Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Eymore Wood and Welcome Garden Visitors.

A fleeting visit was made to Eymore Wood on Saturday (28th)in the hope of seeing a few Crossbills. The first sighting was of fellow Brummie Pete, it was good to see him again and have a natter! After 10 minutes or so two female Crossbills had been spotted in a Larch tree enjoying the spoils of the tree. I returned on the Sunday afternoon and whilst preparing to look for Crossbills had a chat with Tom and Tina who were also after the Crossbills, it was nice to meet some 'Local' birders. A distant flock of Crossbills were seen, so I had now seen the striking males, though not great views as they did not hang around. A flock of 12+ Redpoll were good to see though they were very flighty. A Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a perched Buzzard were the only other birds seen on this misty and cold Sunday afternoon. I managed a couple of very record shots of the Crossbills.
My garden has been quite productive the last few days. A Redwing has found the berry laden Holly tree that is in the centre of a lawn and has visited each day since Sunday (29th).The Redwing is keeping it's find a secret as it is always on it's own.
Monday (30th) morning a female Sparrowhawk was perched on the end of my garage enjoying the sunshine, I watched her for a good 10 minutes as she scanned the not surprisingly empty garden! I was surprised to see her perched so visibly.
What a stare, scary
A Song Thrush was feeding on a few leftover sultanas when I returned home this morning, a lovely bird to see. It was February 2011 the last time I sighted a Song Thrush in my garden.
A female Blackcap has been a regular daily visitor for a couple of weeks now, as long as I keep spiking apples and pears on a tree I don't think she is going anywhere soon. The cold weather which we are told is set to get colder will probably bring a few more birds into gardens than there has been all Winter, I have not had near as many Blackbirds this winter as the last two.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Walking over the Edge....22/01/2012

Kinver Edge A sunny, cool and blustery day but good to be out for a walk and so did many other folk think the same as there were plenty of walkers out over Kinver Edge this afternoon. However away from the madding crowd Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Wren, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, Green Woodpecker ( a great over-view of it in flight), Redwing, Raven and 3x Buzzard were seen. The Buzzards were a joy to se especially as one of them put on a great aerial display and performed 'a roller coaster' three times before flying out of view! This is the first time I have witnessed a Buzzard displaying, what a treat to see! Not a great species list by any means but all of them 'special' to see in their own way. Turkeytail Fungi was seen on several decaying logs and stumps. The views from Kinver Edge are really good and would have been much better if it had not clouded over.
23/01/2012 AM: Two Goldcrests were in my garden this morning, one would have been a delight but to see two was even better! ................. ................. PM: A walk along the public footpath from Roman Way and I had my first sighting this year of House Sparrows, such a pity they are so sparse these days. There was a flock of 15+ in the hedgerow and trees, I stood and watched them for awhile and felt sad that they are no longer a common garden bird, well at least in my garden they aren't. Collared Doves (also my first of the year) are another bird that I do not see as often so it was good to see a few perched in the trees. Plenty of Blackbirds were searching the fallen leaves and small flocks of Green, Gold and Chaffinch were seen several times. Other highlight birds seen along the footpath were Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blue & Great Tit and Long-tailed Tit, no doubt some of the gardens close by provide feeders as this area is usually good for the aforementioned bird species. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming several times throughout my walk but I did not see one, the usual Corvids were in and around the paddocks and fields along with Pied Wagtail and a flock of 30+ Redwings.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

On the menu today....22/01/2012

On the menu today was a Feral Pigeon. The Female Sparrowhawk had passed through my garden a couple of times during the last week and today she stopped for a feed. Feathers are scattered around the lawn due to the wind blowing today. The Sparrowhawk eventually carried the remains of the Pigeon further down the garden and left it there, if the Fox visits it will enjoy a tasty supper! 11.33am

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Brake Mill Pool....17/01/2012

A large flock of Black-headed Gulls were on the pool and I was pleased to have spotted at last a different Gull amongst them, a Lesser Black-backed Gull!! The Gulls quickly noticed that I was feeding the Mallards etc and then it was pandemonium. Tufted Duck x 9, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan family and Canada Geese were on and around the pool. As I walked towards the path that leads to Stakenbridge Lane a Grey Wagtail flew to the top of a tree, this is only the second time I have spotted one here. I was to see it again on the roof of the house that is alongside the path. Birds seen today were Blue & Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Wren, Chaffinch, Song Thrush, Mistlethrush x3, Fieldfare x4, Redwing 12+, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Sparrowhawk (m&f) and a Buzzard that was unusually heard only. A pleasant walk in the sunshine but it was mighty cold in the shade!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Hungry Gulls and a Fox....16/01/2012

Black-headed Gulls (16+) slowly descended on my garden making me feel quite dizzy as I watched them fly around and around my garden until they felt safe enough to land and get their share of the food I had put out for the birds on this cold and frosty morning. I had today put bread out along with the scones, sultanas and seed as I knew the birds would be hungry after such a cold night. The Crows, Magpies and Woodpigeons were not too pleased with the new arrivals! A male and female Blackcap were a welcome sight on the apples that I spike on a tree. A Coal Tit has been a frequent visitor since this recent cold spell started, always a lovely to bird to see. Two Robins, Great and Blue Tits, Dunnocks and Blackbirds are the regulars. A Wren has visited the last couple of days, a very welcome sight. This afternoon a Fox was in my garden, it ate one of the fallen apples and then inspected around the feeders and after a mooch around crept through the hole in the fence at the bottom of my garden. I have had a few calling cards left recently so to see the Fox was not a surprise, it must have been hungry visiting in daylight though it looked quite a well fed Fox. An absolute pleasure to see.

Monday, 9 January 2012

A wonderful 'Full Moon' rising, viewed from Enville....08/01/2012

The bridleway/public footpath off Compton Road and leading to Enville Hall was a great walk this afternoon. Linnets were heard several times as they flew above the treetops and a Green Woodpecker also heard. Nuthatch x2 scoured the tree branches and a Treecreeper spiralled up a tree trunk both species in search of insects and spiders. The mild Winter has been kind...so far... for insect loving species! Other highlight birds seen were Siskin, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch. Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Redpoll, Long-tailed Tit 12+, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush x5, Buzzard, a flock of Redwings, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a GSW heard drumming!
Temple Pool was quiet with just a dozen or so Mallards on the water. By the pool I found a humongous Fungi that had fallen from a tree, I believe it is a Bracket fungi? It was a whopper and the biggest Fungi I have ever seen! I found a handy house brick to place beside the Fungi for a size comparism.

On the return walk the 'Full Moon' rising was a joy to behold as the haze from the setting sun transformed clouds to a soft pink colour, within minutes darker clouds had enveloped the moon. It was a great sight to see to end an enjoyable afternoon walk in mild Springlike weather.
No 'rare bird species' seen on the walk but there doesn't have to be to enjoy a good walk in the countryside.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

A Mutation of Thrushes....07/01/2012

Fieldfares and Redwings where the notable birds on my walk at the Fisheries this morning. The flocks were very mobile as they fed in the paddocks and on pasture land, lovely birds to see, berries have now all but gone on the trees and shrubs. Great Tits and Blue Tits were very vocal as the sun appeared from behind the clouds and warmed the air. I was pleased to have sightings of 5 possibly 6 Bullfinches though once they spot you they take flight! A couple of Siskins perched for a few seconds atop a tree and a Wren was busy feeding in the brambles. I had great views for a good 10 minutes of a male Sparrowhawk preening in the sunshine as it perched low on a tree branch. It made a pleasant change from watching one devouring it's prey!! Apart from a couple of Pied Wagtails in a paddock the above bird species were the only one's seen this morning. As I made my way down the track to return home a huge flock of Woodpigeons were feeding in one of the fields and suddenly took flight, I looked to see what had spooked them, it was a Sparrowhawk, possibly the one I had been watching preening!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Hyde Lane, Stourton....02/01/2012

A change of scenery today, Hyde Lane and a new area for me. The afternoon was a sunny one for the most part but quite cool. Not a lot of bird species were seen on the walk towards the canal (Staffs & Worcs) all but Blue and Great Tits which are lovely to see, however a perched Buzzard on a pole was a nice surprise, just as I readied my camera it took flight into nearby trees! On reaching the canal half a dozen Mallards were seen diving fully into the water like Little Grebes. I have never seen Mallards do this before, just upending! They were surfacing with what looked to be acorns, swallowing them and diving down again! There is an Oak tree above the area they were in so I presume that they were softened acorns they were eating or molluscs, they certainly looked like acorns.

On the return walk we took a walk along a public footpath that you reach through a Kissing gate that is next to a bridge over the River Stour, the path takes you through a good woodland area. A Buzzard was spotted perched in trees, possibly the same one that was seen earlier. Other species seen were Jay, Goldcrests, Nuthatch x 2 scouring the same tree trunk, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch x 2 (male), Robin, Blackbird, Blue & Great Tit, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, with Siskin heard only! The path leads eventually to Enville Road by Stourton stables though as it was getting dark the whole of the path was not walked. An enjoyable walk with a colourful Sunset to end the afternoon.

With the Fairies lights now switched off and Santa's Little Helpers all tucked up in bed for their well earned rest and daylight hours gradually lengthening it brings pleasant thoughts to mind that Spring is just around the corner!

A heavily cropped image but an acorn (?) is just visible that the duck is about to devour.

Staffs & Worcs Canal

River Stour