Friday, 24 March 2017

Shustoke Reservoir.






Great trip to Shustoke Reservoir in North Warwickshire even if the for majority of the visit it was very windy and overcast.

Highlights of the day was seeing and hearing my first Chiffchaff of the year, not only were they audible before I got out of the car but they could be seen and heard all around the reservoir, the fly-fishers pool as well as the farmers fields, another highlight was my first ever sighting of a pair of Long Tailed Tit copulating, not only was it great to see it was like a lot of things in life in that it was short and sweet also in the same locale there was a wonderful sight of a Treecreeper heading upwards on a tree, also nice to see where the water levels returning to a more healthy state with the reservoir almost completely full even if there wasn't too much waterfowl residing on it, there was also the double edged sword of the lovely sight of the water birds nest building which is always a pleasure to see at any location but the birds here find it notoriously hard to successfully raise any young what with there being no suitable places to build a nest and the sailing club using the water, any nests they do actually build on top of the fishing net floats are always destroyed by any heavy rain and/or string winds which is heartbreaking to see especially if they had eggs or very young birds on the nest.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrrion Crow, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Canada Goose.

As of today there is a £1 car parking charge to visit the reservoir which is ironic because the place was an absolute tip with rubbish strewn everywhere including many nappies, to be fair the worker from Severn Trent who was picking up the rubbish he recently caught a woman throwing a nappy on the floor and she informed him 'What's the problem I'm keeping you in a job', sounds as charming as the horrible neighbours that I have to endure. Let's hope that some of the car parking charge goes into combating the litter, flytipping, drug taking and the general all round crime that appears here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.






I'm pretty sure that I've never been birding to the same location three times in a row, well I now have, at least the visits were spread out over a month.

Highlights from today were seeing eight Slylark in one field, there may have been more but some were so high up they were hard to get an exact number, I also saw and heard Skylark in every field I passed through, always great to hear Skylark singing. Again there were hundreds of Linnet in one the fields which is seeded for them over the Autumn/Winter, it was amazing sight when hundreds of them took to the air, also nice was the sight of a sizeable number of Redwing in the flock. Another good number of birds in a flock was c.50 Chaffinch who were among the birds feeding on one of paths where the supplementary food is left. Worth another mention is the sheer number of House Sparrow, the good number of Reed Bunting, and the sightings of Green Woodpecker and Stock Dove. The most Yellowhammer seen in one go today was the princely sum of nine.

Birds seen today, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Goldcrest, c.200 Linnet, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, c.50 Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen and Cormorant (flying overhead).

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.





After having a nasty bout of flu and the horrible after effects of the virus it was nice to finally to be able to get out and do so some much needed birding again, my last trip out was to Southfields Farm in Coleshill so I thought why not celebrate being much better again by paying the John's farm another visit.

John's great work for the birds, wildlife and nature in general is certainly paying off with so many highlights it's hard to know where to start but I have to start somewhere so I'll start off with the wonderful House Sparrow, there are so many to be seen and heard around the main buildings that it's truly unbelievable, when this years juveniles arrive it will be House Sparrow heaven ! Then next worth mentioning is the sheer number of Yellowhammer to be seen, at various locations around the farm and the fields I must have seen at least fifty different individuals with the most seen at once being twelve, the males look truly stunning with the yellow being even more vibrant than usual with the breeding season approaching, in one of the trees and in one of the locations seeded for the birds (the field partially taped off if you're wondering John) there was easily 300+ Linnet, what an amazing sight to see them fly from the field to the tree and then back down to the field, further around in the trees by the river there were also 200+ Linnet, hard to tell if they were part of the same flock seen earlier or a different flock, great to see all the same, in the adjacent field there were hundreds and hundreds of Redwing, Fieldfare and Starling, hard to estimate exactly how many but there were hundreds of each type of bird feasting in the field and mud tracks that have been freshly churned up by the tractor, the noise they were making along with the Linnet was truly incredible. In the adjacent field there was a bang from somewhere and up flew c.200 Woodpigeon which was an amazing spectacle in itself. Also seen were two separate pairs of Skylark, three separate pairs of Buzzard actively collecting nest material with robust nests already present and finally there was the amazing sight of three hares stomping through a field, I've never noticed the dark spots on the ears before, they were a pleasure to see.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Robin, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pheasant, Mallard as well as Canada Goose and Cormorant flying overhead. 

The last photo by the way is of some of the winter supplementary food that John provides for the birds, which was being gratefully received by our feathered friends. 

Finally on a personal note, the Grey Wagtail has finally deserted my back garden but I'm pleased to say that the Pied Wagtail is still visiting on a daily basis as is the male Blackcap, I also have a pair of Stock Dove and Collared Dove sporadically visiting. After cleaning my very muddy boots from today's walk and having finished cleaning myself up I looked out of my bedroom window and there was a female Blackbird with a huge mouthful of nesting material, which is a timely reminder not to clean up your garden too thoroughly as there is lots of useful stuff the birds can use for nest building in your garden at this time of the year, an overly tidy is garden is no good for our birds, insects and wildlife which is why there are plenty of wild patches left in may garden.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.






Another visit to Southfields Farm in Coleshill this morning which is one of my favourite places to go birding because thanks to all the great work John the farmer does you always guaranteed to see a great mixture of birds including Yellowhammer, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting and Linnet.

Saying that I never thought I would ever see one of the most amazing sights that I saw today namely that of c.50 Yellowhammer feeding on one of the locations where John leaves supplementary winter seed for the birds, just a pity a Buzzard flew over and 'spooked' them, I did see them on further locations around the farm in among the many hedgerows but that wasn't as good as the sighting of seeing so many feeding on the floor, the other wonderful sight you are guaranteed is seeing and hearing is the hundreds of House Sparrow around the cottage, farm outbuildings and the trees and bushes around that area, for somebody who loves House Sparrows, the sight of them being literally everywhere is truly wonderful as was seeing c.100 Linnet still feeding on the area where John grows plants for the birds, even though the food is supposed to be long gone they are still finding from it there.

At the one location where the supplementary winter seed is located there were, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and even a cheeky Moorhen feeding while the other location was being monopolized by Dunnock with at c.20 feeding there.

As per usual there were plenty of Tits and Finches just a shame that a lot of the Finches were blighted with the deadly disease Trichomonosis which is caused by people who feed the birds and/or provide water for them but don't clean the feeders and birdbaths, so if you feed the birds please make sure you clean them on a regular basis.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, c.50 Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, c.100 Linnet, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starling, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Moorhen.

Also great to see was a Hare bounding across one of the fields, they sure can run.

After the birding was done it was nice to see John and have a chat and he also treated us to a hot drink, thank you John, it's always a pleasure to see you. 

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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Rookery Park, Erdington.





Not really a birding trip today but I visited Rookery Park because I was in the area and I thought I would record what I saw on my short visit.

Birds seen today were, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Feral Pigeon.

Even though these were the only birds seen they were there in good numbers especially House Sprrow, Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin and Woodpigeon.

There is a good mixture of trees and bushes at this location and it was especially nice to see a couple of flowering Viburnum grandiflorum trees.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Shustoke Reservoir.






Great day to get up and go out birding with the weather being quite clement and not a single cloud in the sky, in fact the day started off wonderfully because when I was filling up the feeders in the back garden the first thing this morning I was treated to a Dunnock serenading me with it's wonderful song, what a great little bird.

Highlight of the day was seeing a Sparrowhawk being chased by a Carrion Crow, even though it was over in a matter of seconds it was a splendid sight to see, it all happened adjacent to the reservoir on the edges of the farmers field, they came darting down and the Sparrowhawk went into the trees just above ground level were presumably shook off the attention of the Crow. Other than that it was very quiet but all the same it was especially nice to see the following birds, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Wren, House Sparrow as well as plenty of Great Spotted Woodpecker pecking at trees and even a pair fighting each other and it was also nice to see and hear a large amount of Song Thrush and Robins singing.

Birds seen today were, Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Treecreeper, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Mallard.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.






Another great to visit to Souhfields Farm in Coleshill today, this time for a winter farmland bird walk courtesy of Tame Valley Wetlands and experts from Natural England and of course the owner of the land, 'John The Farmer'.

As I've stated on many occasions before this location is a wonderful place for the wildlife and John does outstanding work creating ideal habitats for everything from the birds and butterflies right down to Hares and encouraging insects to the farm to create an ideal location for all of our great birds, insects, flora and fauna that we are lucky enough to have in this country.

If you've read this blog before you'll already know that I love the humble House Sparrow and I've said before that this location is replete with many of these wonderful and charismatic birds, so it was great to hear John say that their numbers have gone back to their 1960 levels, they are literally all around the farms outbuildings, always a pleasure to see and hear them.

Like I said beforehand John does a great job on the farm for the birds which ranges from creating the right habitats for them all year around such as cutting, leaving them alone at the appropriate times and creating new hedgerows for nesting birds and creating fallow fields for nesting Lapwing and Skylark in the summer, planting bird friendly crops such as kale, linseed and oilseed rape for birds such as Linnet, Redpoll and Thrushes and providing them with much needed supplementary food in the Autumn/Winter months and creating a huge wildflower meadow field which really is something else to see when it's in full flow in late Spring, with wildflowers such as Common Knapweed, Musk Mallow, Field Scabious, Cornflower, Birds-Foot Trefoil, Oxeye Daisy and Field Poppy present in large numbers.

Highlight of today was seeing so many Yellowhammer with forty to fifty seen in total, about ten were seen at the beginning of the walk by the first path where supplementary food is located and a up to c.30 located on the second path near the end of the walk, other birds seen taking advantage of this much needed food source were, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Greenfinch and even the odd Magpie, also seen flying overhead was a small flock of Linnet and three Buzzard circling high above in one field and another two Buzzard in an adjacent field. I didn't see a wide variety of birds as I have seen on previous visits but if you saw the same birds every time you went out, where would the fun be in that ? But it was still nice to see plenty of Tits, Finches, Redwing and of course Yellowhammers, House Sparrows, Linnets and Reed Buntings.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Redwing, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

I hope you've all enjoyed reading this entry to the blog especially you John, you do great work, keep it up !