Saturday, 29 June 2013

Middleton Lakes.

Tasmanian Poppy (Papaver somniferum.)

Yet another early morning trip, this time to take in the delights that Middleton Lakes, the RSPB Nature Reserve Staffordshire had to offer.

As usual this location didn't disappoint and today juvenile birds were the main highlight of the day, all juvenile birds are a delight to see but the ones which gave me the most pleasure were Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Shoveler, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron and Greylag Goose.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker,Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Gadwall, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Black Headed Gull as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Oystercatcher (2), Lapwing (1), Shoveler (5), Tufted Duck (6), Moorhen (3), Coot (2), Mallard (6), Greylag Goose (10) and Black Headed Gull (at least a 100).

There was also plenty of Speckled Wood butterfly about as well as plenty of Chimney Sweeper Moth (Odezia atrata) which if you don't know is a daytime moth only seen between June and August when it's sunny. 

In the back garden I've got anywhere between twenty and thirty (maybe more) juvenile House Sparrow and between them and the adults they've seen off a 20kg bag of bird seed in three weeks, if they keep feeding at this rate I'll have to put them on a diet or they'll never be able to take off with such full bellies.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Narrowleaf Hawksbeard (Crepis tectorum).

Wild Blue Geranium (Geranium Pratense).

Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus).



Mid morning trip to a sunny Plantsbrook today which was definitely more greener and browner than my last visit with plenty of Wildflowers also making a welcome appearance.

Highlight of the day was absolutely no contest, when you see some Reed Bunting fledglings at a small place like Plantsbrook you know it's not going to get much better than that. Hard to tell how many there were because they were spread out over a large area amongst the reeds, all I can say for certain is that there were at least three. This location has always been a great place to see Reed Bunting, let's hope it stays that way. 

On my last visit on the 4th June there were two very young Great Crested Grebe chicks and initially today all I could see was one largish juvenile but thankfully after having a good walk around the pool I can gladly say there were two large magnificent looking chicks, what a great sight they are with their striped black and white head.

There was also a Common Tern fishing on the first pool which is something of a rarity at Plantsbrook.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Crested Grebe (2), Duckling (9) and Coot (15). I also heard but didn't see Greenfinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker juvenile.

I was speaking to a teacher who was pond dipping with some local school children and he told me there were healthy numbers of Great Crested Newt and Water Scorpion so the health of the water must be in pretty good condition.

As I'm writing this I've just seen the first Blackbird juvenile in the back garden unfortunately it's got competition from a juvenile Starling for one of the apples left on the lawn.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Newhall Valley Country Park.

No photos today being as I forgot my camera, which is unheard of normally. It was particularly annoying being as there were clear blue skies bereft of clouds and photo opportunities including seeing some Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) Funghi, a pair of accommodating Speckled Wood butterfly and reams of Wildflower in the meadows.

Anyway the birding was great, as always at this time of year it was great to see some fledglings, top of the pile had to be five or six five Whitethroat juveniles flitting in and out of the bushes and trees along the Plants Brook with at least one adult bird, other juvenile birds seen were a cracking looking Wren, Greenfinch and a couple of flocks of Blue Tit which contained many juveniles. Another highlight was seeing and hearing a male Blackcap having a right good old sing song.

Birds seen today were Buzzard, Whitethroat, Blackcap (male), Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Goose and the following juveniles, Whitethroat, Wren, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Ducking (10) and Canada Goose Gosling (12).

There are some resident Mallard on the bend of the Plants Brook near the allotments that always have a torrid time raising young thanks to the local Grey Herons but thankfully they have raised seven youngsters this year, which is great news because there are not enough Mallard around in my opinion, they are funny and very charismatic little birds if you can be bothered to sit down and watch them for ten minutes.

While not birding on Saturday because I was at the Aston Heritage celebrations taking in visits to Villa Park, Aston Hall and Aston Parish church amongst other places, I was still recording (as I always do) the birds that I see. For the record birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Swift, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Dunnock. I also had a short walk along The Tame Valley Canal under Spaghetti Junction where I managed to spot two separate Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sutton Park.

Bog Cotton (Eriophorum angustifolium).

Milk Thistle (Asteraceae).

A fern unrolling a young frond.

I haven't been to Sutton Park for over three years for some reason, so with there be plenty of habitats and woodland I decided a visit was due to hopefully see some fledglings and I wasn't disappointed, saying that the last thing I saw in the back garden as I was leaving this morning was four Blue Tit chicks, which was nice especially as they were the first Blue Tit fledglings I've seen in the back garden this year.

One of today's highlights funnily enough was a bird I didn't actually see, it was the unmistakeable call of a Cuckoo, which was heard on many occasions, sadly you don't hear the Cuckoo much these days let alone see them, hopefully that will change one day. 

Highlights of the fledglings seen were four Goldcrest chicks being fed by their parents in some pine trees, as were four Meadow Pipit chicks in amongst the gorse, also seen were many Blue Tit and Great Tit chicks being fed by adult birds, without a doubt the noisiest bird wanting to be fed was a Great Spotted Woodpecker chick, there may have been more, but they were too far up the trees to see. I also saw scores of Song and Mistle Thrush chicks, who were foraging among the many ferns growing on the open grassland near the Banners Gate entrance, it was great to so many Thrush juveniles, easily numbering in the twenties. Other juvenile birds seen today were Starling and Woodpigeon.

Maybe not so great for the songbirds or mice but it was great to see a Kestrel swooping effortlessly from one set of trees to another via the open grassland. 

Adult birds which were highlights to see were Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Meadow Pipit, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, and House Sparrow. If you've read this blog before you'll know I enjoy seeing any bird, no matter how often I've seen it before or if people call it a dull bird, such as the Dunnock, they are all precious to me and you should enjoy every bird you see because they way we're going you'll be lucky to see any bird, don't forget thirty odd years ago birds such as the House Sparrow were common, not so these days even though I am blessed to have about fifty visit my garden every day.

Birds seen today were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Meadow Pipit, Wren, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Goldcrest, Meadow Pipit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Starling and Woodpigeon. 

What with Sutton Park being the largest urban park in Europe consisting of 2,400 acres and a mix of heathland, wetlands, marshes, seven lakes, extensive ancient woodlands and many entrances to explore, rest assured plenty more visits to this wonderful place will follow, especially as not only are there birds to see, you also get the added pleasure of seeing many free roaming cows and a Donkey sanctuary.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Pype Hayes Park.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and Cygnets.

Milk Thistle (Asteraceae) and Bumblebee.

Siberian Iris (Iris Sibirica). 

Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare).

Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum).

Chicken Of The Woods (Laetiporus).

Nice trip to Pype Hayes Park in the sunshine where it was nice to see the wildflowers showing their presence. As well as seeing plenty of colourful wildflowers other highlights were seeing a Grey Wagtail and male Blackcap foraging along the Plants Brook, seeing plenty of the often overlooked Dunnock, a flock of c.20 Jackdaw flying overhead. the numbers of Starling swelling to 100+ which included many juveniles and seeing the six young Cygnets present and correct. 

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackcap (male), Chiffchaff, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Grey Wagtail, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Cygnet (6), Gosling (7), Duckling (7), Coot (1) and the aforementioned Starling. There was also a nesting Great Crested Grebe and Coot.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ward End Park.

Quick one hour visit to Ward End Park whilst passing through the area. The primary reason for the visit was to hopefully see plenty of young waterfowl, but all I saw were two very young Mallard Duckings, which were still nice to see all the same. In the park it was a different story where I saw a pair of Coal Tit chicks, at least two Great Tit chicks in amongst a flock of Tits, a Long Tailed Tit in amongst a flock of fast moving Long Tailed Chicks and at least forty juvenile Starling in  amongst a flock of over 100 foraging on the grass. Starlings seem to have had a good breeding year this year with many juveniles spotted wherever I go as well as a size able presence in my garden.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swift, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Duckling (2), Coal Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit and Starling.

I've also had the added drama of getting out of the shower and then looking out of the window only to see a juvenile Starling that's been resident in the garden for about a week because it's presumably been rejected by the other Starlings and also has a funny left leg and underdeveloped wings meaning it can't fly properly being pinned down by a Magpie who was pecking at the poor birds throat, so I had to half get dressed and run downstairs to rescue it, I then put it in a box with some water and cat food and contact the RSPCA who have then taken it to Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre where it will hopefully be okay. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Babbs Mill Natue Reserve, Solihull.

Short two hour visit to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve which included a walk around Yorks Wood. The difference to my last visit was noticeable straight away with the place looking so much greener, which is a pleasant sight too see anyway but it also has the added bonus that it's put a stop to the local chavs setting fire to anything in sight. I never thought I'd be glad that the Himalayan Balsam has reared it's ugly head again but like I said it's kept a lot of the vegetation out of the firebugs way.

Birds seen were Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch,  Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Domestic Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Duckling (6), Coot (3), House Sparrow and Robin. There were also the following nesting birds, Mute Swan (2), Great Crested Grebe (1), Coot (3) and Domestic Goose (1). Not a bad bird count for just shy of two hours.

In the back garden I've had a couple of juvenile Collared Dove turn up as well as plenty of (twenty maybe ?) Starling turning up in the garden on a daily basis, what with them and the adults there can be upwards of forty out there destroying the suet block and coconuts and generally making an all round racket. Unfortunately no sign of juvenile Blackbirds yet so I presume they did lose their nest in my neighbours garden but I did notice a female building a nest yesterday so hopefully I'll still see some Blacbird chicks yet.

I shan't be be out birding for the rest of the week because I'm off to RAF Cosford Air Show on Sunday to see even bigger birds in the sky than normal. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Pype Hayes Park and Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Pype Hayes Park.

Canada Goose and Seven Gosling.

Chinese Red Birch.

Two trips today, first off it was to Pype Hayes Park and then a walk over to the adjacent Plantsbrook Nature Reserve to see if the Cygnets have hatched yet but more about that later.

Highlight of the day at Pype Hayes Park was easily seeing .c70 Starling foraging on the grass and in amongst their number was a good 20 juveniles if not more which is definitely a good thing too see, it was a real pleasure too see them in such numbers. Unfortunately on the fishing pool the pair of Great Grebes have had a pair of chicks but a Grey Heron has apparently seen fit to have them as breakfast, which is a sad demise for such a beautiful looking bird, saying that the Great Crested Grebe was still on the nest while the other other adult was chasing off any bird who came near so hopefully they'll still raise some young yet.

Birds seen at Pype Hayes Park were Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Duckling (8), Gosling (7), Coot (2) and Starling.

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Speckled Wood (Parage Aegeria).

Mute Swan Cygnets.

Then it was off to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve primarily to see if the Mute Swan chicks have hatched and indeed they have had 6 Cygnets, who obviously look fantastic. Then we had quick walk around the pools not knowing that the best was still to come and with seeing 2 Great Crested Grebe chicks looking wonderful on the large pool that's saying something.

Birds seen were Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Gadwall, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following young, Cygnet (6), Coot (11), Great Crested Grebe (2) and there were at least 7 Coot still on the nest.

When we got back to the first pool I commented that the Mute Swan's and Cygnet's absence and said that maybe they've done their annual migration from Plantsbrook to Pype Hayes Pool which was greeted with an 'as if', so we headed back and to even my surprise they had just navigated the busy dual carriageway and were on the path with still a fair distance to go across the grass to reach the pool , so we followed them all the way making sure no dogs or corvid's got near them, it was a relief when we finally reached the pool because the male was struggling and had to keep sitting down and was clearly gasping in the sunshine but every time he sat down the female was egging him on to keep moving but thankfully as soon as he was on the water he had a good drink and was fine. It was a real privilege to escort these fine birds from A to B (or were they escorting us?) being as it was probably a once in a lifetime experience, right place and right time I guess.  

Mute Swan and Six Cygnets.

If you want too see more photographs of the Mute Swan and Cygnets migrating to Pype Hayes Pool don't forget to check out my Flickr account which you can access via the link at the top right.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Kingsbury Water Park.

Being as the weather forecast was correct for a change, it was off to Kingsbury Water Park to take in some biridng and spectacular sunshine and blues skies.

Today was one of the first ever times I've been out and not seen a Tit, I did actually hear a Blue Tit but I'm not counting that. But highlights I actually did see were a wonderful pair of Green Woodpecker, a singing Skylark, plenty of singing Whitethroat and Reed Bunting, a great singing lone Willow Warbler, thousands of Swift, Swallow and House Martin and a pair of Shelduck.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Buzzard, Skylark, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Common Tern, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Shelduck, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Pekin Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose and the following young waterfowl, Canada Goose Gosling (25), Greylag Goose Gosling (6) Duckling (12) and Coot (2) as well as the following nesting birds Great Crested Grebe (1) and Coot (1). By the car park I also saw a House Martin nest cheekily being occupied by a chirpy House Sparrow, adult Starling clearly going too and from a nest and 3 House Sparrow nesting sights.

I thought I'd also crowbar of a photograph of the Fudge cat in today's post being as she's 16 today, she's still going strong despite having no teeth, a missing claw, no fur on one of her ears and sometimes having to go the toilet like her life depends on it. Happy Birthday Fudge.....