I'm still playing blog catch up...so bear with me!
Friday 30th March
I started today's visit to the patch by walking the lane at the periphery of Stanklyn Wood. On commencing the walk I had cracking views of 2 Common Buzzards that was soaring above the wood. A Jay, a Nuthatch and a Treecreeper were all noted at the woodland edge. In the wood itself the first Bluebells could be seen. The were also some rather resplendent clumps of Marsh Marigold in bloom. In the paddock opposite the wood there were 2 Pied Wagtails and a Kestrel was perched on the telegraph wires. Also seen during this walk were small numbers of 7-spot Ladybirds and a Bank Vole.
Chiffchaffs were very much in evidence today with 3 singing along Stanklyn Lane, 2 singing along Heath Lane and 1 singing along Back Lane.
Witch Lane was fairly quite although I did see a rather stunning ♀ Tawny Mining Bee there.
The days highlight though came from Back Lane where I finally recorded my first patch Northern Wheatear of 2012. A stunning adult ♂ was on the now rather dried out ploughed field. Also of note in this part of the patch was a Raven that flew over 'kronking away'
Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)
Saturday 31st March
Early afternoon I received a message from TS informing me that 4 Tufted Ducks (2♂ & 2♀) had arrived on Captains Pool. This was a patch year tick for me so I set off down there asap. On arrival all 4 Tufteds were still present. Also of note on the pool were an imm. Mute Swan and 2 Great Crested Gebes (one of which was sitting on the nest). A Chiffchaff was singing from the wooded side of the pool and a woodpecker was heard drumming.
From Captains I headed over to Stanklyn paddocks. Here there were 2 Fieldfare, 2 Redwings, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Green Woodpecker present. A Chiffchaff was singing at the rear of the paddocks.
My final stop was Back Lane to check the ploughed field where yesterday's Wheatear had been present. I was in luck, today there were now 4 ♂ Northern Wheatear present...result! I am a big fan of the 'chat' family of birds (which includes Wheatears, Redatarts, Stonechats and Whinchats) as a number of them are seen on annual passage each year through arable areas like Shenstone. They really are classic passage migrants and rather pleasing on the eye too! The only down side was that the heat haze was so bad I only managed a really distant record shot of one of the birds...ah well!
Also of note at Back Lane was a Kestrel, a flyover Grey Heron and a singing Chiffchaff
♂ Tufted Duck - Captains Pool
♂ Northern Wheatear - Shenstone