The patch starts to produce.....

Despite the bitter cold conditions, things have been rather interesting on the patch the past few days.  Ok so there still isn't any sign of any Spring migrants arriving as yet but winter migrants were certainly on the move.
Tuesday 26th March:
I received a call from Tony this morning informing me that 2 Tufted Duck (1♂ & 1♀) were on Captains Pool.  This was great news as there hadn't been a single Tufted Duck on the pool all winter (which is most unusual).  As my car was in for repair TS very kindly picked me up and we popped to Captains. Luckily for me the Tufted Ducks were still present. At the pool the pair of Great Crested Grebes were seen starting to display and a handful of Siskin were present in the adjacent Alders.
After partaking in a quick beverage at Tony's café we headed off to check the North side of Shenstone.  First stop was Stanklyn Lane paddocks where 29 Fieldfare, 6 Redwing and a Song Thrush were busy feeding.  In the gallops field a Stock Dove was present and a single Raven flew over kronking away like a good un!
More birds were present in the stubble at the former beet field with c.80 Meadow Pipit, 4 Yellowhammer, 2 Mistle Thrush and 12 Redwing of note. 

Heath lane was desperately quiet but for a single ♂ Kestrel and Butts lane wasn't much better but there were 4 Stock Doves feeding on the plough.
By far the biggest highlight of the day was seeing a rather well hidden Little Owl back on patch.  I was getting concerned as I hadn't seen any sign for such a long time.
Little Owl - 26th March
Wednesday 27th March:
Again the weather was very cold and the skies were overcast on my arrival to the patch this afternoon but the previous day had filled me with renewed enthusiasm.

Much to my delight the Little Owl was again present and showing fairly well until being mobbed by 2 Magpies.

The stubble field at Stanklyn was again very productive with c.40 Meadow Pipits and 8 Redwings present.  The paddocks were quiet however with only a single Song Thrush of note.

Notables at Heath Lane were 18 Fieldfare, 12 Chaffinch and 1 ♂ KestrelButts lane was quite with only a  single Jay and a flyover Cormorant (heading South) of note.

I decided to head over the south side of the patch which turned out to be far more productive.  At Witch Lane an incredible c.120 Meadow Pipits were busy feeding in one of the fields.  Nearby at Willow Marsh Fishery, the 2 Tufted Ducks (from Captains Pool the previous day) had re-located.

The day's highlight came at Back Lane where huge numbers of birds were present in the large grazing field.  These included c.400 Starling, c.200 Fieldfare, 1 Raven,  20 Lapwing and 8 Golden Plover (Get in!).  After a few minutes watching this mass of birds everything went up as a large ♀ Peregrine went through.  Most of the birds returned to ground further but the Golden Plovers flew off heading NE.  The Lapwings also didn't return.

What a great visit.  Year patch ticks in the form of Golden Plover and Peregrine and nice views of my old mate the Little Owl.  Just need the weather to turn milder so the Spring migrants can start moving through!

Tufted Ducks - 26th March


  1. Little Owl and Golden Plover would be firsts for me on my patch Jason. I live in hope!!

  2. I'm sure one day it will happen's the thought of those potential firsts that keep us local patch birders going!

  3. Great to see you out and about again Jason! Not seen any local Golden Plovers this year locally or at Brandon!



  4. Tufted Duck........oooh.........I can only wish :-)

  5. A nice selection of birds seen there Jason. I'm glad you saw the Little Owl, I think I saw you comment somewhere that you were a bit concerned about them, apologies if I remembered wrong and it wasn't you!

  6. Keith - Cheers. You have probably had more snow in that neck of the woods...I'm sure those Goldies will pass through soon though mate

    Warren - I'm with you on that one. The humble Tufted is becoming rarer than rocking horse poo at Captains pool of late.

    Jan - Thanks. Yep I was becoming concerned about your memory does serve you well ;-)