Sunday 9th September 2012:
I began this afternoons visit to the patch at Stanklyn Lane paddocks. Over the past few weeks it has been the most productive area for passage migrants, but not today. In fact The only birds of note were an immature Common Buzzard and 4 Swallows. A single Common Darter dragonfly was also noted.
After a spending a while at Stanklyn watching the proverbial tumbleweed blow past me I decided to head over to the south side of Shenstone. I began by walking the tree lined footpath off Witch Lane. This turned out to be a fortuitous move as I inadvertently flushed a Little Owl. The first I have seen on the south side of the patch in 2012. The footpath has a number of areas of dappled shade so it was no surprise to see a Speckled Wood here. Also flushed during the walk were 2 Garden Carpet moths.
I then headed to the lower stretch of the lane where the stubble field had just been turned over. On the deck were 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 15 Herring Gulls and 4 Black-headed Gulls. It's one of the advantages of having a patch that is only a mile or so up the road from the local landfill. During ploughing the gulls will often follow the tractors, a bit like they would a trawler only they are after the invertebrates as opposed to fish.
Whilst scanning the fresh plough I was treated to the undoubted highlight in the shape of a flock of 52 Lapwing that dropped in. The first I have recorded on the patch this autumn. As if this wasn't enough I then picked up the loud "tsweeep" flight call of a Yellow Wagtail. I managed to get a view on the bird as it flew over heading East.
What a great visit it turned out to be after all. I wouldn't have thought it possible after the near birdless time spent on the North of the patch...it just goes to show!
Monday 10th September 2012:
This morning I headed straight to Witch Lane to see if anything of interest had dropped in on the plough. As it was there were no passage migrants here (a Wheatear would have been nice) but 27 Lapwing still remained.
The number of gulls on the field was also up on the previous day with c.50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 27 Herring Gulls and 4 Black-headed Gulls noted.
Further up the lane there was a pair of Ravens in the field next to the fishery and 2 Common Buzzards were up over the other side of the lane. The only butterflies noted in this area were 2 Green-veined Whites and a Large White.
At Butts Lane, 7 Swallows were hawking for insects over the fields and a juvenile Green Woodpecker was present at Eastfields Farm. Also of interest was a single Speckled Wood butterfly and a Silver Y moth.
Stanklyn Lane was again quite but I did observe 2 Swallows and a Speckled Wood. A Willow/Chiff was 'wheeting' from a nearby hedgerow.
My final stop today was Heath Lane where I found today's highlight, an absolutely stunning caterpillar of a Comma butterfly. This beautiful spiky white, orange and black larva really is a sight to behold!
Click on image to enlarge