Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sheepwash MEGA (Almost)

A cloudy Rainy day at sheepwash with The Gornal Birder was unprommising, however the spells of clear skys followed by rain had potential to 'drop' something, but other than a flock of around 40 Redpoll which brielfy touched down (there was also another 10 already feeding in the bushes with goldfinch).
I picked out a flock of 6 TEAL near the sand martin bank and later 3 more birds joined (4 m, 5 f) and i was able to video them

A GREEN WOODPECKER was showing on the river bank, allowing good views.

But while we turned around corner a PARAKEET flushed from in front of us!
It lead us a merry chase for a long time, giving only flight views and one brief, distant and badly lit views. I thought i had a ring necked parakeet!
However after a long time, the bird finally gave up and perched upon a bush and ate berrys, that Bill looks abit big, and should ring necked have purple in the wing, mmm, I think i may need to review my videos, so then when at home i quickly got certain it wasnt a hoped for ring necked, so what was it?
The good old google search came out, 'Green Parakeet', non of those were my birds. 'green parakeet with purple in wing'
Alexanderine Parakeet!
Thats the one!
It all seemed so clear in hindsight!
Oh well, its only a Parrot ;P
Certainly brightened up the day though


Here is a Raven i Digi-binned as it flew over my head:

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


I dont want to talk about this day, so i wont, and local's may suss why!
Here are some Gadwall's:


Upton warren

A drop in at the moors pool, revealed a very 'gully' session, as a large flock of Gulls had taken over the pool, amongst the flock was 4 Herring:

3 1st Winter COMMON GULLS;

amongst the usual large quantities of BHG and LBBG.
However, the star bird of the evening goes to a female PINTAIL which flew in and circled the pool before settling and swimming towards us with a flock of mallards (they are good for something!)

This bird was very good at hiding, and often dissapeared for periods of up to an hour! eventually however, all people on site got to see it,

Also of note was an eclipse male WIGEON, at dusk, 2 GREEN SANDPIPER flew in and landed in amys marsh.

Sandwell valley RSPB

A couple of hours spent slowly wandering the paths around forge mill lake, It was quite quiet, but as i havent been to the valley for almost 4 years! i felt like a visit was in order.
In fact i owe alot to Sandwell valley, i picked up almost all the ducks i have seen for the 1st time, i still remember the day when a scopeview (not my scope may i add) had 3 lifers, Shoveler, Teal and Goosander! Yes, that bad!
However, for all the 'Common' lifers i saw, i was extremly happy on my first visit one august day many moons ago, to see a Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the marsh with 5 Green sandpipers, I thought it was a mega!, But saying that, i ticked Godwit and sandpipers before i had a Lapwing!
How far i have come!
But anyways:
Like i said, birdwise it was quiet, so i took a few video's of a few commons around the lake, including some bird i ticked here years ago:

A Shoveler, still a gorgeous duck:

And a Lapwing: however quite common, i still end up watching them, particuarly when their flying around on a freezing winters day 'wheezing' with there huge flappy wings!;

We walked around to the remains of the old visitor centre, such a shame to see it in the state it was, maybe the price to pay for having an urban reserve which is so open to the public?
However, he is the view looking from where the visitor centre once stood:
Highlight of the visit was hearing a WILLOW TIT, however, a repeat visit is needed to get this on the year list!
7 female/Juv GOOSANDER were on the river, A pair of Gadwall were on the lake, as was c10 Shoveler and the same amount of Teal, as we were leaving we noted the flock of Goosander roosting on the lake.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sheepwash mega!

Again, an after 6th form visit to Sheepwash urban park was in order, with my co-sheepwash patcher the GORNAL BIRDER (with his new blog).
As we were walking around the pool it became obvious that there wasnt much of note, however while scanning near the 'sand martin bank', i picked out a duck.
An eclipse drake WIGEON!
we decided to head around to the raised patch where we were treated to much closer views with the light behind us, giving great photo and video opporotunities!

It was the first i have ever seen at the park, and a very nice addition,

However, the only other birds of note were 3 Female TEAL, which somehow always were on the other side of the pool where ever we were standing!

Patch first!

When is it that you know birding cant get any better?
When you get a patch first of cause, and not just a poxy little, 'i should have seen one here, but ive never really caught up with them tick', no i mean a fully blown WTF is that doing here tick!
As regualr readers of the blog will know, my last moment of that was when i found the 2nd winter drk Smew on the river, and the other a week before that with a Whooper swan, However, patch birding can be Dry and stail most of the time, but just once in a while, you find something special.
Got out quite early on the patch, walking upriver at 7:30 to try and get some videos of the Mandarins and Goosanders, slowly working my way up with a trickling stream of both MEADOW PIPIT 'seeping' and SKYLARK 'rippling' over.
On a plowed field there was 10c Lapwing (most were hidden behind bushes) and Many Pied wagtails were flying over, suddenly a flcok of 40c Swallow appeared, but immidiatly headed south in the fine conditions.
I has worked my way up to the riverside field at 7:56
It was at this point i heard a strage call, one that i couldnt recognise, i spun around to see a wader flying in low over the fields, head on, i couldnt put a name to it, but it allighted
and pitched down in a shallow ditch in the field i was standing adjacent to.
A juvenile RUFF!
I didnt know what to do, pick up my phone and tell someone, get my scope up and take a video, or continue looking through my bins, well i didnt have to choose, because the bird chose for me, and after no longer than 10 seconds it took flight and flew off climbing rapidly as it went.
Looking back on the time, i proberbly didnt hear the ruff call,(which is what i said when i passed on the news) because im under the impression they dont call much (if at all)??
But i believe that what i may have been hearing was another wader, a Snipe (which i had also never knowingly heard calling, but i did see one on the riverside fields just after the Ruff), so at least im better at IDing a bird than by calls,
The thing is, if i didnt hear that call, would i have seen the RUFF?, because at the time i was scanning hedges, maybe just abit of good luck that got me onto the bird.
But who knows,
The rest of the walk was tainted by the fact that i didnt even get a photo of this patch first, and i spent a fair bit moaping,
When i finally arrived at Blackstone, i quickly found 2 Female type MANDARIN, of which i got a video, but not the Drk i was after.

And the 2 GOOSANDER were still at Blackstone, an adult female (our summering bird) and a juv bird.

3 KINGFISHER were fishing in the river, as well as 100's of fishermen

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


All activity was at Blackstone, i hadent got down to the patch for some time, so even though i only had 20 mins before dark, i decided to give it a go.
I quickly spotted 2 GOOSANDER on the rocks below the bridge but walked on very quickly, ,lots of space to cover.
At the usual spot, i picked up 4 Mandarin in the shodows of the overhanging trees, hardly visable, at this point i heard a familiar call come from somewhere, i heard a TEAL!A i scanned up the bank ans squinted really hard looking for a tiny duck in the non existant light, and i found it, a female TEAL!, the first i have ever seen 'on the deck' on that patch, and the first this far north up the patch.
I was treated to stunning views of both Pipistral and possibly greater horseshoe bats and while watching thes flying feet from my head, i saw a GREAT CRESTED GREBE on the river, again, as with the TEAL, abit of a MEGA at this time of year, but i decided to head home now as it was extremly dark,
A LITTLE OWL and 2 TAWNEY OWL were heard calling.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011



Highlights from sheepwash was the return of winter visitors.
A single female TEAL, was showing well.

A GREY WAGTAIL was also showing quite well on the river.

And 6 drake POCHARD had returned.



A total of 50+ PIED WAGTAIL dropped into the Engine pool island to roost.