Thursday, 28 April 2016

Plamtsbrook Nature Reserve.

Today's visit to Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve near Erdington was another one of those strange days where even though the sun was out and there were clear blue skies there was still a frost.

Highlight of the day was just making it to this location, I used to go at least once a fortnight but because of the nightmarish roadworks surrounding the area I haven't been since August last year, well worth it today to see three ducklings and juvenile Coots. 

It was nice to it was about as litter free as can possibly be which was a credit to whoever is responsible, the only downside was the sporadic amounts of vandalism which included a viewing platform that was erected last year having the top rail completely dismantled. 

Also worrying to see was the poor choice of nesting sites by some of the Coots including one which is practically on the path, hopefully I'm reading too much into it and they'll be fine but knowing the people that frequent this location at night I doubt it. I aslo couldn't see where the Mute Swan has nested this year, hopefully that's because it's well hidden and there's not one on the nest at all.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Blackcap (male), Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, House Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Muscovy Duck and Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Coot (3) and Mallard Duckling (3) and the following nesting birds, Coot (9) and Great Crested Grebe (1). 

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Kingsbury Water Park.

Great trip to Kingsbury Water Park in North Warwickshire with mainly lovely blue skies but a lot cooler that it seemed.

Highlights of the day were seeing eight very cute Greylag Goose Goslings, a Great Crested Grebe juvenile, seeing and hearing a Sedge Warbler singing along the only stretch of habitat that's been left for them along the river, it was also great to see Swallows and House Martins swooping over the water and flying high in the air, for some reason there was an awful lot of male Chaffinch singing today which was a pleasure to hear wherever I went.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Sedge Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, House Martin, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose as well as the following birds on the nest, Mute Swan (1), Coot (2) and Canada Goose (2).

I've stated my displeasure to the relevant parties about ripping out the Sedge Warblers habitat along the river but as previously stated it's fell on deaf ears, as was my pointing out that it was unnecessary to chop down hundreds of trees and brambles, hedgerow etc, from around the lakes edges and adjacent paths, I was told this was because it would then be easier for people to view the water but in my opinion the trees etc, are there for the wildlife to nest, feed from and use for cover which was evident today where a Coot nest was left sadly exposed because it was located were there would have been a tree overhanging it previously, the setting up of the new reed beds is definitely a good thing though saying that. 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Meriden Park and Cole End Bank, Solihull.

Great morning birding in the early morning sunshine at Meriden Park and Cole End Park Local Nature Reserve in Solihull, always nice to get up at the crack of dawn and have the car park to myself upon arrival.

Highlight of the day is easy today, the sight and sound of my first fledglings of the year which is always an exciting event, this year the honour went to a great flock of Blue Tits, hard to tell how many there were because they were among Silver Birch trees coming into leaf but it did appear that they were in double figures, judging by their size and their downy feathers it looked like that they could have just fledged, baby birds are always great to see and leaves you wanting to see more and more. 

Then of course it's always a pleasure to see waterfowl on the nest, today there was Mute Swan (1), Canada Goose (4) and Coot (3), there could be many more on the big island that's impossible to see in because of the leaf cover. Just as I'd said that no Coots had made the bad decision to build a nest right below the bridge as they have done on previous occasions I noticed that there was one was literally building a nest as I looked below, fingers crossed the ne'er do wells leave the nest well alone, funnily enough the Mute Swans have built a nest on the mudflats instead of the island as they usually do but that might be because they failed to raise any young at all last year which is a mystery I never got to the bottom of. The nest the Mute Swans have built this year is huge, it's easily the biggest I've ever seen !

On the houses that border a part of Meriden Park it was brilliant to see a sizeable amount of House Sparrow either collecting nesting material or taking insects into various eaves of the houses, hopefully it will be a bumper breeding year for the humble House Sparrow, they will always remain to be one of my favourite birds.

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Woopdigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose and Hybrid Domestic/Greylag Goose.

Cole End Park is also a prime spot to see Six-spot Burnet day flying Moth so I'll definitely be going back in July/August to hopefully find some but I shall be back here before then to see how the nesting waterfowl are fairing.

Thanks to everyone that takes the time out to read my blog, it tends to be a little bit longer at this time of the year with birding activity on the increase and also the emergence of butterflies.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Babbs Mill Nature Reserve, Soihull.

Trip over to Solihull today to visit Babbs Mill Nature Reserve where it was nice to see nesting waterfowl which were Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe and Coot (2). Also it was a pleasure to see a Whitethroat collecting nesting material, this location has always been an excellent place to see Whitethroat.

There were at least two Kestrels present, one circling high above the open grassland, the other flying across the lake being very noisy.

Birds seen today were Kestrel, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Starling, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Jay,  Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Canada Goose and Domestic Goose.

The only downside of the visit was this disgraceful act of vandalism among the reed beds where Reed Warbler nest and breed, unfortunately this location is always plagued by arson during the Spring/Summer months, difficult to see how they are going to breed in this area now with very little reeds remaining, bloody chavs !

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Cole End Nature Reserve, Coleshill.

Nice morning birding at Cole End Nature Reserve in Coleshill, North Warwickshire.

Highlights of the day were seeing my first Blackcap (female), Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler and House Martin, the first four were all seen in the same section of trees overhanging a section of the River Cole, which had lovely clear water by the way.

Also great to see were plenty of House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin and lots of singing Wren. 

In the fields I also observed a circling Buzzard, a hovering Kestrel, a couple of Peacock butterflies and a large patch of lesser celadine.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Kestrel, Blackcap (female), Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, House Martin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Jay, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Moorhen and Black Headed Gull.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Sutton Park, North Birmingham.

Great trip to Sutton Park in North Birmingham this morning even though it was raining upon arrival that was never going to stop me because it's always a pleasure to visit this location.

I probably would have gone via another entrance to Banners Gate as I did on my last visit but I was eager to see if Longmoor Pool was still in the disgraceful state as it was on my previous visit, I'm pleased to say that the water is all back in the pool and everything is back to normal, including the lifebuoys which the morons insist on constantly throwing in the water, Birmingham city council never once responded to any of the questions I raised via the state of the pool, I shall remember this when it comes to voting !

It was great to see a Mute Swan and two Coot already on the nest, no doubt the Mallards are already nesting out of sight, where the large majority of Mallards were resting were a pair of Robin who were very appreciative of the mealworms and seed I left for them, hopefully they were a pair, there was also a Grey Heron hunting on the waters edge by where the Swan was on the nest. Strangely on the path around the pool there was a lot of dead frogs with their innards strewn beside them, I can't see why a Heron for example would kill them and not eat them, I can't think of a logical explanation. 

On the moorland and heathland habitats  it was great to see a fair number of Song Thrush foraging on the floor and flying from tree to tree as was the odd Great Spotted Woodpecker, obliviously it was great to hear all the birds singing of which ranged from Song Thrush to Robin. 

Birds seen today were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Canada Goose and the following nesting birds, Mute Swan (1) and Coot (2).

I must also the Carrion Crows who congregate around the car parks here, I always take some food for them and I think the large majority of other visitors do, they must be the best fed Crows anywhere.