Friday, 31 May 2013

Back Garden Birding.

Couldn't go out birding yesterday because of the non stop rain, so after doing some shopping in the morning my birding was confined to watching the birds in the back garden and what a treat it was. It just happened to be the first day the House Sparrow fledglings made an appearance, hard to tell how many exactly because they were on the feeders, on the grass, in the pyracanthas, in the bushes, the garden was just a constant movement of adult and baby House Sparrow, there were probably upward of 15 chicks and 40 adults. The feeders have hardly been touched in recent weeks while they've probably been feeding the young insects but as you can see they made short work of them yesterday, they are filled to the top every single morning, so there must have been plenty of Sparrows with full bellies yesterday.

As if that wasn't good enough I got the first sighting of 3 magnificent looking Starling chicks who made a brief appearance on the garden fence before popping into the tree to have a good munch on one of the suet filled half coconuts. The Dunnock chick was also resident in the garden nearly all of yesterday afternoon, having a good forage around the garden, especially the lawn. This morning it was having a shower under the bird bath whilst 5 House Sparrow were thrashing around in the bath.

A pair of Blackbird have had/got a nest in my neighbours laurel, not the Spliff head, the other side, unfortunately I don't speak to either side, so when I saw them pick what appeared to be a dead/injured bird of Blackbird size, I've been left fearing the worst because not even this apparent tragedy will get me to ask them what happened. It was sadly most likely a cat attack because there are 2 people with cats who let them run wild, one being the Spliff Head, they've killed a few Blackbird and House Sparrow to my knowledge and the Spliff Head's cat attacked a poor Woodpigeon at the base of my feeders last week and the other cat has taken to hiding to under the laurel to jump out and attack the birds, this laurel is currently 15 foot high but they are middle class wannabees who behave like a pair of chav's who don't even pick up litter in their front and back gardens, anyway I digress, hopefully I'm wrong and the Blackbird chicks are alive and well.

Tomorrow what with weather forecast predicting sunshine or more importantly no rain, I'm off to Kingsbury Water park for some quality birdwatching.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Gumbleberry's Pool, Stechford.

Even though it was raining when I got up, I decided to go ahead with the planned trip to Gumbleberry's Pool in Stechford in the hope that the weather would get brighter, if didn't, all the same I still had a ninety minute walk around anyway whilst trying to get some birding done, which wasn't easy.

Birds I actually managed to see were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following young, Canada Goose Gosling (14) and Coot (4), the Coot chicks were especially young, only a day or two old by the size of them. There were also 3 Canada Goose on the nest with at least 12 eggs that I could see.

The leaf in the last but one photo is that of a Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum), which look conspicuously like Ganja leaves of which my neighbour insists on smoking and thus polluting my back garden with the undeniable smell of his Jamaican Woodbines. 

The litter in the last photo is one bag of five what was collected from around every bush or tree and the pool. I've commented on the litter at this location before but it really is disgusting and has to be seen to be believed, there is a bridge that divides the pool into two and there were that many carrier bags under it that the waterfowl had to walk or fly around it just to navigate it, like I say, completely disgusting. In every lot of litter collected or fished out of the river was the tell tale sign it was the so called fisherman or chavs with sticks as I've christened them, namely empty sweetcorn tins, also found was some discarded fishing line and alcohol can plastic ring holders, they are a complete disgrace to the art of Angling. You certainty don't see all this litter and man made rubbish on Springwatch. Talking of Springwatch I'm listening to The Clash whilst typing this post being as Chris Packham has decided that's the band he's chosen to shoehorn song titles of in this year. Clash City Rockers !

On a brighter note I've had an adult Dunnock feeding a chick on the lawn yesterday and today, which is great too see.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Meriden Park and Colebank Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Bank Holiday Birding was the order of the day today. Thanks to the Fudge Cat waking everybody up at 4 a.m. (again) this morning I decided to make a very early trip to Meriden Park and Colebank Nature Reserve in Solihull to see the Mute Swan and Cygnets, but they were nowhere to be seen, hopefully they were all safe on the large island.

Although the top photograph might not look that exciting it is actually a Great Tit nest in the concrete gap on a very busy road bridge, the adult birds were in and out the nest approximately every forty five seconds in the time I was observing them. The two nest boxes I observed on the side of a house by the lake a couple of weeks back were occupied by Blue Tit, who were also tirelessly in and and of the boxes feeding the hungry young ones.

As you can see four adult Canada Goose have teamed up to look after their remaining young of different ages, unfortunately every time the Goslings were feeding on the grass they were constantly being flanked and harassed by Carrion Crows and Magpies, hopefully the presence of four adult birds will be enough to present any young being taken.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeoon, Feral Pigeon, White Dove, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Greylag/Domestic Goose hybrid and the following young, Gosling (8) and Coot (2). There were also 2 Coot on the nest. I also heard a few Blackcap singing but didn't actually spot any. 

I also saw a couple of juvenile Woodpigeon foraging on the grass which is something I've also seen in the back garden in the last couple of days.

As you can see I also found a spinal cord of an unknown animal on a path in Colebank Nature Reserve, it was approximately 20 inches long some I'm guessing it once belonged to one of our urban Foxes.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Shustoke Reservoir.

Beautiful weather was to be had for the early morning trip out to Shustoke Reservoir, it's a pity there's not a prize for the first people in the car park because we'd win it every time, like they say the early bird gets the worm.

Highlight of the day was seeing a Starling chick fed insects and worms by at least four adult birds, there are only appeared to be one young one but hopefully there's plenty more to be seen throughout the Spring and Summer, it's a pity these days that the only guaranteed way to see a Starling is to see one in a town centre or car park, scratting around for leftover crisps or pasty, disgraceful way for a beautiful bird to have to resort to this behaviour just to feed itself.

Other highlights were seeing a singing Whitethroat, a Little Tern, a pair of Treecreeper and six largish Duckling.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Treecreeper, Wren, Robin, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Little Tern, Common Tern, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose and the following young, Starling (1) and Duckling (6).

Apparently there were a pair of nesting Kingfisher by the Fly Fisher's pool but by the time I was told about it, it was too far to go back to that area, hopefully they'll still be there on my next visit.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Witton Lakes, Brookvale Park and Rookery Park, Erdington.

Witton Lakes.

A buy one get two free birding session today which entailed three sights to visit in around the Erdington of Birmingham. First off today it was a walk around Witton Lakes which has unfortunately has always had a history of people killing birds and their young, on a previous visit there were scores of Carrion Crow which I found dead on the grass after being shot none of that today, like I said the waterfowl and their eggs and chicks have always been targeted and as you can read by the notice this year they've taken the Mute Swan eggs and injured the birds themselves, Bastards ! It was pity the Mute Swan's had decided to build their nest on the path but then again I suppose they don't know any better, I'm not going to say anymore apart from I wish I could get my hands on them. On a brighter note it was nice to see Swift numbering in the hundreds or maybe in the thousands. 

Birds seen at Witton Lakes were Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Silver Appleyard Duck, Indian Runner Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose and 5 Canada Goose Gosling. There were also the following nesting birds Mute Swan (1), Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (11). Thankfully the Mute Swan was nesting on an island far away from human interference, some of the Coot nests were very close to the waters edge but hopefully they'll be okay.

 Brookvale Park.

Then it was off to the nearby Brookvale Park where there were hundreds or maybe thousands of Swift again but there were also larger numbers of House Martin and Swallow, maybe because they nest in the house adjacent to the lake. 

Birds seen were Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose. There were also the following nesting birds, Mute Swan (2) and Coot (4). 

As always there was an excellent House Sparrow population all around the lakes and in the adjacent houses, they definitely number in the hundreds at this location, it's really nice to see the humble but ever affable House Sparrow have a stranglehold of an area such as this.

I've left the bad news to last here, sadly the Black Swan that I saw at this location back in February was found dead 3 days ago, according to the local RSPCA it died of natural causes, but with the large local Polish/Eastern European having history of killing Mute Swans and taking eggs here, I am sceptical to say the least with the RSPCA explanation.

Rookery Park.

Then it was of to Rookery Park to have some scran, so the birding was by default, I always birding even if I'm the car or near a window in the house saying that. It was worth stopping of just to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker flitting to and from a pair of trees.

Birds seen were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon and Swift.

Because the local chavs have set fire to the trees and bushes near Rookery House they have had to be chopped down which has left some nice cuts which I took home and built a nice little log pile for my insects to enjoy so at least a positive came out of the vandals work.

Talking of bug boxes I've spotted a few solitary bees going in and out of the boxes I've put up in the garden, which is good news and I've also had a quick look under the log piles and they are teeming with life with wood lice, spiders, centipedes and millipedes etc. Hopefully the garden will soon see young House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird etc soon, very nice :)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Pype Hayes Park and Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Slightly later trip out to avoid the rain which thankfully I did. First it was off to Pype Hayes to see how the Goslings are getting on and then a quick walk around Plantsbrook Nature Reserve to see if the Mute Swan Cygnets have been born yet and alas no sign of them just yet. The Canada Goose Goslings are looking fine and the remaining 7 from the original 8 should make it to adulthood barring any disasters. Other babies present were 5 Ducklings and 4 Coot chicks. Also for the first time ever a pair of Great Crested Grebe have made a nest on the pool which is great news. The pair of Coot who have the 4 young are already constructing another nest. An adult Moorhen was also seen going to and from the island so hopefully there are some Moorhen chicks on the island. 

All birds seen at Pype Hayes Park were Nuthatch, Grey Wagtail, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and the following young, Gosling (7), Duckling (5) and Coot (4).

It was also nice to see plenty of Song Thrush, Blackbird, Starling etc. forging on the slightly wet grass. Pype Hayes Park is one of the largest in Birmingham, consisting of over 100 acres, so if look around the trees and grass there's always something to see, even the Muntjac Deer if you're lucky.

Highlight of the day was to be had at Plantsbrook though, that being the sight of a pair of Great Tit feeding some young in a hole in a tree which was thankfully facing the water's edge and not the path. 

Birds seen at Plantsbrook were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and 5 Coot chicks. Also on the nest were Great Crested Grebe (2) and Coot (7).

The recent wet weather also seems to have made the Funghi temporarily spring back to life again, which is nice.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

First trip over to Castle Bromwich this Springtime and it looked great with all the brown and greens looking very vibrant and all the plants and trees coming back to life especially the Horse Chesnut and Brambles.

Highlight of the day was no contest today, the sight and wonderful song of a lone Skylark, it didn't hang around for long so it was probably just passing through, as brief as it was, it was still a great sight and sound. Other wonderful bird song observed was that of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. No singing Song Thrush today, all the ones I observed were all foraging for worms, hopefully for their young.

Also seen was a pair of Mallard on the boggy woodland floor, something I've never seen in this location before being as there is no real water to talk of in there. Also seen in a house nearby was a Starling diligently feeding some chicks that were in a nest behind a drainpipe underneath the eaves of house.

Birds seen were Skylark, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male and female), Whitethroat, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon and Mallard.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Kingshurst.

Early morning trip out to Solihull today before the predicted downpours this afternoon where thankfully it was dry and warm and plenty of birds out and about enjoying the warmer climes.

Highlights of the day were seeing hundreds of Swift, Swallow and House Martin flying over the lake and high in the air, it's always such a wonderful sight to see and proof that Springs finally here. It was also great to see many singing Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat, especially as there were at least one pair of Whitethroat nesting in a tree by the waters edge. I also saw a pair of Common Sandpiper on the barley straw that's there to control the algae levels, I've never seen Common Sandpiper at this location before, maybe they were just passing through or hopefully they'll become residents now that the mud flats and reed beds that have been created. 

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Whitethoat, Lesser Whiethroat, House Sparrow, Wren, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Woodpigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Common Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.

Unfortunately I didn't see any young birds today but there were the following nesting water fowl, Mute Swan (2), Great Crested Grebe (2), Coot (6), Domestic Goose (1) and Canada Goose (1).

The only down side of the day was the continuing setting of fires by the local chavs, double numbers of both trees and brambles have been destroyed by the little bastards so far, if I catch them I'll set fire to them and see if they like it.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Meriden Park and Cole Bank Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Nice trip to Meriden Park and Cole Bank Nature Reserve in Solihull. Cole Bank Nature Reserve is basically on the opposite side of the road to Meriden Park, I can't believe I've never been before, but to be fair, you would never now it was there, it's that well hidden and it's not signposted too well either.

It was great to see a few young birds on the water and on the island, on the island there was at least 6 Cygnets, who had apparently only hatched yesterday, while I was observing them a cheeky Magpie nearly plucked one away bit thankfully the mother was close enough to scare it off, there was also 6 Coot chicks, 3 Goslings and 5 Ducklings. I also saw 1 Coot on the nest.

On the walk along the river to Cole Bank I was accompanied with some wonderful Blackcap singing from both sides of the river, it was also pleasing to observe one in full song a few feet away from me. Also along the river it was brilliant to see 2 different colonies of House Sparrow, a lot of people don't like their chirping but I love it, especially when heard in the wild, I hear them in the garden most days especially when they are bickering in the Pyracanthas.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male), House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Goose and the following young Cygnet (6), Coot (6), Duckling (5) and Gosling (3).

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pype Hayes Park.

Nice trip to Pype Hayes Park on a very sunny and hot morning where a pair of Canada Goose had eight Goslings a fortnight ago, unfortunately there are only seven still alive but hopefully they will all survive. Apparently a pair of Moorhen have had some chicks but I didn't actually see them, so I have no idea how many there is. There was also a Coot on the nest, on the island.

I also hear Greenfinch nearly every time I go birding lately, which can't be a bad thing, even if you don't even spot any it's nice to know that they are there, especially with them in decline as of late.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I also had a pair of Coal Tit in the garden this morning, which was nice.