Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Brookvale Park, Erdington.

Quick one hour visit to Brookvale Park in Erdington after visiting Villa Park in nearby Aston to watch the First Team have an opening training session. Today's visit literally entailed having dinner in the Brookvale Park car park where as per usual at this location I had some of the local Grey Squirrel's for company, then it was off for a quick walk around the lake, which had the usual mixture of birds including the usual amount of c.50 Mute Swan, double numbers of Cormorant, plenty of assorted Ducks including three new arrivals, namely three Domestic Ducks and of course the sizable local House Sparrow population where still present.

Birds seen on today's very short visit were House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag/Domestic Hybrid, Domestic Duck and Canada Goose.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Newhall Valley Country Park, Sutton Coldfield.

Yet another unseasonably warm day today, so before the forecast-ed impending storms 'batter' us on Monday it was off to the always impressive sprawling 198 acres of green belt at Newhall Valley Country near Sutton Coldfield.

There wasn't a lot of bird activity today, usually at Newhall there are plenty of birds everywhere, unlike today where any birds seen were in small but still numerable pockets of birds, mainly mixed flocks of Tits and Finches, or Dunnocks and Robins in amongst the hedgerows. It was nice to see a pair of Nuthatch today for a change, who were both pecking away at the bark on some of the very old trees.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Nuthatch, Grey Wagtail, Jay, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Moorhen and Mallard.

Unfortunately there was also a deceased Moorhen, one of this years young, on the pool at the Newhall Valley Manor Hotel, impossible to tell how it met it's fate because there were no visible signs of injury, unlike a deceased Mouse I found with a cat hovering over it, needless to say I removed the poor Mouse and buried it elsewhere in amongst some leaf litter.

Nice to see the leaves falling from the trees with all the wonderful colours that the dead and dying leaves bring and of course there's also some wonderful varieties of Fungi to be found.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Solihull.

With the rain finally deciding to stop falling for a change, it was back to birding again, which was nice. So it was off to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve in Solihull where it was unseasonably warm, in fact towards midday it was like a hot Spring morning.

Sight of the day was seeing a flock of c.50 noisy Jackdaw flying overhead as I was taking the picture of the Magpies in a tree (in the last but one photo you can just see the Jackdaw appearing in the bottom right of the picture). Also in this area were two fighting Grey Heron, which is probably why the Magpies had congregated in the tree, there was also birds being flushed out of the trees and bushes with the commotion being created by the Grey Heron's squabbling, birds dispersing were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion Crow and Magpie, like I said the Grey Heron's were definitely upsetting the peace, hopefully the left each other alone in the end with neither one getting hurt.

With leaves dropping with a gusto now Autumn is in full swing it's nice to see Jay's and Grey Squirrel's gathering this years bumper crop of Acorns, talking of bumper crops, the fruit bearing trees and bushes did spectacularly well this year. I've said this before but apple trees that didn't have a single apple last year are this year laden with thousands of apples of which many hundreds have already fallen to the floor.  

On the water it's nice to see the return of Shoveler, Wigeon and Gadwall who even though are not that colourful in themselves they still add a splash of colour and character to the water. There was also double figures of Little Grebe on the lake, which is always good to see.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Jay, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Pype Hayes Park.

Early morning trip around Pype Hayes Park being as there was no sign of rain today where there was plenty of bird activity with the main hub of the bird action being in the trees in the large open grassland area with many birds present including .c80 Starling, c.100 Woodpigeon and many Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin and Blackbird, there were also plenty of birds in the gardens of Pype Hayes Hall Gardens with many Song Thrush, Blackbird, at least four Great Spotted Woodpecker and the resident Chaffinches being present. In the same but in the opposite corner I also saw today's prize spot namely that of a Green Woodpecker which I inadvertently scared off but in my defence I was leaving some windfall apple under the bushes for the Blackbirds etc, it also only the second time I've seen a Green Woodpecker at this location.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck and Mallard.

I now I've mentioned how the rescued Muscovy Duck is doing fine before but it really does look good now, it's fattened up quite a bit and where it had straggly and unkempt feathers before it now looks like a completely different bird and even comes straight over for food even though it stays on the outside of the feeding frenzy, let's hope he/she is around for a long while yet because it's brought a bit more character to the pool.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Meriden Park, Solihull.

I was going to stop with the Sparrowhawk bashing but it was the highlight/low point of today's visit to Meriden Park, whilst on the far side of the pool, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye happening on the grass, to my surprise a female Sparrowhawk had just swooped down and had a poor helpless juvenile Woodpigeon pinned to the ground and even though I know you shouldn't intervene with nature I couldn't help but scare the Sparrowhawk off, unfortunately when I went over to inspect the poor Woodpigeon it already had a wound on it's neck and couldn't or wouldn't fly away, so I tried to rescue it but it managed to walk and hide in some nearby hedgerow, hopefully it wasn't hurt too bad and was just stunned and eventually recovered and flew away. What did occur to me after all this drama had unfolded was that how many people would have just walked by and not even notice this amazing natural, if not gruesome spectacle happen right in front of their eyes, sad really how many people walk around the world blind to all the weird and wonderful sights that happen right before their eyes. 

Other great spots today on my brief ninety minute walk were a sighting of a Kingfisher on the nearby River Cole in the same location as a pair of foraging Grey Wagtail. It's also nice to see all the Grey Squirrels out and about foraging/burying nuts.

On my last visit in Mid July there were eight large and healthy Cygnets but today there were only four, whether four have flown off or been killed I have no idea only that there a pair of mating Black Mink reportedly nearby on the River Cole. 

Birds seen today were Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Jay, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Goose and Greylag/Canada Goose hybrid.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Morning trip to Plantsbrook Nature Reserve today where it was quiet bird wise apart from an abundance of water fowl on the two main pools which is not always the case at this location, in fact there was probably more Funghi to be seen than songbirds.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I also had a check on the two Foxes who I buried in a hidden place at Plantsbrook last year after being killed on the road, there is no sign of the one but the other has worked it's way to the surface, but I let it be being as it's out of harms way.

My nemesis, the Sparrowhawk, is now a daily visitor to the feeders in the garden and has had at least two House Sparrow in the last couple of days and had at least two unsuccessful attacks that I've witnessed. If it's not in the garden, it can be seen circling above the houses in my street, some people think I should be grateful to have a Sparrowhawk visiting the garden, they might think different when the House Sparrow numbers start dwindling just because they come into the garden for a bit of seed. I was filling the feeders up twice a day until about four days ago but not anymore the Sparrows seem reluctant to come at the moment and seem more wary than usual, which is a shame. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Shustoke Reservoir.

Yes, you did read the header right, it was back to Shustoke Reservoir today again after Wednesday's shenanigans, a day which started off sunny and went quite dark and overcast mid morning.

Bird wise it was very quiet, which wasn't helped either way with sailing boats out on the reservoir and people in boats fishing on the fly fishers pool saying that there were still plenty of songbirds present including an excellent mixed Tit flock in the bushes in the car park.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

The above picture is 140kg of Bucktons Wild Bird Seed, which is my birds in the garden sorted for the coming Autumn and Winter, I will always take some with me wherever I go and when I'm out birding so I can leave some food for our feathered friends to help them through the hard times.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Shustoke Resevoir.

Unfortunately, today ended up being a bit of non event because after about thirty minutes into today's trip to Shustoke Reservoir my two month old camera decided to have a lens error malfunction with the lens fully extended so I had to go back to the car where in the meantime it started to drizzle, so I just decided to give up, I should have known today was going to be different because when I was getting in the car to set off a Sparrowhawk was chasing a poor unfortunate songbird across the road at quite a speed, the Sparrowhawk then reappeared back across the road within half a minute hopefully without the poor bird.

For the record, birds seen on today's very short visit were Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.