Monday 20th Feb 2012 - Out & about in Staffordshire

Today I popped out with TS for a for a few hours birding in Staffordshire. 

The first stop was at Penn near Wolverhampton where a Firecrest has been showing at a small copse adjacent to a bridleway and surrounded by farmland.  On arrival we bumped into a handful of birders and photographers who pointed out where the bird had been showing.  I saw it but it was the briefest of views but unfortunately Tony didn't.  We spent the next hour scanning through the flocks of Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests in the area but to no avail.  We decided to call it a day and head back to the car so we could continue our travels.  

We started walking back and connected with a another flock of Tits/Crests along the bridleway between the copse and the lane.  With in seconds I picked up the Firecrest literally just a few feet away and we both enjoyed cracking views of it flitting round nearby for a few minutes..result.  I didn't get any photos but crests aren't really conducive to digi-scoping as they just keep moving....still a lovely looking bird and well worth seeing (its been about 3 years since I last saw Firecrest, last time was when there were 3 at Brake Mill, Hagley)....just need to find one on the patch now!

Also of note at the copse were a 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers that were continually chasing, a Nuthatch and a Coal Tit.  In the adjacent fields were large numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing.

From Penn we headed up to the West Midland Bird Club Reserve at Belvide Reservoir.  At the woodland feeding station we were treated to great views of Willow Tit, Tree Sparrow and Treecreeper.  The first two species mentioned have all but disappeared from Worcestershire so it is heartening to see them faring better over the county border in Staffs.

On the Reservoir we noted the 1st winter ♂ Greater Scaup, 100+ Goldeneye, 3 Shelduck,  c.200 Wigeon, 3 Oystercatchers and a Curlew.  The resident Great Black-backed Gull, nicknamed Ted Bundy by Belvide regulars, was ever present as always.

On the walk back to the carpark we were treated to cracking views of a Nuthatch perched in a tree near Gazebo Bay that was busily preening away.  A good end to a good trip out.

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  1. Cracking day Jason! Now that's what I call birding. In the words of Homer Simpson MMMMmmmmmm Firecrest :)

  2. "just need to find one on the patch now!"

    Me too, Jason. Came close to one a few years back, with a bird just a matter of metre`s from my patch boundary.

  3. Nice pics Jason and great finding a Firecrest, real little beauties.

  4. Keith - it was a very enjoyable day. Seeing the Firecrest was just the icing on the cake.

    Dean - I have an area on my patch at the edge of Stanklyn Wood where there is plenty of Holly, rhododenron and Ivy covered trees. I often encounter Goldcrests here during the winter months, so its only a matter of time, efoort and a liitle bit of luck (thats what you call a local patch birder's unabashed optimism!)

    Alan - Cheers much appreciated. Although I didnt find the Firecrest in the first instance, it was still great to see all the same

  5. Congrats on the Firecrest, Jason. I've never seen one. You are right about trying to photograph 'crests' they just never stop moving!

    You had a very good day and got some lovely photos, Nuthatch is another one I have struggled to photograph and only ever managed one poor shot of. For some reason I don't see them as often as I would expect to.

  6. better get back on patch for that firecrest then Jase, it wont do just gallavanting off around elsewhere!! :-)

  7. Jan - thanks, it was a good day out. p.s. I've not managed a decent shot of a crest yet either!

    Warren - Popped there for an hour on Tuesday and checked the 'crest hotspots' joy, ah well one day!!!