Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Shard End Lake.

Quick trip out to Shard End Lake, which was first trip out with a new camera and I also dragged my Sister along with me as well for good measure.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, House Martin, Swallow, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose as well as juvenile Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow.

Not much to report today, only to say that apart from it being a quick visit it really was quiet bird wise both on and off the lake, still nice to get out though even if it was brief.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Kingsbury Water Park.

Northern White-faced Owl (Ptilopsis leucotis).

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

Harris Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus).

Peacock (Inachis io).

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).

Small White (Pieris rapae).

Trip out to Kingsbury Water Park today to sample the many wonderful habitats that adorn this area and of course the birds and the wildlife. Also there was a Falconry display which consisted of the Sampson the Harris Hawk, Flute the Northern White-faced Owl, Charmion the Kestrel and Lear the Barn Owl who I unfortunately didn't get a photograph of.

I'll give the butterflies a mention first today being as there were so many about, the most abundant were Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Painted Lady and Comma. Easily the most of the aforementioned butterflies seen today was the Small White, in a swampy piece of grassland there were easily a hundred on the floor alone with many thousands seen throughout the day.

Apart from seeing some captive Raptors up close and personal the highlights of the day was seeing a nest full of hungry House Martin chicks above a shop alarm box being constantly fed by where we parked, three Tufted Duck chicks and seeing a Kingfisher even though it was only spotted darting across the water, a wonderful sight all the same.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (male), House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Kingfisher, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Gadwall, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, House Martin, Great Crested Grebe (1), Tufted Duck (3) and Coot (2).

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor) and Cygnets.

Black Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus).

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae) on Ragwort (Jacobaea vulgaris).

Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus).

Early morning trip to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve in Solihull where it started off cool but went hot and humid around 10:00 a.m. 

On my last visit there were two pairs of nesting Mute Swan, unfortunately none of the one pairs hatched and the other pair have only had two, I say only two, that's better than none at all but it certainly wasn't a vintage year for Mute Swan breeding at this location. There was also at least five Common Tern on the lake constantly dive bombing the water for fish. There was also a great flock of c.50 Long Tailed Tit which held many juveniles, possibly up to thirty. 

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Swift, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Domestic Goose, Canada Goose, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Cygnet (2) and numerous Coot and Duckling.

I also had the pleasure of seeing a Fox cub who stared at me inquisitively for about twenty seconds before disappearing into the nearby long grass.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Small White (Pieris rapae).

Common Mallow (Malva sylvestris).

Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum).

Spear Thistle (Cirsium vulgare).

First off today it was a trip to Bromford Canal which ended up being largely uneventful bird wise apart from couple of mixed Tit flocks, I did get some photos of the canal, which I shall put up on my Flickr when I get around to it.

So then being as it wasn't as hot as it's been of late, it was off to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve instead where I met a very nice old school Castle Vale Punk Rocker who was enjoying the nature and birding himself. He happened to notice a baby Toad on the floor which was about the size of a penny, which was nice and I then actually noticed some more on the path of the bigger lake when he'd departed.

Being as it was only a quick visit and I was talking for some of that I didn't see too many birds but as ever it's always a pleasure to see the juveniles, the best today being a very healthy Song Thrush foraging in the trees around the waters edge. The two Great Crested Grebe juveniles also look fine and healthy which is great news. There were also four Moorhen chicks which looked only a couple of days old, thankfully they wasn't on the first pool which held four Grey Heron, hopefully their paths don't cross.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Great Crested Grebe (2), Moorhen (4), Coot (8) and Duckling (4).

Other positive news from today's visit was that the council haven't cut down the meadow again this year, so they were full of wildflowers which of course meant that the area was awash with butterflies and bees. Also the apple trees are all bearing fruit, which is significant because I never saw a single apple at this location last year which meant the Thrushes, Blackbirds, Redwings and Fieldfares went woefully short. When there is a good crop you can see birds in triple numbers feasting on the apples especially when the ground is hard or covered in snow.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Early morning trip to Castle Bromwich this morning, in fact it was so early I was done and dusted shortly after 9 a.m. so I could try and avoid the worst of the heat, still the earlier the better for spotting our feathered friends. At 4 .a.m this morning and I could hear the Thrushes, Blackbirds and Robins singing.

Highlights of the day was seeing a flock of 40+ Goldfinch, which included juveniles, feasting on the copious amounts of Creeping Thistle and Teasel. It was also nice to see a family of Whitethroat which included at least four juveniles. Another quality spot was seeing Wren fledgling which looked only a few days old, if that. I was also lucky enough to see one of our urban Foxes which I unfortunately disturbed but after that I didn't go any near it because it would have gone in the direction of the road.

Birds see were Whitehroat, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Wren, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon as well as the following juveniles, Whitethroat, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Wren and Woodpigeon.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Pype Hayes Park.

Early morning visit to a very hot and humid Pype Hayes Park, too hot for me personally because I prefer cooler climes, still nice to get out though. Today's walk included a walk around the park, around the fishing pool and a walk along the Plantsbrook to the Ramada Hotel grounds and back again before the midday sun beamed down.

It was nice to see that the six Cygnets have stayed on the pool and look strong and healthy. Also on the pool was a single Great Crested Grebe on it's mothers back which only looked days old, hopefully it will stay out of the Grey Heron's and Corvid's gaze. 

Along the Plants Brook there were a couple of singing Sedge Warbler who seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.

In the trees that border the park land around the fishing pool there were at least four Stock Dove which was nice because I don't see many of these.

There were also plenty of juveniles about again, of which I'll list fully later but it was especially nice to see Grey Wagtail, Whitethroat and Robin fledglings, Robin's always look especially magnificent when they are juveniles.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap (female), Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Swift, Grey Wagtail, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard as well as the following juveniles, Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Wren, Robin, Grey Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Cygnet (6) and Great Crested Grebe (1).

In the back garden, I was only saying the other day I hadn't seen any Sparrowhawk activity, which is especially unusual because there can be up to fifty House Sparrow out there at any time at the moment, needless to say I spoke to soon because in the blink of an eye Thursday afternoon, a female Sparrowhawk swooped down and took a House Sparrow with it, I know it's natural but I always feel upset for the poor bird that is taken. At least more House Sparrow fledglings are appearing on what seems a daily basis, but will that just encourage the Sparrowhawk to come all the more.

Better news comes from the local Thrush population what with a female Blackbird tirelessly building a new nest yesterday in next doors Laurel and Song Thrush feeding juveniles on the roof.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Meriden Park and Colebank Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Musk Mallow (Malva moschata).

Field Scabious (Knautia arvensis).

Juvenile Black Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus).

Mute Swan (Cygnus Olor) and Cygnets.

Trip out to Meriden Park and Colebank Nature Reserve in Solihull today, primarily to see if the Cygnets who were born the day before a previous visit on 8th May when I could count at least six, well as you can see they are doing fine and there were actually eight youngsters and they have all managed to survive the attention of the Corvids, Grey Heron's and a local pair of Black Mink. I actually thought they weren't here at all at first because they're wasn't on the lake at Meriden Park but thankfully I found them on the River Cole at Colebank Nature Reserve when they coincidentally then decided to make their way back up to Meriden Park.

Birds seen were Kingfisher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Domestic Goose as well the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Cygnet (8), Duckling (18), Gosling (11), Coot (4) and a lone juvenile Black Headed Gull.

Also seen today were the following butterflies, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Small Blue, Small Skipper, Ringlet as well as the magnificent Five Spot Burnet daytime flying Moth.

There are plenty more photos from today on my Flickr.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Sutton Park.

A day out at Sutton Park was just the tonic for such a gloriously hot sunny day which took in a visit to Keepers Pool, Powell's Pool and Blackroot Pool as well as a visit to The Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary which is also situated in Sutton Park. I did also want a good walk around the copious amounts of heathland but I'd already walked for five hours, so at about 1:30 pm I had to give up the ghost and have some scran and by then I'd had enough what with the searing heat, I dare say I'll be back soon enough to have another good explore.

Highlight of the day had to be at the impressive Blackroot Pool which as you can see held a female Mandarin Duck which was very territorial and didn't particularly like the presence of the Mallards especially when there was any grain to be had. 

Juveniles wise highlights had to be seeing a flock of Coal Tit, many Song Thrush, many flocks of Blue Tit and Great Tit and a Great Crested Grebe, which is always a pleasure to see.

Birds seen were Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Swift, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mandarin Duck, Pekin Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Magpie, Great Crested Grebe (1), Duckling (28) and Coot (2).

I can never get over the free roaming cows at this location, they just saunter past you like your not even there and likewise you can walk up to them and they just take no notice of you, very strange for a city dweller.

If you know Sutton Park or more importantly the layout, The Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary are having their Summer Fair next Saturday (13th July 2013), between 11 am and 3:30 pm, which will include a barbeque, Stalls etc. as well as performance by the South Staffordshire Dog Team at 1:30 pm. You can have a good morning or afternoon birding and still check out the local Ass, sorry I mean Donkey's.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Newhall Valley Country Park.

Pink Sorbonne lily.

Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi).

Black Knapweed (Centaurea nigra).

Birds Foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).

Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar polysepalum).

Another trip to Newhall Valley Country Park in Sutton to check out the birds and Wildflower Meadows, this time not forgetting my camera.

Sutton Council have done an excellent job unlike Birmingham Council and left large swathes of land untouched by the dreaded lawnmower, they have just left paths to walk along so you can either get from a to b or you can be like me and just stop on one of the paths for half an hour and take in the wonder of some of our many wildflowers and also see the bees enjoying them. Especially nice to see were Ragged Robin, Black Knapweed, Birds Foot Trefoil, Oxeye Daisy and Forget Me Not's in the thousands if not the hundreds of thousands or even millions in three separate huge areas. For the record Birmingham Council go over any land regardless or not of what's growing there including blatantly destroying meadows full of wildflowers.

Highlight of the day was seeing two (or the same twice) flocks of Whitethroat fledglings along the Plants Brook along the same stretch of river there were two fine looking Moorhen chicks, I didn't see an adult bird with them so hopefully there were more chicks.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wren, Dunnock, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Goose and the following juveniles, Whitethroat, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Moorhen (2), Duckling (7) and Canada Goose (14).

I am by no means an expert but I have definitely seeing more fledglings than I saw last year in the very wet Spring, so with apparently a months good weather on the way let's hope there will be plenty more juvenile birds to come yet and just as importantly they have a good survival rate.