Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ward End Park.

Early morning trip to a frosty Ward End Park even though saying that I was treated to great clear blue skies.

Birds seen today were Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Robin, Starling, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Shoveler, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.

On the pool there was a single Male Shoveler who was certainly outnumbered by the couple of hundred Canada Goose on the pool and grass. It was also nice to see a Nuthtach darting about a tree doing it's thing. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Short trip to a an overcast and dull day that was always threatening to rain but thankfully never materialized. I was planning another canal excursion today but with the weather not looking very promising I opted for a trip to Castle Bromwich instead.

Birds seen were Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Not much else to say today other than it was nice to see a flock of c.75 House Sparrow flitting about the bushes, c.75 Starling flying about the trees, a pair of Goldcrest, a pair of Nuthatch, a pair of Great Spotted Woodpecker, a pair of Pied Wagtail and it was also a pleasure to see a lone Coal Tit near the pair of Goldcrest.

As you can see the Sparrowhawk has made a successful and unwelcome return to the back garden, it came yesterday (Monday) and dispatched an unfortunate House Sparrow. I've done all I can to deter it from the garden but it looks like I'm not going to put it off it's House Sparrow Happy Meal anytime soon.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Pype Hayes Park.

Early morning trip to Pype Hayes Park were it was very misty, damp and slightly foggy where even the Funghi were iced over.

Highlight of the day was the presence of a Smew on the fishing pool which was obviously in it's winter plumage so it didn't look as resplendent as it would in the summer but all the same it was great to see it here anyway. Maybe the inclement weather was why it was here, it was sticking closely to the newly arrived twelve Goosander, so at least it was in good company.

Birds seen today were, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion, Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Smew, Goosander,Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.

The three remaining Cygnets all appeared to be fine even though a local told us one looked very lethargic earlier in the day but like I said they appeared to be alright to me.

On the way to New Hall Valley Country Park on Tuesday 13th November you might remember I mentioned the dead Fox cub I found at the entrance to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve well as you can see while going back to check if the one I partially buried was still resting in peace without anybody messing with it, I  found yet another dead Fox in almost exactly the same place, apparently Eachelhurst Road is known for speeding boy racers and here is the result. So know there are two poor souls resting in the same place.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Shard End Lake.

First visit to Shard End Lake in over six months were it was very dull and overcast but fortunately there was no sign of the constant rain we've had over the last two days. Talking of the rain I also had a walk along the River Cole up to Babbs Mill without actually going around the lake there, where the River Cole was as full as I've ever seen it and was flowing at an amazing rate and apparently and obviously the water was much higher yesterday, you could see where the river was a good twelve foot wider yesterday, which had unfortunately washed all the litter, including many plastic water bottles to the waters edge, of which the poor Mallards had to negotiate and avoid.

Talking of litter, today's highlight was seeing a Kingfisher fly onto one of the islands at Shard End Lake, where I was greeted with the sorry sight of lots of fisherman's discarded crap, including floats, fishing line and hooks including many terrible looking dual hooks, there was at least thirty hanging from the trees and bushes on an island that is only about fifteen square feet, it really was a disgusting and sad sight which certainly spoiled my sighting of the Kingfisher. As in many walks of life it's always the minority that let the majority down, because I have no problem with Angling, it's just the chavs with their £5 sticks from Aldi who really piss me off because they always leave discarded Angling paraphernalia and litter behind, including the obligatory lager and cider cans, I really do hate these people with a passion, it's because of these so called 'people' that two of this years Cygnets at Pype Hayes fishing pool have died, one was dead in the water and the other had to be put down due to the lead poisoning they both had suffered, those responsible should hang their heads in shame.

Anyway back to the birding before my blood pressure goes through the roof, birds seen today were Kestrel, Kingfisher, Greenfinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Starling, Jay, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

It was nice to see a few different flocks of birds on today's excursion including c.50 Redwing, c.80 Starling and c.25 Collared Dove, where on the other hand it was nice to see a lone Kingfisher, Mute Swan, Greenfinch, Pied Wagtail and a male Goosander. There was clearly a lack of songbirds, but the high winds may have had something to do with that.

I also found what I'm pretty sure is an old Canada Goose egg at the bottom of a tree by the waters edge whilst taking some Funghi photos, strange thing to come across in the latter half of November, needless to say it's going in my collection of numerous Nature knick knacks.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Rookery Park, Erdington.

A one hour walk around Rookery Park in Erdington because I had to pass through the area, which unfortunately was largely uneventful apart from the sighting of a pair of Goldcrest and a female Bullfinch amongst a large mixed flock of Tits and Finches, compromising of mainly Great Tit and Chaffinch.

Birds seen were Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

At one end of the park is Rookery House which is nowadays in great disrepair which is a shame becuase it looked like it was once a great building with the only bonus being that the grounds at the back have just been left to go wild which is great for the Wrens and Robins you always see in there. Apparently the sunken garden (in the top picture) has had £100,000 spent on it this summer, well I don't know where that money was spent, maybe they brought a pot plant from Aldi and the rest went in the MPs pockets because it didn't look any different than before, in fact if anything it was worse, what with the litter and seven trees that had suffered severe fire damage, it was actually in this area that the Goldcrest were seen.
I think I also found Michael Myers' mask from the Halloween films at the bottom of a tree, let's hope he hadn't been out slaughtering young innocent virgins the night before, then again I don't think there are any virgins in Erdington.  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

New Hall Valley Country Park.

Newhall Valley Country Park near Sutton was the order of the day today for some Autumn birding.

Birds seen today were Kestrel. Buzzard, Siskin, Mealy Redpoll, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Redwing, Pheasant (Cock), Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron and Mallard.

The Buzzard seen was very noisy. in fact it was heard way before it was even seen, unfortunately for the poor creature it was constantly being mobbed by two Jackdaw. As you can see there were plenty of small birds about today, so many in fact, that in a clump of three trees there were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Siskin, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Mealy Redpoll, Redwing and Blackbird, the trees were a mass of noise and constant movement. Today was the first time I've ever seen a Pheasant at this location, that said there is some great copse and woodland for them to reside in adjacent to the train line which is largely inaccessible to man. Strangely enough I only saw one Starling today which was on a telephone line near some houses, so hopefully it's friends were foraging nearby.

To get to New Hall Valley Country Park I have to pass Plantsbrook where unfortunately today I noticed a dead Fox cub near the road side to the entrance so I picked it up and left it to the left of the entrance and covered the poor soul over with some leaf litter etc.

In the back garden I always have Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Robin and Blackbird visiting the apple tree as well as the odd flock of Long Tailed Tit but over the last two days I have noticed to my great amazement and pleasure I now have a pair of Goldcrest making daily visits, I have recently put up a globe feeder in the tree to go with all the other goodies, it is then topped up with seed, mealworms, sunflower hearts and suet pellets, so hopefully that will keep the Goldcrest and all the others coming back right through to next Spring.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

An early morning trip to Kingshurst today where the spot of the day was again was the magnificent Goldcrest, I hardy ever see one on my travels, then I see some on two consecutive birding excursions. Again it was a pair and yet again they were in amongst a flock of Tits and Finches, apparently they do flock with Tits and Finches in Winter, maybe they are flocking together already due to a shortage of food. About an hour and a half later, I again saw a pair of Goldcrest in amongst a mixed flock of Tits and Finches, maybe the same ones, who knows ? It was great to catch a glimpse of blue flashing above the waters surface on the lake as a Kingfisher was making it's a way to a tree on the island. I was also pleased to see the return of Shoveler to Kingshurst Lake, what a great looking water birds with their huge spatulate bills.

Birds seen today were Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch,Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Kingfisher, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Wigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.