Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Meriden Park, Solihull.

Nice visit to Meriden Park in Solihull today, saying that though it was mostly nice as the day mostly consisted of the three R's, Ragwort, Rabbits and rubbish !

How locations such as this get a Green Flag award is completely beyond me as sites such as this and Ward End Park are always in a terrible state, you could see some of the shopping trolleys and litter had been in the water for months which is completely unacceptable when they are supposed to be a much needed haven for wildlife in inner city Birmingham, it certainly didn't help seeing two workmen in a van drinking tea in the car park form at least 8 to 8:30am, I shall spare you seeing the many photos I took as they are too depressing.

Anyway enough of the negative, what about the other two R's I hear you ask, well I've never seen so many Rabbits at any location before let alone this one, maybe it's because I was the only person around where they congregate but there were at least forty present, darting in different directions whenever I appeared, but even that number was dwarfed by the shear amount of Ragwort with hundreds of plants present along the river and the wooded area and of course they were full of very hungry Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars which are always great to see, also seen as you can see was a Five-Spot Burnett which was feeding on Field Scabious, this is the only location I've ever seen them so let's hope for the sake of them, the Rabbits and the wildlife in general that the land is never built upon like has scandalously happened on the land on the other side of the river, especially as along that stretch of river I always see Grey Heron and Little Egret.

Birds seen today were, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and a hybrid Greylag/Domestic Goose.

Then when I got home there were approximately thirty of this years juvenile House Sparrow in the back garden stripping the feeders of the seed and double numbers of juvenile Blue and Great Tit in the tree eating anything they could get near, choices for them include, black sunflowers, sunflower hearts, fat balls, home made suet and peanuts, great to see so many young birds choosing to come to my garden to feed.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Witton Lakes and Brookvale Park.

Two birding locations were visited today being as they are practically adjacent to one another, visiting these sites is long overdue so it was nice to go to them for a change, first off it was Witton Lakes which are a pair of former drinking water reservoirs between the Perry Common and Erdington areas of Birmingham and then the short drive to Brookvale Park which is located in the Stockland Green Ward of Erdington Constituency. I'd like to say how wonderful it was to see so many House Sparrows at both locations including many juveniles, the House Sparrow will always remain to be one of my favourite birds, they are always a delight to see.

Witton Lakes.

Witton Lakes has a bit of checkered past what with people killing ducks and swans and their young and destroying their nests for many a year now and the shameful murdering of seven Ruddy Ducks in a Government backed initiative in March 2013, at least a raft has now been built on either lake to give the waterfowl some refuge and a location for nests and during the breeding season The Friends of Witton Lakes patrol the lakes to deter people from harming the breeding birds and their young.

The day started off with a mini drama because when I got to the first bend of the first lake I could hear a bird calling where there is an overflow so went to investigate but I couldn't locate the bird so there was nothing for it, the camera and the binoculars went on the floor and I jumped over the rail and into the water and there it was, a few days old Coot hiding in the corner chirping away where there was a small space of spare concrete, I scooped it up as fast as I could because if it had gone into the fast flowing water it would have been irretrievable, then through the water again and back over the fence, which wasn't easy holding a baby Coot and reunited it with it's parents and siblings, which had the added bonus of getting some acclaim from the locals present which was nice but as always I did it for the wildlife and not myself.

Also in the skies above there were hundreds if not thousands of Swift who were enjoying the nice early morning weather.

Being as I'm on the subject of juveniles there were three Cygnets, twenty five Coot, five Mallard Ducklings, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon and fourteen nesting Coot.

Birds seen today were, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Wren, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Swift, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Canada Goose.

Then it was off to...

Brookvale Park.

There were a lot of juvenile waterfowl at this location but because a lot of it is hidden by the trees and bushes I have recorded only what I saw which was, two Cygnet, five Coot, House Sparrow, House Martin, Woodpigeon, Magpie and two nesting Coot, like I said there were probably many more but a lot of it is out of sight and inaccessible to the nefarious people that visit this location, a Black Swan was killed and eaten here by Eastern Europeans in February 2013.

There is a good mixture of waterfowl here which is always good to see, with c.50 Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Domestic Goose, Domestic Duck and Cormorant resident all year round.

Brookvale Park has always been a great place for breeding House Martin what with the old houses and the adjacent lake and this year has proved no different with many hundreds of them in the air over the water and houses.

Birds seen here were, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Domestic Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, hybrid Greylag/Domestic Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Swift and House Martin.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Kingsbury Water Park.

Great visit to Kingsbury Water Park today where there was plenty to see and do especially where juvenile birds were concerned. 

Being as juvenile birds took up most of the visit then that's a good place to start, all of the following were seen in large numbers, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Starling and House Martin, also seen but in lesser numbers were, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird and Carrion Crow, strangely the most notable were a pair of Carrion Crow who were being fed on the path by the parents, all I had to give them were suet pellets, they can't have fledged very long because they were still very noisy and defendant on the adults which was very evident because when I scattered the pellets on the floor they waited to be fed them rather than running over and grabbing them like corvids normally do. Waterfowl juveniles were as follows, Mute Swan Cygnet (8) one of which was a 'Polish' Mute Swan Cygnet which is an all white juvenile, I must confess I have never seen one before and had to google to find out exactly what it was, just a pity it was too far away to get a decent photo, Great Crested Grebe (4), Coot (23), Moorhen (1) and huge numbers of Mallard and Greylag Goose, there were c.150 Greylag Goose of varying ages which is by far the biggest number I've ever seen at this location.

Talking of large numbers of wildlife a large number of Rabbits were seen today but because of the changeable weather hardly any butterflies, but it was great to see large swathes of teasel and ragwort which is good news for Finches and Cinnabar Moths respectively.

Birds seen today, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, House Martin, Swallow, Common Tern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Cygnet, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose.

I had also planned to see if the Sedge Warblers had successfully bred this year especially after huge sections of their habitat had been wantonly destroyed by the implementation of flood defences a couple of years ago but it was not to be as huge but fairly brief torrential downpour put paid to that plan.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

Another trip today to Southfields Farm in Coleshill, primarily to see what juvenile birds were around and to see what the wildflower meadow looked like.

The wildflower meadow as you can see was stunning with all the usual wildflowers present as what you'd expect to see, Birds Foot Trefoil, Oxeye Daisy, Cornflower, Knapweed, Red and White Clover among many others, strangely though there are no Poppies in the meadow they are in an adjacent field instead. The meadow was also buzzing with bees, butterflies and banded demoiselles.

I started and finished my walk with some great juvenile bird sightings, firstly at the beginning of today's walk it was my great pleasure to see a pair of juvenile Goldcrest, even though they are not as colourful as the adults they are still a stunning little bird, judging by the calling I could hear there were more than two but I only spotted one pair, I'm not complaining though as it's not everyday that you're lucky enough to see fledgling Goldcrests. Then at the end of the walk it was juvenile bird heaven, with a good fifty spotted in and around the area where John leaves huge logs and and there are many trees and bushes, juveniles seen in this small area were House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Pied Wagtail and last but not least House Martin, the Sparrows and Finches were either feeding or drinking from the ground or getting insects from the trees and bushes whereas the House Martin chicks looked like they had very recently just fledged because they were still being fed by the adults on a ledge under a disused farming construction, I have never seen so many juveniles in one place before maybe that was because there is quite a large visible area to observe them and it's a great habitat for many birds with large open dusty spaces, fields, the farm buildings and plenty of weeds etc, all in a relatively small area.

Birds seen today, Goldcrest, Skylark, Linnet, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Swift and House Martin.

Also seen and definitely heard were a pair of Hare, you can't miss them with those large ears and you can't help but hear them when their feet are thumping the ground when running.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Rookery Park, Erdington.

Quick visit to Rookery Park in Erdington this morning being as I was in the area, I had planned to visit Southfields Farm in Coleshill but the hot weather put me off, hopefully I'll get there next week instead.

Highlight of the day was a joint one today because I very rarely see either, first in alphabetical and chronological order was the wonderful sighting of juvenile Goldcrest, what a truly amazing wonderful little bird, the sighting was slightly spoiled though because the tell tale call of Sparrowhawk was heard above me shortly before it swooped into a tree and maybe caught a bird, then secondly the just as equally sighting of a pair of juvenile Nuthatch, they were so young they still had their fluffy downy feathers, they were a great sight to see, other juvenile birds spotted were, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Chaffinch.

Birds seen today were, Sparrowhawk, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Swift, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

As well as all the wonderful trees that adorn this park there are also lots of great wildflowers and plants, sadly though judging by what I saw today it looks like they are shortly to be all mown down, which would be a real shame because they are in their prime and they bring a bit of colour to the grounds.

Sadly there also has to be the inevitable downside of the visit which as per usual is committed by irresponsible people, namely that of huge amounts of litter strewn across the park which largely consisted of discarded takeaway rubbish, drinks containers, school text books and literature and full dog poo bags. I will never understand why some people have no respect for nature and wildlife at such locations and have total disregard for us decent people that wish to visit these places, depressing as earlier stated a lot of this is done by schoolchildren, if they are the future then God help us !  

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

Another great trip to Southfields Farm in Coleshill today which I'm pleased to say was awash with juvenile birds.

Before you even get out of the car you could see and hear huge amounts of House Sparrow which obviously given the perfect environment they live in included an impressive number of juveniles, then literally a few steps into the walk three Collared Dove were spotted and one of those was a juvenile then further down in a wooded area by the river was not only today's highlight but one of the highlights of all time because standing in one spot for ten minutes it was juvenile bird heaven with all of the following spotted, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, to be honest I could only differentiate between the Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler juveniles because I saw them being fed by adults, flocks of juvenile Blue and Great Tit were also seen on four different other locations around the farm, seeing baby Coal Tits made the day for me, what a wonderful little bird !

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Skylark, Collared Dove, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Swift, House Martin, Swallow and Grey Heron. 

One of the fields had huge amounts of red and pink poppies while the wildflower meadow is just getting started with large amounts of Oxeye Daisy, Birds Foot Trefoil, Common Knapweed, Cornflower and Red Clover.

In the back garden in the last seven days all of the following juveniles have been seen, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and Magpie, in among the House Sparrow that visit my garden there is a leucistic female House Sparrow, I shall post a photo if I can get a decent enough image.

I was also at a garden centre near to Coleshill recently and where there were bird boxes for sale in the open area there were Blue Tits who were feeding their babies in one of the boxes, it's the first time I've seen anything like this with my own eyes, lets hope human interference is kept to a bare minimum and they all successfully fledge. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Chester Road Canal, Birmingham.

Being as I enjoyed the walk along the canal I thought it would be nice to drive to where I last got to and walk further along the canal from there which took in location's such as The Boat Inn and Curdworth Village.

Thankfully there was none of the drama of Tuesday and ironically the Mallard and her fourteen ducklings were the first waterfowl I saw which was great because they were much further down the canal than when I saw them before (fate again ?) and normally you wouldn't be able to differentiate between Mallards but as you can see in the first photo she is quite distinctive, it was great to see all fourteen ducklings still with us, I did try and get all of them in one photo but it was impossible with them constantly darting off in different directions.

Birds seen today were, Skylark, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Mallard and Canada Goose as well as the following juveniles, Mallard Duckling (14), Moorhen (4) and countless Starlings.

The only downside of today was seeing a Mallard with a very poorly leg and hearing from locals about the go ahead of plans to destroy and build upon 175 acres of green belt land at Peddimore which is adjacent to part of the canal on this walk which will clearly be devastating to the local wildlife and will be a compete and utter environmental disaster. Peddimore green belt plans.