Thursday, 31 July 2014
Another nice trip out today this time to Warwickshire for a long overdue visit to Shustoke Reservoir where it was very sunny and hardly a cloud in the sky.
Quite a few highlights today, firstly, if you've read this blog before you'll know that I've previously mentioned that the waterfowl have a torrid time breeding at this location because there isn't really anywhere suitable for them to nest apart from the netting that hold the buoys to keep the yachts in check of which invariably make the nests sink when it's too windy or rains heavily so it really was great to see two Little Grebe and two Great Crested Grebe chicks on the water and a Great Crested Grebe on the nest which may still successfully breed if there's no inclement weather soon. Also nice to see were three healthy looking Cygnets who even though were seen on the Reservoir actually had their nest on a metal grate on the Fly Fishers Pool.
Juvenile songbird are always a pleasure to see but it's always especially pleasing to see a Whitethroat juvenile especially when one almost sits on your shoulder when I was by the adjacent Water Orton Railway line, there was also double number of Pied Wagtail and the odd juvenile Goldfinch along the waters edge, also along the waters edge was a Common Sandpiper which despite it's name I don't see very often.
Birds seen today were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Wren, Robin, House Martin, Swallow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Cygnet (2) and Great Crested Grebe (2).
Needless to say but with the sun out there was an abundance of Butterflies on the wing, the following species were spotted, Small Blue, Small Copper, Green-Veined White, Small White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and Speckled Wood.
In the back garden there's been good and bad news in the past couple of days, firstly the good, I was cleaning the birdbaths and feeders of which meant I had to remove a hanging globe seed feeder, clean it and then replenish it with mealworms and plenty of sunflower hearts, so I did this which took about five minutes, when all done I went to hang it back in the apple tree and literally waiting on the branch below where it hangs was a juvenile Coal Tit possibly only a few days old, it didn't even leave the tree while I was there and presumably was feeding as soon as my back was turned, there has also been a surge of Blackbird juveniles many of whom are very social, even letting you walk right up to them. And so we get to the bad, there has been two adult and a juvenile Collared Dove visiting the garden to eat the seed I leave in bird seed cups which is actually meant for the House Sparrows but I don't mind as I love Collared Doves and their temperament, sadly I noticed the juvenile was hopping about on the lawn yesterday with the affected foot/leg not looking too good, hopefully it's nothing too drastic and will make a quick recovery, rest assured I'll keep feeding him/her up.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Today was time for another visit to Shard End Lake which also took in a walk along a stretch of the Himalayan Balsam saturated River Cole.
Spot of the day had to be seeing a lone leucistic Magpie, it was so predominately white that I thought it was albino but apparently not it was leucistic with it being all white apart from where the feathers should be white they were actually a very light grey, it kept jumping onto the ground from a tree but any movement it flew straight back into the tree, it was much more coy than your normal Magpie maybe because it's been shunned by other Magpie for being different, just a pity I couldn't get a photo or video.
Also great to see were hundreds of House Martin flying above the lake, as well as plenty over the nearby shopping centre and adjacent houses were they have made their home for many years now even after the old houses were demolished and the new ones erected.
Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Feral Pigeon, House Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron and Moorhen.
Spot of the day Butterfly wise had to be seeing a Small Blue in the wildflower meadow, what a great looking butterfly. Butterflies seen today were Small Blue, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Green-Veined White, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Small Skipper. Also nice to see were hundreds of Cinnabar Moth Caterpillar feasting on the many Ragwort that adorn the fields and riverside.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
Nice trip over to Castle Bromwich to visit Lady Bradford's which if you don't know the area is the strip of land adjacent to Castle Bromwich Hall and Gardens.
Even though it was a nice visit large parts of the land were completely unacceptable due to the vegetation growing out of control, this land is left completely unmanaged, the only intervention being by arsonists and litter droppers of which I picked up a substantial amount today, I was even congratulated by a local who walks past the litter every day ! Anyway the vegetation was mainly overgrown Hawthorn completely blocking the paths, it was even eight foot high in places. The upside though is that if I couldn't get to the land neither could anyone else thus leaving it to the birds, wildlife and plants, where my path was cut off I could see that the Teasel was in full flourish which is good news for the Finches.
In the Great Spotted Woodpecker nest in one of the photos you can see, at least two juveniles have fledged, which is good news, even if they are noisy little devils, talking of noisy juveniles there was also c.10 Jay making an almighty racket high up in the trees in a very wooded area, they were probably from one very large family or more likely a couple of families.
The juvenile frog pictured, was very lucky I didn't tread on it, needless to see it was put back safely on the floor and I then left the area where it/they were.
Birds seen were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie as well as the following juveniles, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Robin.
Butterflies seen today were Peacock, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood,Green Veined White, Small White, Small Skipper, there were also plenty of the day flying Moth, Small White Wave around, mainly being disturbed by the vegetation that I was disturbing.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
Nice early trip over to Solihull for a visit to Meriden Park whilst also taking in a walk along the adjacent Colebank Nature Reserve before it got too hot.
Highlight had to be seeing a Kingfisher for the first time in ages, as per usual it was a very brief but still wonderful sighting, still nice to see plenty of juvenile songbirds about especially an abundance of Tits.
Along Colebank Nature Reserve there are some great parts of land that are semi wildflower meadow where there are normally plenty of Musk Mallow and Field Scabious, even though I didn't see any today I took a slightly different route to usual but all the same there was plenty of Butterflies out and about feeding in the sunshine with all the following species seen in about an hour, Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Small White, Small Skipper as well as the daytime Moth, Five Spot Burnett, thank God for wildflower meadows !
Birds seen today were Buzzard, Kingfisher, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swift, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose, Domestic/Greylag hybrid Goose as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot.
Sadly though there were no Cygnets present even though the adult pair on the pool were sitting on eggs back in April, apparently they did have young but they 'disappeared', maybe the urban Fox pictured had something to do with it, as sad as that would be I'd still prefer that than 'human' intervention.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
Nice early trip out to Sutton to visit the ever wonderful Newhall Valley Country Park.
Highlight of the day is a tough one today in fact it's impossible to choose so it's going to have to be a draw between seeing juvenile Wren and Nuthatch who ironically were seen in exactly the same place but separate sides of a patch adjacent to the Plants Brook, there was loads of movement in the bushes which upon investigation just happened to be a flock/family of Wren including many juveniles, when I was looking at them I heard the familiar sound of the Nuthatch so I had a look and was surprised to see two adults and at least four juvenile Nuthatch, there could have been more but they were high up scurrying about a tree with plenty of leaf cover.
Also great to see was still the huge amount of juvenile birds around of which I'll detail at the end of post.
By the Hotel the council have left the grass on the hill unmown again and the wildflower looks fantastic again, with plenty of different and varied plants present.
Birds seen were Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Nuthatch, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Moorhen, Mallard Duckling, Canada Goose Gosling plus I also saw and heard a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker at the end of my road when I was leaving this morning, the first time I've ever seen one in my road.
Butterflies seen today were Small Skipper (hundreds of them), Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small White.
I don't if you check my Flickr but I've also set up a new YouTube account where I'll be uploading plenty of birding and wildlife videos as well as my Emergency Service Vehicle videos plus anything else I find interesting.
Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Made the trip out to Solihull today for a visit to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve where the highlight of the day was either seeing a flock of Whitethroat including many juveniles who were foraging amongst the bushes in between the lake and the River Cole or seeing a Little Grebe on the nest, something I don't see very often, I couldn't believe how small it was, there was only just enough room for the bird to sit on, let's hope any rainfall doesn't destroy this wonderful little birds nest.
It was also great to see the three Cygnets seen on my visit last month looking fit and healthy.
Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Song Thrush, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe,Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Cygnet, Moorhen, Coot, Duckling, Whitethroat and House Sparrow.
On Sunday I was going to Perry Barr Fire Station Open Day so before that I decided to go to the nearby Brookvale Park in Witton were birds spotted were House Sparrow (in the usual large numbers), Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose, Domestic/Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Mallard Ducklings.
I was only there about half an hour and I commented that there were no Cygnets even though there were two separate Mute Swan nests on my last visit and there wasn't any juvenile birds or even birds going into adulthood so I asked a local couple who told me that the Council had left all the nettles and brambles all around the lake to deter any would be 'people' who would do harm to the birds and their eggs but sadly it was to no avail becuase both Mute Swan nests and their eggs were destroyed along with any nests or eggs that could be found, I would personally thow these bastards in the brambles if I caught them and watch them suffer, the only upside was eventually seeing two seperate families of Mallard Ducklings consisting of three in one family and four in another amybe they only avoided the slaughter because it's much harder to find Mallard nests.
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
I decided to go to Plantsbrook today to see if the Mute Swan Cygnets have arrived yet and indeed they have with six fit and healthy Cygnets present and correct in fact they made their presence immediately as I'd arrived at the pool the nest was on, let's hope they make it to adulthood unlike the last two years when only two have made it into the new year.
Other than that the main highlight was seeing plenty of Blackcap juveniles amongst trees and shrubs overhanging the water, judging by the number of juveniles which numbered in double figures there must have been two families present, there was also a flock of juvenile Blue and Great Tits in the same area.
Birds seen today were Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Starling, Great Spotted Woopdecker, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Magpie, Cygnet, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen and Coot.
Unfortunately there was also the remains of a Canada Goose on one of the paths, going by the way the poor bird had been dragged around and the fact there were feathers were everywhere at least it was probably a Fox kill and not done by humans, that sadly was not the first kill I saw of the day because when I went into the back garden to replenish the bird feeders and top the bird baths with clean water etc. there was the remains of a poor House Sparrow, yet again going on the way the feathers were strewn about the lawn it was a Sparrowhawk kill and not a cat, I always hate to see the loss of even one House Sparrow especially if it is a juvenile.
Getting back to Plantsbrook the main piece of grass has been left uncut for the second year running which has let the Birds Foot Trefoil, Wild Blue Geranium and Cow Parsley flourish, which is great for all the birds and butterflies etc, it was especially nice to see the Birds Foot Trefoil which is not a wildflower you see a lot of and there was a lot of it here with maybe thousands of flowers present.
Thursday, 3 July 2014
Nice trip out to Kingsbury Water Park where it started off cool with a nice breeze but eventually turned into blazing hot sunshine, ironically I was supposed to be going to Newhall Valley Country Park today but the traffic was horrendous going that way so I decided to head in the opposite direction instead.
Highlight of the day had to be seeing a Bar Headed Goose on the main lake, to be honest I didn't know what it was until I got home and looked it up, it is clearly a non native bird originating from Central Asia and as far as Iknow this was probably a captive bird that has somehow escaped, it was great to see it amongst the Greylag Goose however it managed to get there.
Yet again it was great to see juvenile birds, great in species and number, I must have seen eighty plus Canada Goose Goslings both on the lakes and the adjacent River Tame, also nice to see were juveniles ranging from Great Crested Grebe to Tits to Willow Warbler to Jackdaw to Black Headed Gull and especially pleasing was watching juvenile Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail and Goldfinch foraging on the waters edge all within a few feet of one another.
Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Duck, Bar Headed Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Willow Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Jackdaw, Black Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Cygnet, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose and Mallard Ducklings.
Butterflies seen today were Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small White, in the photos you will also notice I saw Peacock Caterpillars of which numbered in the hundreds and were feeding on the mamy stinging nettles that adorn the banks of the River Tame, the stinging nettles further on down the river were also a popular foraging ground for the many House Sparrow that call the lakes and the nearby houses home.
Not a great photo but proof that I did indeed see a Bar Headed Goose today.
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Today was about time I paid a visit to Pype Hayes Park especially with the nice sunny weather and it was lucky I did because there were plenty of juvenile birds around including Song Thrush of which I can say I've never seen so many in one place, I'd say there were between thirty and forty, possibly more though because apart from the countless birds foraging on the grass there were still plenty more flying from tree to tree.
It was still nice to see plenty of waterfowl juveniles but I didn't get a 'head' count today because I was too busy chewing the fat with some of the locals.
I haven't been to this park since the third of May but I did notice a Great Crested Grebe still on the nest, I say still on the nest I presume it's another nest and they lost the last chicks to a Grey Heron or the many Corvid's that are resident in and around the park, last year they didn't successfully raise any young and sadly I can't see this year being any different.
Birds seen were Buzzard, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Magpie, Starling, Duckling, Moorhen, Canada Goose and Black Headed Gull.