Sunday 18th March 2012 - Shenstone

Today I decided to visit Shenstone mid-morning.  The weather was dull and rather wet but previous experience has taught me that, during migration periods, its worth going out in these conditions as something good could be put down on the patch.   There is no fair weather birding on this blog ;-)

I started my visit by checking out the Butts Lane/Barrs Lane area.  Even in these conditions I counted for Skylarks up singing.  On the plough there was c.40 Linnets, 1 Yellowhammer, 8 Stock Dove and a cock Pheasant present.

Next up was Witch Lane.  There was no sign of the previous day's Curlew in the field behind the fishery so I scanned the adjacent freshly ploughed field.  Result!  sat in the field feeding on some prey was an absolutely stunning adult ♂ Merlin.  I managed to get some video footage of the bird before it flew.  Its just a shame that the footage wasn't great due to the poor weather conditions and the distance of the bird...still it is better than nothing.  Either way I was chuffed with the find as it is only the 2nd adult ♂ Merlin I have recorded at Shenstone.  The others have all been ♀/imm. type birds.

Also noted at Witch Lane were 1 ♀ Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 flyover Meadow Pipit and 2 Skylarks up singing.

Along Heath Lane there were still c.100 Linnet present.  A ♂ Kestrel, a Little Owl and 2 Fieldfare were also noted in the area.

My final stop was the scarified field along Stanklyn Lane.  Here there was an incredibly large mixed Bunting/Finch flock feeding.  The flock consisted of 19 Corn Buntings, 11 Yellowhammer, 1 ♀ Reed Bunting, c.150 Chaffinch. There were also a small number of Skylarks present with them.  On the adjacent hedgerow there were 6 Greenfinch and 1 Goldfinch.

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  1. You certainly were in the right place at the right time Jason! Brill news with the Merlin, a bird I am still waiting to see!I would be well chuffed with the video too, nice one!

  2. Hi Jason

    What a great find. A male Merlin on the deck. I'm very envious.


  3. Pam - I tend to get 3 or 4 sightings of Merlin each winter but they are usually fly through jobs. Its worth keeping an eye on the fields between October and March as Merlins tend to come down from there upland breeding areas to the arable lowlands and coastal areas during this time. Its generally your most likely time of year of seeing one.

    Richard - I was so chuffed to get a male on the deck. As a fellow local patch birder I know you can appreciate that its usually fly through fem/imm. types that we see.

  4. Thanks for the info Jason! I shall certainly be on the lookout!

  5. That was a great find Jason, a just reward for braving the weather! A lovely video capture too. Well done!

  6. Cracking stuff Jase! Any idea what the prey species was? Hopefully not a 'white arse'!

  7. You certainly have large numbers of birds on your patch Jase, many more than here, I suppose its all down to habitat and food supply.

    Nice one with that Merlin, Ive yet to see one here!

  8. Jan - Thank was worth getting cold and damp for!

    Craig - Cheers mate. Looking at the size of the prey and what plumage I saw I would say it was feeding on a Skylark

    Warren - Both of our patches have there merits. Can I swap you a few Corn Buntings for a Nightingale or a Turtle Dove by any chance

    Craig(MB) - was a good day!