Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Chester Road Canal, Birmingham.

Great trip to one of the many canals that can be found in Birmingham which was two weeks later than planned due to the recent weather and other events out of my control but that was maybe down to fate giving the drama that unfolded this morning. 

The drama seems a good place to start, so here goes, whilst walking along the canal and approaching one of the locks a woman spoke to us and explained that there were four ducklings trapped in the lock and making it sound like it was in the past tense, to my horror when I approached the lock four little ducklings were trapped in the lock with no way out whatsoever and they were constantly calling for their mother who was further down the canal under the bridge with ten other little babies and she was also constantly calling out for them, so there was absolutely no way in the world I was going to leave them there, but what to do, fish them out of the water - no, try to make them jump out the side of the lock - no chance it was far too high, fashion something from the surroundings to scoop them out - there was nothing suitable so after about twenty minutes of frantically trying to stop them from getting the out of the other end of the lock (which had been left open by the aforementioned woman) where there was fast flushing water leading to a drain I happened upon the idea of finding a branch so they could walk up the branch and run to freedom to their mother, I'm happy to say after another ten minutes of risking falling in the canal and running back and forth like a maniac to get the birds in the right position to help them, I actually managed to get all four to walk up the branch so they could run down the path to be reunited with their mother, I did it all for them but I did feel a great deal of satisfaction for helping the little ones out, they are in the first photo by the way.

Talking of baby birds also seen today were twenty four Ducklings, three Moorhen juveniles, two Canada Goose Goslings, Blue Tit and Starling juveniles as well as hundreds of House Sparrows where a good quarter of their number were juveniles, which is even more amazing when you consider they were all seen in about a one mile stretch of the canal.

Birds seen today were, Blackcap (male) who was having a good old sing song, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Starling, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I'm also pleased to report that according to a local a pair of Kingfisher have successfully raised young further down the canal to where I walked, great to know there are juvenile Kingfisher on the canal !

Sunday, 14 May 2017

New Hall Mill, Sutton Coldfield.

Nice visit to New Hall Mill in Sutton Coldfield today on their first Open Day of 2017.

Not really a proper birding trip but wherever I go I'm doing some birding on one level or another, also included was a walk courtesy of RSPB where the spot of the day occurred, I hate to brag (not really) but even then it was me that spotted it, namely that of a pair of Grey Wagtail feeding a juvenile on the river that leads into the mill, it was worth the visit to see that wonderful sight alone, also observed were a pair of Great Tit taking food to their young, unfortunately the hole into the building where there nest was located was where everybody was entering the grounds so the Tits were reluctant to enter the nest, luckily they grabbed every opportunity to take food in when it was quieter. Other birds seen constantly collecting food were Blackbird and Robin so they presumably had nests at this location as well.

Birds seen today were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Wagtail and Mallard.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Shustoke Reservoir.

Great visit to Shustoke Reservoir in North Warwickshire this morning even though I was supposed to be visiting Kingsbury Water Park but a diversion put paid to that because the diversion was right by the entrance to the reservoir so it was easier just to visit there.

Highlights of the day started off with the very first sighting of the day, namely that of a magnificent looking juvenile Song Thrush, a pair of Kestrel performing mid-air courtship, something which I've never witnessed before,  a nesting Great Crested Grebe nesting on the fly-fishers pool (a rarity at this location), the returning Swallows, House Martins, Swifts and Sand Martins flying over the water in their hundreds, sightings of a Whitethroat and Nuthatch and the seeing Mallard Ducklings, all fifty eight of them ! Including a female with thirteen young ones. 

Non birding wise the highlight was seeing a stoat chasing a rabbit, when I saw them they quickly disappeared into the undergrowth so whether the rabbit escaped the stoat will always remain a mystery.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Whitehroat, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Sand Martin, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Also seen were the following butterflies, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Green-Veined White and Small White.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

I wasn't supposed to be visiting the farm this morning, it was a last minute decision but when the birding and wildlife is a good as it always is here then I can't go wrong.

Highlights were were seeing the usual high number of House Sparrow, the relatively high number of Yellowhammer with approximately twenty seen in the same area, observing the wonderful flight of the Skylark, the return of Swallows this year, hearing many Chiffchaff and seeing plenty of Tits and Finches. There is also evidence that the wildflower meadow is ready to burst into life, going on last years experience it should be an amazing spectacle.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Swallow, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Moorhen, Mallard and Grey Heron and Cormorant flying overhead.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Edgbaston Reservoir.

It's been over two and half years since my last visit to Edgbaston Reservoir so today I remedied that and paid this wonderful venue a visit.

Highlights were seeing a good number of Swallow flying over the water, seeing and hearing plenty of House Sparrow in the areas that back onto the houses, a rare sighting of a Mistle Thrush, seeing the Coots busily building nests with two already on the nest and seeing all the flora bursting into life.

Birds seen today were, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chiffhcaff, Goldfinch, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Feral Pigeon, Swallow, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Then there's good news and bad news, the good being that a portion of the land has been set aside and called 'Summerfield Orchard', with twenty two apple trees planted, you can probably already guess what the bad news is, yes, six of the trees have already been broken, snapped in half or completely removed, this kind of vandalism really does wind up, a few seconds 'enjoyment' for one scumbag and the tree will never grow again thus depriving us of ever enjoying it. 

Also seen in the area were the following,

Perrot's Folly.

Severn Trent Water Works Tower.

Birmingham Buddhist Vihara.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Nice visit to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve near Erdington this morning, highlights were seeing three juvenile Coot, fifteen nesting Coot, one Canada Goose making a nest and two separate pair of Mute Swan 'courtship dancing'. Also nice to see two very friendly Muscovy Ducks, sadly that will probably be their downfall though, what with inconsiderate dog walkers and the summer coming and chavs will be more evident on the longer lighter nights, there were also two other Muscovy present but they have recently 'disappeared' in the last fortnight.

Birds seen today were, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.

As you can see there's also been widespread destruction of the trees at this location, this has been done were a lot of birds tend to nest and the birds in that area have now been left with zero cover near the station where people tend to feed the birds in the bigger pool, it was once a great wooded area, now it just likes like a barren wasteland.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Newhall Valley Country Park.

Great visit to Newhall Valley Country Park near Sutton Coldfield today with birds singing everywhere I went, Chiffchaff, Robin, Tits, Finches, Dunnock, Wren, Song Thrush and Blackbird were all heard as well as the unmistakable sound of a Buzzard Calling.

Highlight of the day was meeting a very friendly Robin who was very obliging in me taking photos and videos, in return it had plenty of mealworms in return from me, other than the Robin nice spots were a pair of Bullfinch, Coal Tits in a conifer tree, a fair sized flock of Long Tailed Tit as well as the sightings of Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush and Jay.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Now we've got the birding out of the way it's unfortunately time to have a moan, as you see from the above photos some trees have been cut down, well I say some trees, sadly it's huge swathes of trees, for some reason and I don't know whether it's a coincidence but they have all been chopped down in and around the pylons which in itself is not the problem, the problem is that tracks appear to have been made to and from the pylons so a large part of the wood adjacent to New Hall Hotel has been decimated and lost forever which is even more ironic when you consider this location was/is part of the Birmingham Trees For Life Project  the only saving grace is that it's been done before the birds have started nesting, it's made parts of the park look terrible now all the same.