Saturday, 25 January 2014

Newhall Valley Country Park.

After rain all last night in Birmingham it was nice to get up and see it was dry which meant I was off to Newhall Valley Country Park in Sutton where even though it was overcast it was actually very mild the only problem was nearly losing your boots in the flooded fields.

Highlight of day was hearing all the bird song, which was very strange for Winter's day, the Song Thrush in particular were very vocal and seemed to be competing with each other to be the loudest in their territory. The Tits and Finches in particular were also having a good old sing song. Also strange to see were Snowdrops, I know it does happen in mild Winters like were having now but when you consider snow was on the floor this time last year, Snowdrops were a welcome sight.

Highlight of the day bird spotting wise was seeing a flock of c.20 Siskin foraging amongst the river where there was also mixed Tit and Finch flocks. I also saw another flock of Siskin on a completely different part of the river around two hours later but they could have obviously been the same flock I observed earlier in the day.

Birds seen were Siskin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose.

If you read my previous post and I stated my 'Fungus' find was Crystal Brain Fungus I've now decided it was Star Jelly instead and that it's not even a Fungus in fact nobody now's what it is theories have ranged from the substance being the remains of frogs, toads, or worms, an animal excretion, 'star snot' from meteorites, to the byproducts of cyanobacteria, to the paranormal, Reports of the substance date back to the 14th century and have continued to the present day.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sutton Park.

Even though the rain looked like it might grace us with it's unwanted presence I decided to go ahead with my long overdue and planned trip to the huge and always excellent Sutton Park and my decision was vindicated even though the trip consisted of overcast skies which turned to beautiful blue skies then back to overcast and then back again to blue skies when it did eventually decide to rain I was already back at the car having lunch.

Spot of the day was easy today, namely that of a stunning pair of Goldcrest, also was a great sighting of a pair of Stonechat (male and female), and some lovely Lesser Redpoll were also in the locale. All the previous spots were seen amongst an area of Gorse, Ferns and Birch and Alder trees, also present in large numbers were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch and Greenfinch, it really was a purple patch for seeing songbirds in such a relatively small area with birds numbering around one hundred, foraging in the trees, bushes and on the ground.

Birds seen today were Goldcrest, Stonechat, Lesser Redpoll, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.

The only downside from today was that apart from Blackbirds I didn't see a single Thrush, which was a shame because I thought Redwing, Fieldfare and Song Thrush were certain spots for today, maybe the unseasonably warm weather didn't help.

One bonus today was finding some Crystal Brain Fungus as mentioned on last nights Winterwatch Unsprung, it was spotted on the ground in the grass, it was could to the touch and obviously just like jelly, a rare and pleasant find.

*The find was actually Star Jelly.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Today it was off to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve in Solihull on a very mild Winters day, where the day started off in the car park with a cup of coffee and gingerbread men waiting for it to get light.

To say the water levels were high around the lake and the adjacent River Cole would be an understatement, the lake was approximately six foot closer to the grass than normal, with the newly created and established reeds beds almost completely swamped and the island almost completely under water which is particularly bad news for the poor old Domestic Geese. The River Cole was flowing at a ferocious rate and easily four foot higher than normal, thankfully all this rain isn't occurring during the breeding season when either the eggs would get washed away or worse the young birds separated from the parents in the fast flowing water, something which I've unfortunately witnessed more than once over the years.

Apart from the weather being good for the waterfowl, highlights of the day included seeing a Green Woodpecker, which was once quite a rarity at this location but thankfully is more of a common occurrence now, other highlights were seeing a flock of c.50 Goldfinch foraging in amongst Silver Birch trees also seeing some Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Reed Bunting, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Redwing, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Goosdander, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.

If you read this blog you shouldn't need reminding, either way don't forget it's the RSPB Big Garden Watch next weekend (the 25th and the 26th of January)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Pype Hayes Park.

What with an illness, the terrible weather and a hugely enjoyable concert from Black Sabbath, today was unbelievably my first birding trip since 18th of December 2013, how people stay in the house day after day when they're fit and healthy is beyond me. Still it's nice to be back out birding again and seeing what nature has on offer.

Highlight of the day had to be seeing a flock of c.100 Redwing flying from tree to tree foraging for food. Also nice to see on my return from my birding hiatus were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, House Sparrow, Wren, Pied and Grey Wagtails as well as loads of friendly Robins and also seeing the Muscovy Duck still resident on the fishing pool. Needless to say it was great to see all the birds out and about foraging. The only downside of the visit was hearing that one of last years Cygnets has apparently been drowned by the Mute Swan Cob which doesn't bode well for the two remaining birds hopefully they'll fly off soon and be fine finding their own way.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose.