Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Nice early morning trip to a sunny Plantsbrook.

Birds seen were Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada goose and 2 Coot chicks.

Birds on the nest were Mute Swan (1), Great Crested Grebe (1), Coot (14) and Canada Goose (1).

It was nice to see the Mute Swan back on the nest again this year at this location, hopefully she'll successfully raise many young again this year. The Great Crested Grebe have also nested in the same location as last year.

When I leave the house of a morning there is nearly always a Chiffchaff singing but I haven't actually managed to see it and you can't exactly get your binoculars out and have a look around.

Unfortunately, yesterday in the back garden, the Sparrowhawk has killed another Blackbird, it's a real shame with breeding season underway plus I love seeing them bound around the garden.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Kingsbury Water Park.

Excellent trip out to Kingsbury Water Park today even with the changeable weather, fortunately it only rained heavily for about five minutes other than that it went between being sunny or cloudy.

Highlights of the day were seeing a Sedge Warbler, I would never have spotted it in the first place if it wasn't for it's constant singing, ironically it was in the exact same brambles by the river where I saw one last year, hopefully it's came back to breed. Also nice to see was a single Greylag Goose Gosling who the twenty or so adults were very protective of. As well as seeing hundreds of House Martin and Swallow over the river, lakes and farmers field I also saw my first Swift of the year, the same farmers field also held an Oystercatcher as well as one being in the field by the Greylags. I also saw my first spot of the Common Tern of the year. The final highlight of today was as brief as it was, the flash of iridescent blue as a Kingfisher crosses your path as it flew from one the lakes onto the river.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap (male), Chiffchaff, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Kingfisher, Common Tern, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose and Greylag Goose Gosling.

I only saw one Coot and Canada Goose on the nest but with the lakes at this location having many large islands I suspect there was a few nests on them especially with many Canada Geese located on the islands.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Chester Road Canal.

I thought it was about time I had a walk down one of Birmingham's many canals, so I decided to have a walk along Chester Road Canal starting from The Tyburn House public house along to the farmers fields past the Hare and Hounds public house and back again which was approximately five miles.

Highlights of the day were seeing my first House Martin of the year darting along the waters surface looking for insects, a pair of Blackcap, a Song Thrush in full song and seeing House Sparrow and Starling numbers in the hundreds, the House Sparrow were along the route on the houses, in the gardens, the reeds and the farmers fields whilst the Starling numbers were more concentrated in the farmers fields and the houses near the fields. Another highlight was spotting the 'Insect Hotel' shown in the last picture, which is hopefully home to many bugs.

Birds seen were House Martin, Swallow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackcap, House Sparrrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mallard, Moorhen and Canada Goose.

The only downer on the morning apart from the litter was seeing a dead Canada Goose which looked like it may have been on the nest being as it was on the opposite side of the canal in an accessible part where it could have easily flown into the canal if attacked but judging by it's location and the state of it, it looked like it had fell prey to a fox attack.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

New Hall Valley Country Park.

Another great day for a spot of birding and to see all the insects, flowers and plants coming to life at last.

Highlights of the day were seeing a flock of Mealy Redpoll, hard to tell how many because they were in amongst a clump of trees coming into leaf but there were at least twenty, also seeing a Green Woodpecker foraging for ants amongst the grass whilst you could hear another one about fifty yards away, it was also nice to see a female Blackcap for a change, as always it was also nice to hear all the birds singing especially the Song Thrush and Blackbird.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (female), Mealy Redpoll, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I'm no expert on fish but an Angler told me the fish taken in the top photograph is a Linear Carp, the picture was taken in the New Hall Valley Hotel moat where no fishing is allowed so apparently some of the fish in there are thirty years old.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Shustoke Reservoir.

Best day of the year so far for a spot of birding what with the blue skies, no wind and that lesser seen round yellow thing in the sky making an appearance. There were plenty birds having a good sing song today with the main culprits being Blackcaps, Song Thrushes, a lone Mistle Thrush, Blackbirds and Chiffchaffs, it was worth the trip out just to hear all the wonderful bird songs. Also nice to see were the plants and flowers ready to literally Spring into life.

Other great sights today was seeing a lone Skylark which was of course first noticeable by it's beautiful song as it was on the wing, I also saw my first Swallow of the year, namely four of them, another amazing sight was seeing four Buzzard circling above one of the farmers fields, hopefully all the small birds were hiding in the bushes and trees. Unfortunately I flushed out 2 Green Woodpecker that were foraging adjacent to the path I was walking, still they were great to see all the same. Waterfowl wise there were just the usual birds about but there were 2 Great Crested Grebe and 4 Coot on the nest. There were also plenty of butterflies about with the most common seen today, the stunning 'Peacock'.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Skylark, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant (cock), Cormorant, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, R---y Duck, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose. 

Other animals seen were, Rabbit, Horse, Grey Squirrel and Sheep.

As you can see by the last photo I also found a clump of Buzzard feathers in one of the farmers fields, the longest being 12 inches in length, ironically it was the same field the 4 Buzzard were circling.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Meriden Park, Solihull.

Quick one hour trip to Meriden Park in Solhull whilst in the area on other business.

It was nice to see the Mute Swan on the nest on the island ,where she briefly got up and I could see at least 7 eggs. Also on the nest were 3 Coot, 1 Canada Goose and 1 Domestic/Canada Goose hybrid. I also noticed the 2 bird boxes pictured above, on the side of a house adjacent to the river and the one on the right was home to at least one Blue Tit being as I saw it enter and leave a couple of times, I didn't have time and couldn't anyway, hang around long enough to see if the other box was inhabited bit hopefully it was. Also great to see was a very songful Chiffchaff, a pair of Bullfinch and a male Blackcap.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Blackcap (male), Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and Domestic Goose.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

Trip to Babbs Mill to see the new reed bed and it looks good and will be even better when everything settles down when the grass and plants grow back, apparently a Water Rail has already taken residence even though I didn't actually see it myself. It's just a pity after all this hard work that the chavs have set fire to large areas of grass, brambles and hedgerow and it's not even warm yet, the mindless little cretins. As well as creating a reed bed, an artificial mudflat has been created of which the Moorhens and Black Headed Gulls particularly seem to be taking advantage of.

I also saw a pair of Long Tailed Tit making a nest in the brambles by the picnic area in the car park, hopefully the chavs don't notice or set fire to it unknowingly, not that they'd care anyway. Unfortunately the Domestic Goose numbers have dropped to just nine thanks to successful Fox attacks, they will struggle to get their numbers back thanks to the council always destroying a large number of their eggs which is a particular shame being as the Carrion Crows pick off most of, if not all of the babies they have anyway. While leaving the car park it was nice to see double figures of Redwing getting worms from underneath the grass. 

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.   

There was also one Great Crested Grebe and three Coot on the nest.

In the back garden a pair of Robin have got together and built a nest, the House Sparrow are collecting nest material, 'Funny Wing' who is a Collared Dove who visits the garden everyday has paired up with another Collared Dove, the Blue Tit who lives in the ventilation brick in my bedroom appears to have paired up with a female, the Dunnocks are all displaying courting behaviour and the Blackbirds are busily collecting grass and twigs for their nests. The more baby birds the better I say !

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Pype Hayes Park.

Nice trip to Pype Hayes Park this morning where the birds were all out having a good old sing song, from the Robins to the Dunnocks, the Tits to the Finches, the Thrushes to the Blackbirds and the diminutive Jenny Wren, they were all at it, which was obviously a real joy to see and hear. Also great to see, were most birds breeding plumage's coming to the fore.

Highlight of the day were seeing a Green Woodpecker, crossing over the river from the golf course, I'm pretty sure this was my first spot of a Green Woodpecker at this location, let's hope it pairs up with a partner to breed. I also saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker on at least seven occasions all around the park, hopefully they were all different birds. There was also plenty of nest building activity going on, from the Crow and Jackdaws, to the Chaffinches, right down to the Wrens, I can't wait to see this years young emerge. On the pool there was a lone Coot on the nest. I saw a Buzzard briefly until it was mobbed by a posse of Crows and Black Headed Gulls when it then disappeared into the safety of the wooded area. Also seen today was a huge Water Rat which was a good eight inches long in body length, it was seen stealing the bird seed I'd left for the birds, still you can't pick and choose who has the food you leave for the wildlife.

Birds seen today were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Siskin, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Planstbrook Nature Reserve.

Nice early morning trip to Plantsbrook where there was plenty of songbirds around but not as much water fowl as I would have expected, but it was still nice to see the pair of Mute Swan have relocated here from Pype Hayes park in readiness to rear this years young even though they haven't made their nest yet unlike five Coots. The Great Crested Grebes also appeared to have paired up again also. There were also four Grey Heron present including one chased off by a very annoying woman's dog who was running wild, chasing any duck it could near as well as a nice couple who had there dog under control, she even kept shouting at the dog and telling it off like it was the dogs fault, put the dog on a lead if you can't control it, problem solved, it's not rocket science ! Sadly there was also the remnants of a poor Canada Goose who probably fell prey to one of the local foxes.

While I was watching the songbirds near bird tables, a Sparrowhawk darted in from the left hand side, I couldn't actually tell if it got a bird, hopefully not, either way the area fell silent for the next ten minutes until some brave Great Tits entered to forage again thus encouraging an influx of song birds back again.

Birds seen today were Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I also got myself some nice wood in various states of decay to add to my log pile, most of the wood was quite rotten so will fit in nicely to my existing log pile. I've also got a bug box for the back garden to hopefully attract and give a home to Ladybirds, Lacewings as well as Mason Bees and Solitary Bees. I aslo liberated a nice bit of Holly for the back garden to give the birds some more berries in the Autumn and Winter.

I also have sad news that the seven Ruddy Duck at Witton Lakes have been killed by a sniper thanks to the Government led cull which has cost millions of pounds. You can read about the incident by clicking on the following link. Shame on anyone who backs or has had anything to do with the murder of these unsuspecting birds, who to my knowledge whenever I visited the lakes just kept to themselves and if anything stayed away from the other birds either sleeping or floating about on the water, in my personal opinion it's a complete disgrace but hey, who am I ?