A new dawn a new day...(a blog reboot)

As readers of this blog you will probably be aware that in 2013 I had pretty much lost my birding & wildlife blogging mojo.  As a consequence of this I came into 2014 with the plan to focus on 1 km² area of my patch and undertake a year long Bio Survey.  So far this has been an interesting exercise and I have already recorded number of new fungi for the patch and as a by product of this focus I have enjoyed writing the blog posts again.  But I am still unhappy with my time spent at Shenstone/Stone and feel the need for pastures new.  Let me explain a little of my reasons.

For the last 7 years I have worked Shenstone as my local patch and enjoyed the majority of time doing so.  I have found some good birds there:  Black Redstart, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Quail, Ring Ouzel & Short-eared Owl to name but a few.  I have also discovered colonies of new butterflies for the site:  Brown Argus, Essex Skipper, Marbled White and Purple Hairstreak.  But, the main drawback with Shenstone/Stone is the lack of public footpaths.  There are a few between Stanklyn and Summerfield and one on Butts Lane.  To walk a circuit it mostly involves staying on the lanes and viewing the habitats from the roadside.  Some of these lanes are used as a  cut through between 'A' roads.  After a while this becomes quite demoralising.

Compounding the matter in 2014 is the fact that a number of the lanes their are going to be closed off for major water pipeline replacement works, which could last up to 10 months.  Also, Heath Lane paddock may be lost to become a travelling show people site and the knock on effect of this on such as the nearby nesting Little Owl & Corn Buntings could be catastrophic.  Other areas of the patch have already gone down the proverbial swanny in terms of the migrant birds with 'Redstart hedge' now having wooden horse shelters etc. built in front of it and other paddocks being constantly used and attended to by the horse owners. there is rarely a bird in sight there these days.

So it is with mixed feeling that I have decided to suspend the Bio Survey and have a break from Stone/Shenstone, spending 2014 going out and about to a number of different sites locally and enjoy there wildlife and maybe make a few interesting finds on the way.  In some ways this is quite saddening but in another it feels quite liberating, like I am throwing off the shackles. It will be great to go out and just enjoy the wildlife again, wherever and whenever I chose without beating myself up about neglecting the patch. That said I shall return for the odd visit to Shenstone but when and how often who knows, either way I wont be pressuring myself to do so.  I will also keep an eye on the area's Corn Buntings and keep fighting their corner.

So this post represents a new dawn if you will and I will happily keep blogging on this site about my travels.  To tie in with this change of approach I am renaming the blog title but  keeping the same web address (http://shenstonebirder.blogspot.co.uk/)  to avoid too much confusion.

So enough of my prattling on...I hope you will all continue enjoying the blog posts as I leave Shenstone behind and head out 'Wild and Wandering'....



  1. All the best with your "wanderings", Jase. I can fully acknowledge where your coming from, mate. It`s your choice what you do..& no one else`s. Go for it :-)

    PS : i`m going to see Obnoxious UK next weekend. Think they`re a great band with their own style.What did you reckon to em ?

  2. Virtually everything you have explained is also happening on my patch Jase, i've also toyed with the idea of just giving up, i'm finding less and less now a days.

    I think the only reason I keep going is the fact i don't drive, so i don't have much choice!

    Good luck mate :-)

  3. Cheers Deano. Yes I rate Obnoxious UK, seen them a couple of times now at my local...always a good gig. In fact they are playing there in March with Drongos for Europe and Brassick.

    Thanks Warren. I'm not completely giving up on Shenstone and will still bird there now and then especially during migration periods. I will also keep an eye on and keep fighting for the Corn Buntings. I will most likely do a bit of invert stuff there too occasionally. So I guess I'm not completely giving up on the site but readjusting how I work it and how often

  4. I shall look forward to reading of your sightings whether they be from Shenstone, Somerset or Timbuktu Jason!

    Enjoy your 'Wandering'!

  5. Sorry to see you've suspended the patch bioblitz. I still intend to visit local spots this year to hopefully see as much diversity as possible. WW is a good acronym for the new venture though ;@)

  6. Thanks Pam...hopefully it will still make a good read.

    Cheers Mark...it is a shame to knock the bioblitz on the head in some respects but I really need a break from Shenstone and continuous patch blogging. Who knows, in 2015 I may return there with a renewed positivity but for now I'm looking forward to complete freedom to visit other sites old and now

  7. I know how you feel Jase. After 10+ years covering my patch you do burn yourself out somewhat, and it is good for a change. I'm currently going through something similar but i still put in the occasional day on patch so not a total loss.
    Good luck on your wanderings, and hope you see some decent wildlife in doing so!
    See you around

  8. Cheers Craig. It actually feels quite liberating to be able to go wherever without thinking that I should be covering my patch. That said I will still work Shenstone occasionally (during migration periods etc) but when the mood takes