Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Meriden Park, Chelmsley Wood.



Quick trip to Meriden Park whilst passing through chav land. Birds spotted were Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Mute Swan, Little Grebe and the following young, Cygnet (6) Coot (1) and also some juvenile Goldfinch in amongst a flock. The six Cygnets seen today were the same ones first seen back in May 2011, unfortunately minus one from back then, you could see at the time that one was smaller and had a problem keeping up with the rest but that's nature I suppose (check my post from 24th May for pictures when they were very young) they swim from here and up along the River Cole past Babbs Mill and back all the time. The only other thing spotted was eight shopping trolleys in the river to go along with the cans, carrier bags and other general crap in the water, as well as the other litter we picked up around the site, and this is a place that's won a Green Flag award, god knows how ?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

A trip to Babbs Mill this morning. Birds spotted were Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Collared Dove, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Grey Heron and the following young, Mute Swan (5) and Little Grebe (3) Two pairs of Little Grebe have successfully bred this year, only spotted one pair and their young today though. The birds today were feasting on the abundant apples, plums, pears, blackberries and many other types of berries at Babbs Mill, it was an old orchard so there are still plenty of trees and fruit bearing bushes all around the lake and River Cole.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Pype Hayes Park and Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

                   Pype Hayes Park.

                   Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

First off today was a trip to Pype Hayes to check out the Cygnets while having a bit of tiffin, what what, and then off to Plantsbrook. Highlights of the day was was watching a pair of Kingfishers, for a good half hour, hunting and diving for fish at Plantsbrook also seeing a large flock of Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits following me along the big lake at Plantsbrook and then almost straight after seeing a large flock of Willow Warbler. Birds spotted at Pype Hayes were Nuthatch, Robin, Great Tit, Dunnock, Mute Swan and the following young, Cygnet (5) Duckling (11) Moorhen  (1) and Coot (1) Birds seen at Plantsbrook were Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Swallow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Willow Warbler, Kestrel, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Tufted Duck and the following young, Great Crested Grebe (1) and Moorhen (3) Another thing worth mentioning is that some of the Blue Tits in the mixed tit flock were ringed which is something I don't see very often.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Shustoke Reservoir.

A rare Friday trip out birding, a warm 'un it was an all. Birds spotted were Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Wren, Great Tit, Swallow, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Cormorant and the following young, Cygnet (6) Pied Wagtail (at least 4) and Little Grebe (at least 12) Other animals that were seen were Rabbit, Horse, Cow and Sheep. Notable happenings at Shustoke today were ten Mute Swan, which is always nice to see, a flock of approximately twelve Pied Wagtail, which contained at least four juveniles, but they were constantly on the move so it was hard to do a proper 'head' count, and there was also a good twenty plus Little Grebe, with a good number of young in there, including two in a nest which must have been only a day or two old, you could still see the egg shells in the nest. As per usual there was a lot of Blackbird's near the car park, it was great to see some of them sunbathing, I also saw some Swallow's sunbathing on the roof of a farmers house. I think the fungus in the last picture is a Shaggy Ink Cap (Coprinus Comatus) hard to tell being as it was bent over. As you can see on the last picture, the water level is getting lower and lower on every visit, it's normally on the the far left of the concrete structure, you would never be able to stand where I was and I was still a good ten foot from the waters edge, I think it's time to start doing a rain dance. Also isn't it great to see the Starling's getting their winter plumage, what a stunning looking bird !

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pype Hayes Park and Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Quick visit to Pype Hayes to check out the Cygnets followed by a short visit to Plantsbrook. As you can see all five Cygnets are still doing well, birds spotted at Pype Hayes were Swallow, Chaffinch, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Cygnet (5) Tufted Duck, Duckling (15) Moorhen chick (1) and Coot chick (1) Birds spotted at Plantsbrook were Kingfisher, Long Tailed Tit, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Moorhen chick (1) and Coot chick (3) Also saw a lone Grey Squirrel. In the back garden there were two juvenile Blackbird's this morning, including one following it's mother around the garden as it was showing it how to hunt for snails.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

British Waterways Wildlife Survey 2011.

The British Waterways  are currently running a wildlife survey between now and September so that you can log any of the wildlife you see while you are on a canal, river, dock or reservoir. Creatures featured in the survey are birds, insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and any alien plant species. They are particularly interested in any sightings of the birds born this year. So if are near any waterway in the next six weeks you know what to do. All information about the survey is here, which will give the link for the form so that you can log all of your sightings.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Middleton Lakes and Kingsbury Water Park.

                              Middleton Lakes.

                              Kingsbury Water Park.

First off today was a trip to Middleton Lakes RSPB Nature Reserve for a guided walk around the lakes which was well worth it, it was a bonus having thirty pairs of eyes when your birdwatching. Birds spotted were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Martin, Swallow, House Sparrow, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Cormorant, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin and Little Egret. Other wildlife seen were Rabbit, Horse, Sheep and Cow. Being as it was overcast, on the verge of raining and windy, unfortunately there was no sign of any butterflies or dragonflies etc. which was a shame, but all in all, a great day was had by all. Being as we ended up back at the car park after the guided walk we decided to head off around the corner to Kingsbury Water Park to watch the water fowl while we had some scran. Birds spotted on our short visit to Kingsbury were Kestrel, Swallow, Chaffinch, Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Cygnet (4) and a juvenile Robin.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Quick visit to Castle Bromwich today. The highlight of the day without a doubt was seeing four Goldcrest in the grounds of St. Mary and St. Margaret church, hopefully they are the same ones seen in Lady Bradford's last winter. Birds spotted were Goldcrest, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow and the following juveniles, Wren and Great Tit. Finding the Funghi was another highlight, it was a magnificent specimen of a species of bracket fungus, the 'Laetiporus Sulphureus' (Sulphur Polypore) more 'commonly known as 'the chicken of the woods' because it is a good substitute for chicken, it is edible and apparently tastes like crab or lobster, the photos don't do it justice as it was a good twelve inches across and bright orange. The cooking apples have started to fall of the dwarf apple tree in the garden, big buggers they are as well, four inches across some of them, we should have over one hundred this year compared to the paltry two last year, they will end up in an apple and blackberry crumble again like most years, I picked loads of wild blackberry's last year to go with the crumble or to have with ice cream, very niiiiice !

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve,

Another trip to Kingshurst today. Birds spotted were Jackdaw, Jay, Song Thrush, Kingfisher, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Willow Warbler, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe and the following young, Cygnet (5) Moorhen (4) Duckling (4) Coot (4) and juvenile Goldfinch. The Song Thrush were seen in the nearby school playing fields where there was about twenty of them also there was a gathering of approximately eight Grey Squirrels which included at least four juveniles. The Goldfinch were seen in a dead tree at one end of the lake where there was approximately twenty of them with quite a few juveniles in the mix. Talking of juvenile birds, I have the following visiting my garden at the moment (a pair of) Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Collared Dove and Woodpigeon. The House Sparrow population in and around the garden has got to be at least seventy, mainly because there has been a steady stream of chicks over the last couple of months, at least twenty I'd say, long may that continue. They do love their seed, there's not a thing left in the feeder come night time, they also get a regular supply of clean water in the bird bath (which gets cleaned at least twice a week) as soon as I see it's low, I fill it up because they do love a bird bath, as soon as one is in there, they all have to have a go, same as the Blackbirds, Starlings and Robins. The Sparrows also love a good bath in the dirt, roll about in for ages they do.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Shustoke Reservoir.

Another trip to a very hot Shustoke today, some of us even got stung - Ouch ! Birds spotted today were Goshawk, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Common Sandpiper, Swallow, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan and unusually for Shustoke a couple of Moorhen also saw the following young/juveniles Cygnet (5) Great Crested Grebe (1) Duckling (5) Goldfinch, Great Tit and Robin. Other wildlife seen today were Rabbit, Horse and a little Field Mouse on a branch munching on a leaf by the railway line. As you can see by the last picture, the reservoir is very low, it normally goes up to where the ragwort is, so it's now at least twelve foot lower than normal, being as the reservoir's circumference is 1.81 miles and normally holds 42 million gallons of water you can imagine how much less water is in there than normal, it desperately needs some rain soon and lots of it. Like I said it was very hot today so we had to cut the day short, which was a shame, personally if it's freezing cold it doesn't bother me, I never feel the need for 'comedy gloves' but when it's too hot, I can't stand it.