Thursday 16th February 2012 - Back on patch!

This afternoon I managed to grab an hour and pop for a whistle stop visit to Shenstone.  I know I have been cutting down on my birding to spend more time with our elderly dog (which I don't mind doing one bit).  But what opportunity I did have to go out this week was scuppered by a heavy dose of man flu.  Needless to say by Thursday cabin fever had set in and I thought 'blow it, I need some fresh air'. I'm glad I did as it turned out to be a very productive day!

First port of call was Barrs Lane.  I could see large numbers of gulls following the tractor as it was ploughing and thought it may be worth a closer look.  On pulling in at the lay by and scanning the field I could now see the incredible number of gulls that were in the field, most of which were sat in the middle of the plough.  I estimate that there were c.260 Black-headed Gulls, c.80 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and c.40 Herring Gulls.  

I spent a good half hour or so repeatedly scanning through them as there were a lot of immature large gulls there and I was hoping for an Iceland Gull (there are incredible numbers in the country at the moment).  Try as I might I couldn't see an immature gull with white wing tips but all this scanning wasn't completely fruitless.  I picked up an adult Yellow-legged Gull amongst them.  Unfortunately it flew before I managed to get any photos off, heading, with a number of other gulls, towards the nearby Hartlebury Landfill. I was dead chuffed as this was only the 2nd time I had seen one on the patch...although fellow local birder Terry H has also recorded individuals on the plough on a 2 or 3  previous occasions.

Also recorded in this field were 14 Pied Wagtails, c.40 Linnet and 2 Common Buzzards.  One of the Common Buzzards was a very unusual looking individual which I think is probably a first winter light-phase bird.  When you see a bird that is so different looking as this bird you can understand how Misidentifications could possibly occur.  I've put a photo and some video footage of the bird further on down the post.  A single Corn Bunting was also noted perched along Barrs Lane.

Next stop on my journey was Heath Lane.  There were 4 Corn Buntings on the wires near the paddock.  Over the large cereal field opposite there was a flock of c.300 Linnets whirling around.  Elsewhere on the lane a charm of 20 Goldfinch and a single Redwing were noted.

My final destination was Witch Lane, where I recorded 25 Fieldfare, 4 Stock Dove and 2 Pied Wagtails.

Gulls on the plough

Unusual looking Common Buzzard

Click on YouTube logo to enlarge video


  1. Quite a ''gull'' day for us both Jase, good to hear you're out and patch watching again :-)

  2. Well done with the Yellow Leg, I haven't had many large gulls around yet this year.

  3. Well done with the Yellow Legged Gull Jason and what a cracking looking bird that Buzzard is!

  4. It is indeed a smart looking Buzzard that, Jason.

  5. Glad you were able to get out for a while, Jason and you obviously had a good time. Well done on the Yellow Legged Gull and the lovely video capture of the Buzzard!

  6. Warren - It was mate, thats the good thing with having a landfill just a couple of miles off patch (as the gull flies) never know what you may get on the fresh plough!!!

    Alan - Cheers. As I replied to Warren, I am lucky to have a landfill nearby.

    Phil - Cheers mate. That Buzzard was a real stunner!

    Dean - it really was! I'm glad I managed to get some footage. Its not one of my patch regular Buzzards

    Jan - Thanks. it was good to get out there again for a wee while. I was really pleased with how the Buzzard footage came out too!

  7. Hi Jason,
    I saw this Buzzard over near Hartlebury Castle last week, lovely markings.