Thursday, 31 May 2012

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

Before I went to Babbs Mill I stopped off at Ward End Park to see if the Muscovy Ducks were there but sadly they wasn't and being as they're easy to spot I think that's the last we've seen of them at this venue, which is shame. Then it was off to Babbs Mill for a walk around the lake, a stretch of the River Cole and a walk around the Yorks Wood. Whilst in Yorks Wood, I was moving a rather large slug off the path into a much a safer place underneath a log pile when all of a sudden three small frogs jumped onto the logs, they're very lucky I didn't tread on them, two promptly disappeared into the log pile while the third one stayed around so I could take a few photos, I don't often see frogs, but if I'm bound to see any it will actually be in these woods or around Kingshurst Lake. On the opposite side of the woods I found the Carrion Crow in the ninth picture looking rather sorry for itself, I knew there was something wrong with it because as I approached it, it didn't move at all so I tried to pick it up when it hopped off under a bush, there did appear to be something wrong with it's foot but all the same it might have been in shock for whatever reason, hopefully it will be fine anyway so it can join up with the other many Carrion Crow at this site. Birds spotted today were, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Blackcap (male), Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, House Martin, Swift, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Domestic Goose, as well as the following chicks/juveniles, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Cygnet (7), Great Crested Grebe (3), Duckling (5), Coot (2), Domestic Geese (6) and the following nesting waterfowl, Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (2). Thankfully, around the lake, the woods and along the River Cole is a real stranglehold for both the ever declining House Sparrow and Starling, so obliviously it's always great to see plenty of them here but today was even more special being as there was plenty of both House Sparrow and Starling juveniles around, including a young House Sparrow who couldn't get enough of the bird seed I'd left under one of the bushes they frequent around the lake. Equally as pleasing was seeing six Domestic Geese chicks, being as the twenty or so adults only had one chick last year and even that didn't make it to adulthood which was a real shame as the harsh winter of 2010 decimated their numbers, every time you made a visit you found a new Goose carcass, the foxes must have had a great time that year being able to walk to the island while the lake was frozen solid. All in all a good day was had even though it was trying very hard to rain, which thankfully held off until I was leaving, hopefully I'm off to Middleton Lakes on Saturday where, all being well, the ever so friendly Robin will be waiting. At least people power does work sometimes, after public outcry the planned killing of Buzzards and destruction of their nests will now not go ahead, pity the same can't be said for the HS2 High Speed Rail Link, but then again there's too much money in that. Today is also Fudge's fifteenth birthday, so plenty of tuna coming her way then.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

I'd actually planned the canal excursion from the Boat Inn today but when I found out the Mute Swan had brought some Cygnets into the world at Plantsbrook I just had to go and have a look. It's always one of the highlight's of the year when the Mute Swan has her Cygnets at Plantsbrook and as you can see there are five little one's this year. Birds spotted today were, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Wren, Great Tit, Wren, Jay, Swift, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and the following chicks/juveniles Cygnet (5), Coot (8), Long Tailed Tit (1), Wren (1) and the following waterfowl on nests, Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (15). There was also plenty of our friend the Grey Squirrel out and about. In the garden, the Dunnock chicks are daily visitors at the moment, maybe that's because I leave sunflower hearts in the bushes I see them go in. Also on a couple of occasions I've also seen a pair of Dunnock courting below the bench in the back garden which involves the following if you don't already know - 'Females are often polyandrous, breeding with two males at once, and thus giving rise to sperm competition. Males compete for mating access to the female, but DNA fingerprinting has shown that chicks within broods often have different fathers, depending on their success at monopolising access to the fertile female. Males try to ensure their paternity during courtship by pecking at the cloaca of the female to stimulate her to eject the sperm of other males with whom the female has recently mated.' The House Sparrow and Starling juveniles have also made an appearance at last as have the Swifts flying above the house, I'm now waiting to hopefully see some Blackbird chicks from the Blackbird nest built in some Laurel in my neighbours garden.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Shard End Lake.

Had a very quick visit to Shard End Lake today while passing through the area and not being able to do anymore birding until next week, too many people having birthdays lately. The primary reason for the visit was too see if there were any new arrivals and I wasn't disappointed with a new family of seven Goslings and a single Coot chick which was about a month old. Birds spotted were House Martin, House Sparrow, Starling, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose. There was also some spectacular large Yellow Bracket funghi (Leatiporus sulphureus) on a living deciduous tree, which is always great to see, especially when your not expecting to see any. As like last year the House Martins have set up nests in the eaves of the new houses in Shard End, it's great seeing and hearing them fly above the shops and houses even more so because most people are oblivious to there presence. I've also had Dunnock chicks in the garden in the past couple of days, I was actually getting a bit worried because hadn't seen many Dunnocks in the garden for about a month, but they was obviously busy raising their young. Also, if you disagree with DEFRA's proposed plans to spend up to £375,000 of taxpayers' money to trial Buzzard control methods for Pheasant shooting estates then you can download a protest letter here via this article in Birdwatch.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

Reservoirs have been like the number 11 bus this week, you wait ages for one and then two turn up at once, firstly Edgbaston Reservoir on Tuesday and then a muggy Shustoke Reservoir today. Highlights of the day was seeing three Skylark in one of the meadows where I'm sure at least one was nesting, a Coal tit chick, a Pied Wagtail chick, a flock of fifty plus Mealy Redpoll and a flock of a hundred plus Starling of which a good fifty per cent were juveniles. Birds spotted were, Skylark, Whitethroat, Mealy Redpoll, Blackcap (male and female), Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Common Tern, Buzzard, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Coot, Canada Goose and the following chicks/juveniles Coal Tit (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Blackbird (2), Coot (2), Gosling (1) Starling (50 plus) and the following waterfowl on the nest, Great Crested Grebe (3) and Coot (4). Shustoke Reservoir is another place that's transformed almost overnight, with trees, bushes and hedgerows in full leaf and plenty of colourful wild flowers in evidence. The rabbits must have breeding like.....rabbits as I've never seen so many in one day and many of them being small. The only sad sight of the day was seeing a dead baby mole on the edge of one of the farmers fields.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Edgbaston Reservoir.

 A dead tree where a Great Spotted Woodpecker chick is nesting.

The tell tale signs of Woodpecker activity found upon the ground and on top of the nettles where the Great Spotted Woodpecker chick is nesting.

The planned trip to Edgbaston Reservoir went ahead in what turned out to be a gloriously hot sunny day. The difference in the water levels from this and my last visit back in early January was quite staggering, if you look at the post from then and now the transformation is quite unbelievable, the second picture from that post and the sixth from this post are taken in the exact same place, in fact according to one of the locals, they've never even seen the reservoir so full in over thirty years, the water was actually lapping over the edges in places. 

It was also great to go back to the reservoir in all it's colourful splendor, plenty of greens, browns and plenty of wild flowers and even plenty of weeds, which do get a bad press but in the proper environment they do look nice and serve their purpose in the ecological chain.

Highlights of the day was seeing the Reservoir nice and full, the Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding the noisy young chick plenty of grubs and seeing my first juvenile Blackbird of the year, very underrated is the Blackbird, I personally think they are a great bird. It was great too see plenty of Moorhen because you don't always see that many here, especially when the water levels are low, which certainly wasn't the case today. 

Birds spotted were, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Chaffinch, Robin, House Sparrow, House Martin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose, plus the following chicks juveniles, Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Blackbird (1) and Coot (7) finally the following nesting waterfowl, Great Crested Grebe (2) and Coot (11).