Monday 6th August 2012 - Shenstone & Tanwood

I timed today's visit to the patch after one of the morning's showers.  My thinking was that the rain may put down a passage migrant.  As it so happened it didn't! Although there were a few highlights.

Along Stanklyn Lane there was a party of Willow Warblers working the hedge row with one occasionally breaking into a line or two of its melodic spiralling warble. 

At Heath Lane there were 4 Swifts over the model aircraft field and 3 Yellowhammers were present on the adjacent hedgerow.  Small numbers of rather damp looking Gatekeeper butterflies were perched on the roadside vegetation.

The walk around the Butts Lane area proved more successful on the butterfly front with 6 Essex Skipper, 2 Small Skipper, 2 Gatekeeper, 4 Meadow Brown and 1 rather tatty Ringlet.

Butts Lane was also more productive on the bird front.  A juvenile Common Buzzard was calling from the roof of the one of the WW2 refugee camp buildings and an adult was also seen over Butts Lane.  The adult Common Buzzard had actually moulted a couple of its primary feathers, showing a nice gap in its wing whilst in flight. During the walk I flushed 12 Skylarks and 4 Linnets from the field.  Whilst 7 House Martins and 3 Swallows were working the area.  14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over heading north.

At Witch Lane another juvenile Common Buzzard was present with an adult having successfully fledged from the 2nd of my patch Buzzard nest sites.  2 Pied Wagtails were present along the lane and 2 Swifts flew over heading south.

Elsewhere on the patch TS observed a juvenile Sparrowhawk on the roof of the boat shed at Captains Pool.


Essex Skipper

From Shenstone I headed over to nearby Tanwood to see if i could pick up the Redstarts that TMH had found there on the previous couple of days.  On the 5th Terry had observed a moulting adult ♂ and on the 6th he had seen 2 imm. Redstarts.

On arriving I soon picked up one of the immature Redstarts, this one had quite a nice pale orange flush to it's chest. Not long afterwards I had great views of the rather showy moulting adult ♂ Redstart which curiously seemed to be being followed around some of the time by a juvenile Pied Wagtail.  After a bit of scanning i picked up the second imm. Redstart on the hedgerow opposite the barns and a fair distance from the other two.  This individuall was much paler on the chest and easily identifiable from the other much brighter juv.  This was a pleasing sight as I could now confirm that all 3 birds that TMH had observed were still present.

Also of note at Tanwood were 5 Pied Wagtails (3 juv), c.40 Starling, 4 juvenile Goldfinch and a ♂ Great-spotted Woodpecker.

The odd couple...

Click on image to enlarge


  1. The Redstart and Pied Wagtail look a bit shifty!

  2. Hi Jason, we live about a mile from Butts Lane and have seen a Buzzard with the wing feathers missing, but this one also has a tail feather missing. Rob is right, the odd couple do look shifty.

  3. Don't they just Rob!

    Hi Mike, it's not an uncommon sight to see a buzzard like that this time of year. I will keep them peeled for this bird now