Its not very often i can say that!
Sedgley Beacon has been an area that i thought had amazing promise to produce some migrants, as i have commented on the blog all the way back in the winter. So, with it being into April, and with the first spring migrants starting to arrive, it was a perfect opportunity to head up this under watched high point to find some birds!
The Beacon hill, on which stands a tower stands at a rather daunting 666ft above sea level, and is one of the highest points in the Midlands! There is nothing hellish about up here though (apart from the constant streams of dog walkers and Chavs in the area), and the habitat consists of basically short grass and general scrubby area's, a very limited habitat around the area. On the NW side however there is a fairly large 'hawthorn valley' on top of the old quarry which looks decent for migrant passerines, if only it was on the east coast!
It was just while walking down the first slope towards the 'plateau' that i noticed another birder in the distance staring down into the valley! As we approached he waved us over, obviously he had something decent!
He'd just had a bird perched up in a tree in the valley but had flushed by walkers. He was unsure as to where the bird went, so we decided to swap numbers and split up, he continued into the Valley and I went up onto the top of the hill and 'around the back'. Just as i rounded a bush however, i noticed a 'Blackbird' running the edge of the hedgeline away from me. Bins up. ITS GOT A WHITE BREAST!
As expected, the bird imminently dropped into cover, and went elusive, and that's how it stayed the rest of the day!
Calling Paul back around, he came up, and on discussing the bird, we came to the conclusion that the bird i saw was a different bird as mine was an obvious male! It also had fairly obvious white speckling on its head, which his bird did not.
Over the next couple of hours we had brief views of the original bird, with a fully black head as it moved around between hawthorns. After some time scouting the area, i stopped at a field that backs onto the hill, and found that the 'white speckled' Ouzel was showing. Paul had yet to see the bird by this point, so again, called him over, and the bird duly disappeared! We gathered in the spot though, as the bird only flew into a nearby hawthorn, but the bird didn't show again for some time!
I looked at the other end of the field, and was happy when i picked up a 2nd RING OUZEL at the other end of the field, some distance away! But enough to prove that there were two birds up here as they were both in the same field, at opposite ends, at the same time. To give you the impression, here is a couple of 'record' shots i got.
I had to leave for a bit, but returned after an hour or so with the scope, but from this point onwards, failed to get any decent views of the birds, only getting brief, or flight views.
However, a couple of stunning birds, and great to have had then only 15 minutes walk form home!