Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fieldfares in my garden....22nd-26th January 2013

Fieldfare Turdus pilaris

Two Fieldfares arrived early in the day after the heavy snowfall on the morning of the 22nd January, late that afternoon a flock of 25+ descended in my garden and possibly the same number again were spotted in trees neighbouring my garden. The Fieldfares were very vocal!
I love to see the Fieldfares in my garden but in all honesty I am pleased when they have departed as they are so territorial. The Blackbirds do not get a look in when the Fieldfares are on guard and woe betide any Fieldfare that attempts to have a munch on the guarded apples!
The snow has all melted and the Fieldfares have now departed, peace reigns in my garden once more.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Ladies Pool, Blakedown....13/01/2013

My Daughter had suggested Ladies Pool in Blakedown for an afternoon walk on this cold and frosty Sunday! The area was new to me though my Daughter had walked the area in late summer last year. So, well wrapped up against the cold, wellies at the ready and with a flask of hot chocolate and a packet of choccie biscuits for the end of the walk we set off!
The habitat is very similiar to Brake Mill Pool/Brake Lane but Ladies Pool is much, much bigger than Brake Mill Pool. I had not realised until seeing a sign displayed that both of the pools are part of  'The Blakedown Valley'. There are/were 30 Pools in Blakedown Valley, according to the display board some have dried out causing problems for wildlife.
On the water were Mallard, Cormorant, Coot and Black-headed Gull. A Kingfisher gave great views as it flew along the water to several perches on the waters edge. We watched the Kingfisher for quite a while, a lovely colourful bird to see on a cold winters day.
Highlight species (including the above mentioned) seen today were : Blue & Great Tit, Robin, Siskin, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird (several), Jay, Fieldfare, Treecreeper, Dunnock. Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. Heard only were: Nuthatch, Bullfinch and Redpoll.
A great area that I believe is part of  Marks local patch! I will certainly have a stroll around here again in the near future.

Spot the Kingfisher!
Mallards were head bobbing, Spring is not too far away! 
On the way back to the car the sight of the balloonists gave an atmospheric view as the sun was setting. I do hope they were well wrapped up!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Brake Lane and a Little Drummer Boy....05/01/2013

No wind, no rain, mild and slightly overcast was the weather this morning...perfect weather for the circular walk starting at Brake lane, Bridleway, Pool and back to the start!
It was lovely to hear the birds calling and especially Robins in song of which I reckon I encountered at least 5 individuals on the walk. A Yellowhammer was giving it some wellie whilst perched on a wire though a lone Corn Bunting not far away was silent. A Sparrowhawk flew in low over the fields which flushed the Woodpigeons that had been feeding in the fields, the Corvids did not seem bothered by the Sparrowhawks presence. A couple of Mistle Thrush gave there presence away with their high pitched rattle call and to me the worst bird call ever emanated from a Jay as it flew amongst  the tall trees in a garden, a colourful bird but such a grating call! I saw and heard several noisy Jays on the walk.

The Bridleway was very muddy, it was difficult to step out of the mud at times, luckily I managed to hang on to my wellies! I had hoped for Redpoll and Siskin alongside the wooded area as there are plenty of Alder and Pine trees here, but no luck today! As I neared the end of the bridleway I watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker as it made it's way along a branch in search of insects, the silence was broken by the sound of drumming a distance away!! My first of the year GSW drumming, it seems early but I suppose they have territory to claim now! A Treecreeper flew closely past me as I watched the Woodpecker, I must have been very! I managed a quick photo of it before it disappeared behind a tree trunk!

On the Pool were a good number of Black-headed Gulls, I checked for anything different but no luck! I had seen a male Goosander and two Little Grebes on the pool on Thursday afternoon (3rd) but just one Little Grebe seen today, I expect the other one was there somewhere lurking in the depths of the pool out of sight.
I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 hour walk/linger today, it was good to do the whole of the walk for a change and in decent weather. I saw 29 species of which I was pleased with for this area and given the time of year. Highlight species were Yellowhammer, Wren, Corn Bunting, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest,  Treecreeper, Dunnock, Robin, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Severn Valley Country Park, near Bridgnorth in Shropshire....01/01/2013

How lovely it was to see the sun shining on the first day of 2013!

A ride over to Severn Valley Country Park was taken late morning, a place I had not visited before today.
There is a pond and wetland area in easy walking distance from the visitor centre, so this was the chosen area before lunch! A lone Mute Swan plus a few Mallards and Moorhen were on the small pond area, further along the path is a viewing screen over looking a well stocked feeder. Blue, Great  and Coal Tits were the main species on the feeders and a Nuthatch paid an occasional visit!

Mistle Thrush, Raven, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird and Goldfinch were seen on the short walk to the bird hide that overlooks the wetland area. Birds  species seen from the hide were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Moorhen, Buzzard, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Magpie. A Nuthatch frequented a feeding cage for the nuts and sunflower hearts someone had placed on top of the empty cage feeder. It was lovely having such good views of such a special bird! A  family entered the hide and a young girl with them sat next to me, I told her about the Nuthatch and asked if she had ever seen one, she hadn't. I said if we were quiet and patient the Nuthatch may appear again, we did not have to wait long! It was good to see that she was pleased to have seen her first Nuthatch! Hopefully it will inspire her into taking up birdwatching or at the very least be aware of what may be seen in the great outdoors!
A walk was later taken down to the River Severn which was as expected running high and fast. A male Goosander flew low down stream and later 3 male Goosanders were seen flying up stream, I think I have my ups and downs! Whatever, it was lovely to see the Goosanders!

It was good to have visited somewhere different at the start of a brand new year and in dry, sunny weather!
A bridge over troubled water.