Saturday, 31 December 2016

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

On the last day of 2016 I thought it would be an ideal time for another visit to Southfields Farm in Coleshill, a bit more gloomy and overcast on my previous birding trips out of late but that's never stopped me before.

Highlight of the day is the farm and the fields themselves, if anybody ever wants to see how a farmer can earn a living and still look after the wildlife and nature that inhabit the area then John's farm is a prime example, wildflowers left to flourish, hedgerows cut to a minimum and at the right times, planting bird friendly plants all year around and supplying supplementary food for the birds in winter, this location really is a pleasure to visit at any time of the year.

Birding wise the highlights were seeing hundreds of House Sparrow in and around the outhouses and nearby hedgerows, a lone but magnificent looking Yellowhammer (what a bird !), a female Blackcap, hundreds of Linnet again but this time in a different field and two large flocks of birds, one being .c50 Redwing and c.40 Goldfinch, also seen were, three Buzzard hunting in the same field, just unfortunate it was same field that held most of the Linnet.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Blackcap (female), c.200 Linnet, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, c.40 Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, .c50 Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail and Mallard (flying overhead).

Also over the last week I've had a Grey Wagtail visiting the garden on a daily basis which appears to be feeding on the scarps of fat dropping from one of the suet blocks which the Starlings are destroying and for the last two days I've seen a female Blackcap feeding on the apples left out for the birds during winter, I've also still got the Sparrowhawk visiting but it's kills seem to be less than they have been earlier in the yeat.

I hope everybody who takes the time out to read this blog had a Merry Christmas and I'd like to wish you A Happy New Year, here's to another years birding and observing all the wonderful delights that nature has to offer in 2017 !

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Pype Hayes Park.

Great morning for a spot of birdwatching today, the weather forecast was limited visibility due to mist/fog, what a load of rubbish that turned out to be because it was a glorious crisp and cold morning without a single cloud in the sky. 

Highlights including the sighting of a Little Egret, a Kestrel hunting near the golf course and seeing and hearing many songbirds.

Even though the pool was mainly frozen over there were still large areas for the waterfowl to enjoy, the Mallards, Coots and Moorhens certainly didn't enjoy walking on the ice, it was a shame watching them slipping and sliding all over the place but still comical all the same.

Great to see so many Moorhen along the Plants Brook including many of this juveniles, just a pity they won't be visible come the Spring/Summer when the non native and evasive Himalayan Balsam once again takes it's stranglehold along the riverbank.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Jay, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Muscovy Duck and Canada Goose.

I've said this on many occasions but it really is great to see the Muscovy Duck that was rescued from a bad owner by the RSPCA and relocated to the pool doing so well, the transformation from a scared and bedraggled bird to the magnificent and confident bird that it is now is amazing.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Shustoke Reservoir.

Nice walk around Shustoke Reservoir and the fly-fishers pool today which just happened to be the best day of the week so far, with the weather being very clement and yet again it was nice to be blessed with blue skies and lovely Autumnal sunshine.

As you can see by the photos the reservoir is very low, in fact it's the lowest I've ever seen seen it, not that the waterfowl seemed to mind though, at least it wasn't frozen over for them, the numbers on the water were also very low but it was good to see Goosander, Pochard and good numbers of Little Grebe, the fly-fishers pool there was a fair number of waterfowl with plenty of Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, a pair of Mute Swan and a small number of Wigeon.

Highlight if the day was seeing a mixed flock of .c50 Goldfinch and Siskin, I didn't actually see the Siskin at first becaue I just thought it was a flock of Goldfinch, always great to see Siskin which I think is a very underrated bird which certainly can't be said for one of the other highlights of today, namely that of the wonderful Goldcrest, yet again I was alerted to their presence by their wonderful little song, always a pleasure to see them foraging among trees, just before the end of the walk which is along grassland adjacent but not accessible to the reservoir where you very rarely see anything different from the norm but today that was a little different with a Green Woodpecker and a flock of c.30 Linnet present, hard to put a number on the number of Linnet because they were going from the trees, onto the grass and back to the trees at a fair rate.

Birds seen today were, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Linnet, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Goosander, Wigeon, Pochard, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck and Mallard, also notable by their absence were Canada Goose, with not a single one observed.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Pype Hayes Park.

Nice yet again to be blessed with clear blue skies to go with the lovely frosty Autumnal morning. 

Highlight of the day was easy again today, namely that of the sighting of a pair of Goldcrest, they were drawn to to my attention by the lovely song they have, also in the same wooded area were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Robin, how wonderful to see so many songbirds in such a small area. The main area of the park was adorned by many vocal Song Thrush, as well as Blackbirds, Carrion Crows and Magpies, all of whom loved the apples that I took for them, it's always a pleasure to take food out for the wild birds especially when natural food is scarce, on the pool the Mallards and Coots loved the wild bird seed I took for them, the Mute Swans and Canada Geese looked disappointed but they won't get bread from me all the same.

The Kestrel pictured was also the last spot of the day, what a wonderful looking bird, it was nice to get some decent photos of it, just a shame my camera battery died when I was taking a video.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Muscovy Duck and Mallard.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Southfield's Farm, Coleshill.

Great morning to go to Southfield's Farm in Coleshill this morning with it being nice and frosty and with amazing clear blue skies and you won't hear me say this very often but wow, the highlights from today were truly amazing.

Easy place to start today, the amazing sight of at least three hundred Linnet, that might sound like an exaggeration but if anything it's an underestimation, they were everywhere feeding in field that has been winter seeded for the benefit of wintering birds by John who owns the farm, there were that many that when they flew up into nearby trees they actually blocked out the sun, it was easily one of the best sights I've ever seen and it was pleasure and privilege to have witnessed it, also in around the same area there were, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Corn Bunting and Reed Bunting and if that wasn't enough at one end of the field there were at least two hundred Redwing and the other end of the same field there were at least two hundred Fieldfare many of whom were having a bath in a large patch of water that was defrosting in the sunshine, again they are conservative estimates because they were present in huge numbers, as well as the birds you could obviously see, there were some further down in the bushes and trees and also ones nearer that you couldn't see properly but could either hear or see moving around, to see so many Linnet, Redwing and Fieldfare without having to move is something I will very rarely experience ever again, great to be in the right place at the right time, there was also a sizeable number of Song Thrush in among the Fieldfare flock.

It was also brilliant to see and hear so many House Sparrow especially around the farms outbuildings, great to see them in numbers more akin to days gone by.

Birds seen today were, c.300 Linnet, Yellowhammer, Siskin, Corn Bunting, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, c.200 Redwing, c.200 Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Mute Swan and Moorhen.

It was also a pleasure to see and speak to John the owner of the farm who does great work to encourage the birds and wildlife to thrive in and around the farm especially at this time of the year, it was nice to give him an update of the birds seen today, you do great work sir, I hope you enjoy reading this report from today's visit to your wonderful farm.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Kingsbury Water Park.

I was originally going to visit Kingsbury Water Park tomorrow but went today instead which even though it was great to visit it didn't stop raining, the rain doesn't bother me per se but it's not ideal for birding especially as like today it was that horrible fine rain which is never great news for the binoculars, either way the flooding of the paths would probably have been the same today as tomorrow, after navigating my way around the lakes and having to wade through three separate paths which were heavily flooded but my luckily trusty boots didn't let me down, I ended up almost at my starting point but the paths were completely flooded and impassable so I had to walk all the way back around which was annoying to say the least, still great to get out and about and sample all the goodness that Kingsbury Water Park has to offer.

Highlight of the day was easy today, namely that of a flock of c.50 Linnet flying directly over my head into a clump of Silver Birch, they were also joined in the flock by many Blue and Long Tailed Tit, this ironically happened straight after the low light of the day which was seeing many Greylag Goose with angel wing, some even were affected on both wings, which is a crying shame because they were all this years juveniles and no doubt happened when people were feeding them white bread while they were still developing, I find it terrible that theses poor birds will never be able to fly because uneducated people insist on feeding them bread. Back to happier sightings, it was great to see many Mute Swan present which included a lot of this years juveniles, there were also plenty of Little Egret and Gadwall seen around the lakes.

Birds seen today were, c.50 Linnet, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Balckbird, Woopdpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.

Great time of the year to visit your local park or nature reserve or even go further afield, so make the effort and go out and enjoy this country's wonderful nature and wildlife.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Shard End Lake.

Nice to get out on a lovely Autumnal morning blessed with clear blue skies and sunshine.

Somebody or people had clearly been naughty this morning what with the police helicopter, unmarked cars and even seeing a police dog handler out looking for an offender or offenders, too many scumbags about these days.

Anyway back to the all important birding, again like Wednesdays visit to Babbs Mill Nature Reserve I was hoping to see Shoveler or maybe Goosdander on the lake, sadly there was neither just the normal waterfowl you'd expect to see, which none the less were still great to see. Highlight of the day was the highly sight and and sound of four Sparrowhawk flying overhead, I've never seen that many flying together before and they were certainly very loud.

Birds seen today were, Sparrowhawk, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Jay, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magoie, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Domestic Duck.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Solihull.

Great walk around Babbs Mill Nature Reserve in Solihull this morning in the lovely Autumnal sunshine, what great time of the year to be out and about rather than constantly complaining it's cold, it's lovely people, so make the effort and get up and go out and enjoy nature and wildlife which has the added bonus of being good for your well being, helps keep you fit and active and last but not least, it's free !

I was hoping to see some Shoveler and Goosander on the lake, sadly I didn't see any but it was great all the same to see a small colony of Eurasian Teal, also on the lake there were at least three Grey Heron while on the River Cole there was a nice sighting of a pair of Little Egret, in the wooded areas there were plenty of Jay spotting collecting acorns, other than the birds seen it was a pleasure to see plenty of Fungi adorning Yorks Wood, at least when the bees, butterflies and wildflowers are gone there are many varieties of Fungi and Toadstools to go out and find.

Birds seen today were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Goose and Canada Goose.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Middleton Lakes, RSPB Nature Reserve.

Great to pay Middleton Lakes a long overdue visit today, same old story, we got there and had the car park to ourselves, the bonus of that being we also had the reserve to ourselves for a good couple of hours before we even saw a human being and hence nobody to flush any birds out from were they were.

Highlights of the day were getting up close and personal to the birds by the bridge where people leave mealworms etc, birds there were Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Dunnock and on the way back a male Pheasant appeared very briefly, I say briefly because dog walkers and their dogs scared it off, bloody inconsiderate humans ! Songbird of the day was the sighting of not one Treecreeper but a whole flock of them near the farmers field but that didn't detract from the sighting of plenty of humble House Sparrow, water fowl wise it was great to see a Water Rail near the bird feeders but unfortunately about six fighting Grey Squirrels scared it back into the reeds hence ruining any photo opportunity, also nice to see where plenty of Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Shelduck, Gadwall, Widgeon, Teal, Greylag Geese and one of my favourite water birds, the great looking Shoveler, it was also pleasure to see so many Grey Heron and Little Egret on the reserve.

Birds seen today were, Kestrel, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pheasant (Cock), Cormorant, Water Rail, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Widgeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose.