Saturday 29th January 2012 - Slimbridge WWT

Today I went with Mark ( down to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust's Slimbridge reserve in Gloucestershire. Being a Wolves supporter I thought that he may have turned up in his horse and cart...lucky for me he came in his car and we were able to get down there at a reasonable time.

On arrival we meticulously checked out the Rushy Pen to look for the Lesser Scaup that has been present over recent weeks.  There was plenty of other birds of interest though with  good numbers of Bewick's Swan, Pintail, Shelduck, Pochard and Tufted Duck present here.

It was then on to the Martin Smith Hide to view across Tack Piece.  Here there were thousands of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin and Wigeon.  Large numbers of Teal and more Bewick's Swans were observed here.  Small numbers of Redshank and Curlew were also noted.  At one point all the waders went up allowing us to see that wonderful golden sheen as the huge flock of Golden Plover twisted and turned over the Tack Piece.  There was no sign of the Lesser Scaup in this area either but we did pick up our first couple of White-fronted Geese that were feeding near some Greylag Geese.

From the Alf Garnett hide (sorry I mean Robbie Garnett hide...I can't help myself at times) I picked up on 2 Peregrines that were perched in the large trees opposite.  Ironically enough there were half a dozen Woodpigeon sat above them at the top of the tree...obviously oblivious to the danger below.

From the Holden Tower there were good numbers of White-fronted Geese and Barnacle Geese present on the Dumbles.  15 Great Black-backed Gulls were sat at the near edge of the estuary and a single Oystercatcher was noted near the tower.

Next stop was the Ziess hide, where after about 10 minutes we were lucky enough to see the Bittern.  Although not the best views of this cryptic plumaged heron I have ever seen it was a welcome sight all the same.  Also noted from this hide were 6 Black-tailed Godwits.

From the Zeiss Hide we headed over to the South Lake which was unusually quite in terms of Gulls with only c.60 Black-headed Gulls, 5 Herring Gulls and 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull present.  We did however add Shoveller, Gadwall and Cormorant to the day's tally.

Before we headed off home we spent some time back at the Rushy and the Martin Smith hides looking for the elusive Lesser Scaup...we drew a blank.  I had seen the one that was present last winter but it would have been a lifer for Mark, but this was the only slight disappointment in an otherwise 'away day'.

To give you an indication of the numbers of wader and wildfowl that were present, here
are some of the day's count from the Slimbridge WWT website

Bewick's Swan  196
White-fronted Goose  280
Wigeon  2000
Teal  950
Pintail  89
Pochard 223
Golden Plover  765
Lapwing  3100
Dunlin   2100
Black-tailed Godwit  37
Redshank  25

A view from the Rushy

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Pintail (drake)

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Golden Plover

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Thursday 26th January 2012 - Shenstone

I managed to grab an hour or so this afternoon for a quick whistle stop tour of the patch.  I started with a quick view of Captains Pool where the Great Crested Grebe was still present and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were seen in an oak near the waters edge.

Stanklyn Lane was pretty much a right off due to the agricultural sale being on at the Gallops Field and no self respecting bird would be around whilst that is on.  None were, so I headed up to Heath Lane.

By comparison Heath Lane was absolutely Chuffing with birds.  In the trees between the Islamic School and the paddock there were c.300 Linnets perched.  The sound of them all chattering away was almost deafening!  It Just needed a Merlin to turn up with all this food on tap...ah well another time!

The paddock itself was also full of birds with c.140 Fieldfare, c.80 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush, c.60 Starling, 14 Goldfinch and 8 Chaffinch all feeding on the deck.  A single Corn Bunting was singing from the telegraph wires that run over the adjacent field.  A Kestrel was also noted along the lane.

I headed over to Witch Lane next where I was greeted by a covey of 16 Red-legged Partridge waddling leisurely down the middle of the road.  In the trees behind Willow Marsh Fishery were 5 Cormorants.   A Common Buzzard was also present in this area.

Tuesday 24th January 2012 - Local Birds

Today was a messy day due to having a couple of appointments to go to during the day.  But, being a typical birder I did cram in a bit of time here and there.

For my second appointment (late morning) I drove down to Kidderminster town centre and parked on the Weavers Wharf retail park carpark.  A quick glance at the old carpet mill chimney stack and I quickly picked up on what I was hoping for, a stunning ♂ Peregrine was perched on top.  I grabbed my bins from the car and enjoyed the bird for a few minutes before heading off for my appointment.  It was still present and showing well when I returned an hour later.

I then decided to pop a few miles up the road to Eymore Wood to have a look for the Crossbills that have been showing there the past week or so.  I was in luck, on pulling up at the top carpark I got out my car and there they were in the Larches right next to the information board.  In total I counted 9 Common Crossbills (4♂).  The carpark was empty and I spent a good half hour enjoying these glorious finches on my own before heading back.  Also present near the carpark were 6 Siskins and 8 Firecrest mind...but you have to check ;-)

Common Crossbills - Eymore Wood
(photos from my archive)

Monday 23rd January 2012 - Wyre Forest

Today Tony and I decided to undertake a walk in the Wyre Forest.  I decided not to lug my scope around today so it will only be photos from my archive again.

We started by walking along Dowles Brook from the bottom of Dry Mill Lane to past Coopers Mill.  on the brook itself we had cracking views of a perched Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail but the real highlight was Dipper.  Dippers breed in the Wyre (although not in great numbers) but what made this special is that this individual got out of the brook, perched on a rock and started singing....fantastic!  This is only the second time I have heard a Dipper sing its rather melancholy song that is reminiscent of a warbler.

During this stretch of walk we saw good numbers of woodland birds including Marsh Tits (at three different locations), Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Also  of interest were a ♂ Sparrowhawk and small numbers of Siskin.

At Lodge Hill farm we had a good natter with John Robinson, retired warden and top wildlife photographer, who lives there.  Shortly afterwards we invited into the Natural England building for a nice hot cup of tea and yet another chinwag (hard work this birding lark)...Thanks to Tabatha for the hospitality.

Anyway, back to the birds.  At the footbridge next to Lodge Hill Farm there were 6 Yellowhammers and another Marsh Tit present.  A Green Woodpecker and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were also noted.  

All in all it was a pleasant few hours out but I was suprised not to see a single Brambling or Lesser Redpoll....ah well theres always next time!

Dipper - Dowles Brook

Grey Wagtail - Dowles Brook

Yellowhammer - Lodge Hill Farm

Sunday 22nd January 2012 - Captains Pool and Spennells Valley NR

This morning I called for Tony and with the intention of checking out the woodland adjacent to Captains Pool that forms part of Spennells Valley Nature Reserve to see if we could locate the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that had been reported there on the previous 2 days.  Technically this woodland is is just off patch and I tend to use the rule that I only count the birds in the woodland if I can see them from the Dam at Captains Pool.

A quick check of Captains pool was done before checking the woods and we noted that both the drake Shoveller and the Great Crested Grebe were still present.  A 2nd Coot was a new arrival there.

We then headed to the section of Spennells Valley where the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker had been reported and spent the next 1.5 hours walking the perimeter footpaths and scanning the trees & Tit flocks.  There wasn't a sniff of a Lesser although we did get nice views of a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers that were present there.  The only other bird of note was a cracking ♀ Blackcap that must be over-wintering there (I just need it to venture over by Captains at some point).

The other thing that struck me at Spennells Valley was the amount of flowers that were in bloom.  Loads of Lesser Celandine were flowering along the brook.  Daffodil and Crocus were also seen in flower in the wood.  Must be due to this mild winter I guess.

Saturday 21st January 2012 - Shenstone

A party of five 1st winter Mute Swans and a Great Crested Grebe were new arrivals at Captains Pool today (TS)

I decided to do a quick tour of the patch this afternoon.  I started at Witch Lane which seemed unbelievably quiet until I reached the cricket ground at the top of the lane.  At the ground, which never gets mentioned as there is very rarely anything there, there were 31 Redwing and 7 Blackbirds on the deck.  In the adjacent hedgerow were a small number of Goldfinch.  A Common Buzzard was also noted along Witch Lane, as were small numbers of Snowdrops that were coming into flower.

Heath Lane paddock was bird less, as was the model aircraft field, so I decided to head down to Stanklyn Lane.

At Stanklyn Lane paddocks there were 37 Fieldfare, c.60 Starling and 2 Green Woodpeckers present.  I then walked the footpath from Stanklyn to Captains Pool. In the hedgerow at the back of the 'carrot field' were 8 Corn Buntings and a ♂ Linnet.  Further down the footpath a flock of 12 Chaffinch were noted.  

At Captains Pool there were 4 Siskin and 2 Goldfinch in one of the alders near the dam.  On the pool the Great Crested Grebe was still showing but the Mute Swans were no longer present.

♂ Chaffinch - Shenstone
(photo from the archive)

Friday 21st January 2012 - Upton Warren

Today was Bev's day off and she fancied popping to a garden centre.  I suggested Webbs of Wychbold as it is over the road from Upton Warren NR, and with that being the case it would be rude not to visit there.

We duly visited the Moors Pool where good numbers of Teal were present around Amy's Marsh.  Also of note on the Pool were 8 Shoveller.   As there wasn't much to see from the East hide we decided to pop over to the West side of the pool to view the feeding station.  On the walk along the West side we picked up 8 Curlew that were having a good fertile around in the field opposite.

In the hedge next to the feeding station were a stunning pair of Bullfinch.   At (and around) the feeding station good Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-Tailed Tits were observed.

We then decided to walk along the River Salwarpe and look for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker that had been present the previous couple of days.  We had no joy on that front but we did get cracking views of a Kingfisher.  c.20 Siskin and 6 Goldfinch were also noted.
Our final stop was the concrete hide back at the moors pool.  This is one of the best hides for seeing Water Rail and it wasn't long before one was seen skulking about at the edge of the reeds.  Whilst we were sat in the hide we were joined by Upton Warren regular and work party leader John Belsey.  As we were having a natter John picked up on a 1st winter Little Gull that had just flew in.  The bird performed well for us for a few minutes and even rested for a short while on the water near the East side reeds before taking off and flying North.  What fortuitous timing and a welcome year tick.  

All in all it had been an enjoyable visit to Upton and it was good catching up with a few familiar faces (Andy P,  John B and Terry N), all that was left to do was the shopping...Webbs was calling...ah well!

Water Rail - Upton Warren
(photo from the archive)

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Thursday 19th January 2012 - Shenstone

I managed to motivate myself to do a couple of hours around the patch this afternoon.  It's really difficult to get enthusiastic on a dull grey January day at the best of times...still each day that passes is a step closer to Spring!

A quick scan of Captains Pool at the start of my visit produced 8 Black-headed Gulls stood on the ice, 6 Canada Geese, 3 Moorhens and the usual shed load of Mallard.  The drake Shoveller was still present.

Next stop was Stanklyn Lane where I decided to walk the fields across to Summerfield.  The Corn Bunting flock had now moved on and not a single bunting was to be seen.  In fact the large numbers of Corvids that I had been encountering had also disappeared.  Stanklyn Lane paddocks held small numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.

After the lack of birds around the Stanklyn Lane area Heath Lane turned out to be very productive.  In the large cereal field opposite the Islamic School were c.60 Linnet.  The paddock was chuffing with birds with c.50 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing and a handful of Starling.  There were 2 Common Buzzards chasing each other over the field at the rear of the paddock.

At Witch Lane there was a covey of 5 Red-legged Partridge present.  A single Cormorant and a Grey Heron were at the fishery.

The final stop off  was Butts Lane.  The walk across the stubble field footpath flushed 51 Skylarks and a Meadow Pipit.  A Kestrel was also noted in the area.

No photos today I'm afraid folks, it was just too dull and windy.

Monday 17th January 2012 - Shenstone, Pirton & Grimley

Today TS and I decided to go out and about in Worcestershire.

We started our rounds at a 3/4 frozen Captains Pool where I picked up a patch year tick in the form of a drake Shoveller.  Later in the day, when I dropped Tony back home, I picked up another...a ♀ Wigeon had decided to visit the pool.  A Jay was also noted in the trees at the back of the pool.

Also of note on our skirt through the patch were 30 Fieldfare and 2 Grey Herons along Witch Lane.  The one Heron was in the middle of a field and the other, rather curiously was stood under a hedgerow. 

♀ Wigeon - Captains Pool

From the patch we drove just South of Worcester to Pirton Pool.  This is the site where a party of  4 Bewicks Swans stayed for a number of weeks in December and is a very underwatched site.

The pool itself was only about  1/4 frozen and there were good numbers of wildfowl present.  Although there was nothing unusual there it was good to see such  a variety of birds.  These included 3 Shelduck, c.100 Wigeon, c.60 Gadwall, 37 Teal, 1 ♀ Pochard, 46 Mute Swans and 44 Greylag Geese.   A Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard 'drumming' from the nearby woodland.

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From Pirton we headed back via Grimley.  There was no sign of the Golden Plovers in the fields opposite Top Barn but 40 Lapwing were still present. 

At Wagon Wheel Lane we recorded  2♂ Bullfinch, 1♂ Reed Bunting, c.60 Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch, c.30 Pied Wagtail, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Lapwing and a Sparrowhawk.  Wagon Wheel pits were not at all frozen yet were almost devoid of birds but for 1♂ Pochard, 1♀ Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swans, 20 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Pied Wagtails that were bathing near the inlet.

Camp Lane pits were 1/2 frozen but still held 3 Little Grebe, 2 Shoveller (1♂), c.30 Teal, c.30 Wigeon, c.40 Gadwall, 86 Canada Geese, 8 Black-headed Gulls and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  14 Meadow Pipits were flushed from the field on the East.   

Common Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Green Woodpecker, Reed Bunting and 2 flyover Cormorant were also noted from the causeway.

Shenstone News

Below is a summary of sightings from around the patch over the last few days:

Thursday 12th January
There were 2 Reed Buntings were perched on the hedgerow at Heath Lane 'model aircraft field' late afternoon (JK)

Saturday 14th January
The flock of 40+ Corn Buntings were still present just off Stanklyn Lane at Summerfield today (Gert Corfield)

At Captains Pool there were 5 Shoveller (3♂) present (TS)

Sunday 15th January
There were 20+ Corn Buntings still present at Summerfield (TS)

Friday 13th January 2011 - Shenstone

After a spell of early January away days I decided to put in some serious time at the patch today.  The weather was fairly settled with blue skies and sunshine throughout my visit.

I started my visit by checking out Captains Pool.  Unfortunately, due to the mount of anglers on the pool, it was  pretty much devoid of birds.  The only birds noted were 6 Black-headed Gulls, 1 Moorhen and 8 Mallard.

I then parked up at Stanklyn Lane near the Gallops field and walked the Lane to Summerfield and the footpaths across the fields back.  At the paddocks there were c.60 Fieldfare, 14 Redwing, 1 Mistle Thrush and c.100 Starling all down on the ground feeding.  Further along the lane near the entrance to the beet field were another 4 Redwing.

On arriving at Summerfield the first thing that struck me was the large flock of mixed Corvids feeding there.  There were c.200 Rooks and c.80 Jackdaws in the large field.  I then heard the call of a Corn Bunting and started scanning the low trees at the edge of what I call 'the sheep field'.  There was a large winter flock of Corn Bunting here so I started scanning through them with my scope.  In total I counted 46 Corn Bunting...a new patch record count!  The previous largest winter flock seen consisted of 42 Corn Buntings at Witch Lane on 18th February 2011. Also seen in this area were 20 Linnets and 2 Dunnocks 

Walking back across the beet field I flushed 4 Skylarks and 7 Meadow Pipits (one of which broke of from the main group and perched very obligingly in a nearby tree).  At the back hedgerow of the small carrot field another 2 Corn Buntings were present.  As  I didn't record any flying over from Summerfield during the walk I think it is safe to assume that these two individuals were separate from the main flock.

Heath Lane paddock was also chuffing with birds with 73 Fieldfare, 24 Redwing, 4 Starling, 3 ♂ Chaffinch and a Greenfinch all feeding on the deck.  In the trees next to the Islamic school there were c.100 Linnet kicking up a racket.

Witch Lane was very quiet although I did pick up a year tick in the shape of 3 Red-legged Partridge.  5 Cormorant were perched in the trees next to Willow Marsh Fishery.  A Common Buzzard was also present.

My final stop was Butts Lane where I decided to walk my usual circuit. Whilst walking the footpath next to the stubble field I flushed 43 Skylarks.  A Raven flew over 'kronking' heading South West.  A ♂ Kestral was present at Eastfields Farm.

All in all a very enjoyable visit to the patch and one that was very productive.  I will have to try and visit a little more frequently between 'away days' 

Meadow Pipit

Tuesday 10th January 2011 - Chelmarsh Reservoir

Today, Tony and I decided, to pop to Chelmarsh reservoir to revisit the long staying Red-throated Diver.  I've decided that with Shenstone being so quiet at the mo and it being a new year I would pop and see some of the long-staying local scarcities.

On arriving at the causeway we soon picked up the adult Red-throated Diver out in the centre of the Reservoir near the buoys.  Also of note on the reservoir were 17 Goosander (9 drakes).

We then popped down to view the scrape.  In the alders near the feeding station was a single Lesser Redpoll with a mixed assortment of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch.  The pig-like squeal of a Water Rail and good numbers of Reed Bunting could be seen flitting around by the reeds.  The scrape itself was pretty much devoid of birds although I did see a Kingfisher perched in a tree near the rear of the scrape for a few minutes.

After leaving the scrape I suggested to Tony viewing the fields along the Hampton Road as I had seen/scanned through a flock of c.200 Greylag Geese there a couple of weeks before when I visited with Mark P.  I have found through experience it is always  worth checking geese flocks this time of year as sometimes something more interesting will latch on to them.  There was no sign in the fields on the way down but  when we viewed from near the sailing club we could see a load of distant geese in a field behind the dam.   Tony said he knew a pull in/track that we might get an angle on them from. So we headed back up the lane.

On arriving at the gate (near the junction with the main road) we could see the geese flock very well.  I set up my scope and scanned through the c.120 Greylag, there was a Tundra Bean Goose with them.  We walked down the bridleway that was next to the field to get a better view.  Halfway down the hedge was low enough to get the scope on it and obtain cracking views of the bird.  It was the same Bean Goose that we had seen the week before at Mere Farm Pools in Staffs, which is only about 8 miles East of Chelmarsh if you took a straight line there.  The Staffs bird hadn't been seen for about 5 days and now we had relocated it across the boundaries in Shropshire...result.  It isn't everyday you find a Bean Goose so needless to say I was chuffed! 

Tundra Bean Goose - Chelmarsh, 10th January 2011

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Saturday 7th January 2011 - Shenstone

After escaping from doing the shopping with my better half this afternoon I managed to get down to the patch to do my first proper visit of the year.  I decided to prioritise much of my time on the Stanklyn Lane area. 

First up I walked accessible edge of Stanklyn Wood in the hope of catching up with some of the patch's woodland specialities.  The walk produced notables in the form of a Nuthatch, 2 Goldcrests, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 16 Chaffinch, a Redwing and a Common Buzzard.

Stanklyn Lane paddocks were absolutely chuffing with birds with 78 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, c.100 Starling and 2 Green Woodpeckers present.

As a stark contrast Heath Lane paddock was very quiet with only 1 Redwing, 4 Linnets and a Robin recorded.

My final stop was Witch Lane where 12 Cormorants could be seen perched in the trees at the back of Willow Marsh Fishery.  Also noted in the Witch Lane area were 2 Kestrels, 17 Fieldfare and 8 Black-headed Gulls.

By the time I had finished the light was going so I decided to leave doing a Butts Lane Walk and visiting Captains Pool to another day.  Still a nice mix of everyday birds for the patch year list.

Green Woodpecker - 7th January 2012

Thursday 5th January 2012 - Out and about in Staffordshire

Today I met up with my old mate (and tea maker extraordinaire!) Tony for a spot of birding.  We decided to pop a few miles up the road into Staffordshire.  Kidderminster is only 3 miles away from the county border near it isn't as far as it sounds!

The first place we visited was a site we know where you can see roosting Tawny Owl in the daytime during the winter months.  Although this is a fairly well know site locally I will not be posting any site specifics or answering any questions regarding the location (sorry folks but it isn't worth the possible disturbance).  On arriving at the usual spot we soon enjoyed cracking views of the Tawny Owl.  The bird was also making a mewing call periodically.  Near by we were treated to good close views of 2 Nuthach and 2 Coal Tits feeding on seed that some kind walker had left on a tree stump.

We then decided to visit Mere Farm Pools near Highgate Common where a Tundra Bean Goose has been reported over recent days.  On arrival we soon picked up the Bean Goose that was feeding in a Barley field with a flock of 60 Greylag Geese.  Result, this is only the second Bean Goose I have seen in the West Midlands area  (the other being at Bittell last autumn).  Most of my photos of the goose were blurred due to the incredibly strong winds buffeting my scope but I did get off a 'record shot' in the end.

Also of note at Mere Farm pools were 2 Grey Herons and 2 Mute Swans.

Tawny Owl - 5th Jan 2012

Tundra Bean Goose - 5th Jan 2012

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Wed 4th January 2012 - Grimley & Shenstone

Today Bev and I decided to pop out for a few hours birding at Grimley.  Just before reaching Grimley we pulled up at Top Barn to scan the fields opposite to see if any Golden Plover were about.  We were in luck in the field were 59 Golden Plover with c.200 Lapwing and c.100 Starlings.  At one point something spooked them and everything went up.  Even a relatively small flock of Golden Plover is a joy to behold as they are wheeling around.

At Camp Lane pits the water level was incredibly high and I'm sure this was the reason there were some of the regular duck species such as Shoveller and Teal missing.  Still we did note 16 Gadwall (8♂), 4 Pochard (1♂), c.40 Tufted Ducks, 5  Little Grebes, 4 Mute Swans, c.100 Canada Geese, 2 Cormorant and a Grey Heron

Also noted around the pits and in the adjacent field were 8 Meadow Pipits, 3 Skylarks, a Song Thrush, 1 Herring Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 17 Black-headed Gulls.

On the way back home I managed to blag the other half into making a whistle stop visit to Shenstone.  This was my first visit of the year to the patch so I was excited...but even though I only covered Heath Lane and Stanklyn Lane it was good to be back.  I didn't see a great deal of birds to be perfectly honest but a Song Thrush & 20 Linnets on Heath Lane, and 17 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing and a Green Woodpecker at Stanklyn Lane paddocks were highlights.  I just cant wait till next week when I should have more free time to cover the patch properly.

Pochards & Tufted Ducks - Grimley

Please check out this blog...

A mate of mine (and occasional Shenstone interloper) Mark P has set up a blog dedicated to his own local birding experiences and the wildlife of his local patch at Blakedown in North Worcestershire.

So I thought I would give him a shout out as he ventures out into the world of blogging.  You can check out his blog 'Doorstep Birding' at the below link:

Monday 2nd January 2012 - Eymore Wood & Trimpley Reservoir

Today, Bev and I, popped out for our first walk of the New Year.  After the early morning rain the weather went rather nice with blue skies and sunshine, making the thought of a walk more appealing.  I tried to get her to do a walk around Shenstone but that was met with 'the look' instead we headed a few miles up the road to Eymore Wood.

On arriving at the upper parking area we started checking the tops of the Larches for Crossbill.  There was no sign but there were a small number of Siskin and Goldfinch feeding in them.

We then took the footpath through the wood down to the Trimpley reservoirs.  There were a fair number of birds on the Settling Pool including 65 Tufted Duck, 1 Great-Crested Grebe, 44 Black-Headed Gulls, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull and many Mallards.   Of note on the main Reservoir there were 4 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Cormorant and 27 Coot.

From the Reservoir we then walked along the adjacent River Severn.  Here we had the highlight of the day in the shape of 10 Mandarin Duck (5♂) that we watched for a while.  This stretch of the river and the reservoirs is a known wintering area for them and there are usually considerably bigger numbers here.  Perhaps the lack of a real cold snap has delayed them from flocking together en masse.

The walk back through Eymore Wood past Huntsfield Farm was fairly uneventful with only a Coal Tit, Nuthatch and a Great-spotted Woodpecker of note.

Still it was a pleasant walk even with the bank holiday masses seemingly everywhere.

Mandarin Duck (female)

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Mandarin Ducks

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