1st to 10th September 2013 - Shenstone & Captains Pool

Sunday 1st September
I undertook a quick tour of the local patch this afternoon.  At first it seemed like it was going to be a 'dead day' but things improved when a cracking Hobby came through over Heath Lane.  The other highlight of the visit was at Witch Lane where the flock of Lapwing has increased to 43.

Monday 2nd September
I started today's visit at Captain's Pool.  The pool itself was very quiet on the bird front with notables being a Grey Heron and 3 Black-headed Gulls.  

Things were much better on the invert front with 1 Migrant Hawker, 1 ♀ Common Darter, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Comma, 1 Peacock, 2 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Speckled Wood and a Large White all recorded along the dam.

At Stanklyn Lane paddocks there were 2 juvenile Green Woodpeckers present'  A moulting adult Robin was present at 'Redstart hedge'

At Heath Lane there were c.200 Starlings, 8 Mistle Thrush, 2 Chiffchaffs and  a charm of 12 Goldfinch present.

Red Admiral

Common Darter ♀

Tuesday 3rd September
Today I paid a dusk visit to the patch to look for owls & mammals armed with my binoculars and bat detector. Things were pretty quite this evening though I did see a Little Owl was seen over one of the paddocks and a Noctule bat was active over Heath lane.

Wednesday 4th September
This afternoon's visit proved quite productive with a Whinchat new in and perched up on Fat Hen at Butts Lane, Stone.  This is the 4th juvenile Whinchat on the patch this autumn and its definitely a good year for them this year here.  It's a pity I cannot say the same about Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail having not recorded either on the patch this migration period! 

Also of interest in the Butts Lane area today were 2 Clouded Yellow, 1 Common Blue, 3 Speckled Wood and a Migrant Hawker.

Whinchat (record shot)

Saturday 7th September
It was fairly quiet around the patch today with only a few highlights.  On the hedgerow at Heath Lane paddock a juvenile Common Whitethroat and a juvenile Chiffchaff were present.

In the Witch Lane area,  3 Red-legged Partridge, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Lapwing and a Brown Rat were recorded.

Tuesday 10th September
Today I undertook a walk around the Butts Lane area and flushed 13 Meadow Pipits that were feeding near the public footpath.  Also recorded on the walk were 3 Skylarks & 5 Linnets.

Along Barrs Lane I was pleased to find the pupa of a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly hanging from the underside of a Nettle leaf.

At Stanklyn Lane paddocks there were 3 Green Woodpeckers (1 adult & 2 juv) and 18 Goldfinch present.

Small Tortoiseshell Pupa

Friday 30th August 2013 - Titterstone Clee Hill

Today I decided to pay a visit to the near(ish) Shropshire high point of Titterstone Clee Hill in the hope of picking up a passage migrant or two.
 On arrival at the summit car park I walked to the right, past the long narrow pool, towards the old quarried area.  On arriving at the entrance to the old quarry I picked up on an orange/brown butterfly that landed on the track next to the small acidic pool.  On looking at it in my binoculars I was over-joyed to see that it was a Wall butterfly.  The first I have seen locally for many years.  Unfortunately it flew before I could get of any photos but I was happy to have seen it all the same
The Wall was once widespread across much of the country and wasn't uncommon in the Midlands.  But, from the mid 80's and during the 90's, the Wall had a major collapse of it's inland colonies with the Midlands particularly badly hit.  The only time I had seen Wall in recent years was along coastal footpaths whilst on holidays. 

The Wall has survived in the Midlands in a few isolated colonies with the nearest being at the quarried areas along Wenlock Edge in  Shropshire.  To my knowledge it has completely gone from Worcestershire (although I am happy to be corrected if that wasn't the case)

Wall - (photo from my archive)

Birdwise the summit was reasonably productive with 6 Wheatear, 3 Stonechat (1♂, 1♀ & 1 juv), 7 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards and 4 Ravens recorded.

Common Hawker dragonflies were present on the summit pools and good numbers of Golden Waxcap fungi were present within the old quarried area.


Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana)

From the summit I drove down to Catherton Common on the lower slopes of Clee where I saw not one but two adult Whinchats perched up on one of the gorse bushes.  Also of note at the common was a juvenile Stonechat being fed by it's mother, 4 Kestrels, a Common Buzzard and small numbers of Meadow Pipits.

All in all it was an enjoyable away day from my local patch and one that I think I will repeat over coming weeks through the autumn migration period.

Meadow Pipits

28th & 29th August 2013 - Lower Smite Farm & Shenstone

Wednesday 28th August - Lower Smite Farm:
As some of you may or may not know I volunteer of a Wednesday at the Worcestershire Biological Records Centre (WBRC).  The WBRC is based at The Worcestershire Wildlife Trusts HQ at Lower Smite Farm (LSF) and is an independent charity and company which collects, collates and holds biological information for Worcestershire.

So, if you live in Worcestershire and record something of interest in your garden or find observe something whilst out and about in Worcestershire please do send a record through to the WBRC for addition to the county database.  More information on submitting wildlife sightings and biological records to the WBRC can be found at:  


 On arriving at LSF I bumped into fellow local patch birder and Worcs Trust employee Steve Bloomfield (https://twitter.com/SteveB_esq) or a quick natter.  Whilst we were chatting about this years odd autumn migration I noticed a Little Egret flying over high heading North.  SB was dead chuffed as this was his first for his local patch of the farm.  A good start to the day!

During my lunch time I popped down to by the orchard ponds to look for the Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart that SB had found there previously.  There was no sign at that point but I did pick up a Whinchat on the fence posts of the paddocks on the lower slope of Smite Hill.  In the paddocks were also 3 Northern Wheatears (believe it or not the only ones I have seen so far this autumn). I messaged SB and he came and joined me.  Within minutes the Spotted Flycatcher and the Redstart both putt in an appearance in the same area...an amazing 15 minutes birding!

Wednesday 28th August - Lower Smite Farm:
On my way back home (late afternoon) I dropped by Shenstone to try and relocate the 2 juvenile Whinchats that had been found earlier that day by TMH.  There was no sign and they had most likely moved elswhere due to the farmer harvesting the cereals in the adjacent field on his combine harvester.

I then nipped over to Stanklyn paddocks to see if they had relocated there.  There was of course no sign but I was however rewarded with stunning views of a Hobby that was hawking the large numbers of hirrundines that were present.

Thursday 29th August - Shenstone:
On this morning's visit to the local patch I managed to relocate TMH's 2 Whinchats on the hedgerow of  a paddock along Heath Lane.  Better still, I discovered a 3rd juvenile Whinchat perching up amonst the brassica crop at Heath Lane.  I can't remember 3 Whinchat being on the patch at any one time! 

Also of interest birdwise were 12 Lapwings that were down in one of the fields just off Witch Lane.

Other than the ubiquitous Whites, the only butterflies noted were Common Blue, Small Copper & Speckled Wood.

Whinchat - Butts Lane  (record shots)

Small Copper

Tuesday 27th August - Grimley

Today,  Bev and I popped to Camp Lane Pits at Grimley to see if there were any passage waders about.  There are a number of pools & pits in the Grimley area that are a by product of the gravel extraction undertaken by Tarmac.   The pits are situated near to the River Severn which somewhat of a  flight line for migrating birds and as a result can tend to pick up some really interesting species.

On  arrival I soon discovered a rather stunning juvenile Wood Sandpiper  that was working it's way along the NW shoreline of the main pit.  Wood Sandpipers are passage migrants that pass through in spring and autumn, breed in Northern Europe and winter in Africa.  It has been a great year for passage Wood Sandpipers at Grimley with 3 individuals through in Spring and a further 3 (including today's) so far during the autumn passage.

There had obviously been a bit of wader movement over night/early morning as a number of species had dropped in at Camp Lane including:  2 Common Snipe, 1 Dunlin, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 2 Ringed Plover.

Also of note at Camp Lane were 4 Little Egrets and 3 Common Terns.

A walk along the North bank was productive on the butterfly front with 3 Brown Argus and 10+ Common Blues noted.  The only dragonflies observed today were Common Darters and Migrant Hawkers.

Wood Sandpiper

Brown Argus

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