Saturday, 25 February 2012

Kingsbury Water Park.

I decided the other day that Kingsbury Water Park was well overdue a visit and today didn't disappoint with some great early morning weather and plenty of birds to see especially waterfowl on the fifteen lakes situated in over 600 acres of country park. Birds spotted today were Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Little Egret, Shoveler, Goosander, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Pekin Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard and Cormorant. It was great to see plenty of Great Crested Grebe pairing up and doing their courtship dance/display, hopefully there will be plenty of Great Crested Grebe juveniles born this year because they look great with their black and white striped heads and basically you don't see enough of this stunning looking elegant bird. There were plenty of Robin's about today all eager enough to take a bit of bird seed or biscuit that was on offer, so was a lone male Chaffinch even though he was being bullied out of the way by a pair of Robin's. Strangely enough I didn't see a single Raptor today, which is unusual for such a big site. The only bad things about today was seeing a one legged Mallard drake which you could tell had lost it's leg due to some discarded fishing line that one of the chav's with sticks had left behind, hopefully he'll stay close to the other Mallards, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Pekin Ducks he was with and the poor chap will be okay, the other sorry sight was seeing the remains of a dead swan, if it had to die, then hopefully it was killed by another animal and not at a (so called) humans hands, which worryingly is on the rise. It doesn't seem that long ago from last year when I was looking forward to the summer migrants arriving i.e Swallows, Swifts and Sand Martin's and here we are again twelve months later and they are just weeks away from arriving again, which is nice.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

A trip out to a very mild Plantsbrook today, it was more like an early Spring day. Birds spotted were, Siskin, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon. Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose. The Siskin were part of a flock, hard to tell how many being as it in a very dense part of the woodland, the ones I could see were mainly females and they were busy feeding on seeds of the Common Alder and chirping away. There was also quite a few male and female Bullfinch and Reed Bunting about as well, which is always a pleasure to see, especially as the HS2 high-speed railway link is going to rip straight through one of the Reed Bunting's main breeding grounds in this part of the country. A pair of Mute Swan have relocated from the nearby Pype Hayes fishing pool back to the small pool at Plantsbrook, where they always successfully breed, so let's hope there are plenty more Cygnets again this year. Here's a link about the Mute Swans and Cygnets bringing a dual carriageway to a standstill from last year if you missed it from one of my earlier posts.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

A nice stroll around a very mild Lady Bradford's woods and the adjacent Castle Bromwich kirkyard today, any self respecting wildlife observer will know what a great place grave yards are for observing wildlife and birdwatching, if you're one of the uninitiated get yourself down to a local grave yard and you might be surprised, according to a local I spoke to last year, some Green Woodpeckers reside in Castle Bromwich kirkyard but I'm yet to see any yet, but it definitely is a great place for Wren, Song Thrush, Blackbird and scores of songbirds. Birds spotted today were, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Starling, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon and a Buzzard circling overhead. Spring is definitely around the corner judging by the rise in bird song, especially the Robins, there was loads of great bird song today, drowning out the noise from the nearby Collector Road, but that isn't surprising, because if do your research the birds that live near built up areas do sing louder than their country cousins because they have to compete with all the man made noise. I saw a nice little flock of a dozen or so all white pigeons in the sky then coincidentally I saw the remains of a kill on the floor moments later which appeared to the remnants of one of the white pigeons, all in all I saw the remains of three bird kills today. I don't think the raptors go short in the woods, because there are always plenty of Woodpigeon, there was fifty plus in two separate trees today, as well as their feral cousins, obviously there are always plenty of corvids and song birds as well. I saw a flock of six, is six a flock ? of Bullfinch today, three male and three female, I always see said flock in roughly the same place so I would guess they are resident at the woods, it is the same spot I've seen four Goldcrest a couple of times in the past but unfortunately I haven't seen them this year yet.  

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

Thankfully it wasn't raining so the planned trip to the Botanical Gardens went ahead, it had snowed overnight, but it was fine today if not a little cold. I have stated before that I'm not a fan of birds, or any animal for that matter, being caged, but for the record birds seen in captivity today were, Blue and Yellow Macaw, Green Winged Macaw, Blue Fronted Amazon Parrot, Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Superb Spreo Starling, Purple Glossy Starling, Quaker Parakeet, Azure Winged Magpie, Zebra Finch, Gouldian Finch and Saffron Finch. Birds of which I prefer, i.e. the wild variety, spotted were Nuthatch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Peacock, Pintail, Red Crested Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Moorhen and Mallard. If you live in Birmingham, or within traveling distance, a visit is highly recommended, it is a huge site, about 15 acres, with a tropical glasshouse, a great cacti collection, plenty of trees and plants including Bonsai, the aforementioned caged birds and of course plenty of wild birds, even the ones on the pond are wild, there's also plenty of bird feeding stations which offer plenty of bird spotting opportunities, it was at those where I saw the Coal Tits, Greenfinches and also a pair of Nuthatch regularly raiding the black sunflower feeder. Hopefully I'll get back there in the summer when the plants are in full bloom and the trees are in leaf.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

Another visit to the always excellent Shustoke Reservoir where it was very pleasant and mild. I had a walk around the reservoir, a walk along a section of the adjacent railway lane, river and woods, also the farmers fields and a walk around the fly fishers pool. Birds seen were, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Corn Bunting, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, Buzzard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Wigeon, Pochard, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Coot and Canada Goose. Highlights of the day was seeing a lone Corn Bunting in amongst a hedgerow by some scrub land in one of the farmers fields, seeing a Nuthatch preen itself for a couple of minutes, I only normally see them running up or down tree trunks, also seeing a Treecreeper because they are a great little bird,  also seeing a Mistle Thrush even though it was being aggressive to a Song Thrush, finally seeing a very impressive flock of two hundred plus Woodpigeon on the wing. Weather permitting I'm off to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Sunday, armed with my binoculars, where I'll hopefully spot plenty of our feathered friends. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

Plenty of bird activity to be had at a mild Babbs Mill today where I had a walk around the lake which was mainly unfrozen so it was great to see the waterfowl back on the water where they belong, a walk along a section of the River Cole and a walk around the Yorks Wood which was full of birdsong. Birds spotted were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Jay, Redwing, Song Thrush, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Goosander, Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Farmyard Geese, Cormorant and various Gulls including Black Headed Gull with plenty of males now with their dark chocolate brown heads ready for mating around April time. It was great to see a lone Coal Tit in a tree happily singing away. Another highlight was seeing eight Mute Swan on the lake which is a lot for a small lake. It was Magpie city today, the numbers were easily in the hundreds including at least fifty making a right old racket in a tree.