Friday 30th September 2011 - Shenstone & Grimley

This morning Tony and I decided to check out the patch and then head over to Grimley.

We checked out Eastfields Farm first and there was again no sign of the Black Redstart this morning, so perhaps he has gone for good this time.  Whilst at Eastfields Farm a single Swallow went over, a Chiffchaff was heard singing and a Meadow Pipit was heard calling.

We then proceeded to walk Butts Lane/Barrs Lane and the footpath back across the brassica/cereal field.  I undertook this walk yesterday and a Major difference today was the number of Skylarks present.  In total 31 Skylarks flew up out of the stubble field as we walked the footpath.  A flock of c.60 Linnet were present over the brassicas.

Stanklyn Lane was pretty much a write off due to the Halls agricultural sale going on in the gallops field, so hastily we headed to Heath Lane.  Hear we had what I feel was the patch highlight of the day.  Whilst scanning the larches opposite the model aircraft field 2 Siskin dropped in.  One of which was a stunning male looking rather resplendent with the sunlight catching his bright yellow chest.  Its just a pity they didn't stay perched long enough for me to get off any photos....still, they were my first Siskins of the Autumn so I was happy.

Also of note at the aircraft field were 9 Skylarks over the stubble and a Common Buzzard being mobbed by a Kestrel.

Witch Lane was fairly quiet although there were 4 Lapwing and 2 Stock Doves present 'on the plough'.  20+ Greenfinch were still present feeding in the brassica field.

There were 3 Red Admirals and 1 Small White seen on the wing around the patch today.

From Shenstone we headed over to the gravel pits at Grimley.  To be honest things were fairly quiet here but the sun was shining and it was an enjoyable afternoon.  

The only notable birds at the Wagon Wheel Lane pits were a single Green Sandpiper and a ♀ Wigeon.  Also present were 20 Lapwing, 18 Tufted Duck and a single Little Grebe.

The Camp Lane Pits were also quiet with a single Pochard and a Wigeon being noteworthy. The usual good numbers of Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Little Grebe were also present.

It was fairly good dragonfly weather with decent numbers of Common Darter on the wing and a couple of Migrant Hawker showing well along the causeway.  A single Speckled Wood was also seen.

Common Darter ()

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Thursday 29th September 2011 - Shenstone

The weather was lovely around the patch today but the birdlife was sadly lacking.

I started my visit at Eastfields Farm but there was no sign of the Black Redstart today.  One visitor to the patch had put in a few hours there today but to no avail.  Going by previous experiences of this individual, I won't write the bird of just yet.

I then decided to walk Butts Lane/Barrs Lane and the associated footpaths.  A single Skylark flew up and dropped back down in the stubble field and a Meadow Pipit flew over calling.  Also of note were 9 Linnets, 2 Common Buzzards and a ♀ Kestrel.

The walk produced both a Migrant Hawker and a Common Darter dragonfly.  A single Red Admiral and a Small White were also noted.

Things were pretty quiet around the rest of the patch with the only birds of note being 30+ Greenfinch and 15 Linnet along Witch Lane.  A further 4 Linnets were on the wires at Heath Lane paddocks.  Another Migrant Hawker dragonfly was seen near the entrance to Stanklyn Lane beet field.

Interestingly, I didn't see a single hirrundine on/over the patch today.

26th & 27th September 2011 - Shenstone

Tuesday 27th September
The imm. Black Redstart was again present at Eastfields farm when I checked this morning.  Also of note were 15 House Martin and 1 Swallow that flew over Butts Lane heading SE.

There were no birds of note in the Stanklyn Lane paddocks today but 3 Skylarks and 1 Meadow Pipit flew over heading S.

Monday 26th September
On the afternoon, I popped around the patch with TonyOur first stop was Eastfields Farm to check on the Black Redstart.  It was again present and at times showing well.  2 Meadow Pipits were over.

We then did a walk along Butts Lane/Barrs Lane and took the public footpath back through the mixed brassica/cereal field.  Along the path was a really nice Wheatear that was quite obliging, allowing for a few photos. 3 Linnets flew out from the brassica crop as we walked past. A single Small White was the only butterfly of note.

Along Heath Lane there were 4 really crisp Red Admirals on the wing.  The only birds of note here were a single Meadow Pipit and a flock of 15 Linnets.

Northern Wheatear

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Red Admiral

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I don't usually use this site to bang my drum about things but the illegal trapping of birds in countries such as Cyprus needs to be stopped.  

So folks if you are also appalled by this disgusting practice please click on the below link to sign the petition:

Shenstone News

Important Notice:
The local authority has withdrawn from using the proposed site along Butts Lane as one of the permanant gypsy/traveller sites that they are creating in the Kidderminster area.  The Butts Lane site next to Eastfields Farm was thrown out during the consultation phase where 7 sites were short-listed from the proposed 15.  Had it gone a head it could have been catastrophic for the local wildlife such as the Corn Bunting popoulation.

Sunday 25th September 2011
The Black Redstart was still present at Eastfields Farm this morning and a Hobby was over Barrs Lane (MP)

Friday 23rd September - Shenstone

Today Bev & I decided to pop to the WMBC reserve at Belvide Reservoir (Staffs).  We hadn't heard of anything particular that we were trying to see but its a nice place and you can easily lose half a day or more there.

We checked out the woodland feeding station first where a Bullfinch, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Long-tailed Tits were all noted.  They all went up when a Sparrowhawk went over.

We then headed to an empty Andrew Chapell hide where on arrival at mid-day we had great views of a Grey Plover on the mud in front, a new arrival to the reserve that day, which I believe we were the first to pick up.  There was also a Greenshank showing well here and 2 Arctic Terns could be seen out over the water.

At the West hide were treated to good views of a Black-tailed Godwit.  A juvenile Shellduck was also seen from here.  There were good numbers of wildfowl present including Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, and Shoveller.  The resident Great Black-backed Gull, Ted Bundy, was again present today.

On the walk back we dropped into the Gazebo hide to check the feeders there.  As usual there were good numbers of Tree Sparrow on the feeders there.

The real highlight of the visit though was when we bumped into a couple that Steve Nuttall had put onto the Long-eared Owl.  It wasn't long before we were enjoying views of this bird that was fairly well concealed in a Hawthorn bush.  This bird has been seen 3 times over on the past 3 weeks...each time on a friday in the same bush on the same branch...mad eh!

All in all a very enjoyable day out...just a pity the car started playing up on the way home.

For more info on Belvide and the West Midlands Bird Club:

For latest sightings information:

Grey Plover

Tree Sparrow

   Click on video to enlarge

Thursday 22nd September - Shenstone

The juvenile Black Redstart was still present at Eastfields Farm this morning when I checked. I only had a short amount of time as I had arranged to do other stuff today but it was still nice to find a few minutes to enjoy this bird again.

Whilst at Butts Lane TMH phoned me to let me know he had got 2 Wheatears and a Peregrine in the ploughed field along the A450.  I quickly popped up there and saw all 3 birds...the Peregrine being the real treat as I only get 3-4 sightings a year on my patch.  

There were also 40+ House Martin and 20 Meadow Pipit over.

Wednesday 21st September 2011- Grimley

Today I had planned to go out for the day with my good wife.  She is on annual leave this week and we had pencilled in visiting a National Trust property at the Brockhampton estate near Bromyard (Herefordshire).  I knew that 2 fairly scarce waders (scarce in Worcestershires that is) had been discovered at Grimley the day before and were still present today.  After a little persuasion I talked Bev into letting us pop there on the way out.

We visited Wagon Wheel Lane pits first and soon picked up the Spotted Redshank that was working its way through the vegetation at the edge of the down, one to go.  Also of note here were 2 Green Sandpipers.

Next stop was Camp Lane pits where we had good views of the Grey Plover there.   Believe it or not this was a county tick for me ...although I have seen many on the Norfolk coast over the years.  The last one recorded at this site was 11 years ago in it gives you an idea of how scarce they are locally.  

There were small numbers of hirrundines hawking over the pool including a couple of Sand Martins.

As for the day out, well we did head to Brockhampton and had a look around a lovely medieval manor house.  We also walked around part of the estate enjoying the orachards and woodland in particular.  

So there you have it two good birds and a nice day out with a third....if you know what I mean  ;-)

Spotted Redshank

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Grey Plover

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Click on video to enlarge

Tuesday 20th September 2011 - Shenstone

I only had time for a whistle stop visit to the patch this morning, so I headed straight to Eastfields Farm to check if there was any sign of the Black Redstart.  On arrival, I bumped in to Steve Avery , who had already shot some excellent video footage of the bird (I've uploaded it at the bottom of this post).  It wasn't long before I was enjoying good views of the bird too. 

A Kestrel, 10 Linnets and 6 Long-tailed Tits were also seen along Butts Lane.

I then popped over to Stanklyn Lane where a Wheatear was present along the track in the gallops field.  In the paddocks there were 2 White Wagtails, a Pied Wagtail and 2 Mistle Thrush. There were 2 Chiffchaff present in the adjacent hedgerow, one of which was singing.  A Skylark and 2 individual Meadow Pipits flew over calling.

At Heath Lane paddocks there were c.30 Linnets and a single Swallow on the wires.

Black Redstart video by Steve Avery
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Monday 19th September 2011 - Shenstone

The juv Black Redstart was again present at Eastfields Farm this morning.  Also of note whilst I was on Butts Lane were 4 single Meadow Pipits that flew over and a single Goldcrest that was calling from the conifers.  A Kestrel was seen hovering over Barrs Lane.

Stanklyn Lane was fairly quite except for the 100+ mixed Corvid flock of Rooks and Jackdaws that were in the sheep fields.  A Mistle Thrush, a single Pied Wagtail and a Jay were noted at the paddocks.

There wasn't much to shout about insect-wise today although I did have a Red Admiral fly along Butts Lane.  Also at Butts Lane, a huge Red-tailed Bumblebee (possibly a queen?) was scratching around on the sandy soil underneath my tripod for a few minutes before flying off.

Breaking News:   The Black Redstart was being observed late afternoon when, at 4:25pm, it was seen to fly off high in a Northerly direction (TS).  

Could this be the last we will see of this bird? I will keep you posted.

Black Redstart

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Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)

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Sunday 18th September 2011 - Shenstone

The immature Black Redstart was again showing at Eastfields Farm this morning (Tim Jones) and still present late afternoon (Craig Reed).

There was also an unconfirmed report that 15 Crossbills flew over Butts Lane late afternoon heading towards Heath Lane.

I popped down to the patch just after 5pm to have a look to see if I could locate the Crossbills.  First up I checked the Larches next to the Islamic School playing fields.  The only birds present were a couple of Greenfinch.

I then headed down to Stanklyn Lane and walked up the side of the gallops field so I could view the Larches and Pines along the edge of Stanklyn Lane...again no joy.  There were however 2 Mistle Thrush present, 2 Swallows flew over heading West and a Meadow Pipit was heard calling.

I returned to Eastfields farm where another 2 Meadow Pipits and a Swallow went over.  The Black Redstart was still showing but it was starting to get colder the bird actually flew into the slightly open doorway into the small red brick building.  It did not show again...leading me to think that it is possibly roosting in said structure.

Saturday 17th September 2011 - Shenstone

After having a couple of back to back 'off patch' days I thought that I would put some time in around Shenstone.

I started my visit on Witch Lane where a flock of c.80 Greenfinch were present feeding in the brassica field.  4 Swallows flew over heading SE and a single Hornet was also seen.

At Heath Lane paddocks I had 9 Swallow and 1 House Martin over.  A Red Admiral and a Comma were also seen in this area.

A Jay, a Green Woodpecker and a single Meadow Pipit were notable along Stanklyn Lane.  I decided to walk the path that runs from Stanklyn Lane to Captains Pool and saw a rather tatty Speckled Wood and 2 Migrant Hawker dragonflies.  I then walked around the outside edge of the privately owned Stanklyn Wood where 2 Nuthatch and 18 Long-tailed Tits were noted.  I also picked up another Comma and a 3rd Migrant Hawker here.

My final stop was Butts Lane.  Whilst walking the lane I had another Meadow Pipit flyover.  2 Common Buzzards were up soaring and a juvenile Kestrel was perched in the dead tree along the lane.  The highlight of today's visit though was when an 'old friend' put in an appearance.  The juvenile Black Redstart was once again showing at Eastfields Farm.  This is the first sighting of the bird since Friday 9th September.  Although to be honest he has probably been knocking around the derelict buildings behind the farm (a former World War 2 refugee camp).  I managed to get some new photos today, so I've attached one below.

Black Redstart

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Red Admiral

Thursday 15th September 2011 - Belvide & Gailey

Today I had another 'off patch' day and headed up to Staffs with Mark P to visit Gailey and Belvide.  I knew I shouldn't have travelled there with a Wolves supporter as he made a point of driving slowly past that horrible yellow and black ground of theirs...I covered as much of the window as I could with a lens cloth as not to burn my eyes!

On arriving at Gailey we quickly picked up the 2 juv Artcic Terns that were present.  Whilst there we had a flock of c.80 Lapwing circle around over the reservoir for a few minutes and in with them was a single Golden Plover.  Other than these highlights there was very little else of note there.

At Belvide we had good views of both Black Tern (2 juvs) and Artic Tern (1 adult & 3 Juvs).  A juvenile Little Gull was also present out on the water, as was the aptly named 'Ted Bundy'.  If you wondered, 'Ted Bundy' (after the famous Serial Killer) is the name that the Belvide regulars have given to the semi-resident Great Black-backed Gull that terrorizes the reservoir's other avian occupants. 

In terms of waders we picked up a juvenile Knot, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Little Ringed Plover.  A juvenile Shelduck was seen on the water and Tree Sparrows Marsh Tits and a Willow Tit were all seen near the feeding stations.

All in all another enjoyable away's just a pity about the Shenstone mega that I probably missed

Black Terns

Arctic Tern


Wednesday 14th September 2011 - Holt & Grimley

I decided again to go off patch today and pop to Sling Pool at Holt to see the juvenile Grey Phalarope that was discovered there yesterday.  There are some birds that I like to see, if I get the chance, when one turns up locally and this is one of those said birds.

I arrived at Sling pool and walked the field edge, as agreed by kind permission of the land owner, to obtain good views of the Grey Phalarope as it was doing its constantly turning and feeding motion in the water.  I know that this bird is fairly obliging but I'm a great believer in not getting to close to a bird and potentially putting it up.  So I guess my photos won't be as good as some you will see of the said bird, but the views were still great.

From Sling Pool I headed over to the sailing pool at Top Barn where a juvenile Arctic Tern and a bus load of school kids were present.

I headed over to Grimley next and found 4 Wheatear on the bare sandy soil on the NE side of Camp Lane pits.  2 Little Egrets were also present at the North End.

My final stop was Wagon Wheel Lane Pits.  Here I was treated to cracking views of a Hobby that was hawking the field next to the pools. The only other birds of note were 2 Green Sandpipers.

All in all another enjoyable day out...I wonder what I missed at Shenstone?

Grey Phalarope

Click on video to enlarge

Monday 12th September 2011 - Upton Warren & Shenstone

Today I decided that I would have a day off patch, so I picked up Tony and we headed over to Upton Warren NR.  I wasn't going there for any specific bird...its just when you have a patch that's predominately arable land its good to go to water now and then.

We started our visit at the Moors Pool where we were greeted by 2 juvenile Arctic Terns that were showing their acrobatic prowess off over the water.  Also at this location we had a Hobby go through and picked up a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper and the Barnacle Goose (that's been kicking around for a while now). One of the highlights for myself though was seeing a juvenile Bullfinch feeding on the seed table in front of the West hide.  On the walk back along the track to the car park there was a really crisp looking Red Admiral that was obliging enough to let me get a few photos.

From the Moors we headed over to the somewhat dried out Flashes.  Whilst here we picked up 2 Dunlin (1 adult & 1 juv), 3 Green Sandpipers and 18 Curlew.  Also whilst at the flashes, an adult Arctic Tern dropped in over the first flash for a minute or so before heading over towards the sailing lake. 3 Common Buzzards flew over heading South.

As well as the bird life we also recorded 1 Migrant Hawker and 2 Common Darter dragonflies.

On the way back we quickly skirted through Shenstone and saw 3 Corn Buntings that were on the brassicas along Barrs Lane.  On dropping TS back off at Captains pool there was a single Sand Martin performing well over the water.

Bullfinch (juvenile)

Red Admiral

Sunday 11th September 2011 - Shenstone

I started my tour of the patch along Butts Lane today.  Eastfields Farm was very quite but for 12 House Martin and a single Common Swift over.  

Further up the way at Barrs Lane I heard the flight call of, and managed to see, a single Tree Pipit that flew over heading South East.  This is the first patch record of this bird so I was dead chuffed.  In all honestly there are probably a number go over on Autumn passage ... I really should get out to the patch at dawn to do a bit of vis-mig through the season.  The only other birds of note in this area was a single Kestrel perched on a hay bale and a Corn Bunting in the brassica field.

At Stanklyn Lane paddocks there were 17 Pied Wagtails and 9 Swallows present.  

A Kestrel, 2 Common Buzzards and c.60 Greenfinch were present along Witch Lane.

I didn't manage to get any bird pics today so here is a photo I took of some lichen & ivy on a dead tree along Butts Lane...


Click on image to enlarge

Shenstone News - Saturday 10th September 2011

There was no sign of the juvenile Black Redstart at Eastfields Farm when I checked this morning.  

There was still no sign this afternoon when fellow local birder/blogger Craig Reed ( checked the area,  The only notable bird was a single Corn Bunting along Barrs Lane (CR).

Friday 9th September 2011 - Belvide & Gailey

Today I decided to go off patch and traveled 25 miles North to Belvide Reservoir in Staffordshire, to hopefully see the juvenile Sabine's Gull that had been there the past few days.  This was a 'lifer' for me as I was away for most the time the long staying Upton warren bird was present a couple of years back and then every time I did try I dipped out and the bird never came in to roost.  For those of you who aren't aware, Sabine's Gulls breed in Arctic Canada and Siberia but winter in the Atlantic. Occasionally they get blown into the British they can be quite scarce.

Anyway, within minutes of arriving at Belvide I managed to pick up the Sabine's Gull tucked under the dam wall.  I spent a good while watching this diminutive gull and after a while it took flight showing of its stunning demarcation on the upper wing before eventually returning to near the damn...result (or so I thought). 

Just as I was about to leave I bumped into Steve Nutall, who runs the Belvide birding website -  Steve then informed me that the all clear had been given to go on the dam and he was headed there.  So myself and a couple of others tagged along.  This bird had obviously never come into contact with humans before and had absolutely no fear as it swam past us just feet away...awesome!  It also treated us to another flight but closer this time.  Birding doesn't get much better and a big bogey bird was gone from my wish list!

Also of note whilst at Belvide was a juvenile Arctic Tern and a Hobby that both performed well of the water.

From Belvide I decided to head to Gailey reservoir which is only 3-4 miles down the road.  I had heard that the Red-necked Grebe had turned back I thought it would be rude not to go and have another look.   I did indeed get some good views of the Red-Necked Grebe and I also picked up 2 Arctic Terns (1 adult & 1 juv) that were present, although there was no sign of the reported Little Gull.

That wasn't the end of the day's birds though.  On my way home, whilst stuck in traffic in Wolverhampton, I had a Swift go over fairly low.  This was a bonus as it took my mind of the noxious odour that was emanating from the nearby Molineux Stadium.

Sabine's Gull

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Red-necked Grebe

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Arctic Tern

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Shenstone News - Friday 9th September 2011

The juvenile Black Redstart is still at Eastfields Farm this morning and a Spotted Flycatcher was also present (David Scott)

A Little Grebe was present at Captains Pool early evening (TS).  Little Grebe I here you cry...its actually scarce on my patch and I have only ever seen one at Captains Pool back in 2008 when I was doing the BTO bird atlas survey.

Thursday 8th September 2011 - Shenstone

I had an enjoyable morning around Shenstone today with a good mix of bird species seen.

I started at Eastfields Farm to check if the juvenile Black Redstart was still present, it was.  Incredibly, this is now its 6th day on the patch.  Also seen at the farm were 18 Mistle Thrush, 1 Jay, 20 Greenfinch, 2 Robins and a single Corn Bunting.

Just up the way at Barrs Lane was a flock of 8 Corn Buntings (at least 2 of which were juvenile birds).  I've posted a photo at the end of this post.  Also in this area were 2 Common Whitethroats, 10 Linnets and 12 Swallows. Whilst on Barrs Lane I had my first flyover Meadow Pipit of the Autumn, with a single individual calling as it headed SW.

The only bird of note today at Stanklyn Lane paddocks was a single juvenile Green Woodpecker.

Witch Lane was also fairly quite but the flock of 40+ Greenfinch was still present, as were 2 Common Buzzards and a Kestrel.

A few butterflies were on the wing today with 2 Red Admiral seen (1 at Butts Lane, 1 at Witch Lane), a Large White at Witch Lane and good numbers of Small White in the brassica fields around the patch.

Corn Bunting (imm.)

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Wednesday 7th September 2011 - Shenstone

The juvenile Black Redstart was again present at Eastfields Farm when I checked this morning.  Also noted there were a Jay, a single Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Mistle Thrush and 2 Robins.  There were 8 juvenile Pheasants near the now dried out drainage pond.

At Witch Lane there was a notable flock of 40+ Greenfinch present.  I also recorded a Kestrel and 2 Common Buzzards.   18 Herring Gull and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were in the recently scarified field.  A flock of 10 Lapwing flew over Willow Marsh Fisheries. and c.30 House Martin were also over Witch Lane.

Also of note around the Shenstone area today were 4 Northern Wheatear.  Two of which were at Witch Lane and one was seen in a stubble field along Stanklyn Lane. (Peter & Mia Lewis)

I didn't manage to get any decent photos today, so here is one from the archives:

Greenfinch - Shenstone, Autumn 2010

Tuesday 6th September 2011 - Shenstone

I only had time for an hour or so on the patch today so the first thing I did was head over to Butts Lane to see if the Black Redstart was present.  It was indeed and showed well for a 10 minute period. This is now the 4th day that this juvenile bird has been present!  Just after I had finished at Eastfields Farm I had a Hobby fly over the mixed crop field opposite.

As I headed towards Stanklyn Lane a Stoat ran across Butts Lane carrying a small rodent in its mouth.

All that was of note at Stanklyn Lane paddocks was 3 Pied Wagtails.

Monday 5th September 2011 - Shenstone

I arrived at the patch late morning and headed over to Butts Lane.  The juvenile Black Redstart was still present at Eastfields Farm, as were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers ( and ♀), a Jay and a Mistle Thrush.  There was no sign of yesterday's Whinchat in the Butts Lane/Barrs Lane area, but a Kestrel and 2 Common Buzzards were seen.  A Red Admiral butterfly was also on the wing here.

I popped to Heath Lane next where a flock of c.60 Linnet were put up by a ♀ Sparrowhawk at the large stubble field.

Stanklyn Lane was quiet, with the only notable birds being 12 Pied Wagtails in the paddocks.

My final stop was Witch Lane where I was treated to possibly the best views of Hobby I have had this year.  At one point the bird was hawking low over the cereal field and came within about 30ft of me before turning and heading in another direction.  I've got to say Hobby is definitely in my top ten favourite birds...they are just so fast and agile...quality bird!

Great Spotted Woodpeckers

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for larger image

Sunday 4th September 2011 - Shenstone round up

The juvenile Black Redstart was again present today and showing well.  A number of birders turned up throughout the day to see this individual.  I returned there with Bev at around mid-day.  We had good views of the bird which was pleasing as it was a 'lifer' for my other half.  Also whilst at Eastfields  Farm there was a Blackcap showing on the far hedgerow.  A juvenile Common Buzzard was also present.

Later on that afternoon a Whinchat and 2 Wheatears were present near the junction of Butts Lane and Barrs Lane (AW).  This is a good find by Andy and is the 3rd Shenstone Whinchat of the Autumn.

There were also 20 Herring Gull in a field that was being scarified along Witch Lane (TMH)

I returned to the patch on the evening and the Whichat was still showing, perching up on the brassicas.  This bird looked like a moulting adult, possibly a (due to it's fairly prominent supercillium) but its hard to tell this time of year.

Saturday 4th September 2011 - Shenstone

I arrived at the patch mid to late afternoon and decided to check out the Witch Lane area first. On arrival, a Kestrel was present hovering over the potato field and a Common Buzzard was also up.  Further up the lane was a flock of 30 Linnet and a flock of c.50 Lapwing was seen flying over Curslow Lane.

I drew a blank at Heath Lane and the Stanklyn Lane area wasn't much better.  So I headed over to Butts Lane.

At Butts Lane there were c.60 Swallows and c.20 House Martins wheeling around and gathering on the wires.  A Corn Bunting was present on a nearby hedgerow and 2 juvenile Common Buzzard were present nearby.

I then decided to scan around the fairly derelict Eastfields farm as I have recorded Wheatear there previous Autumns.  As I scanned there seemed to be no sign of any chats.  Then suddenly a juvenile Black Redstart flew into view and landed on a fence post...result!  Not long afterwards it was mobbed by a Robin and flew behind the barns.  It then showed on/off perching on the small red brick building.  This was definitely my patch bird of the Autumn...all those hours had paid off!

Black Redstart

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Click on video to enlarge

Friday 2nd September 2011 - Holt and Grimley

Today, Bev and I decided to have a drive over to Grimley for a few hours.  The weather was hot and sunny so it looked good for insects.   With a drink and a narna sandwich packed we headed off.

On route we decided to check out the nearby sling pool at Holt.  Unlike last time I visited it was pretty quite here although an immature Common Redstart on a nearby hedgerow was a bonus.   Good numbers of warblers were present in the adjacent wooded area with both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff singing occasionally.

Next stop was the north end of Camp Lane pits.  Here there were 3 Northern Wheatear present at the NW corner.  There was very little of note on the scrapes here.

We then popped to the causeway and checked out the main pool at Camp Lane.  The only waders present were a single Common Sandpiper and half a dozen Lapwing.  The highlight for me though was seeing 3 Wigeon on the pool.  These are the first I have seen back this Autumn.  Also of note on the pool were 2 ShovellerLittle Grebes have again bred well here with a number of juvenile birds seen on the pool.  Good numbers of Gadwall and Tufted Duck were also present.  The only hirrundines recorded were small numbers of Swallows.

Dragonflies were well represented along the causeway with 4 Migrant Hawker, 1 Brown Hawker and a 4 Common Darter recorded.  A single Common Blue Damselfly was also seen.

The nice weather had also bought out the butterflies with Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Small White seen.

All in all it was a pleasant way to while away a few hours.  Incidentally, the prize for photo of the day goes to Bev for her fantastic series of shots of a Comma....the last photo is an absolute blinder! (see photos below).


Little Grebe (juvenile)

Common Darter (over-mature female)


Photo by Bev Kernohan

Photo by Bev Kernohan

Photo by Bev Kernohan

Wednesday 31st August 2011 - Deadstone

Well after the excitement of the past few away days it was back to the usual business of checking out the patch.  To be honest it was one of those 'Deadstone' know like in the old westerns where the place is deserted and the tumbleweed rolls past.

Stanklyn Lane paddocks were empty all but for 2 Linnets and the distant 'wheating' of a Willow-Chiff and Heath Lane was no better with a single Yellowhammer briefly showing being the only highlight.

I headed over to Witch Lane where things did improve a little. 2 Common Whitethroats (1 adult & 1 juv) were new in (the patch breeding birds departed a couple of weeks back).  A single Kestrel and 2 Common Buzzards were also noted.

The weather was cold, dull and grey feeling positively Autumnal and unsurprisingly not a single butterfly put in an appearance.  I went home feeling thoroughly deflated :-(

I didn't even manage a single photo but I have attached one of a Common Whitethroat from the Shenstone archives.

Common Whitethroat