Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Nice early morning trip to a mild Pype Hayes Park that was bereft of the forecast rain and 'gale force' winds, no surprise there then.
Spot of the day was seeing a Kingfisher dash across the Plantsbrook, all too brief but very nice all the same. Coming a close second was seeing a flock of Bullfinch which held at least twenty birds, there could have been more but there was a Kestrel hovering around in the same area. There was also plenty of Redwing and Song Thrush hopping about from tree to tree, which is always nice to see. Sadly this years Mute Swan Cygnets have dropped from the original six to only three birds, on my last visit here in November one had been killed and eaten by our 'Eastern European' friends, but I didn't see any locals today so I don't know how this poor bird had met it's fate.
Birds seen were Buzzard, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Wren, Robin, Starling, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.
I also saw three trees that had been felled by the recent winds which is a shame because they looked otherwise healthy trees. I did take two large segments of a branch home, sawed them into six pieces and made a new log pile for the insects to have a new home in.
I'd also like to wish everybody who takes the time out to read and hopefully enjoy my feathered friend musings, 'A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year' and here's looking forward to another year's birding.
Friday, 13 December 2013
An early morning trip to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve in Solihull yesterday, in fact I had to wait in the car before the sun even came up.
Spot of the day was on the River Cole where there are always plenty of Carrion Crow situated, as i approached this area going towards the lake when all of sudden fifty odd Carrion Crow flew to the air, the reason ? A Sparrowhawk flying across the river into a wooded area approximately four feet above the ground, the speed of the Sparrowhawk was enough to make me jump let alone the Crows. A more enjoyable spot was a seeing a flock of c.40 Siskin feasting on Alder berries, Siskin are always a pleasure to see, such a wonderful little bird. There were also up to 300 Redwing in the areas that I walked including c.100 on the school playing fields foraging on the grass which is always full of worm casts and c.100 in amongst a swathe of Rowan, Fieldfare are another bird that's always a pleasure to see, it's a pity you only see them for about six months a year but then again that makes you seeing them more pleasurable when you do. Talking of birds I love to see, there was a nice mixture of waterfowl present including the always impressive Shoveler, it's always makes me smile when I see them.
Birds seen today were Sparrowhawk, Siskin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Redwing, Jay, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
First trip to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve in nine weeks and the change in the environment has been quite dramatic with all the leaves now on the ground instead of on the trees and practically all the waterside vegetation has now died back until next Spring.
There was way more activity on the water than there was in the trees apart from two small separate flocks of Goldfinch and Long Tailed Tit, in fact the most action I saw today was a noisy flock c.50 Redwing fly overhead.
Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Redwing, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck and Mallard.
I also went prepared with wood, hammer and heavy duty nails to fix the bird tables that the chavs have wrecked, hopefully the idiots will leave them alone this time, I doubt it though.
Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Today was last birding trip out for this week and I rounded it off with the third visit to Edgbaston in five days, after the previous visits Canon Hill Park and Martineau Gardens it was time for a visit to Edgbaston Reservoir where even though it was nice to visit and see all the Autumnal colours it was unfortunately very quite bird wise and I only saw one Grey Squirrel which is highly unusual.
Highlight of the day was having a Robin (the same one ?) come up to me for food as I was sitting on the exact same bench having lunch as my previous visit and he even appeared from the exact same bush as the last time, needless to say he enjoyed some of my cheese as well as some bird seed that I always take everywhere with me. Like I said it was very quite bird wise, both on and off the water apart from a few mixed Tit and Finch flocks.
Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.
Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Short visit to Martineau Gardens in Edgabston today which is nice little hidden away place were all the wildlife from birds, bats, hedgehogs and insects all have a safe environment away from our busy urban lives. At the moment they have plenty of bats residing in the bat boxes and there is a quality insect house and plenty of insect and bee boxes spread out through the gardens. There is also a big feeder by the coffee shop and a huge one with a metal frame that is easy for the song birds to gain access and is located in amongst the trees and bushes and is also right in front of the bird hide. The most frequent visitor to the table was Nuthatch followed by Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Dunnock.
Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
Nice trip out to a lovely sunny Autumnal morning at Canon Hill Park in Edgbaston where there many wonderful colours to see with the leaves still dropping from the trees and of course many birds out and about foraging amongst the trees.
Sight of the day was yet again the lovely Redwing with approximately 70 flying in to feed in amongst the trees. It was also nice to see a flock of c.40 Goldfinch foraging among the many Alder trees at this location. Also seen today was a Kestrel being mobbed by a lone Carrion Crow.
Birds seen were Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Nuthatch, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Mallard and Canada Goose.
As usual at this site there were many Grey Squirrels, not only that but they are also the most friendly ones I ever come across.
I took this photograph of one of Birmingham City Centre's Starling population, I think you'll agree he looks rather magnificent in his winter plumage.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
It was off to Kingsbury Water Park in Warwickshire today even though when I set off it was very misty and foggy but I took a chance anyway, which was a good decision because when the sun eventually came up it was a lovely day.
Highlight of the day was seeing c.200 Shoveler on the lake who were all together in one big circle and that was without the c.100 Shoveler who also flew overhead and the the other Shoveler who were scattered about the other pools. A close second to that was seeing c.150 Redwing feasting among the Rowan trees. It was also nice to see a Green Woodpecker at the exact location I've seen one twice before, like I say it was nice to see it even though it was being aggressively harassed by a male Blackbird. With the leaves fallen from most trees you could see a lot more songbirds today, which was nice. I also saw Collared Doves on two occasions today which was a nice treat because it's a great little bird which you don't see everytime you go out birding.
There was also a couple of sorry sights today, the first one being seeing a male Mallard with a broken wing, which is hard to see when there's nothing you can do about it, secondly it was seeing a one legged Mallard, saying that I saw him last year so he must be coping with his 'disability', thirdly it was seeing a on legged Moorhen, it was terrible to see it struggling to hop about especially when it is a 99% chance it was caused by some discarded fishing line from a selfish 'fisherman', which when I spoke to a Ranger he told me was an all to common problem here with everything from Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Great Crested Grebe and Water Rails all coming to harm thanks to the 'fisherman'. He was also telling me of all the work that's been done to attract Barn Owls, and Bats to this location will all be undone thanks to the destruction of this land when the HS2 is built and there will be 200mph trains tear arsing through this wonderful natural location and there's also the large number of Swans, Ducks and Geese who regularly fly through here especially at dawn and dusk, being as I'm on the subject of this terrible 'HS2 Project', if you want to get somewhere quicker just get up a little earlier, it's not rocket science, still it's just like anything else if the government want it they'll have it, all parties are the same once their noses are in the trough they only ever care about themselves.
Anyway, rant over, birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Something a bit different today after Villa's glorious eventual display at West Brom yesterday after claiming a 2-2 draw after being 2-0 down after ten minutes, namely that of getting the bus to Burnley Lane in Stechford and walking an approximate four mile stretch of the River Cole mainly around the Hodge Hill area of Birmingham.
Highlight of day was seeing two separate flocks of c.50 Redwing at the same time, the first flock were at the top of Poplar trees whilst the other flock flew overhead. Also nice to see were the usual copious amounts of House Sparrow and Starling at this location especially when you were closer to the houses. Other birds seen in large amounts were Carrion Crow, who definitely numbered in the hundreds, Great Spotted Woodpecker, of which I could have seen ten separate individual birds and Grey Heron who numbered at least eight, either fishing on the banks of the River Cole, in trees or flying overhead. A bird seen in single figures but spotted twice was a Buzzard seen in two separate trees along the far side of River Cole observing what was going on below until on the first time I observed it when it was being harassed by a lone Carrion Crow from the tree down the river.
Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chafffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Redwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron and Mallard.
Saturday, 23 November 2013
It was off to a nice crisp, frosty and sunny Shustoke Reservoir this morning where leaves are still falling all around and as the morning wore on the frost on the frosty grass that wasn't in the shade slowly melted away.
Spot of the day was seeing a Buzzard closing in a poor Blue Tit, fortunately for the Blue Tit it just managed to avoid the grasp of the Buzzard and dive into some trees and live to see another day. Other highlights was seeing .c100+ Lapwing at the waters edge upon arrival when the mist and clouds were still very low, at least ten Song Thrush scrapping loudly in a tree along the railway line and the all round bird activity in the woods at the far end of the reservoir which included Finches, Tits, Robins and Wrens etc.
Birds seen today were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.
I also decided to go just past the reservoir to a farmers field to have a look at his Kunekune Pigs and it was well worth the trip, being as they are such fine looking beasts.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
A trip out to Shard End Lake today partly for a change and partly because I had planned to go to Shustoke Reservoir but after a full days rain like yesterday large parts of the best birding territory would have been been largely impassable, so Shustoke is now down for Saturdays visit instead. Anyway, back to today which was a visit to Shard End Lake and a walk along a two mile stretch of the River Cole.
With Autumn now in full swing and the leaves dropping at a great rate there is definitely a much greater chance of seeing Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Dunnocks among the bare tree and hedgerows, which is probably why I saw many more Dunnock in one day than I've see in a while, which was nice being as the Dunnock is a massively underrated little brown bird, they have loads of charisma if you take out the time to observe them. As per usual at this site there were plenty of House Sparrow and Satrling present. On the water it was nice to see a small gathering of Shoveler, another bird which I love to take the time out and observe.
Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.