Saturday, 30 November 2013

Canon Hill Park, Edgbaston.

Nice trip out to a lovely sunny Autumnal morning at Canon Hill Park in Edgbaston where there many wonderful colours to see with the leaves still dropping from the trees and of course many birds out and about foraging amongst the trees.

Sight of the day was yet again the lovely Redwing with approximately 70 flying in to feed in amongst the trees. It was also nice to see a flock of c.40 Goldfinch foraging among the many Alder trees at this location. Also seen today was a Kestrel being mobbed by a lone Carrion Crow.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Nuthatch, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Mallard and Canada Goose. 

As usual at this site there were many Grey Squirrels, not only that but they are also the most friendly ones I ever come across.

I took this photograph of one of Birmingham City Centre's Starling population, I think you'll agree he looks rather magnificent in his winter plumage.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Kingsbury Water Park.

It was off to Kingsbury Water Park in Warwickshire today even though when I set off it was very misty and foggy but I took  a chance anyway, which was a good decision because when the sun eventually came up it was a lovely day.

Highlight of the day was seeing c.200 Shoveler on the lake who were all together in one big circle and that was without the c.100 Shoveler who also flew overhead and the the other Shoveler who were scattered about the other pools. A close second to that was seeing c.150 Redwing feasting among the Rowan trees. It was also nice to see a Green Woodpecker at the exact location I've seen one twice before, like I say it was nice to see it even though it was being aggressively harassed by a male Blackbird. With the leaves fallen from most trees you could see a lot more songbirds today, which was nice. I also saw Collared Doves on two occasions today which was a nice treat because it's a great little bird which you don't see everytime you go out birding.

There was also a couple of sorry sights today, the first one being seeing a male Mallard with a broken wing, which is hard to see when there's nothing you can do about it, secondly it was seeing a one legged Mallard, saying that I saw him last year so he must be coping with his 'disability', thirdly it was seeing a on legged Moorhen, it was terrible to see it struggling to hop about especially when it is a 99% chance it was caused by some discarded fishing line from a selfish 'fisherman', which when I spoke to a Ranger he told me was an all to common problem here with everything from Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Great Crested Grebe and Water Rails all coming to harm thanks to the 'fisherman'. He was also telling me of all the work that's been done to attract Barn Owls, and Bats to this location will all be undone thanks to the destruction of this land when the HS2 is built and there will be 200mph trains tear arsing through this wonderful natural location and there's also the large number of Swans, Ducks and Geese who regularly fly through here especially at dawn and dusk, being as I'm on the subject of this terrible 'HS2 Project', if you want to get somewhere quicker just get up a little earlier, it's not rocket science, still it's just like anything else if the government want it they'll have it, all parties are the same once their noses are in the trough they only ever care about themselves.

Anyway, rant over, birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Pekin Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

River Cole. Hodge Hill.

Something a bit different today after Villa's glorious eventual display at West Brom yesterday after claiming a 2-2 draw after being 2-0 down after ten minutes, namely that of getting the bus to Burnley Lane in Stechford and walking an approximate four mile stretch of the River Cole mainly around the Hodge Hill area of Birmingham.

Highlight of day was seeing two separate flocks of c.50 Redwing at the same time, the first flock were at the top of Poplar trees whilst the other flock flew overhead. Also nice to see were the usual copious amounts of House Sparrow and Starling at this location especially when you were closer to the houses. Other birds seen in large amounts were Carrion Crow, who definitely numbered in the hundreds, Great Spotted Woodpecker, of which I could have seen ten separate individual birds and Grey Heron who numbered at least eight, either fishing on the banks of the River Cole, in trees or flying overhead. A bird seen in single figures but spotted twice was a Buzzard seen in two separate trees along the far side of River Cole observing what was going on below until on the first time I observed it when it was being harassed by a lone Carrion Crow from the tree down the river.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chafffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Redwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron and Mallard.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Shustoke Reservoir.

It was off to a nice crisp, frosty and sunny Shustoke Reservoir this morning where leaves are still falling all around and as the morning wore on the frost on the frosty grass that wasn't in the shade slowly melted away.

Spot of the day was seeing a Buzzard closing in a poor Blue Tit, fortunately for the Blue Tit it just managed to avoid the grasp of the Buzzard and dive into some trees and live to see another day. Other highlights was seeing .c100+ Lapwing at the waters edge upon arrival when the mist and clouds were still very low, at least ten Song Thrush scrapping loudly in a tree along the railway line and the all round bird activity in the woods at the far end of the reservoir which included Finches, Tits, Robins and Wrens etc.

Birds seen today were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I also decided to go just past the reservoir to a farmers field to have a look at his Kunekune Pigs and it was well worth the trip, being as they are such fine looking beasts.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shard End Lake.

A trip out to Shard End Lake today partly for a change and partly because I had planned to go to Shustoke Reservoir but after a full days rain like yesterday large parts of the best birding territory would have been been largely impassable, so Shustoke is now down for Saturdays visit instead. Anyway, back to today which was a visit to Shard End Lake and a walk along a two mile stretch of the River Cole.

With Autumn now in full swing and the leaves dropping at a great rate there is definitely a much greater chance of seeing Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Dunnocks among the bare tree and hedgerows, which is probably why I saw many more Dunnock in one day than I've see in a while, which was nice being as the Dunnock is a massively underrated little brown bird, they have loads of charisma if you take out the time to observe them. As per usual at this site there were plenty of House Sparrow and Satrling present. On the water it was nice to see a small gathering of Shoveler, another bird which I love to take the time out and observe.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sutton Park.

Trip out to Sutton Park today even though there was an omnipresent threat of rain from the moment I was filling up the bird feeders in the back garden at 7.00 a.m. until I'd actually finished my visit to Sutton Park at 1.00 p.m.but thankfully despite a bit of light drizzle it didn't rain and the decision to go birding was thankfully the right one.

Highlights of the day were seeing four (two male and two female) Bullfinch feeding in an Ash tree, seeing a flock of .c50 Siskin feeding in amongst a bunch of Alder trees and also flying overhead and seeing a good flock of c.100 Starling also flying overhead.

Birds seen were Kestrel, Siskin, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Canada Goose.

Unfortunately apart from the ever present Blackbird I didn't see a single Thrush today which was a shame because with this wonderful mixed habitat I thought I would see plenty of Redwing, Fieldfare and Song Thrush today.

What I did see plenty of was Fungi, especially the wonderful Fly Agaric, which of which I must have seen at least fifty today which was a pleasant surprise because I only normally find small clumps of them unlike today where I spent a good thirty minutes photographing them at one spot alone.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Sheldon Heath Country Park.

It was off to Sheldon Heath Country Park today which also entailed a visit to the Old Rectory Farm and the obligatory stop off at the public runway at the Birmingham International Airport. 

There wasn't that many birds about really apart from hundreds of Crows, Magpies and Gulls on the grassland between the runway and the Farm. If you live in or near Birmingham and your unfortunate enough not to have House Sparrows in your garden or don't see them very often, then I suggest you give the Old Rectory Farm a visit because there are hundreds at this location, when you go near the cow or pig sheds you literally have to duck down to avoid them flying in and out, also with there being plenty of hedgerows about, they are literally everywhere and actually make quite a racket with there constant chirping, which is great to see and hear. The only letdown with the Farm is the people that work there, to say they are ignorant is an understatement, you can't even get an 'hello' out of them, still, each to their own.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon and Feral Pigeon. 

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Lady Bradford's, Castle Bromwich.

Trip out to Lady Bradford's in Castle Bromwich today where strangely enough I'd already anticipated the highlight of the day before I'd even arrived, namely that of seeing a pair of Goldcrest, for some reason as soon as the weather starts going cooler you'll always find at least one pair of Goldcrest at this location and today thankfully didn't disprove that theory. Other highlights included seeing large numbers of Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Starling and a flock of c.50 Redwing. There was also a good number of Nuthatch about. Another spot was that of seeing a Woodpigeon fly past me me like the clappers with a Sparrowhawk in hot pursuit, I have no idea if the Woodpigeon escaped the Sparrowhawks clutches, but hopefully it did. Also seen today was a Buzzard when I entered the site, which I had inadvertently spooked as it was sitting on the branches at the extremity of tree which overlooks the grassland, nine times out of ten you'll see a Buzzard here so I guess it must be resident here.

Another highlight of visiting Lady Bradford's in the Autumn is the amazing amounts of Fungi to be found and today was no exception with over one hundred photographs taken today of many different varieties.

Birds seen today were Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Carrion Crow and Magpie.