Well, I am happy to say 2014 has seen me find my wildlife and blogging mojo again. I think sometimes a bit of timeout followed by a fresh approach can really help. But enough on my current renewed passion for the great outdoors (and associated wildlife) and on with the post. Aside from the 1km² that I am studying in depth I am still making time to look at what's happening on the 'wider patch', although not in the same level of detail.
Birdwise, the patch year list has got off to a sluggish start and believe it or not, It's now the 9th January and I still haven't added Corn Bunting to said list. Don't panic though folks, Shenstone's Corn Bunting population (which is the biggest remaining one in Worcestershire) has not just disappeared. During the winter months the Corn Buntings flock together, sometimes with other buntings, to search for food amongst the stubble fields around the patch. Some years they are easily seen feeding in fields near public footpaths or just off the lanes, but other times they favour some of the fields that are privately owned and just cannot be accessed or viewed (of which there are a fair few). I will certainly keep you all updated when I do next connect with them.
At Witch Lane a Grey Heron has seemingly taken up residence in one of the ploughed fields there. It's amazing what they will feed on, away from there usual diet of fish their diet can also consist of insects, crustaceans, frogs and even small mammals. I've even seen them eating raw offal at a Red Kite feeding station in the past.
Just 'off patch' at Hartlebury the local winter Lapwing flock has numbered 72 birds, I just need them now to head the mile or so up the road to Shenstone!
Also on a small pool at Hartlebury there was a drake Mandarin present on 4th January (discovered by TMH). When I popped to see the bird later that day a Barnacle Goose had also come in with a flock of Canada Geese. This was an unringed bird and presumably the same one that visits Captains Pool periodically.
Barnacle Goose and Mandarin Duck
(distant record shots)