Today, Bev & I decided to take a trip out to the Shropshire highpoint of Titterstone Clee Hill. Titterstone is about a 35 min drive from Kidderminster and, and although across the county border, is perhaps closest high point (it's certainly much closer than the Malvern Hills). It's a place that I visit every few weeks and can produce some good birds, especially during migration periods.
On arriving at the summit car park we undertook a walk around checking the ruined quarry buildings and slopes for any passage migrants. Things were extremely quiet until Bev picked up on a single ♂ Northern Wheatear on one of the rocky slopes...result! This was the first Wheatear I have seen in 2014....cheers Bev! A Common Buzzard, a Kestrel and 4 Ravens were also noted in the summit area.
Northern Wheatear - 19th March 2014 (record shot)
The rest of the walk around the summit area proved fruitless so we headed over to the nearby Catherton Common. Bev was starting to feel the cold and decided to sit it out in the car, so I set off to see what was about. I hadn't walked far before a cracking ♂ Stonechat perched up on a gorse. This individual was unringed, so possibly a passage bird as there has been a rolling program of colour ringing the Stonechats & Wheatears at Clee.
Stonechat - 19th March 2014 (record shot)
On walking past the boggy pools I flushed a Common Snipe which called loudly before flying off into the distance. Continuing my walk around the marshy area I then flushed a Jack Snipe which flew up from a couple of feet away flew about 30 feet and dropped back down. I headed back to the car to fetch Bev and see if we could slowly walk towards where it had dropped down and relocate it. We were in luck when I picked it up sat next to some Juncus in a damp channel. We walked slowly a bit closer to the bird as it sat motionless hankered down watching us. This allowed for us to get some cracking photos of this stunning little wader. After a few minutes of watching the bird we turned around and walked back leaving it to go about it's business...what a great way to end the day!
Jack Snipe - 19th March 2014