Shenstone - 19th to 24th April

Right, time to dust off the blog and start catching up with a few posts!!!

Friday 19th April:
I started this evening's patch visit at Stanklyn Lane where the ♂ Common Redstart was still present.  Opposite, on the gallops, a single ♂ Northern Wheatear was also present.  it was also good to hear singing Blackcap, Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer in this area.

At Heath Lane a flock of 6 Corn Buntings were perched up on one of the hedgerows.  A Common Buzzard was also present.

Elsewhere, the Little Owl was showing well perched in it's favoured tree.

The undoubted highlight though was seeing a stunning Red Fox trotting across the lawn at the rear of Stone Manor, it's rufous coat looking wonderful in the glow of the evening sun.

Saturday 20th April:
Today I arrived at the patch around mid-day to be greeted by the sight of a cracking ♂ Brimstone butterfly flying along Stanklyn Lane, my first patch sighting of this species for 2013.  The year firsts didn't stop there when I noticed a Common Whitethroat flitting about and singing near the junction with Heath Lane.

At Stanklyn Wood a Nuthatch was calling and both Blackcap and Chiffchaff  heard singing

At Heath Lane another Chiffchaff and a ♂ Blackcap were seen singing.  The only butterfly noted here was a single Small Tortoiseshell.

At Butts Lane I was treated to a bit of nature porn when the pair of Kestrels started mating on the grass bank.  They don't half kick up a racket whilst at it!

My final stop was Witch Lane where a single Yellow Wagtail flew over heading WSW.  This area was the most productive for invertebrates with 1 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 1 ♂ Nursery Web Spider, 1 Pied Shieldbug and an Early Mining Bee noted here.

Early Mining Bee (Andrena haemorrhoa)

♂ Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirabilis)

Thursday 23rd April:
Today there were 2♂ Northern Wheatear and a ♂ Common Redstart present at Stanklyn Lane (TMH).

I only had time to whistle-stop through Shenstone today and managed to find another 3 Northern Wheatear on the rolled seedbed along Curslow Lane. 

At Butts Lane a pair of Swallows were present around Eastfields Farm and a Willow Warbler was singing nearby.

Friday 24th April:
Again, I only had time for a quick patch visit but was pleased to see that there were now 5 Northern Wheatears (4♂, 1♀) in the gallops field. 

The Witch Lane area was again the place to go for the insects with a queen Buff-tailed Bumble Bee, a Common Carder Bee and a Small Tortoiseshell noted there

Northern Wheatear (♂)

Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)

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