Out and about...random away days!

Hi folks, it's been a wee while since i last posted so I just thought I would check in with you all.

There is no news regarding the Shenstone planning proposal at the moment other than it is scheduled to go to Wyre Forest District Council's planning committee on  the 9th April 2013.  I will keep you updated on any further news and developments.

As for the birding, I haven't been doing much patch birding recently as February is always pretty much a dead month there.  I have however undertaken a handful of away days to other places.

24th January - Grimley:
Visited Camp Lane pits with TS to see the 2 Smew (♀ & 1st winter ♂)  that have been present for 4 weeks now.  Also caught up with Grey Plover, Sanderling and small numbers of Goldeneye there.  c.120 Wigeon were also present at Camp Lane.

4th Febuaury - South Staffordshire:
This morning Tony and me made our usual winter trip to catch up with the roosting Tawny Owls in a South Staffs woodland.  Only 1 Tawny Owl was showing today but it did look rather stunning in the glow of the suns rays.

4th February - Upton Warren:
On the afternoon, TS and I visited the Moors Pool at Upton Warren to catch up with Jack Snipe.  Also of note here were 2 Shelduck and a single ♀ Wigeon.

14th February - Grimley and Holt:
I made a return visit to Camp Lane pits to see the 2 Smew. 3 Goldeneye (1♂ & 2♀) were also noted.

At Grimley I bumped into Terry H, Terry N and Richard E & his mate Steve.  Needless to say much nattering ensued. The latter gents are known to me and Tony as "those 2 blokes that we keep bumping into everywhere!" Why? you may ask...well because we literally do!!!

At Holt there was an impressive flock of c.400 Lapwing on the flood fields next to sling pool.  Also of note here were 62 Wigeon, 32 Gadwall, 22 Tufted Duck, 6 Teal and 1 ♂ Shoveler.

19th February - Wyre Forest:
Today, saw me and Tony pop for a walk in the Wyre along the disused railway line.  On arrival at Lodgehill we connected with a good flock of Siskin.  With them were at least 3 Lesser Redpoll.  I had breif views of Hawfinch perched up but unfortunately it flew before I could get TS onto it.  That said it was a gloriously mild, sunny day and we were treated to good views of a number of raptors up displaying, seen from the foot bridge.  Oh yes and we bumped into "those 2 blokes that we keep bumping into everywhere!"

Tawny Owl - 4th Feb 2013

Jack Snipe - 4th February 2013
(crappy record shot of the elusive beggar!)

Shenstone Round Up....

Hi all, back to the important business...the wildlife.  Below is a summary of some of the highlights from my patch visits over the last week.

Tuesday 12th February:
The Stanklyn fields were very quite and i didn't have a sniff of a Corn Bunting today.  That said i did hear my first patch Skylark of the year up singing.  Nearby a Green Woodpecker was feeding in the paddocks.

Heath Lane was far more productive with 46 Fieldfare and 1 Mistle Thrush  feeding in the fields there.  A ♀ Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the trees next to the Islamic School.  3 Common Buzzards were also present in the Heath Lane area.

My final stop off was Back lane.  Perched along the fence line there, at the side of the sheep field, were a Grey Heron and a Common Buzzard.

Common Buzzard - Heath Lane, 12th February 2013

Thursday 14th February:
The first thing that struck me on today's visit was the increase in Skylark activity perhaps due to the arrival of blue skies and sunshine!  3 Skylarks were seen chasing over the stubble at Butts Lane, whilst another was up singing.  2 Common Buzzards were up soaring over the trees at the rear of Stone Manor and 42 Fieldfare were in the field behind the Islamic School.

At Heath lane there were a further 2 Common Buzzards present at the model aircraft field.  A ♂ Kestrel present at the paddock.

Saturday 16th February:
I started my patch visit at Stanklyn fields where 3 Corn Buntings and 18 Chaffinch were noted.  2 Common Buzzards were present at the paddocks.

The undoubted patch highlight of the year came along Barrs Lane when a stunning Red Kite came drifting over.  It circled over the stubble field twice before heading off NW.  The Kite was not wing-tagged and is the first one I have seen at Shenstone since 2011.

At Witch Lane a flock of c.100 Chaffinch was present (no sign of any Brambling unfortunately).  Also, 2 Cormorants flew over heading SE.

Elsewhere, a ♀ Goosander was present on Captains Pool (TS)

And now for something completely different.....

Hi folks,

Just a quick heads up to let you know about my new blog called Moving away from the Pulsebeat.  It certainly won't be to everyones taste as it has absolute nothing to do with wildlife and everything to do with another passion of mine, music.

The idea of Pulsebeat is to promote independent music and gigs with a leaning towards punk, ska and alternative.   All music featured within the blog is done so with the artists' permission.

The blog may also be an outlet for my occasional musings about all things of a musical (Kazoos and Jew's harps not withstanding!).

So if your not too faint of heart and enjoy loud sometimes raucous music click on the below link...you never know you just may enjoy it!


No need to worry folks my next post on here will be back to the wildlife


Shenstone and Captains Pool round up

Hello all, it's been a wee while.  What with injured knees and fighting the good fight for the local wildlife, I haven't posted many posts.  So, below is a bit of a compilation post of some of the highlights from the local patch over recent weeks.....

Tuesday 29th January:
I had the the joy of seeing a ♂ Merlin was seen hunting low over stubble fields before flying off towards Mustow Green late afternoon.

Sunday 3rd February:
There were 10 Goosander (5♂, 5♀) were present on Captains Pool late afternoon (TS) and when I arrived they were present for around 10 minutes before flying off in a NE direction.  I also had cracking views of a Kingfisher on the island.

Monday 4th February:
Goosander (2♂) dropped in on Captains Pool late afternoon (TS).

Tuesday 5th February:
The winter flock of c.40 Corn Buntings was still present in the Stanklyn Lane area.  Also present in the stubble fields were 3 Yellowhammers, c.60 Chaffinch, c.80 Linnet and 18 Goldfinch.  Also I heard a Skylark in song in this area.

♂ Merlin - Shenstone, March 2012
(Archive record footage)

Update on the proposed development at Shenstone

This week, I have been liaising with the resident group's planning consultant Philip Deely from RCA Regeneration to provide more details of the wildlife in the Heath Lane area and some photos of birds in situ at the site.

I have also been liaising with Kirsty Brannon (RSPB Farm Conservation Advisor for the Midlands region) regarding the birds at risk. I am currently pulling together details of all Corn Bunting sightings in 2012/13 for her with relevant location details etc.

I have contacted the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust with the concerns.

Finally, the Shenstone planning issue has made both the Kidderminster Shuttle and the Express and Star newspapers. To read these articles click on the below links:



Juvenile Corn Bunting - Shenstone, September 2011

IMPORTANT: Permanant traveller site proposed at Shenstone!

Hi Folks, 

It's been a while since my last post but this is an important one!  It has recently come to my attention that the local council is considering planning permission to turn a former paddock along Heath Lane Shenstone into a permanent site for Travelling Show People.  

The proposal is to turn a former piece of pastoral land into a travelling show people site to accomodate 8 residential caravans, 10 touring caravans and 1 static caravan along with storage of equipment and vehicles and associated access parking and drainage works.  

This is under consultation until 14th February 2013 and I have already raised my objections on the grounds of the impact that it will have on the local wildlife including Red Data species such as Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Skylark and Yellowhammer.  I will also be writing to the local MP and attending the residents group meetings regarding this proposal.

Please read what I have to say in my statement below and if you dis-agree with this proposal can I urge you to go to the following link to the WFDC planning application, click on the comments tab at the bottom of the page and object to the proposal.  The more people who voice their concern the more chance we have of being heard!

The Wildlife of Heath Lane (Shenstone near Kidderminster) and the impact of the proposed development of land there for use as a residential/touring caravan site for travelling show people

Over the last 6 years I have spent many hours observing and noting the wildlife on the arable land at Heath Lane, Shenstone and its surrounding Lanes.  During this period I have undertaken a number of surveys of the birdlife of the area for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology).

Heath Lane and the nearby Butts Lane and Stanklyn Lane are important areas within Worcestershire for some of the UK’s declining farmland birds including Red data species such as Corn Bunting, Grey Partridge, Linnet, Skylark and Yellowhammer.  

The Corn Bunting is the biggest cause for concern as it is declining by huge numbers across the country.  The Shenstone area holds the biggest breeding population of these birds in Worcestershire.  With between c.60 birds present annually.

The proposed site to be used for the residential development is an area within close proximity to some of the breeding areas of Corn Buntings.  The development and the proposed vehicular access could have a catastrophic impact on this fragile population!

Corn Bunting – Shenstone

The Heath Lane area is also is also an important area for migrant birds and is annually visited by a number of scarce passage migrants that stop off to feed before resuming their respective journeys.   In 2012, the site of the proposed development was visited by both Ring Ouzel and Short-eared Owl.  Other more regular passage migrants at the site include Common Redstart, Cuckoo, Merlin, Northern Wheatear, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail.

The areas surrounding the proposed development site have also been visited by Black Redstart, Golden Plover, Quail and Stone Curlew during migration periods over the last 6 years.  

In total 87 species of bird and 21 species of butterfly have been recorded along Heath Lane. 

Notable mammal species recorded along Heath Lane include Badger, Brown Hare, Brown Long-eared Bat and Stoat.

Again, the impact from the proposed development on the aforementioned species could be disastrous!

Jason Kernohan