Thursday, 11 February 2010

3 into 1 does go.... 31/01/2010

Three areas visited in one day! The first area being the Lickey Hills Country Park, locally called 'The Lickeys'. I lived fairly close (a good 10 minute walk away) to these hills in my childhood and early adult years and spent many a happy hour there.

Common Crossbills were the target species for today, 9+ had been reported the previous day. It is also a good area for Brambling and Goldcrests. The hills are a wonderful mixture of heathland, coniferous and deciduous trees and marshes. The area where many coniferous trees grow was the chosen site. After a walk along the top of the hill and looking down on to the canopies of the trees, nothing! It was so quiet, a couple of Jays were seen at the start of the walk, always a nice bird to see. Blue Tits, Magpie, Woodpigeon and Blackbird were the other species seen and a Marsh Tit was heard. It was decided to take a short drive to a nearby reservoir where we had been told that Goosanders were showing well, so a walk back to the carpark! Just as we were a few yards away from the carpark a flock of six Common Crossbills flew to the top of one of the pine trees! Bingo... what a treat and a well timed arrival! Daylight was poor so not good for a decent photo of them besides it was nice to enjoy the view of them with bins as these were a lifer and it may be a good while before sighting them again.
The short drive to Bittell Reservoir was next on the agenda. The first highlight was the sight of 40+ Canada Geese feeding in a field adjacent to a duck pond. In the semi-frozen duck pond were a Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen and Mallard. The Malllards were comical as they flew in to the pond, sliding a fair distance as they landed on the ice, thankfully coming to no harm. On the reservoir were 45+ Goosanders looking resplendent, such a smart looking duck! Also seen though at a distance wereWigeon, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Heron (10+) Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This is a place that will be visited throughout the year, a bonus being a good walk and beautiful scenery in a lovely rural area. A Nuthatch was was seen and a Raven heard on the walk back to my car.
Next stop after lunch was the Moors Pools, Upton Warren. The highlights being Teal, Common Snipe, Curlew, Coot, Lapwing, Shoveler,Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Water rail, Pochard, Mallard, B H and L B-b Gulls, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing and a Wren!

6 species were added today to my year list with the Common Crossbill being a lifer. A busy day and a great birding day was enjoyed immensely!

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