Saturday, 28 January 2012

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012.

Haven't been able to go out birding for a while because I've been struck down by the deadliest disease known to man, the dreaded man flu ! My only birding has been confided to watching the birds in the the garden via the bedroom window, including today's one hour sit down for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012, which is the most birds you see at any one time, which yielded the following results :-

Blue Tit 2,
Great Tit 2, 
House Sparrow 24,
Wren 1,
Dunnock 1,
Robin 1,
Starling 12,
Blackbird 4,
Collared Dove 4,
Carrion Crow 3,
Magpie 3,
Woodpigeon 5,
Feral Pigeon 6.

Nice to see a Wren in the garden, I don't see one that often, it was having a lovely time finding insects in the moss on the apple tree and pottering about the plant pots, it was also great to see plenty of Blackbird activity, I love Blackbirds, it's funny the way they hop about the garden and turn over the leaves looking for insects, slugs and snails. Hopefully I will be over the dreaded lergy soon and then I'll be able to get out birding again ! 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

A trip to Lady Bradford's today on a nice mild morning. I didn't see any exotic birds like Tuesday's Green Woodpecker even though it was nice to see a Mistle Thrush, a small flock of at least six Bullfinch, a flock of approximately thirty Goldfinch, a Nuthatch and a little Jenny Wren hopping about the graves in the kirkyard. Birds spotted were Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing, Jay, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren and Starling. Nice to see plenty of birds foraging for food in and around the woods.


                                       RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New Hall Valley Country Park.

First trip to New Hall Valley Country Park since last June, It covers 198 acres of green belt, one mile to the South East of Sutton Park and is great for a spot of birding because it consists of historic wetland, grazing meadows, former farmland and of course plenty of trees. Today was especially good being as there was a good frost in evidence and the temperature was an even 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Birds spotted were, Green Wooodpecker, Jay, Redwing, Song Thrush, Buzzard, Kestrel, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron and Moorhen. There were plenty of finch flocks about today, which is always nice to see, especially Greenfinches being as their numbers declined due to the fatal infection caused by the parasite Trichomonas Gallinae. There was at least four Grey Heron on my walk up the river, they along with plenty of Moorhen and Mallard were obviously on the river looking for food being as their usual lakes etc. (including the one on the nearby golf course) were frozen over, it's supposed to warm up by the middle of the week so they can then get back to their usual habitat. I've also had a couple of Pied Wagtail visiting the garden during the frosty weather, probably looking for some of the cake/kitchen scraps I've left out for the birds.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Middleton Lakes.

A nice trip to a cold, crisp and frosty Middleton Lakes, which was ideal to see plenty of birds. There's always plenty of opportunity to see many different birds at Middleton with all the different habitats there, you can't come away disappointed whenever you visit, and there was plenty of people visiting today, albeit not many people were there at 9.00 o'clock when it opened like we were. All birds spotted were Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Fieldfare, Redwing, Treecreper, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Reed Bunting, Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Pheasant (Hen), Rook, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Common Sandpiper, Shelduck, Goosander, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Wigeon, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Coot and Cormorant. The last but one photo has nothing to do with Middleton Lakes apart from it's in front of a factory just before you get to the lakes, it's not exactly the King Kong Statue  that used to reside in the Bull Ring in Birmingham City Centre but I like it anyway. The Fudge cat has had another visit to the vets, her ears are losing their fur, the vet doesn't think it's ringworm, but she's had an injection and hopefully she'll be okay, if not she's back to the vets next Friday for tests, the poor little mate. That just leaves me time to remind you that it's only a fortnight to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, I shall do one for wherever I end up visiting on the Saturday the 28th and then do the actual garden watch on the Sunday, I'm sure you can spare an hour on Saturday and Sunday over that weekend, especially as all the data collected is vital to see how all our birds are fairing, all the details are here.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Not the most exciting trip out, what with feeling a bit ill and the weather being a bit rubbish, I still had to get out though especially being as a I saw my first Kingfisher of the year, I actually frightened it away from where it was fishing, it then proceeded to look at me briefly from a branch not too far away then it was off so I didn't chance to determine it's sex. Birds spotted were, Kingfisher, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Collared Dove, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Herring Gull and Cormorant. Unusually there were 5 Cormorants at one of the pools today, maybe that's because it's too cold for the chavs with sticks to come out and scare them off. There was also plenty of Long Tailed Tits about today, which is always great to see,  them with their cheeky little faces.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Babs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

A wee trip to Kinghurst today for a walk around the lake, the River Cole and around the Yorks Wood. Yorks Wood was full of birdsong, it's a great little place (apart from the litter) thankfully the woods were brought by Solihull Council in the 1970's to be kept in their natural state, when Funghi is around it's an excellent place to go foraging in the undergrowth, today it was full of Tits, Robins, Wrens, Magpies, Woodpigeons and Carrion Crows, there was also plenty of Grey Squirrels about in there, they must have had a good year breeding, because they were everywhere you walked. Birds spotted were, Kestrel, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Starling, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron (at least 4 on the lake and 1 on the river) Mute Swan, Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen and Tufted Duck. Worryingly some of the Great Crested Grebes seem to have paired up, if they are fooled by the unseasonably warm weather and manage to breed, I don't hold out much hope for the chicks when the expected cold spell arrives. On a better note, it's good to see the Canada Goose/Greylag hybrid is still at the lake, he's pallied his way in with the Canada's which is nice because they were ignoring him for quite a while. It's good to see the HS2 Birmingham to London railway link has got the go ahead...NOT....That's another chunk of our precious countryside gone, money always comes first though I suppose, don't agree with it though with it personally, if you want to get somewhere quicker, get up earlier, Simples !

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

A trip out to Shustoke Reservoir was the order of the day today. It was overcast and blustery, then bright and sunny and then reverted back to being overcast and blustery again. I had a walk around the reservoir, then along the river, then around the open grassland, then along the train tracks, then a short walk around the newly found Colin Teall Wood (which is now down for a future explore) then back the the reservoir, then a walk around the Fly Fishing Pool and then finally around the woodlands and the farmers fields and obviously ending back at the reservoir. All birds spotted were, Kestrel (a pair hunting in the same field) Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Redwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, House Sparrow, Pheasant (Cock) Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Pochard, Wigeon, Pekin Duck, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, Canada Goose, Black Headed Gull and Cormorant. In the farmers field I saw a very impressive flock of 100 plus Goldfinch and then seconds later an equally impressive flock of 100 plus Redwing. The Coal Tits I saw were having a great time extracting the seed from fir cones, Coal Tits are another one of those birds that are underrated, I love to see them, very charismatic little bird. The lone Pekin Duck on the Fly Fishing pool seems to have fitted in nicely with his new mates, the Mallards, lets hope he's okay on there and finds solace with his new buddies. Strangely enough I didn't see a single Grey Squirrel today, in fact the only wild animal I saw was a Rabbit. I didn't actually see any Moles but I saw hundreds of mole hills though, they are always a regular feature at Shustoke. Another notable thing about today was the amount of insects around, they were constantly buzzing around your face, also the amount of plant life about, like very lush nettles and even some daffodil shoots coming through, it was more like a Spring Day than early January.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Edgbaston Reservoir.

A trip today to a very windy and dull Edgbaston Reservoir. The water level is only marginally higher than my last visit in mid November, according to a local it's about a metre higher than it was then, which is still a fair volume of water anyway, but also it's still got about twenty metres to go until it reaches it's normal level. The Carrion Crows, Moorhens, Coots (and unusually for Edgbaston Reservoir) plenty of Jackdaws, are thriving on the temporary marsh that's been created. Birds spotted were Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen and Cormorant.