Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Shustoke Reservoir.

Highlight of the day today is straight forward being as I've never seen one before and they are normally only seen in Scotland, it was the Slavonian Grebe as seen in the top picture, I'd actually seen it earlier in the day and the only thing then for certain was that I couldn't identify it but then towards the end of the visit twitchers were coming from everywhere to see the 'Slavonian Grebe.' I consider myself to be a birder and not a twitcher because I like to see any bird when I'm out and not just the 'special' birds like some people you speak too. Anyway back to the Slavonian Grebe, it was great to see it going underwater for fish with which it was successful most times, it was just a pity it was in it's winter plumage because it looks even more stunning in it's breeding plumage. Unfortunately I didn't see the Red Breasted Merganser that I mentioned on my previous post but apparently it was only at Shustoke for one day only.

I also saw a flock of thirty odd Redwing flying over the fields, also notable by their presence in large numbers were fifty plus Little Grebe and Pied Wagtails all around the Reservoir, it's also been a while since I've seen any Pochard, so it was nice to see them make a welcome return. When we arrived at about 8:30, there was plenty activity in around the car park, with many Tits, Finches and Blackbirds flitting all over the place.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant (Cock), Mute Swan, Cormorant, Slavonian Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose. 

For a change today we had a walk around the reservoir, then had a walk to the nearby village where 'The Plough Inn' is, which is a public house that's been there since the 1790's, then headed back and had another walk around the reservoir which must have been about a six mile walk.

As you can see by the above photo, my garden birds are not going to go hungry for the rest of Autumn and Winter, there are 5 20kg bags of premium wild bird seed there to go with the mealworms, sunflower hearts, suet blocks, suet pellets, peanuts, apples, sultanas and raisins etc.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Quick trip over to Castle Bromwich for a spot of birding and forage about in the undergrowth.

Birds spotted were Nuthatch (a pair at least), Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon.

It was nice to see plenty of Jays still collecting their stash for the Winter, equally as pleasing was seeing what must have been at least fifty Song Thrush flying in and around the trees in the grounds of St. Mary and St, Margaret church, in fact their is probably too many for such a small place, what with them chasing and screeching at each other and the Blackbirds. I've not seen so many birds as I saw in the trees of the grounds of the church and kirkyard, they were a hive of activity with a lot of today's count seen in and around the church.

That's it for today, weather permitting I'm off to sample the Autumn goodness of Shustoke Reservoir where I'll hopefully see the Red Breasted Merganser which is reported to be there, even if I don't I dare say a good days birding and sifting through the undergrowth will be had.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Definitely the coldest morning for a while, on our trip to Plantsbrook, some of us had our coat open all day though and no need for gloves.

Highlight of the day is easy today, not only my first Redwing of the Autumn but two separate flocks of 100+, what a great sight they were appearing over the trees that flank the first pool and heading to the left where Pype Hayes Park is located, so presumably they were heading there especially being as it's always one of their favourite haunts. There were also plenty of song birds when we first arrived there including a large flock of Long Tailed Tits which we followed (or they followed us?) around today.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck and Mallard.

I didn't see much Funghi but then again the floor was covered with fallen leaves and what with it being windy, leaves were dropping to the from the trees all day.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

A trip over to a cloudy, misty, foggy and wet castle Bromwich today where all the birding was practically done in the last half an hour due to the miserable conditions, thankfully there was plenty of Funghi to keep me occupied, over 100 photos again, as well as I had some bread, cake, apple and of course bird seed to leave the wildlife.

Birds seen were Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Starling, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon. I also heard but didn't see House Sparrow and Robin. It was nice to see both a Nuthatch and Coal Tit today being as I don't always see them on my travels. In a group of trees there must have been forty of fifty Blackbird flying around, due to the volume I thought they were maybe Redwing or Fieldfare but alas they were our humble Blackbird, which were just as nice to see in such a great number.

As I said there was Funghi galore again today, the ones in the last picture are Psilocybe Cubensis which is a genus of mushroom with psychedelic properties, hence their more common name of 'Magic Mushrooms', these ones found were a tripheads dream because there were hundreds and hundreds of them, ranging from ones coming through the ground to fully grown ones in huge clumps, you literally had to step over them all the time.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Pype Hayes Park.

First trip to Pype Hayes Park for a while, which is in it's full Autumn glory. Highlight of the day is easy today, a flock of Siskin by the river which is unfortunately also adjacent to the Golf Club, I say unfortunate becuase it was a couple of Golfers shouting which scared the Siskin off almost as soon as I spotted them so it was impossible to ascertain how many were there, all I can say is there appeared to be more females than males. A close second was seeing a Fox cub jump out of some bushes into some foraging Woodpigeons and very nearly got one by jumping into the air after it, I'd only been told this morning by a local resident and friend Mr. Raymond Wilkes that there were Foxes and cubs around and lo and behold I saw one myself. Also spotted was a Kestrel being aggressively mobbed by four Magpies every time it was trying to hover but I think it got it's own back because the other end of the park a Kestrel flew past the trees and flushed all the Woodpigeons and Corvids out into the open. I thought I might see my first Redwing or Fieldfares of the season today because this a favourite haunt of theirs but alas none have arrived yet. There were plenty of juvenile Woodpigeon about today which is just as well with Foxes and Raptors about.

Birds seen today were Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, Siskin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Robin, Starling, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and five Cygnets who'll probably be off to pastures soon no doubt. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Rolf Harris Exhibition, Whitewall Galleries, Birmingham.

Here's a post with a difference being as it's got little to do with birds or nature. Being as I haven't been able to do much birding lately for one reason and another, I decided to visit a few things in Birmingham City Centre. First it was off to the Whitewall Galleries to see a collection of 'broad brush' landscapes by the one and only Rolf Harris and a very impressive collection it was as well. I wasn't supposed to take any photos but I've never been one for rules so I managed to get these three photos. When I saw it was an exhibition by the man that did 'two little boys' I thought it was something to do with Jimmy Saville but thankfully it was a set of works by Rolf. The exhibition is free but it only runs until Sunday 27th October 2012.

Birmingham, It's People, It's History. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Then it was to see the brand new and permanent exhibition 'Birmingham, It's People, It's History' at the Museum and Art Gallery, which is a very impressive collection of items all Birmingham related, spanning from the beginnings of 'Brum', the Industrial Revolution, it's role in both World Wars, famous global companies, the world famous 'Bull Ring' as well as sport and music. For me personally, I was disappointed there was no mention of 'Black Sabbath' even though I am biased, the fact remains that they were the creators of a whole new musical genre, namely 'Heavy Metal' and lets face it who has never heard of 'Ozzy Osbourne' and 'Black Sabbath'. I also thought it was strange that even though 'Aston Villa' were represented they never got a mention for winning the 'European Cup' in 1982, I know that they are my team but again it's still a fact that the 'Villa' are one of only five English clubs to win the greatest honour in club football. But all in all it's still a great exhibition which again is free. I did like to see the programme for the now long gone 'Birmingham Super Prix', I went to this a child and loved it.

Here's the links for the above, Rolf Harris Exhibiton and Birmingham, It's People, It's History Exhibition.

I suppose I'd better mention some birding after all. In the garden I've seen a Sparrowhawk appear on the fence but thankfully the Sparrows had already scarpered into the pyracanthas then the following day a Sparrowhawk was being mobbed by a lone plucky Carrion Crow above the house. As well as many Blue Tits and Great Tits visiting the apple tree in the garden for the goodies, I've also got a pair of Coal Tits if not more coming to the tree on a daily basis for the peanuts, they are definitely a welcome addition to the garden, I love the way they look and their song which is just as well being as this pair are very vocal.