Friday 21st January.
I decided that it was time for a bit of 'me time' at the end of a busy week so off I went for an afternoon walk along Brake Lane in Hagley to see if there was 'anything about'. Well there was...a flock of 46 Yellowhammers sunning themselves in and atop of a hedgerow. I counted 46 but there were probably a lot more than this number. They had the sunshine and I had the shade! The Lane has houses on one side and fields on the other and leads to a bridleway and paddocks. A large flock of Chaffinch were feeding in a stubble field, too many for me to count when they suddenly took flight. I heard and then saw my first Buzzard of the year, I would normally have seen a Buzzard before now so I am hoping they have survived well after the December freeze. I walked up part of the bridleway and had great views of Goldcrests feeding in the small pine plantation, delightful little birds. On the walk back to my car I saw my first Mistle Thrush of the year in fact 3 of them! Not a lot of bird species seen but still an enjoyable walk in, for the best part, sunshine!
Saturday 22nd January.
A cold and frosty morning didn't deter me from returning to Brake Lane to take a walk around the whole length of the bridleway, part of the area is Woodland and fields alongside. No Yellowhammers or Chaffinch this morning, they were probably keeping warm somewhere not like me out in the cold and I do mean cold!! A Raven was a delight to see, it's 'gronk, gronk' alerting me to it! As I placed some seed down for a Great Tit I had spotted in a tree a Wren suddenly appeared and then disappeared as they do! I also placed some seed where I had seen the Chaffinches yesterday, hopefully they found it before the Tits ate it all.lol!! Just a single Goldcrest seen in the pines as I made my way up the muddy bridleway. Once at the top of the hill it opens out to paddocks and the woodland. I had hoped for Treecreeper and Nuthatch but no luck until I reached the end of the first half of the bridleway..I heard a few calls from a Nuthatch so I stood still, looked, waited,looked and then bingo! A Nuthatch was inspecting a hole in a Silver Birch tree then it was off in search of food, a super little bird! There are a few rather nice houses in the area I was now in and a Lake that was partly iced over. The Lake held Mallards, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Mute Swans and several B H Gulls and a single L B B Gull. I walked on past the Lake to inspect the fields further along the short road. A Pony came over for a nuzzle as I stood by a gate scanning the first field which just held more ponies, now the field on the other side of the road was a different story! It held flocks of Crows, Woodpigeons, Starlings, Goldfinch, Fieldfares and Redwings. I inspected the Thrushes thoroughly and not one was a 'Dusky Thrush'...oh well one day maybe.lol!! I was quite content with the sightings even though they weren't rarities! On the way back to continue my walk along the second half of the Bridleway I saw a flock of Long-tailed Tits, a Jay and also a flock of Canada Geese on an embankment by the Lake. I returned to my car feeling cold but pleased with such a fruitful 'Local' walk.
Sunday 23rd January.
The afternoon walk today was at Dowles Brook in the Wyre Forest in the hope of seeing the Hawfinch and Brambling that had been reported there. Walking along the old railway track to Lodge hill Farm was to say the least quiet!! Not a bird was seen or heard until at the end of the track then a Nuthatch and Treecreeper were spotted, hooray! The feeders at the farm were buzzing with Blue, Great & Coal Tits, House Sparrows, Chaffinch and Long-tailed Tits that were feeding on the ground with their tails cocked up like a Wren. The first time I have ever seen them feeding on the ground. The Hawfinch did not disappoint, there were 3 of them perched at the top of a tall twiggy tree on the far side of the orchard! Good views were had of them but they were too far away for a decent photo and the cloudy day did not help matters, I managed a few record pics though so I was pleased. No Brambling today but at least 3 Great spotted Woodpeckers (hard to tell if there were 4 individuals as they were flighty) and 3 Yellowhammers were seen in the area. Walking back along the track Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and a Common Buzzard were seen with Siskin and Redpoll heard only.
All in all, 3 pleasing walks!