Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Daffodil Time!

Daffodil Time

"It is daffodil time, so the robins all cry,
For the sun’s a big daffodil up in the sky,
And when down the midnight the owl calls “to-whoo”!
Why, then the round moon is a daffodil too;
Now sheer to the bough-tops the sap starts to climb,
So, merry my masters, it’s daffodil time."

Clinton Scollard

Monday, 28 March 2011

Weekend wanderings 27/03/2011

A walk along Caunsall canal was to be a real treat today despite the cloud cover, such a pity the sun did not shine! Chiffchaffs were heard on arrival and several heard and seen throughout the afternoon. A flock of c40 Redwings were in Ivy covered trees no doubt eating the juicy berries, a Brambling was spotted whilst viewing the Redwings and a small flock of Fieldfare flew over. Mistle Thrush were seen several times at least 6 individuals. 3 Buzzards were mewing and soaring and 2 of these an obvious pair. Long-tailed Tits were as numerous as Blue and Great tits and a pair of Nuthatch were seen gathering mud from an embankment for their nest making, a delightful sight! At the sewage treatment works were my target bird for the day Grey Wagtail, a pair! Just the two surprisingly and a single Pied Wagtail. The remaining species seen today were Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Coal Tit, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Moorhen, Mallard, a Kestrel on the way home and Greenfinch heard. A Peacock strutted it's stuff in one of the paddocks, a nice surprise and a great sight to see!

Not a very picturesque perch but the Grey Wagtail was at a sewerage works!
The strutter!

I haven't an ID for this plant yet, there were several along the towpath.
Edit: The plant is Butterbur Petasites hybridus

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Weekend wanderings!....26/03/2011

A bleak foggy/misty Saturday morning was not at all inspiring for an early morning walk after the warm sunny days during the week, however I am not faint hearted and set off for Wassell Grove Pools! On the way to the pools the usual Corvids were seen and a House Sparrow which was good to see! I heard a Skylark singing as I drove down the track to the Pools but no way was I going to see it this morning! I wished I had brought my hat and gloves once out of my car as the cold air hit me! I scanned the paddocks for Wheatear as Craig (Lutley Birder) had seen a female here the day before, no luck today but I did have a good chat with Craig who was enjoying a hot drink before heading home to warm up! A flock of Fieldfare passed over as we chatted, they were heading North, I might add it was Craig who told me the direction they were heading, I have never been any good at N, S, E & W unless I am in my garden looking at the weather vane. I really must carry a compass.lol!! Good to see you again Craig!

On my walk a couple of Chiffchaffs were almost constantly singing, good to hear them here again. Blue Tits were seemingly everywhere, flying from tree to tree making me feel giddy! I walked along the path through the wooded area and happened upon a pair of Long-tailed Tits flying into a patch of brambles with beaks full of feathers, they were nest building! I watched for a minute or two and then quietly walked away to let them get on with their nest. A great sight was a Kestrel hovering and then perching in a tree before flying off to the fields beyond the Fisheries. A female Bullfinch was good to see if only fleetingly!

I later stopped off at Hagley Church & Hall as it had been a few weeks since my last visit. Nothing really of note other than a flock of Fieldfare in the Deer Park and a Raven gronking as it flew over the park.

My first Chiffchaff pic of 2011..well I tried in the dismal light.lol!!
A sunny day...not!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Bunkers Hill Wood, Stourbridge....23/03/2011

A walk around the perimeter of Bunkers Hill Wood in the hope of seeing a Stonechat and/or Wheatear in the fields and paddocks was fruitless as far as these 2 species were concerned but it was still an eventful walk as it turned out. Two Buzzards soared above the fields as I parked my car, always a treat to see. Blue and Great Tits were seen and heard on almost the entire length of the walk and Long-tailed Tits were almost as abundant. Robins singing around every corner and Blackbirds made a dash for cover once they had spotted me as I made my way to the top end of the wood. A flock of Yellowhammers in their usual chosen field looked stunning as the sun shone on them! Chiffchaffs were heard in several areas and a G S W was drumming. A flock of Chaffinches suddenly alighted as I walked past a large tree, making me jump in all honesty.lol! Mistle Thrush and Goldfinch were also seen in the top fields. I saw several Peacock Butterflies enroute, lovely to see them flitting about again! There are many mature Rhododendrons at Bunkers Hill Wood. They are budding up now and will look a treat in a few weeks time. I will return and take a few pics of them in flower. The Wood was once privately owned but is now owned by the Woodland Trust.

On the way down the path I came across a clearing of scrub/grass and witnessed what I now know is called a Dust devil! Dried leaves fluttered, fell and rose again in a vortex of air, raising the leaves appproximately 2-3 feet into the air, this spectacle lasted for 10 - 15 seconds! The same thing happened again three more times with a space of a few feet between each fountain of leaves. I have never seen such a sight, it was truly amazing! It was a warm, sunny afternoon with not a hint of a breeze, so to see such an event was a surprise and quite surreal!
I had been in two minds whether to walk the whole perimeter of the wood as I was on my own and felt a little apprehensive but I am so glad I did not cut the walk short as I would have missed the Dust devil! Funny how things turn out sometimes as I now feel I was destined to do the whole walk!

View overlooking fields with the Clent Hills in the distance.

A small flock of Helmeted Guineafowl are in a garden by the entrance to the woods, they are soooo noisy but cute!

How many Yellowhammers are there?

Common Buzzard soaring in the sunshine!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Upton Warren....20/03/2011

After a relaxing morning after the night before a stroll around Upton Warren was partaken in the afternoon. Highlights were Avocet, Green Sandpiper, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Shoveler, Shelduck, Reed Bunting, G S Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, at least 4 with great views of one though it didn't hang around for a photoshoot, Lesser-black Backed Gull and a Med Gull. A pair of Great Crested Grebes held my attention as they gracefully added plant debris to their nest, a delight to see.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Birds, Butterflies, Mini's and Flower Power!....19/03/2011

My Saturday solitude walk was taken at Brake Lane this morning! What a beautiful morning it was too, an early frost and sunshine all the way! A Skylark was heard as I readied myself for the walk and two Yellowhammers flew overhead, Rooks were feeding in a field as they followed a ploughing tractor. The usual Tits were seen and heard along the lane and when at the end of the lane I could hear Siskins that were atop of the Alders! On checking I was delighted to see a Brambling amongst them..brill...my first Brambling in this area! A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in the large garden alongside the bridleway where I lingered to look for Goldcrests but no joy today with them. A pair of Mistle Thrush were in a paddock along with Woodpigeons, Crows and Magpies. As I reached the few houses by the Lake I could hear a Robin singing so took the opportunity to take another video and hey presto no background noise on this video all but birds singing! A surprise pair of Goosander were on the Lake, another first on this walk, also a pair of Stock Doves were spotted in the trees, so another first for the walk. I walked further today, the walk taking me alongside the stream beyond the few houses. In a field alighted a Comma Butterfly, my first of the year and a delight to see. Great to see the trees and shrubs starting to bud now and Blackthorn in flower. I enjoyed this walk immensely today and after nearly four hours I returned home, refreshed and ready for a cuppa!

Early afternoon I had a Comma and Peacock Butterfly bathing in the warm sunshine in my garden. A lovely sight and uplifting!

Now the Mini's and Flower Power were to be seen on the evening! A 60's themed Birthday party! As ancient as I am the evening brought back fond memories of the 60's, as Hary Mopkin's sang 'Those were the days'. Oh yes, those certainly were the days! It was a 'fab' evening!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Feathers recycled....18/03/2011

I spotted a Long-tailed Tit this morning gathering the Blackbird feathers that were left on my lawn following the Sparrowhawk feast! Good to see that they are being recycled!

Bullfinches visit!....17/03/2011

I had a surprise visit by a pair of Bullfinches early this morning! They are rare visitors in my garden and hardly ever stay for long after they have fed. The last pair in my garden was in June of last year. Always nice to see new garden visitors and a special treat when they are such colourful birds as the Bullfinches!
So, not a rare/scarce species but special birds nonetheless and I didn't have to step outside of my front door to go looking for them. Magic!!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Guess who came in for Breakfast?....14/03/2011

An unlucky Blackbird was on the menu for breakfast for this male Sparrowhawk in my garden this morning. We had a sharp frost this morning so no doubt the Sparrowhawk was ready for a meal!

Not surprisingly my garden was devoid of little birds, only a bolshie Magpie and two Woodpigeons were having a look around for food. No doubt the Magpie was after scraps once the Sparrowhawk had finished with it's kill!

When I returned home from therapy...retail therapy...all that remained of the Blackbird was a pile of feathers and it's beak.

Dowles Brook, Wyre Forest....13/03/2011

Birds seen today at Dowles Brook: Dipper, Marsh, Great, Blue and Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Siskin, Redpoll, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Yellowhammer, Raven and Sparrowhawk. I missed a Hawfinch as I was enjoying the splendid views of Bramblings!
Buzzards were very much in evidence as they soared fairly low over the woodland, a delight to watch.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Wassell Grove Fisheries....12/03/2011

After a cloudy start to the morning the sun eventually broke through the clouds and it felt pleasantly warm in sheltered areas. Birds seen on my walk today were Blue and Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Bullfinch (x2 male), Starling, Mallard, Canada Geese, Woodpigeon (large flocks), Magpie, Carrion Crow, Buzzard x2, Skylark, GSW drumming, Green Woodpecker heard and a noisy Cockerel heard and seen!

My first sighting of Coltsfoot this year.

EDIT: A flock of 14 Waxwings were perched in a tree four gardens away from my garden!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A Waxwing and walking weekend....5th & 6th March 2011

A cold, frosty and misty early Saturday morning was not very inspiring, nevertheless made of tough stuff I did not wimp out and headed off to Brake Lane for a refreshing walk! A Song Thrush and a Robin were singing merrily away despite the gloomy morning and the drumming of Great Spotted Woodpeckers was to be heard many times on my walk. Jackdaws aplenty in the paddocks and in the fields along with large flocks of Gulls which were in the main B H Gulls though I did pick out 2 L B B Gulls but no Slaty-backed Gull, I will give up trying.lol! Woodpigeons and Carrion Crows were to be seen in several locations on the walk the Woodpigeons being seen in large flocks! On reaching the top of the bridleway I spotted a perched Buzzard, shortly after it swooped down to the paddock. I did not see it afterwards as the paddock sloped away from me but the Buzzard did not appear again so it obviously had found it's breakfast. At the end of the wooded area I came across a Great Spotted Woodpecker and watched it for quite awhile as it searched the tree trunks for insects whilst another GSW drummed away in the distance. Good to get such great views of the GSW as it flitted from tree to tree. Sights such as this make the effort of getting out and walking on a cold day such as today worthwhile! Other highlights today were Marsh, Blue & Great Tit and a pair of Nuthatch.

A welcome surprise flock of Waxwings descended on trees two gardens away from mine on Sunday morning! I counted 40 but there were decidedly many more than this number, hard to count them when they surround the trees! They flew periodically from tree to tree and stayed for around 15 minutes! A wonderful sight to see so close to home. A pity they will soon be on their way as they have brightened what has been a dull and cold long Winter.

Trimpley Reservoir was on the agenda for Sunday afternoon. Eymore Wood was the first stage of the walk with surprisingly very little about, with just Siskin, Greenfinch and Raven heard. At the reservoir Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebe x3 were on the water and Pied Wagtails flitted amongst the rocks at the edge of the water. It was a lovely sunny afternoon with hardly a cloud in the sky and it almost felt as though Spring had finally arrived, 5 Buzzards must have thought the same as they soared high in the sky, a lovely sight! The walk alongside the River Severn was in the shade so a drop in temperature but still an enjoyable walk especially when the 3 pairs of Mandarin Ducks were sighted! They are such stunning Ducks that seem to have an air of elegance about them! Further along the river were 2 pairs of Goosanders which to me also have an air of elegance! It was a long afternoons walk today and after yesterdays 3 hour walk I think a few days rest will now be in order.lol!!