Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upton Warren 30/01

In an attempt to bolster the Upton year list I decided to spend about 7 hours at Upton from 11-5 to see what birds I could add to the list. It was a bitterly cold day but I managed to survive without frostbite!

Starting off in the West Hide only about 15% of the water was frozen and a few birds were showing around the feeders there included Blue, Great and Long tailed tits, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Wren and Robin. Feeding around the bottom of the feeders were CootMoorehen, Mallard and Water Rail. Looking out to the pools there were a good number of Pochard (36) and lesser numbers of Shoveler and Tufted Duck. 72 Mallard were counted and 2 Shelduck were on one of the Islands, around 12 Curlew kept flying around, also several Lapwing and Coot. From this hide only 4 Teal could be seen as majority were on Amy's Marsh/Broadmeadow Pool . A few Fieldfare flew over  and 26 Cormorant were rather active with birds seeming to be commuting between here and the Sailing Pool a lot. 2 Male Pheasant also flew along the fence line and down the Salwarpe.

Walking round to the North Moors hide noted a few Redwing along the path and heard a Water Rail. Didn't stay long in the hide as it was completely frozen still. Was going to walk round the North Moors trail as a Woodcock had been flushed from there the previous week but it had red tape over the two entrances and it looked like they'd been chopping down some trees so I headed towards the East Hide.

Walking towards the East hide I checked out the Alders/Larches there but couldn't find any Redpoll or Siskin. Just before the hide to the field behind it there was 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare. Once in the hide I could see the Coot were out grazing on the bank in front of it and several Snipe along the shore there but they were soon spooked by something that I couldn't figure out possible a fox behind the hide? Also noted from this hide were 4 Great Crested Grebe, 42 Teal! Invisible from the other hide and quite a few displaying which was nice. I was joined in the hide by Gert Corfield who told me that the Goshawk had been seen again this morning! Soon after a female Sparrowhawk flew past the hide temporarily getting the heart beating a little quicker! Also were a flock of around 15 Redpoll from across the pool and also c9 Greylag flew distantly onto the Sailing pool. Dave Walker then joined us in the Hide and had seen a Male Siskin further down the path so I set back off back down the path in an attempt to find it and I did. A lovely male showing down nice and closely feeding in an Alder then singing! Also 2 Lesser Redpoll were in the tree before flying off.

Walking back towards the West Hide I was going to go over to the Flashes but thought I'd hang around to try and get the Goshawk. Staying in this hide till near dark had a Cettis Warbler moving around in the reeds and a Rat was taking advantage of the bird food Gordon had put out earlier! Adam Canning who is a keen nature filmer was also in the hide and I spotted the Bittern flying across the pool which I quickly got Adam onto as he hadn't seen one before. Two Mute Swan dropped onto the pool as it was getting dark.

 All in all 49 different species recorded taking my Upton year list up to 59.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shenstone 28/01

With exams finally finished and a late start at college me and dad decided to go to Shenstone to hopefully catch up with Corn Bunting (which I haven't seen since 2007) and perhaps Brambling (missed last year)

Left the house at about 8 arriving at around 8:40 started off at the top end of Heath Lane where a Buzzard showed down to about 10yards before flying off, over towards the Muslim School there was a large mixed flock of Fieldfare, Redwing, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Starling feeding in the horse paddocks, but no sign of any Corn Bunting.

We then drove down to the bottom of Heath Lane where it meets Stanklyn Lane parked up on the side and started checking out the fields here where they had been previously reported. A few Blackbird and a female Chaffinch fed along a hedge and a Song Thrush was in the field. Looking across the road to the large field with the big pile of mangle wurzels in it we noted several birds perched in a tree in the middle. Getting the scope on them soon confirmed them as Corn Bunting initially 4 then joined by another 4 and then 4 Chaffinch (something about the number 4?!) They then flew off to the NE so we decided to walk up a footpath that goes along the two fields. Talking to a farmer there he said that he had seen a Buzzard attack a Barn Owl and also asked us if we'd seen the Red Kites saying that apparently there were a few frequenting around Chaddesley Corbett.

Walking further on up the path showed a few Robin, Great Tit and Blue Tits. Out in the field a Corn Bunting was singing from the top of a weed head and several other finches were on the ground but were too hard to see in amongst the vegetation. The footpath then cut across the field and following it round towards the housing estate at the back there were several Goldfinch flying around and a couple of Redwing flew over. Walking on to the top of the field we saw another two Corn Bunting in the top of a tree giving really good views, the tree was actually in someones garden, now there's a Garden tick I'd love!

Walking back down the field towards Stanklyn Lane a Raven flew over and a large finch flock were flying around at the bottom of the field so we started to walk towards them to get better views but unfortunately a man walking a Jack Russel just came out ahead of the housing estate and started walking down the field ahead of us, knowing he would flush the birds before we could get decent views we walked quickly down the field and set up the scope to try and identify them, several Corn Bunting were feeding there and then they all got up and flew a short distance initially making me think that we had a mega flock of Corn Bunting but thinking back I saw white outer tail feathers indicating they were infact skylark! (oops)  They landed not far away surprisingly, but disappeared into the stubble, 2 Stock Dove flew over and distracted us from the flock which must have flew off as we couldn't relocate them.

Walking back to the car we noted another Song Thrush and several Redwing and Fieldfare flying over finished off the trip nicely.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grovely Dingle 27/01

Just back in from visiting the patch, spent about 2.5hours there and covered the whole of Grovely Dingle.

Starting off along the public footpath as usual had a Buzzard fly over and a fair few Blue Tits easily 15+, a single Starling flew over and a small mixed flock of Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch where in the hedge. There were no sign of any Moorehen on the small pool at the top probably frozen out by the big freeze!

Dropping down into the small beech wood at the top everything seemed very quiet and only a few Woodpigeon were in there. Walking round the back to try and find the badger set that Paul had said was in there at the last Upton Warren work party I soon found loads of tracks all leading to one area where the set was. They had obviously been digging very recently as there was a lot of freshly moved soil around the main entrance, gonna go back another day when its dark and see if I can see any.

Instead of cutting down into the Dingle I decided to carry on along the footpath and try and find the proper entrance to the reserve. A nice flock of Long Tailed Tits were along Wast Hill Lane and I soon found the entrance. 3 Stock Dove flew over and along the reserves path a bit there were 6+ Bullfinch several Chaffinch and a Treecreeper climbed a large ash. Going deeper into the wood a Green Woodpecker was yaffling away and also a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling as well. Looking at tracks in the mud around the stream showed some Pheasant tracks and some other mammal tracks which I shall try to identify when I find the book!

The sun was starting to set and thousands of Woodpigeon were starting to roost in the trees and very nosily flying off as soon as I was spotted! Not much else of note carrying on around the reserve and apart from a few Great Tit and Chaffinch. I heard loud wing beats from low down and was probably a Woodcock but it was behind me and by the time I'd turned round nothing was to be seen. Also 2 female Pheasant tried there best to scare me by flushing fairly close by!

Walking back across the hill a few Blackbird were in the field and a Kestrel finished off the trip nicely.

Also I managed to find the feeding station that Leigh and Tony had set up to attract birds in to ring, but it was mainly empty. I had sent Leigh several emails explaining that I lived locally and I could visit there regularly and refill the feeders there but haven't had any response since new year... Details of their ringing sessions can be found here

Saturday, January 02, 2010

First Proper Trip Into Grovely Dingle

Having obtained my special permissions to enter Grovely Dingle I decided that I'd go down today and see what it was like in the Reserve. Spent about 2 hours wondering round decided to walk this time and forget the bike and it only took me 10 mins walk to get there! And to think I've lived here for 2 years and never knew it was there!

Walking towards the Reserve from the Northern side had lots of Blue Tits and Great Tits also the Buzzard was perched in the hedge in the same place as before. Carrying on up noted 4 Moorhen around the small pond there and 4 Black Headed Gulls flew over. Cutting down across the field and into the top of the Dingle 6 Greenfinch flew over, in the trees at the top of the reserve a Nuthatch called and a flock of Long Tailed Tits passed through. Walking into the reserve there were several Goldfinch feeding in the tops of some trees, walking along a bit further a medium sized brown bird flew away from me fairly low then another... I started thinking thrush or maybe even Woodcock, I then walk a bit closer to where they flushed from and another flushes they were Woodcock!!! This one flew up to about head height and flew off left showing off a long bill and chubby body, brilliant! Woodcock has always been a bit of a bogey bird for me always avoiding me despite looking in good habitat and always spending extra time looking around the Visitor Centre at Titchwell every time I've visited!
              Carrying on into the reserve I quickly picked up on the path that goes around the reserve thanks to Andy Harris for sending me a map with instructions for getting around. Now walking round on the path had several Wren shout and me and a Dunnock flew past, heading north I flushed another Woodcock and another! Following the path around brought me round south where several Blackbird flew round also a Song Thrush tried its best to hide from me. Walking on further I flushed another Woodcock! Also several Great Tit called and one was singing but it sounded a lot more like a Bunting with a hint of Pheasant! Looking up I noticed a pair of Mallard flying over, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker called from within the woods. Carrying on round the 'Oak Wood' a male Pheasant walked out from the wood and onto the adjacent fields and I flushed a Woodcock! Into the 'Hawthorn Wood' the Great Spot continued to call but I couldn't find him in the tree tops, a Stock Dove was high up in an Oak, looking beautiful in the bright sunshine. Carrying on round a Grey Wagtail gave brilliant views on one of the many streams that run through the reserve. Heading back out of the woods flushed yet another Woodcock! I wait how long just to see one and I've just had at least 7 possibly 8 different birds! A male Bullfinch called from across the field and 3 Black headed Gulls seemed to be mobbing an invisible something. Another Song Thrush was by the end of the Public footpath rounding off a very enjoyable visit to Grovely Dingle!

Patch List now stands at 31, Year list-37 and Life list- 232