Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New Hall Mill Open Day, Sutton Coldfield.

Nice trip out to Sutton Coldfield yesterday to visit New Hall Mill on one of their few Open Days which has some lovely land with a mixture of habitats including water, a meadow and even a small ancient woodland. 

Being as the Mill is located in Newhall Valley Country Park I had a quick walk around there as well as the Plantsbrook to see if any Mallards had had any babies in the same location as they always do and indeed they had eight Ducklings approximately two weeks ago (according to the locals) and thankfully they still have eight and they all looked fine specimens. It was also great to see a flock of Blue Tit that must have had twenty or more juveniles in amongst them which must have been from two or three separate families. In the same location as the Ducklings I also saw a juvenile Chiffchaff foraging in the bushes overhanging the Plants Brook, which was a real treat to see.

In the Mills grounds there was a pair of Grey Wagtail feeding young in nests in the same outbuilding as the one I saw them in late April, on top of the building I also spotted a pair of juvenile Grey Wagtail so I presume some had fledged and some hadn't, in the building adjacent to that one there was also a Blue Tit nest which was being visited regularly by the adults.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mallard, Canada Goose as well  as the following juveniles, Duckling (8), Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Grey Wagtail as well as both Grey Wagtail and Blue Tits feeding young in nests.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Shustoke Reservoir.

Nice trip out to Warwickshire to visit Shustoke Reservoir which apart from being greeting with loads of KFC and Big John's litter, which was duly picked up by the way, was a great day out to be birding, what with birds singing, building nests, feeding young, plenty of butterflies about and all the flowers and plants in bloom.

Highlights of the day was seeing two separate Great Spotted Woodpecker adults feeding very noisy young in their nests, talking of noisy juvenile birds I also saw a pair of Great Tit adults feeding young in the adjacent tree of which I saw the second Great Spotted Woodpecker nest, it was also nice to see a Mute Swan on the nest in the Fly fishers Pool. As you should know by know I always love this time of the year when the fledglings are about and today I saw juvenile House Sparrow, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit and Starling.

Birds seen today were Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, House Martin, Swallow, Swift, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Duckling (15), Gosling (2), Coot (3), House Sparrow, Long Tailed Tit, Great Tit and Starling as well as nesting Mute Swan (1), Coot (2), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2) and Great Tit (1).

Butterflies seen today were Orange Tip, Green-Veined White, Small White and Peacock.

I passed by Gumbleberrys Pool in Stechford yesterday and even though I didn't have time to stop and didn't have my binoculars I had to pop in for 10 minutes to see what juvenile birds were there and as per usual Canada Geese Goslings are thriving here with thirty four Goslings counted as well as three juvenile Coots.

Also seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I also saw a male Mallard hopping about on one foot which really winds me up when I can guarantee it was done by 'fisherman' carelessly discarding fishing line, something which is commonplace here and I've noticed is on the rise more and more wherever I go, I always pick it up when I see it but more and more I'm noticing that the 'fishermen' seem to enjoy throwing it into inaccessible tree branches, it makes me so angry !

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Plantsbrook Nature Reserve.

Nice trip out to a very sunny and warm Plantsbrook Nature Reserve where I saw the resident Terrapin for the first time in about two years, not only that but I saw two for the first time ever and they were both loving bathing in the sunshine on the islands on the first pool, they have been a feature of UK waterways since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze in the late 1980s prompted a rush of people to buy them as pets, only to dump them in ponds and rivers when they grew too big for fish tanks, which is illegal by the way.

Bird wise it was great to see a juvenile Grey Heron present, I don't know what the parents were feeding it but it was the largest juvenile Grey Heron I've ever seen in fact it was bigger than most adults. It was also great to see the Mute Swan back in the nest, can't wait to see the Cygnets when they hatch.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Mallard as well as the following juveniles, Great Crested Grebe (3), Moorhen (3), Coot (23), Canada Goose (10) all from the same family, there was also the nesting Mute Swan.

Butterflies seen were Peacock and Green Veined White, also seen were Wild Blue Geranium wildflowers.

The ten Goslings I saw seemed to the love the heat the tarmac was giving off in the road just outside Plantsbrook, I relocated them on the grass, much to the annoyance of the adults, where hopefully they stayed.

The only downside was finding three roadkill as I was exiting the nature reserve, two Woodpigeon and a Grey Squirrel, all of which I relocated in amongst some Ivy in nearby Pype Hayes Park, unfortunately the road outside Plantsbrook, Eachelhurst Road, is very known for boy racer activity being as it's a long stretch of road, which is always going to be bad news for the wildlife there, one year I found two Fox cubs in week alone, chavvy scum !

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Kingsbury Water Park.

Trip out to Warwickshire today to a very warm and muggy Kingsbury Water Park that was full of bird song, flowers and juvenile waterfowl.

Juvenile waterfowl were the order of the day with forty five babies seen today including eleven very cute Greylag Geese juveniles ranging from different age ranges which can't be a bad thing, it was also great to see juvenile Great Crested Grebe, Goslings and Coot chicks, sadly I didn't see any Ducklings but with many islands and hiding places at this location I dare say there were plenty about anyway.

Along the River Tame which runs adjacent to the park there were many Sedge Warblers singing amongst the copious amounts of riverside vegetation who hopefully were all raising young as well, there was easily double numbers of Sedge Warbler, impossible to put a figure on the numbers but like I said there were plenty of them singing.

Also along the river it was great to see Sand Martin, House Martin and Swallow of which the House Martin definitely had young because I saw them feeding some very hungry youngsters in one of the exact same nests they always use, also observed feeding young were House Sparrow, Blackbird and Starling.

I also spotted a splendid looking male Whitethroat along the river which always a great sight.

Birds seen today were Sedge Warbler, Whitehroat, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juvenile birds, Greylag Geese (11), Goslings (23), Great Crested Grebe (5) and Coot (6).

Since my last upload it's been a bit of a baby boom in the garden, what with the juvenile Robins I've already mentioned I've now got  juvenile House Sparrows the first of what's hopefully many more to follow and juvenile Starlings hopefully soon there will also be juvenile Blackbirds and Tits. I've observed female Blackbirds collecting wet mud for their nests and flying back and forth from the garden with worms etc, so it shouldn't be long before I have juvenile Blackbirds in the garden.

I've also got at least one pair of Swift flying above the house but there should obviously be many more to come, very soon.

Also in the back garden I've got plenty of Red Mason Bees taking up residence in my Insect Boxes, they were going in the one in big numbers but ignoring the other one that is slightly in the shade so I moved it close to the other one and they were in that one also within seconds of me placing it in it's new location. Red Mason Bees (Osmia rufa) are safe with children and pets and are hugely beneficial to your garden as they are excellent pollinators of fruit trees, raspberries, strawberries and vegetables and are fond of a wide range of flowers and tree blossom.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Chester Road Canal, Erdington.

It's that time of the year again, namely time for a walk down Chester Road Canal to see if there are any baby birds about and thankfully I wasn't disappointed with six Moorhen chicks and Goslings spotted and seeing baby Starlings being frantically fed by their very busy parents, that's there home in the last picture.

Once you get past The Boat Inn at Minworth and enter more of a town/countryside habitat it's great to see and hear the sheer amount of House Sparrow and Starling, who must both number in the hundreds what with the established gardens, the canal, the farmers fields and old style houses it really is a great environment for them.

Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following young, Moorhen (6), Gosling (6) and Starling who were heard but not seen and a nesting Canada Goose.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Pype Hayes Park.

Nice early morning trip to a Pype Hayes Park that was bathed in sunshine.

Highlight of the day was watching a Grey Heron stalking and killing a mouse with maximum stealth precision, I did feel sorry for the mouse especially as it let a loud squeal when it was dispatched raper-like style, but that's nature. Highlights bird wise was seeing the young waterfowl including eight Ducklings on the pool and eight Ducklings on the Plants Brook, also seeing a male and female Blackcap collecting insects along the Brook presumably for some young and seeing House Sparrows collecting nesting material.

Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Blackcap (male and female), Chiffchaff, Starling, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following young, Duckling (16), Moorhen (1), Coot (1) and the following nesting birds, Great Crested Grebe (1) and Canada Goose (1).

I didn't manage to photograph any butterflies today but I did see Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Peacock and Speckled Wood varieties.