Today I caught up with fellow wildlife blogger and supporter of the inferior Black Country football team, Mark P
Our plan was to head up high and see if we could pick up some passage migrants. The choice of destinantion was the Shropshire high point of Titterstone Clee Hill. Believe it or not Titterstone is actually closer to Kidderminster (where i live) than the Worcestershire high point of the Malvern Hills (it's a lot easier to get too from here as well!)
Arriving at Clee at around 10.15am things initially seemed fairly quiet, the sky was fairly cloudy and a fairly cold breeze was blowing. But as the day went on the sun burnt through and things warmed up considerably.
Our walk around the summit produced no fewer than 12 Northern Wheatears. Titterstone is the site of an ongoing project to ring and monitor it's breeding Wheatear population. None of the Wheatears that we observed today were ringed suggesting that they were actual passage migrants. Just below the summit car park a family party of 3 Stonechats (1♂, 1♀ & 1 Juv) was showing well.
As we had anticipated prior to our arrival it was a good day for raptors with 2 Peregrines, 5 Kestrels and 3 Common Buzzards all performing well over the summit. At least 7 Ravens were also present.
There was also steady movements of Swallows, House Martins and Meadow Pipits through during our visit.
The acidic pools on top of the summit held small numbers of Common Hawker dragonflies. Some of which were seen copulating (having a quickie), whilst some females were observed oviposting (egg laying).
Small numbers of Common Blue Damselfly were also noted
The small pool below the car park also held Common Hawkers as well as good numbers of Emerald Damselfly
Butterflies recorded at the summit included 5 Red Admiral, 4 Small Copper and 1 Small Tortoiseshell
From the summit area we headed to the working quarry area where another Northern Wheatear was noted. The small pond to the left of the path also held a handful of Common Hawkers.
Our final stop was Catherton Common on the lower slopes which was, to be quite honest, very disappointing. The boggy areas of the common had dried out and there wasn't a dragonfly in sight.
Birds were also few and far between and the only ones noted during our walk here were 2 Stonechat (1♂ & 1♀), 1 Kestrel, 1 Skylark and a Meadow Pipit.
A good varied day was enjoyed. It's hard to name a highlight because there were many but for me I think Mrs P's baps must be up there. Lunch that is! ham & cheese...very nice too!
Common Hawkers (Aeshna juncea)