Friday, 24 March 2017

Shustoke Reservoir.

Great trip to Shustoke Reservoir in North Warwickshire even if the for majority of the visit it was very windy and overcast.

Highlights of the day was seeing and hearing my first Chiffchaff of the year, not only were they audible before I got out of the car but they could be seen and heard all around the reservoir, the fly-fishers pool as well as the farmers fields, another highlight was my first ever sighting of a pair of Long Tailed Tit copulating, not only was it great to see it was like a lot of things in life in that it was short and sweet also in the same locale there was a wonderful sight of a Treecreeper heading upwards on a tree, also nice to see where the water levels returning to a more healthy state with the reservoir almost completely full even if there wasn't too much waterfowl residing on it, there was also the double edged sword of the lovely sight of the water birds nest building which is always a pleasure to see at any location but the birds here find it notoriously hard to successfully raise any young what with there being no suitable places to build a nest and the sailing club using the water, any nests they do actually build on top of the fishing net floats are always destroyed by any heavy rain and/or string winds which is heartbreaking to see especially if they had eggs or very young birds on the nest.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Treecreeper, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Wren, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrrion Crow, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot and Canada Goose.

As of today there is a £1 car parking charge to visit the reservoir which is ironic because the place was an absolute tip with rubbish strewn everywhere including many nappies, to be fair the worker from Severn Trent who was picking up the rubbish he recently caught a woman throwing a nappy on the floor and she informed him 'What's the problem I'm keeping you in a job', sounds as charming as the horrible neighbours that I have to endure. Let's hope that some of the car parking charge goes into combating the litter, flytipping, drug taking and the general all round crime that appears here.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

I'm pretty sure that I've never been birding to the same location three times in a row, well I now have, at least the visits were spread out over a month.

Highlights from today were seeing eight Slylark in one field, there may have been more but some were so high up they were hard to get an exact number, I also saw and heard Skylark in every field I passed through, always great to hear Skylark singing. Again there were hundreds of Linnet in one the fields which is seeded for them over the Autumn/Winter, it was amazing sight when hundreds of them took to the air, also nice was the sight of a sizeable number of Redwing in the flock. Another good number of birds in a flock was c.50 Chaffinch who were among the birds feeding on one of paths where the supplementary food is left. Worth another mention is the sheer number of House Sparrow, the good number of Reed Bunting, and the sightings of Green Woodpecker and Stock Dove. The most Yellowhammer seen in one go today was the princely sum of nine.

Birds seen today, Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Skylark, Goldcrest, c.200 Linnet, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, c.50 Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Starling, Green Woodpecker, Redwing, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mallard, Moorhen and Cormorant (flying overhead).

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Southfields Farm, Coleshill.

After having a nasty bout of flu and the horrible after effects of the virus it was nice to finally to be able to get out and do so some much needed birding again, my last trip out was to Southfields Farm in Coleshill so I thought why not celebrate being much better again by paying the John's farm another visit.

John's great work for the birds, wildlife and nature in general is certainly paying off with so many highlights it's hard to know where to start but I have to start somewhere so I'll start off with the wonderful House Sparrow, there are so many to be seen and heard around the main buildings that it's truly unbelievable, when this years juveniles arrive it will be House Sparrow heaven ! Then next worth mentioning is the sheer number of Yellowhammer to be seen, at various locations around the farm and the fields I must have seen at least fifty different individuals with the most seen at once being twelve, the males look truly stunning with the yellow being even more vibrant than usual with the breeding season approaching, in one of the trees and in one of the locations seeded for the birds (the field partially taped off if you're wondering John) there was easily 300+ Linnet, what an amazing sight to see them fly from the field to the tree and then back down to the field, further around in the trees by the river there were also 200+ Linnet, hard to tell if they were part of the same flock seen earlier or a different flock, great to see all the same, in the adjacent field there were hundreds and hundreds of Redwing, Fieldfare and Starling, hard to estimate exactly how many but there were hundreds of each type of bird feasting in the field and mud tracks that have been freshly churned up by the tractor, the noise they were making along with the Linnet was truly incredible. In the adjacent field there was a bang from somewhere and up flew c.200 Woodpigeon which was an amazing spectacle in itself. Also seen were two separate pairs of Skylark, three separate pairs of Buzzard actively collecting nest material with robust nests already present and finally there was the amazing sight of three hares stomping through a field, I've never noticed the dark spots on the ears before, they were a pleasure to see.

Birds seen today were, Buzzard, Kestrel, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Starling, Robin, Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pheasant, Mallard as well as Canada Goose and Cormorant flying overhead. 

The last photo by the way is of some of the winter supplementary food that John provides for the birds, which was being gratefully received by our feathered friends. 

Finally on a personal note, the Grey Wagtail has finally deserted my back garden but I'm pleased to say that the Pied Wagtail is still visiting on a daily basis as is the male Blackcap, I also have a pair of Stock Dove and Collared Dove sporadically visiting. After cleaning my very muddy boots from today's walk and having finished cleaning myself up I looked out of my bedroom window and there was a female Blackbird with a huge mouthful of nesting material, which is a timely reminder not to clean up your garden too thoroughly as there is lots of useful stuff the birds can use for nest building in your garden at this time of the year, an overly tidy is garden is no good for our birds, insects and wildlife which is why there are plenty of wild patches left in may garden.