Saturday, 30 June 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

A trip to Shustoke Reservoir this morning, even though there wasn't the dramatic events of last Thursday unfortunately torrential rain still stopped play at around midday but I'd already got a lot of birding in already. A good walk was had around the reservoir, the adjacent River Bourne and the Fly Fishers Pool but the usual walk around the farmers fields and meadow was impossible due to the flash floods earlier in the week. The days, not so long ago, when the Reservoir was getting critically low are definitely gone with the water levels full and even in danger of encroaching onto the grass, also the river level has dramatically risen, with it still in full flowing mode today. Highlights of the day was seeing a fearsome looking female Goshawk about 18 foot in front of me wondering whether to take one of the Coot's on the edge of the reservoir, but in the end it didn't, it flew off into the meadow to be joined by another Goshawk, I couldn't tell it's sex though being as it was too far away, the other main spot of the day was seeing two female Blackcap juveniles in the trees surrounding the car park in amongst many Chaffinch juveniles. At the far end of the reservoir a Kestrel was hovering at the edge of the reservoir when it swooped down, probably for a vole, when it was attacked by a screeching Song Thrush, the Kestrel then flew off leaving the Song Thrush sitting triumphantly on the fence. Unusually for Shustoke there was eleven Mute Swan on the reservoir and another two on the Fly Fishers pool, hopefully they'll hang around for a while. There was also plenty of Common Tern in attendance today, screeching everywhere you went above the water, on the water there was a hundred plus Great Crested Grebe. Birds spotted today were Goshawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Robin, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Common Tern, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pekin Duck, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Canada Goose as well as the following chicks/juveniles, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Cygnet (4), Duckling (11) and Coot (2). There was also plenty of Rabbits seen today not only at the reservoir but also on the journey there and back.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

Strange day today attempting to get some birding done, had some things to do, so we didn't arrive at Babbs Mill until 9:30 a.m., had a cup of coffee and fruit loaf and we set off even though the sky was getting blacker by the second (as you can tell by the photos) but you can't let that put you off can you ? Then it started to rain lightly but within a minute it was raining something like biblical proportions, if you think that's an exaggeration then check the followings reports about it here and here But we still decided to walk around the lake anyway, which was definitely a mistake, we got absolutely soaked through, it was that bad you could hardly see where you was going, in fact when we eventually got back to the car and got inside the rain was belting down like something I'd never seen before and the wind was blowing up a hectic storm and there was thunder and lighting to contend with as well. If that wasn't bad enough the car nearly got stuck in a flooded road, we got out of that and ended up down a cul de sac, so after some deliberation and help from some local youths we turned around and backtracked along the pavement and eventually headed home, the trials and tribulations of birding ! So unfortunately today the birds spotted were confined to the ones seen during the coffee break from the car, which were, House Sparrow, Starling, Swift, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Domestic Goose, Canada Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mallard and the following chicks, Cygnet (7), Domestic Goose (1), Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (1). It was great to see the Greylag Geese still here, because you don't see them very often at Babbs Mill, hopefully taking up residence. I may end up going back to Babbs Mill very soon to see how the young ones are doing, whatever happens it can't be as bad as today. The Blackbird fledglings have finally arrived from my neighbours nest in the laurel bush, two fine looking birds they are and they seem to like my garden a lot, which isn't hard because apart from the laurel, next doors garden is like a barren wasteland where mine is a haven for wildlife, the Blackbirds even get fresh apples, raisins and sultanas all through the year. The House Sparrow, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Robin juveniles are still visiting the garden throughout the day as well. Here's the view of the back garden from my bedroom window, a small oasis for all my local birds and wildlife.


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

New Hall Valley Country Park.

First trip to New Hall Valley Country Park since a very frosty January morning when it was Redwing city, obviously I didn't see any today but it won't seem that long before they start arriving back here around September time. Needless to say it was a bit warmer today but there was a lot more leaf cover, birds spotted were, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Cow, Magpie, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Mallard and the following juveniles, Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler and Song Thrush. There was actually six or seven juvenile Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler, it was hard to tell precisely how many there were and exactly what they were because they were flitting about from tree to tree but it was definitely one of those two. The Song Thrush juvenile was being flanked by an adult bird who was quiet unlike the fledgling. I also had the pleasure of seeing a Boeing Chinook CH-47D/F fly over today, it was great to see it flying majestically through the sky, hopefully it was transporting artillery and ammunition and not injured troops from Tony Blair's illegal wars. It's also great to see the ever affable House Sparrow making a small but steady increase in it's numbers, they're certainly doing well enough in my garden, they've had a good breeding year so far this year and I'm still seeing adults flying into the eaves of houses with insects, so they must still be rearing young. At the moment I'm filling the bird seed feeders up to three times a day, the greedy little buggers, but they are always welcome in my garden to feed or mooch about the bushes, sit in the apple tree or sit in the Pyracanthas, which they've made their own.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Had a short visit to Lady Bradford's this morning and the landscape has completely changed since February with the grass and greenery over five foot high in places as well as plenty of wild flowers and plant and leaf growth in evidence, thankfully this place is left completely to it's own devices without any intervention from anyone, which can't be a bad thing and with the added bonus there is very little litter there. Birds spotted today were, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon ,Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Swift, Buzzard as well as the following juvenile birds, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Woodpigeon. In the back garden I've had the very first sighting of Greenfinch and Chaffinch, ironically both at the same time even more exciting as well was that the Greenfinch spotted was a juvenile and there were four Chaffinch hopefully they liked it that much they'll be regular visitors to the garden, I've also had some juvenile Blue Tits as well as three juvenile robins in the garden at the same time, hopefully the Robins were from the same family. I was also glad to hear Keith Arthur on Fisherman's Blues on Talk Sport at six o'clock this morning have a go at the irresponsible anglers who leave their litter behind or worse still dump it in the river but then again the chav's with sticks who give true angler's a bad name were probably still asleep at six o'clock, not that they'd take any notice anyway.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Titford Pool, Sandwell.

First trip out to yam yam land in sunny Sandwell in over fifteen months to check on how successful the water fowl have been breeding so far this year and I'm glad to report they're doing fine. I had a walk around Titford Pool, the adjacent woodland and about a two mile section of the Rood End canal. The pools are situated directly beneath and either side of Junction 2 of the M5 and also is 511 foot above sea level. Birds spotted today were, Chaffinch, Wren, House Sparrow, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Pekin Duck, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following chicks/juveniles, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Carrion Crow, Duckling (21), Coot (22), Moorhen (4), Gosling (15), and the following nesting birds, Coot (3) and Moorhen (1). In the back garden I've had a few unusual visitors lately, namely Song Thrush and a flock of Goldfinch including numerous juveniles, as well as juvenile Blackbird, Collared Dove and Woodpigeon.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pype Hayes Park.

Early morning trip to Pypes Hayes this morning which was just as well because rain stopped play around 11:00 am. Birds spotted were, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Swift, Song Thrush, Buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Grey Wagtail (4), Pied Wagtail (1), Great Tit (1), Moorhen (2), Coot (5), Gosling (5), Woodpigeon (8) and Feral Pigeon (1). The four juvenile Grey Wagtail were seen flitting along the Plants Brook along with two adults so presumably they were from the same family, hopefully they were anyway. The Plants Brook seems to be around it's normal level at long last, it was certainly flowing a lot more briskly than it has done for a good while and for some strange reason it was full of little yellow bath ducks. Pype Hayes park and the fishing pool is definitely one of the best kept parks and pools in Birmingham that I visit, you never see much litter and the pool is actually kept litter free, they have always had a little bit of the park left aside for wild flowers, as in the seventh picture, but all of a sudden they have left a large area, maybe ten per cent of the park adjacent to the Plants Brook, to it's own devices and it looks great with many different colours and it should be soon buzzing with bees and insects very soon, so fair play to the council for that.