Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

I was visiting family near Castle Bromwich today, so rather than stay in bed I thought I'd get up early and go visit Lady Bradford's for an hour or so. When I got there about 7:30 it was still dark, in fact the sun didn't rise until just after 8:00, but even before it was light there were still Robin and Blackbird to see and hear, as well as seeing the Gulls and Woodpigeon flying from East to West.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Starling, Song Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Weather dependent (which doesn't look too promising at the moment) I'll be visiting Witton Lakes and Brookvale Park in Erdington tomorrow, if I don't manage to get any birding done then today will be my last venture out for 2012 because Saturday I'm off to see the Villa thrash Wigan, so I'd like to wish everyone who reads this blog a very Happy New Year for 2013 again and here's to plenty more birding in 2013 :)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Edgbaston Reservoir.

Being as the 'Mayan day of apocalypse' came and went and the end of the world didn't occur and today being the first day of Winter 2012, I decided to go and visit Edgbaston Reservoir.

Not too many birds to be seen really especially the waterfowl which was a bit disappointing, even though there was plenty of Mallard, Coot and Moorhen present, there were no Canada Geese and no Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon or Gadwall etc. at all and only two Mute Swan. Even the small bird count was low with the exception of a small Goldfinch flocks and plenty of Wren to be seen and heard. Still as is always with this location, it was a pleasure to go, as I'm sure you'll agree that the quantity and bird species you see isn't all important, it's all about getting out and about and enjoying nature. There was also plenty of Funghi to be seen, with over a hundred photos taken.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot and Mallard.

I have got birding trips planned for tomorrow (Saturday) and Monday before Christmas but the weather forecast doesn't look too great so if I don't get out again before the 25th, I would just like to wish everybody who takes the time to read this blog, a very 'Merry Christmas' and a 'Happy New Year', and here's to another twelve months of birding and nature observing in 2013, where hopefully we'll have a better Summer than this year so the birds can have a more successful breeding season than this one and we'll have even more of our 'feathered friends' to see.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

A nice trip to Babbs Mill on a mild morning mainly blue skies where I had a walk around the lake, the Yorks Wood and a section of the River Cole. Adjacent to the River Cole they are currently building a cycle track which I asked one of the constructors about and he told me it's going to run from Peterborough to Birmingham via Coventry, the only problem being they've chopped down a fair few trees already and destroyed lots of bramble, which was obviously a food source for Blackbirds etc. and also a favourite foraging location for Wren, Dunnock and Finches amongst others, still what does that matter when we've got a handful of cyclists to cater for. This coupled with the planned building of hundreds of homes opposite the lake.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Jay, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.

As always nice to see some Fieldfare and Redwing, but I only saw ten Fieldfare and eight Redwing on the playing fields which is pretty pathetic for this time of the year, especially when the numbers are normally approaching three figures, hopefully most haven't migrated yet. Sadly, the numbers of Domestic Goose have dropped to nine instead of the fourteen on my previous visit (and two of them are this years juveniles) I didn't actually visit this site when it must have been frozen over but when it is the foxes normally have a field day, which it looks like they have had again.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Shustoke Resevoir.

Yet another trip to Shustoke Reservoir after Wednesday's visit, today minus the mist, fog and frost, I just fancied another visit with warmer climes and blue skies. I had a walk around the reservoir, around the framers fields and also had a walk up to St. Cuthbert's Parish Church as well for a change.

Highlight of the day was seeing a flock of .c150+ Siskin flying and tweeting in about five or six trees, in the light I could see them fairly well and I could only see Siskin in amongst the flock and no Redpoll or Finches, so then it would have been a fair sized flock of Siskin. Other flocks seen today were a c.50+ Long Tailed Tit and c.100+ Woodpigeon. There was also at least two male and female Ruddy Duck present, hopefully they'll go under the radar of the Government led DEFRA cull and still be around for a long while yet because as far as I can see they don't do any harm, if you leave nature to it's own devices it sorts itself out and it's only when we start meddling that things start going awry. Sitting in the car to come home I noticed a small bird moving around a bush and upon closer inspection it was a Goldcrest, birding to the very last minute me.

In a farm by the church there was at least five Kune Kune Pigs which are a pedigree pig that originate from New Zealand where the Maori bred them for meat. Apparently they love humans, they certainly liked me because they came straight over for some fuss and they are also known for their excellent temperament. 

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tot, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Siskin, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Redwing, Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Pheasant (Cock and Hen), Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Wigeon, Pochard, Ruddy Duck, Pekin Duck, Muscovy Duck, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Goose and Cormorant.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

Early morning trip to foggy, misty and brisk Shustoke Reservoir with the temperature hovering around 0 degrees.

Highlight and spot of the day, because it was hard to spot as it was in the first half hour when it was particularly foggy, was a very impressive flock of c.300 Lapwing in amongst the mist, there may have been other birds in the flock but being as I only saw them for about five seconds and a couple of hundred feet away I did well to see they were Lapwing. Also seen along River Blythe at the back of the Fly Fishing pool was a Kingfisher, which I unfortunately scared off the branch it was fishing from which made it make a very loud shrill alarm call, not the first sighting of a Kingfisher I wanted to experience here but that's how it goes. It was nice to see a Treecreeper for a change and I actually think I saw two, the first one was ascending a tree spiral fashion and the second (or the same bird) was doing the same but in amongst mixed flock of Tits, mainly Long Tailed Tits and a pair of Goldcrest, a great little bird is the Trecreeper. It was also pleasing to see many varieties of water fowl present, the only downside being that of finding a dead Great Crested Grebe on the reservoirs edge which sadly looked like one of this years juveniles, I did inspect the poor thing but and it didn't appear to have any obvious injuries.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit. Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Goosander, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose and Cormorant.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

New Hall Valley Country Park.

Great early morning Birding trip to a relatively warm and sunny latter Autumnal day at New Hall Valley Country Park near Sutton.

Highlight of the day was easily the sighting of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which was actually in the same tree as a Great Spotted Woodpecker and on an adjacent branch, I've never seen these two birds in the same tree before, so the size (the Lesser being smaller) being much more noticeable than seeing a Lesser on it's own, it was also one of those perfect opportune moments with the sun behind you and clear blue skies coupled with no leaf cover at all to fully admire this stunning little bird, it's red crown, black nape and barring on it's wings and lower back being clearly identifiable, it was there for a good five minutes, let's hope there are more at this site.

Coming in a close second for the spot of day was seeing a majestic Green Woodpecker foraging in the grass for ants where there was also plenty of Redwing present. Another great sight seen today (no less than three times at different locations around the park) was a flock of c.100+ Goldfinch, they looked superb flying from one tree to another. It was also nice to see many sightings of Greenfinch and Bullfinch, two great birds that don't see nearly enough of. Today was also the first time I'd ever seen Lesser Spotted, Great Spotted and Green Woopdecker in one day, which was nice.

Birds seen today were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Dunnock, Wren ,Robin, Starling, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pheasant (Hen), Grey Heron, Moorhen and Mallard.