Thursday, 27 September 2012

Edgbaston Reservoir.

Yet more reservoir goodness to be had at sunny Edgbaston today where a walk all the way round is 1 3/4 miles and there is always plenty to see.

Birds spotted were Grey Wagtail, House Martin, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the followin juveniles Grey Heron (1), Wren (1), Blackbird (6), Great Crested Grebe (3), Moorhen (3) and Coot (2).

It was a pleasure to see a  Grey Wagtail for a change, I either saw two or the same one on opposite sides of the pool. Also great to see was a juvenile Wren running around a dead tree at the waters edge. Today was surely one of the last times this year that I'll see any House Martin but there they were, the last couple of stragglers tweeting away high above the reservoir. I didn't expect to see so many waterfowl juveniles but the more the merrier. The six juvenile Blackbirds I saw were all in the same place, one of the picnic areas and they consisted of three male and three female, hoepfully they were all from the same family and will see out the winter. The Mute Swan population here is very transient because sometimes there are upwards of forty were there were only two adults present today.

There's still been no more Sparrowhawk activity in the back garden, none that I've witnessed anayway, hopefully it wasn't making hay while the sun shined while I was out today. There was what appeared to be a Woodpigeon with a broken wing on the roof opposite but thankfully after observing it for about ten minutes it got up and flew off so it was probably just sunbathing.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Pype Hayes Park.

Another trip to a surprisingly chilly Pype Hayes Park. where there always plenty of birds.

Birds spotted were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and the following juveniles Cygnet (5) and Goldfinch.

The Kestrel I saw actually scared the life out of me because as I was trying to unsuccessfully take a photo of some bracket funghi that was high up the dead tree in the last picture when all of a sudden it flew out of the clump of leaves in what felt about a couple of feet above my head when it the flew off towards the the river to hover above the trees and grass in that area. As you can see, the torrential rain we had yesterday has made the river visible again by flattening most of the Himalayan Balsam, I dare say it'll be back with a vengeance again next Spring.

Depending on your point of view of course, thankfully I haven't spotted any Sparrowhawk activity in the back garden since the last update. I have now erected some eight foot bamboo canes around the feeder and the House Sparrows and small birds will soon get used to them and will be able to feed in a much safer environment.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Middleton Lakes.

So that was that then, if you blinked and you missed it, then sorry but you missed the Summer, you know it was when it rained everyday. So with today being the first day of Autumn 2012 and at last having some proper footwear and not having been to Middleton Lakes for over 4 months because of it being flooded and largely inaccessible and inappropriate footwear, it was about time we headed off there, nice and early to make the most of the day, in fact we were so early there was nobody else in sight when we arrived there and for two hours after. What with it now officially being Autumn I shall be on the lookout for Redwing and Fieldfare especially as the BTO website say their arrival is anticipated any day now, of course there will also be lots of great Funghi too look out for !

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Robin, Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, House Martin, Swallow, Jay, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pheasant (Cock), Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Lapwing, Teal, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Barnacle Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Domestic Goose as well as the following juveniles, Cygnet (6), Greenfinch, Goldfinch and numerous Grey Heron, Tufted Duck and Coot.

Interesting sights of the day were seeing one hundred plus Rook mobbing 4 Buzzard, fifty plus Jackdaw mobbing three Buzzard, plenty of medium sized flocks of Goldfinch and mixed Tits and a sizeable number of Greenfich at the feeders along with two Great Spotted Woodpecker as well as loads of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Robin.

Other animals seen today were at least two Foxes prowling the waters edge on the far side, they were remarkably tame being as the came within ten foot of you and just stared at you you on a couple of occasions. Also seen was a rather skitish juvenile Stoat on the bridge that goes over the canal, it actually appeared on four separate occasions, also seen were Horse, Cow and varoius farmyard animals.

Sparrowhawk kill in the back garden.

On another note, as you can see I witnessed nature in it's purest form yesterday when I looked out of the window into the back garden and saw a female Sparrowhawk tearing apart an unfortunate Collared Dove, to be honest if I'd seen the Sparrowhawk first I'd have scared it off, I know it's only killing for food but I still don't like to see it, but either way the Collared Dove was already dead. It was out there for at least thirty minutes, starting at the head, apparently the brains are the most nutritious and tastiest before moving onto the body. There is a lovely little Collared Dove with a funny wing who comes to the garden every day, especially first thing in the morning and he was forever getting bullied out of the way for the seed, so I constructed a coconut feeder for the fence which only he and the small birds can get in and everyday without fail he sits on the fence waiting for me to got out and feed him, which I always do, and at first I thought it was him but within minutes of the Sparrowhawk departing he appeared along with the House Sparrows, Robins and Tits. There has been a couple of juvenile Collared Doves in the garden lately so I think it was maybe one of them, but it was impossible to tell because the head and neck had gone but you could still see fresh seeds in the poor things stomach. The remains got buried under the apple tree. At the end of the day the Sparrowhawk is still a mighty impressive raptor, it's legs are stunning and it's no wonder that once they've got their prey they're doomed but it was still a pleasure to see it, I don't think the Collared Dove would agree though. The photos of the Sparrowhawk were taken through the kitchen window whilst it was raining so they're not the best quality, but even still they're not too bad, as with all my pictures right click on the mouse and click Open Link In New Tab and you'll get a much better view.


About an hour after finishing my last upload the Sparrowhawk was back and took an House Sparrow from the took of next doors Laurel bush and when I got up Sunday morning I looked out of my bedroom window only to see the Sparrowhawk take another House Sparrow from the Pyracanthas at the bottom of my garden. I don't think the Sparrowhawk will be happy until it takes all the songbirds from my garden.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Ward End Park.

Had a short sixty minute early morning visit to Ward End Park this morning for a walk around the park and lake whilst in the area on other business.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Starling, Swallow, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, as well as the following juveniles, Grey Heron, Woodpigeon  and Moorhen (2).

When I arrived at the park I was greeted with a very impressive sight of 150+ Canada Geese feasting on the grass, also nearby were separate flocks of 50+ and 40+ Starling.

Unfortunately as the last two pictures illustrate, these are the affects of people wantonly dropping their litter, the park was in an absolutely disgusting state with hundreds and hundreds of carrier bags as well as many cans, bottles and fag packets etc. around the park and pool. The two ends of the pool were absolutely filthy and also stank. I know it's not necessarily the park keepers fault, because I know one of them, Mark, and he's not bad lad for a 'Blue Nose', but the people who visit this park have no conception of the word litter and it's repercussions, they even feed the Mallards and Canada's and just leave the bag on the floor, which then blow into the pools and bushes. Needless to say I went and complained about the litter and my displeasure at seeing a dead Canada Goose amongst the disgusting and completely unacceptable pool. Whatever, it's still a rather undignified way for one of our wildlife to end up, in amongst our discarded rubbish.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Early visit to Plantsbrook this morning where the highlights of the day were seeing not one but two Kingfishers on the first pool, that was until one took exception to the other and after a sixty second odd high speed chase around the pool, one decided to venture to pastures new, maybe on one of the other pools. The other was seeing an adult Grey Heron sunbathing, at first it was only doing it with one wing so I thought it was hurt but then it decided to treat me to it's sunbathing routine.

Birds seen were, Kingfisher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and the following juveniles, Grey Heron (1) and Moorhen (6).

Whilst picking up the litter I noticed a can a few feet away under the bushes and thought to myself that it looked a can of Quatro, even though it was covered in crap I was still sure it was the logo, upon closer inspection it was, for those that don't know Quatro was a fizzy beverage made from pineapple, orange, passion fruit and grapefruit. It was produced from 1982 until 1986, so the can I found must have been one of the later ones because of the best before date being May 1988, It's not very often that a piece of litter gives you a blast from the past. It also shows that when people drop litter, especially stuff that doesn't biodegrade, that it can hang around for many many years, at least 26 years in this case, who knows if I hadn't found it, it could have been there for another 26 years. It has now won a place in my collection of useless crap that for some reason just has to be kept.

Here's a couple of related links for you,  a picture from Flickr of a Grey Heron sunbathing,  just like the one today and also a link for a Quatro television advert from 1984.

The poor little Fudge cat has had to endure another encounter with the dreaded cat box and a trip to the vets. Unfortunately she snapped one of her main teeth at the top and has had to have all but two of her teeth removed, she's now only got one at the top and one at the bottom and none at all on the sides, but at least she came through the anesthetic okay and can eat normally enough. The pictures above are from when she still had her gnashers.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston.

Time to give another new place a visit, namely that of Cannon Hill Park, somewhere I haven't been since I was a lad and the mighty Aston Villa F.C. were Champions Of Europe, which was in 1982 for those too young to remember. Talking of Champions, the park is directly opposite Edgabston Cricket Ground, home of the Warwickshire Bears who were crowned 2012 LV County Champions only days ago. Cannon Hill Park is less than two miles from Birmingham City Centre and is an area of roughly 57 acres which includes two large large pools and many other small ones, a wonderful collection of trees, beautiful flowerbeds and is also adjacent to the River Rea. Basically it's an ideal habitat for our birds and wildlife and those of us that like to observe them both.

It actually didn't end up being a vintage day for bird spotting with it being windy and still plenty of leaf cover, what was nice to see was as well as the usual Canada Goose and Mallard population there was also plenty of Moorhens with at least eleven juveniles spotted, ranging from days old chicks to older juveniles but still with their downy appearance. There was also countless Grey Herons on the two large pools with three juveniles seen. I also thought I'd seen the last of this years Mallard ducklings but there were two ducklings seen today that were probably less than a week old. I have never seen so many Grey Squirrels as I did today, quite literally everywhere you went, with a lot of them coming up to you for food, they took bird seed straight away but didn't want any of my apple, which was strange. There is also plenty of different types of trees, which is never a bad thing especially as when I'm out and about, the council and private houses seem obsessed with chopping them down.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Herring Gull as well as the following juveniles, Grey Heron (3), Moorhen (11), Duckling (2) and Woodpigeon.

Here are any links if you're interested reading any more about the park, Cannon Hill Park (Birmingham City Council), Cannon Hill Park Friends , and Wikipedia.