

This afternoon I returned to Grimley, with my better half in tow, to see the Little Gull again. The bird was again present and showing well, although not quite as close as on my previous visit. Also present were the 2 Greenshank, 3 Little Egrets and 2 Common Terns. The highlight of the visit though was at 1pm when a Hobby drifted NW over the new workings and landed in a tree on the edge of the wood just West of the main pit, giving pretty good scope views.

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:

Saturday 28th August 2010 - Shenstone

A single Yellow Wagtail flew North over Heath Lane at 9.20 am. The mixed gull flock in the ploughed field on Heath Lane has decreased, with only c.30 Lesser Black-backed, c.40 Herring and 3 Black-headed Gulls present. Also seen in the ploughed field were a covey of 7 Red-legged Partridge (2 adults & 5 juvs). A Chiffchaff was singing from the trees next to the Islamic school.

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.

Friday 27th August 2010 - Shenstone & Grimley

Today I went around the patch mid-late morning. The flock of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, in the ploughed field along Heath Lane, now numbers c.240 birds. Also with them were 4 Black-headed Gulls. 3 Yellowhammers and 4 Linnets were also seen on the adjacent hedgerows. 8 Wheatears were reported from this field this morning (Bob Williams), but no sign when I was there :-(

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.

Little Gull - Grimley, 27th August 2010:

Wednesday 24th August 2010 - Shenstone

Another day and more wet weather...but I'm not a person to be deterred by such things as a bit of rain! In fact I even dragged a fellow local birder (TS) around for a good soaking whilst I was at it! No fair-weather birding here!

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.

Tuesday 24th August 2010 - Shenstone & Grimley

An adult Yellow-legged Gull was again present this morning with a mixed flock of c.70 Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the field opposite the Islamic school. This time I managed to see the bird...which is great as it is a patch tick for me. Otherwise the patch was quite with little else to report.

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.

Juvenile Knot - Grimley, 24th August 2010:

Greenshank - Grimley, 24th August 2010:

Monday 23rd August 2010 - Shenstone & Elmley Lovett

It's been good day around Shenstone today...well other than the weather that is. Earlier this morning a fellow local birder (TMH) had a Wheatear at Heath Lane model aircraft field and an adult Yellow-legged Gull (with c.40 Herring Gulls) in the large harvested field opposite the Islamic School. The Yellow-legged Gull is a great record as it is the first for the patch.

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:

Sunday 22nd August 2010 - Shenstone

Shenstone has gone quiet again today in terms of migrants, with no passage birds to report on either the north or south areas of my patch.

Along Heath Lane, 2 Yellowhammers and 3 Linnets were seen. 3 Common Buzzards were soaring over and a Little Owl was in its regular spot. In fact I managed to get a few photos of the Owl today and if anything the bird was too close in the scope when I managed to get an angle on it, so please excuse the vignetting.

Butterflies seen (other than the numerous Whites) were 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Holly Blue, 3 Common Blues and a Speckled Wood.

Little Owl - Shenstone, 22nd August 2010:

Saturday 21st August 2010 - Shenstone

This afternoon I decided to brave the downpours and check out the patch (Well you never know what the rain might put down). Again, the north side of the patch was most productive and as the rain eased off and I viewed across the spent broad bean field along Witch Lane, I picked up a a mixed flock of over 30 Wagtails scurrying around the field. Amongst these were 14 Yellow Wagtails and c.20 Pied Wagtails. Unfortunately they were quite mobile due to some pillock shooting at the back of the field, so I was unable to get any photos. Mind you the weather wasn't really conducive to digiscoping either!

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:

Wednesday 18th August 2010 - Shenstone

Things were so quite around the Heath Lane/Stanklyn lane area of the patch today it felt like a ghost town from one of those old fashioned westerns, at any moment I was half expecting some tumbleweed to roll past me! The highlights were a ♀ Sparrowhawk, a slightly worn looking Red Admiral and a group of Puffball fungi that has appeared in a small area along Stanklyn Lane.

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:

Tuesday 17th August 2010 - Bluntington & Tanwood

Today I decided to go 'off Patch' and travelled a couple of miles up the road to Bluntington. Whilst scanning the hedgerows for chats I caught something in the field out the corner of my eye, it was a female Grey Partridge (quite a scarce bird in North Worcestershire these days).

From Bluntington I traveled another couple of miles up the road to Tanwood. Although the name would have you think otherwise, Tanwood isn't actually a woodland but an arable area not far from Chaddersley Wood. Scanning the hedgerows and fence posts here proved worthwhile as I picked up my first autumn passage Wheatear this year. I just need to find one down on the patch now (it can only be a matter of days..I'm certain of it!)

Grey Partridge (well it's head at least) -
Bluntington, 17th August 2010:

Wheatear - Tanwood, 17th August 2010:

Monday 16th August 2010 - Shenstone

This morning during my travels around the patch I decided to do a slightly different walk by taking the footpath that runs through the centre of the beet & cereal field along Stanklyn Lane. This walk proved quite worth while when scanning from my vantage point (this field is on a incline) I saw a Turtle Dove fly over the beet field and continue in a South-southwest direction. Needless to say I was pretty chuffed as this is only the second time I have recorded Turtle Dove on the patch. The last time was on 26th May 2008. Also seen in the beet field were 5 Corn Buntings and 17 Linnets.

Along the adjoining footpath, which returns you to Stanklyn lane and features open areas and areas of dappled shade, I recorded 2 Holly Blues, 1 Common Blue, 5 Speckled Wood and a Gatekeeper butterfly.
All in all not a bad morning...just need that first Wheatear of the autumn now.

View across the cereal field towards Stanklyn Lane:

Holly Blue - Shenstone, 16th August 2010:

Sunday 15th August 2010 - Shenstone & Grimley

Still no sign of any autumn migrants on the patch today. Numbers of some butterfly species appear to be decreasing with no sign of any Skippers or Brown Argus. Butterflies seen today included 3 Small Coppers, 1 Common Blue, 1 Holy Blue, 1 Speckled Wood and 3 Meadow Browns. Gatekeepers and the Whites were still in good numbers.

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.

Ross's Goose - Grimley, 16th August 2010:

Friday 13th August 2010 - Shenstone & Holt/Grimley

Still no sign of any autumn migrants around the patch today (that first Wheatear of the autumn will surely be soon!). 16 House Martins and 2 Swallows were over Stanklyn Lane. A further 7 House Martins were over Witch Lane. 3 Little Owls were seen along Heath Lane, as were 2 Buzzards and a charm of 10 Goldfinches (6 juveniles). A ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen in the trees next to the Islamic College.

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.

Wednesday 11th August 2010 - Shenstone & Grimley

I was able to confirm today that the Great Crested Grebes on Captains Pool have had a second brood of 4 chicks. 2 were seen on an adults back and the other two were swimming alongside, in fact one of the birds was starting to dive already.

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:

Tuesday 10th August 2010 - Shenstone

A ♀ Pheasant with 7 chicks was seen crossing the track at the model aircraft field on Heath Lane. 2 Little Owls and a light phase Common Buzzard were also seen in the Heath Lane area. 8 Swallows and c15. House Martins were seen over the patch. 7 Skylarks were flushed along the footpath in the across Butts Lane field.

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:

Monday 9th August 2010 - Shenstone

A pretty quiet day around the patch bird wise with 8 Swallows and 20 House Martins present. There was no sign of any Swifts today, so they may well have already started their migration south to Africa.

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.

Smaller numbers of butterflies were seen today, with the following counts obtained at Butts Lane: 1 Brown Argus, 6 Essex Skippers, 2 Common Blues, 1 Small Copper, 5 Meadow Browns, 2 Gatekeepers, 9 Green veined Whites, 4 Small Whites and 2 Large Whites.

Brown Argus - Shenstone, 9th August 2010:

Please Note

There will be no updates to this site for a few days as I am away for the weekend for a wedding. Please check back early next week when normal service will resume.

Any local birders that have any news from the Shenstone area, during this period, please forward it to jaykernohan@googlemail.com and I will update the blog accordingly on my return.


Wednesday 4th August 2010 - Shenstone & Upton Warren

Popped around Shenstone late morning, just after the showers. There was no sign of any passage migrants.

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.

Tuesday 3rd August 2010 - Shenstone

Today a did a circular walk around from Back Lane and across the field along the public footpath to the vicarage and along Butts Lane back to my car.

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

Brown Argus (male) - Shenstone, 2nd August 2010:

Monday 2nd August 2010 - Shenstone and Grimley

No sign of any new arrivals around the patch today. The flock of Mistle Thrushes that is predominately in Heath Lane paddock has increased to 16. Also, a family of Wrens (including juveniles) were in the hedgerow along Heath Lane and 10 House Martins were over . A juvenile Green Woodpecker was still present at Stanklyn Lane paddocks.

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.

Sunday 1st August 2010 - Trench Wood

Today, my wife and I went for a walk around Trench Wood nature Reserve near Droitwich, Worcestershire. As mentioned in a previous post, the reserve is co-managed by Butterfly Conservation and the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and is a great place to see butterflies during the summer months.

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:

Common Blue (female) - Trench Wood, 1st August 2010:

For more information about Trench Wood vist the following links: