Refreshed after a break away in Norfolk I returned to Shenstone optimistic that Spring was just around the corner and the sound of the first singing patch Chiffchaff of the year would only be days away. As it happened Spring seems to have stalled in these parts and there is no sign of any incoming Spring migrants yet. Still I have started increasing my patch visits and below is a summary of what was (or wasn't) happening....
Saturday 16th March:
Stanklyn Lane was very quite but for a single Canada Goose sat in the middle of the field next to the Gallops. Also present was 1 Mistle Thrush.
Heath Lane was far more interesting with 166 Fieldfare feeding in the large field opposite the Islamic School. Amongst them were 2 Redwings and c.80 Starling. At the paddock a ♂ Kestrel was present. A Song Thrush and a Common Buzzard were noted in the adjacent field.
A 2nd ♂ Kestrel was present at Witch Lane and 2 Common Buzzards were seen in a field grubbing out worms.
Monday 18th March:
The weather was actually quite mild for a change and on my arrival late morning the sunshine had brought 2 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies out on the wing along Stanklyn Lane.
At mid-day a flock of 43 Meadow Pipits flew in from the SE and landed in the gallops field. 26 Chaffinch were seen in an adjacent hedgerow and many of which were flitting out fly catching. A single Corn Bunting was heard singing along the lane.
Along Heath Lane there 2 Carrion Crows were seen gathering nest material. 2 Ravens and 3 Common Buzzards were up over the model aircraft field. A ♂ Kestrel was present at the paddock.
At Butts Lane there were 2 Common Buzzards displaying over Stone Manor. 2 Meadow Pipits flew over heading North and 2 Skylarks were seen on the fresh plough. Also of note here was a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) that was on the wing.
I then popped over to Tony's café to re-acquaint myself with his fine beverages and check out Captains Pool. A 2nd Great Crested Grebe had arrived on 17th March (TS) and the pair had been displaying on/off. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard regularly drumming from the surrounding woodland.
With Tony in tow I headed off to check out the south side of the patch. By now the weather had turned colder and the sky had gone back to it's continuing greyness. Needless to say no more bees or butterflies were seen. At Witch Lane there was a Grey Heron sat in one of the fields and 2 Cormorants were noted flying south. Back Lane was equally as quite with the only bird of note being another Grey Heron that was sat perched on a wooden fence post.
Thursday 21st March:
The temperature seamed to have dropped further still and the gloomy looking sky was ever-present. There was however some movement of winter thrushes with c.80 Fieldfare, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush and 2 Mistle Thrush present in Stanklyn paddocks. They all flew off in a NE direction when disturbed by the landowner. Also noted were 4 Goldfinch and 8 Chaffinch.
Heath Lane was quiet with a single Common Buzzard being the only bird of note.
At Barrs Lane there were 2 Stock Doves present on the plough.
Fieldfare - Shenstone