Saturday 29th October 2011 - Eymore Wood

I have always been brought up to think of those less fortunate than myself (the elderly, the disabled, Wolves supporters etc.) with him being one of the latter I decided to pop out for a few hours with Mark P.

We decided to pop 3 or 4 miles up the road to Eymore Wood to look for Crossbills.  This is one of the best places locally to see wintering flocks of this charismatic finch as they feed at the tops of the numerous Larches.  They are present most years...needless to say we didn't have a sniff of any today (perhaps a bit early).   There were good numbers of birds flitting around the stands of Larch though with Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldcrest and Coal Tit being of note.

At the large clearing in the middle of the woods was a flock of c.40 Goldfinch and 16 Redwing.  A single Jay was also present here.

Also noted during the walk were a flock of 40+ Fieldfare that flew over heading towards Trimpley Reservoir.  A Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard were also seen.

I thought there may be a few fungi to be seen on the walk but they too were sadly lacking, although I did spot a rather nice Yellow Fieldcap along one of the rides.

Yellow Fieldcap (Bolbitius Titubans)

Friday 28th October 2011 - Shenstone

I managed to grab half hour to pop to the patch late afternoon after doing a taxi job for the better half.  As I was short on time I decided to spend it at Heath about right decision.

As I pulled up next to the paddock in my motor a sizable flock of small finches landed in the trees at the edge of the adjacent Islamic School grounds.  My first thought was 'Linnets' as they tend to be round the patch in good numbers during Autumn/Winter.  I got out my car and could here them calling with a metallic chattering song...I realized they were actually Lesser Redpoll.  I grabbed my bins to have a better look at them as they frantically flitted around in the tree tops feeding.  Scanning through them it looked like at least 80% of them were 1st winter birds. Suddenly, the flock took flight heading West.  I counted 42 Lesser Redpoll in total...a new patch record count by a long way!

Also of note was a Fieldfare that was perched on the telegraph wires.  A single Cormorant flew over heading South West.

Please Note

Hi all,

My apologies for the lack of posts at the mo.  My elderly German Shepherd dog hasn't been very well, so I have been spending more time with him.

All being well I will be back on patch over the next few please do check back.


Tuesday 25th October 2011 - Shenstone

After yesterday's fairly disappointing walks, I decided to cover a couple of different areas around the patch.

I started by walking some of the public footpath's of Witch Lane to view the fields from a different angle.  This proved very worthwhile as I picked up 11 Lapwing in one of the fields and had a flock of 9 Golden Plover fly over heading West.  Also present were 2 coveys of Red-legged Partridge (one of 18 and another of 7). Also present were 8 Fieldfare, c.30 Skylark, 1 Yellowhammer and a light-phase Common Buzzard.

Next stop was Heath Lane where, shortly after arriving, a Little Owl was calling.  Another highlight here was a flock of 13 Siskin that flew over heading South.  A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was also on the wing.

My final walk was along the edge of the private woodland surrounding Stanklyn House (2 sides of which can be viewed from Stanklyn Lane).  Initially it seemed pretty quiet except for a single Jay.   Then I noticed a single finch perched at the top of a bare tree.  I raised my bins and was overjoyed to see my first Brambling of the Autumn.  The bird was a female and I spent a few minutes watching it until it flew deeper into the wood.  Ironically I hadn't taken my scope with me so I was unable to digiscope any photos...the bird was sat just right too...typical!  Also noted were a single Goldcrest and 6 Chaffinch

As I didn't manage any bird shots, here is a photo of some Red Campion along Stanklyn Lane that was still flowering out of its usual season.

Red Campion

Monday 24th October 2011 - Shenstone

I decided to concentrate on two specific areas of the patch I undertook two separate walks.

The first walk was through the beet field, across to Summerfield and back along Stanklyn Lane.  Whilst walking the field I flushed 9 Meadow Pipits and 6 Sky Larks.  Two flocks of Fieldfare flew over with 30 heading South and 14 heading West. Only a single flyover Redwing was noted.  A flock of c.60 Starling were present at Summerfield.  The walk back was very quite with very little of note.

The second walk was around the Butts Lane area.  Whilst walking the public footpath alongside the stubble I flushed 25 Skylark and a stunning ♀ Yellowhammer.  The only other bird of note was a single Pied Wagtail

All in all a pretty disappointing couple of walks with next to no sign of  any Finches or Bunting flocks.  I think I will walk another couple of areas next visit and try and locate them.

View across Butts Lane towards Eastfields Farm

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Shenstone Bird Gallery is now online

I have finally got around to setting up a gallery containing a number of photos of birds seen around the patch. This can be viewed by clicking on the below link:

Alternately, click on the link in the 'additional pages' section on the right hand side of this blog.

Wednesday 19th October 2011 - Shenstone

I managed to get onto the patch at a reasonable time this morning, so I decided to walk the fields along Stanklyn Lane from the 'beet field' to Summerfield.  This was quite a productive walk as I was able to relocate some of Corn Bunting population.  In total I recorded a flock of 11 Corn Buntings. Also with them were 2 Yellowhammer.  

At one point 37 Skylark went up from the large grassy field at Summerfield and 82 Fieldfare, 1 Pied Wagtail and a Meadow Pipit flew over.  Also noted during this walk were 3 Jays, 4 Linnet, 6 Greenfinch and 9 Blackbirds.

From Stanklyn Lane I decided to pop and spend some time on Heath Lane. Here I had 48 Skylarks fly over the large cereal field heading South.  Also recorded in this field were c.40 Linnet.  2 Meadow Pipits and a Pied Wagtail flew over. At the model aircraft field there was a Yellowhammer perched on the hedgerow.  In the trees next to the Islamic school playing fields was a Goldcrest and a Jay.  A Kestrel was also noted.

Not much in the way of photos today but I did take a shot of some fungi that was along Stanklyn Lane.  If there are any fungi experts out there who can help id them for me, please do!

Fungi sp

Sunday 16th October 2011 - Shenstone

I was unable to get around the patch until mid-afternoon today due to other commitments and by this time of day things were painfully quite.

I started my visit at Stanklyn where a Kestrel was busy working the paddocks and the gallops.  Also of note were flyover singles of Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail.

Heath Lane was completely dead but for a few Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon, so I headed over to Witch Lane.

At Witch Lane a flock of 40+ Linnet were Wheeling around over the plough and a Common Buzzard was also noted.

My final stop today was Butts Lane where I walked my usual circuit.  All that the brassica/stubble field provided me with today was 1 Skylark and a Linnet.  Eastfields Farm was a little better with 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Jays, a Green Woodpecker, a Mistle Thrush, 2 Robins and 6 Long-tailed Tits recorded.

A handful of invertebrates were also noted today with 2 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Small White and a Migrant Hawker dragonfly on the wing.

Thursday 13th October 2011 - Shenstone

For nearly a week a mate of mine Craig (Lutley Birder blog) has been telling me that I need to get out to the patch on Thursday because it was going to be a good winter thrush day.  Although slightly sceptical I set off to visit the patch this morning in the hope of a few winter thrushes.

As I pulled up at Stanklyn Lane I saw a large flock of Thrush size birds drop into the gallops field.  I raised my bins and sure enough, scurrying and feeding in the field were c.100 Fieldfare.  These were soon joined by c.80 Starlings.  They were showing really well for a good 20 minutes until a dog walker went through the middle of the field and put everything up.  Only about 20 Fieldfares came back down, the rest went high and flew SW.  These were my first Fieldfare of the Autumn and usually I only get small numbers this early on.

Also at the gallops field were 6 Skylark.  3 Redwing, 2 alba Wagtails and a single Meadow Pipit also went over.

The southside of the patch, over at Witch Lane, was equally productive.  A flock of c.160 Fieldfare dropped into one of the recently seeded fields whilst I was there.  What a thrush day!  Also of note along the lane was a flock of c.200 Linnet and a ♀ Kestrel.
My final stop off was Butts Lane, where I waked my usual circuit.  Initially this was very quite until a small flock of 4 Meadow Pipits flew over heading West.  In the trees by the Barrs Lane pull in were 4 Goldcrest (this constitutes a fall in Shenstone terms!)

Towards the end of the walk I watched the most bizarre thing.  A ♀ Kestrel was hovering over Eastfields farm being repeatedly mobbed by a single Meadow Pipit.  Either that little bird has balls of steel or more than likely is a youngster with no perception of the danger.  Ether way it was entertaining.



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Peregrine Update

Readers of this blog will be aware that on Saturday 8th October I encountered a dead Peregrine along Stanklyn Lane.  The bird was colour ringed with a blue ring with black lettering that read 'BT'.   As the wounds were suspicious I contacted the West Mercia police who sent their wildlife officer out to collect the bird and send it to the vets for analysis.

The vets findings from the x-ray showed that there was no shot present in the bird, but it also showed that a bone was broken in one of the it's wings.  This would be more consistent with a collision (possibly with the overhead power lines near where it was discovered).  The chest wound was most likely caused by something feeding on the carrion post death.

I have since been in contact with Ed Drewitt ( who co-set up a Peregrine colour ringing project down at Avon Gorge where a number of birds had been ringed with the same colour rings as the Shenstone bird.  It transpired that this bird was one of the birds from that project and below are a few details that Ed forwarded me:

  • 'BT' was ringed as a chick in the Avon Gorge last year (2010) and was one of a brood of 5 (which is high for peregrines).  The brood consisted of 2 males and 3 females.
  • All 5 chicks fledged successfully and this is BT's second re-sighting.  This bird was recorded in April this year at the Malvern Hills (Worcs).   There have been no re-sightings of his siblings as of yet.
Below is a record shot that Ed Drewitt kindly forwarded to me that was taken when the bird was sighted by a birder in Malvern.

Sunday 9th October 2011 - Shenstone

Today I headed over to the patch for a visit with Tony.  Both Stanklyn Lane and Heath Lane were near bird less, so we headed of to Witch Lane.

The large freshly ploughed field along the lane was again the patch hot spot.  There were c.100 gulls present, a mix of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  On setting up my scope and panning through them I picked up what I had been hoping for, an adult Yellow-legged Gull.  As mentioned before, my patch is only 2-3 miles away from the small landfill site at Hartlebury (which usually holds 400-600 gulls).  When fields are being freshly ploughed on my patch a number of them will follow the plough...a bit like there sea faring cousins would follow a trawler.  For a couple of days afterwards a varying number of Gulls will visit these fields allowing for the chance of finding something a bit more unusual.

Also present in this field were 100+ Linnets, 12 Greenfinch and 8 Stock Doves.  Whilst there a flock of alba Wagtails dropped in.  These numbered 3 White Wagtails and 6 Pied Wagtails.  Two separate flocks containing 56 & 41 Lapwing flew over heading West.  A number of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were also heard calling as they flew over.  A Kestrel, a juv Sparrowhawk and a Common Buzzard were also noted in the Witch Lane area.

From Witch Lane we headed over to Butts Lane to undertake my usual walk.  It was nowhere near as productive as some days, only 1 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipits and 3 Linnets were recorded.  A Common Buzzard flew over and a ♀ Sparrowhawk was seen at Eastfields Farm.

Another highlight for me was finding the larvae of a Ruby Tiger Moth near the Butts Lane drainage pond.  The hairy caterpillars of some of this family of moths are also known as 'woolly bears' and if you look at my photo you can see why.  The only other insect of note today was a single Small White butterfly that was on the wing.

Yellow-legged Gull (poor record shot)

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Ruby Tiger Moth Larvae

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Saturday 8th October 2011 - Shenstone

It was a day of mixed emotions on the patch today.  What started out a very good patch visit turned rather sad towards the end of my visit.  Whilst on Stanklyn Lane a local dog walker that I knew asked me if I would come and have a look at a dead raptor he had found near Stanklyn Lane.  The bird was ringed and he was unsure what to do.  He thought it was possibly a Kestrel.  I walked along with him to see the bird, (which he had already carefully moved out of sight).  It was in fact a dead adult male Peregrine.  The bird had a large wound at the top of chest/neck...leading me to believe that the bird had either hit an overhead power line during the previous days murky conditions or it had been shot...I just hope it wasn't the latter.  The BTO have been contacted with all the recovery details.

Earlier today I had checked out a number of areas around the patch.  Most of the patch was quiet with the exception of Witch Lane, where the large stubble field had been freshly ploughed.  Present on the fresh plough here were 5 White Wagtails, 26 Pied Wagtails, 5 Meadow Pipits, 78 Lapwing, c.200 Linnets, c.60 Herring Gulls, 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 40 Black-headed Gulls and 9 Stock Dove.   Also present along which Lane were a Kestrel, a Common Buzzard and flock of 20 Greenfinch.

A highlight for me though was seeing a Brown Hare in the ploughed field.  I only see a handful of Hares each year on the patch and they are usually in early Spring, when at they are at there most obvious.  That said this individual was fairly showy and I managed to reel of a few record shots.

Brown Hare

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Friday 7th October 2011 - Shenstone

I only had time for a brief patch visit today due to other commitments, so I headed straight up to Heath Lane as it had been so productive the previous day.

On arrival at the paddock I walked up to the next gate to view the freshly ploughed field where, suddenly, 11 Golden Plover went up.  They circled over the field twice before going high and flying in a straight line (a very goose like formation), heading South West. 

There was no sign of any 'alba' Wagtails today although 11 Meadow Pipits and 2 Skylarks flew over.  There were 8 Mistle Thrush on the Heath Lane wires and 4 Common Buzzards were up soaring.

A Green Woodpecker was at Stanklyn Lane paddocks.

Thursday 6th October 2011 - Shenstone

Things were definitely moving on the patch today and this afternoon's visit was fairly productive.

I started by doing my now regular Butts Lane walk.  During this walk I had 11 Meadow Pipits flyover heading South.  A Raven flew over heading SE and 18 Skylarks were flushed from the stubble field as I walked the public footpath.  A Kestrel and a Common Buzzard were also present

Stanklyn Lane was very quite other than the large flock (100+) of mixed Corvids (Jackdaws & Rooks) present in the Gallops field.  A single Jay was also noted along the lane.

Heath Lane was very productive today and there had been a good fall of 'alba' Wagtails in the paddock and the adjacent freshly ploughed field.  In total I counted 6 White Wagtails (Motacilla alba) and 20 of our native Pied Wagatails (Motacilla alba yarrellii).  Whilst on Heath Lane I also noted 1 Swallow and 3 House Martins all flying SW.

At Witch Lane the Linnet numbers have increased with a flock of c.100 Linnets wheeling about over the ploughed field.  There were also 20 Greenfinch, a Common Buzzard, a ♀ Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk present in this area.

Unfortunately the wind was so strong that I was unable to digiscope any worthwhile bird photos.

Thistle flower - Butts Lane

Tuesday 4th October 2011 - Shenstone

I visited the patch late morning/early afternoon today.  I started my visit at Tony's Cafe for a bit of liquid refreshment before heading out over the fields.  Captains Pool was quite today with the only birds present being a single Grey Heron, the resident Black-headed Gull, 4 Canada Geese and the ever present Mallards.

My first proper walk was around the Butts Lane/Barrs Lane area.  Whilst walking the usual circuit I counted 11 Meadow Pipits, 3 Pied Wagatils and a Skylark over.  There were 2 Coal Tits present in the pines by the vicarage. 

On walking the footpath next to the brassica field there was a flock of  50+ Linnets present.  Shortly after seeing the Linnets I had my undoubted highlight of the day.  I continued waking the foot path when a Merlin (fem/imm.) flew up out of the brassicas and dropped back down about 20 metres away.  The bird then flew up again going high and heading West towards Stanklyn Lane.  The first date for Merlin last autumn was on 11th October 2010 by TMH & AW.

Continuing my walk picked up a Wheatear in the freshly ploughed field next to the Butts Lane/Barrs Lane triangle.  Also present on the plough were 23 Herring Gulls & 4 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. I also had a single Migrant Hawker dragonfly along Butts Lane.

Elsewhere on the patch, 5 Common Buzzards drifted over Heath Lane heading SE.  At Witch Lane there were 9 Stock Doves, 30+ Greenfinch and a Kestrel of note.

Saturday 2nd October 2011 - Shenstone

The sun was shining today so I decided to undertake a walk over the fields along Stanklyn Lane, via the footpaths, returning back along the lane to view the paddocks.  It was pretty quiet birdwise although I did have 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Sky Larks and 1 Pied Wagtail over heading South.  

I then headed to Eastfields Farm.  There were 2 Chiffchaffs flitting about in the hedgerow, a Common Buzzard was perched on a telegraph pole and a Green Woodpecker was also present.  Also of note along Butts Lane were 9 Linnets and a ♀ Sparrowhawk.

My final stop was at Witch Lane.  A single Lapwing was still present, a ♀ Kestrel and a flock of 13 Linnets were also observed.

It was a good day for butterflies with 2 Small Copper, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Speckled Wood and 6 Small White recorded around the patch today.  A Hornet was also noted.

Speckled Wood


It has recently come to my attention that certain individuals saw it fit to climb over the fence into Eastfields Farm and look for/get better views of the long-staying Black Redstart that had been present.  I will add that the majority of birders didn't and patiently waited for the bird to show.

I have spent a number of years building up a rapport with a number of the farmers, land-owners and residents around my patch and I don't wish for this to be undone by a few selfish individuals.  Not only is it making a mockery of peoples private property it can also disturb/put up the bird thus not enabling the next birders who come along to see it.

If such behaviour happens in future on my patch I will no longer forward the news of any scarce birds I may find to the relevant news services and I will not put any site details on my blog.

I spoke to one individual who said he was thinking of jumping the fence earlier this week.  I asked him not to explaining the aforementioned points, only to hear from another fellow birder that this person had said he had climbed in and gone round the back of the buildings.

There is no room for selfish b***rds on my patch and I will tolerate them no longer.