Tuesday, 8 April 2014


Monday nights i generally walk home from college. A route which takes me thought the Wrens nest NNR, past the reservoir and across the fields at the bottom of the road. This usually allow me to get a few Birdtrack records done as i walk along, usually just a few Great Tits, Nuthatches and Stock Doves. But, as i have recently mentioned on here, the reservoir has been holding Goosanders throughout the winter, so i make a habit to go out of my way to have a walk around this small pool.

Today it paid dividends, as as soon as i got a view of the water i saw a small duck feeding on the far side. A female POCHARD! Mega! 
Not a species i had expected on this pool, as in the years i have lived in the area i have never seen a diving duck (other than the Goosanders of this winter) on the pool. She gave great views from the shore, diving repeatedly, oblivious to the weed smokers, the fishermen and the dog-walkers.

With the light fading, it was time to move on, and it was while walking over the fields near my house that a small bird perched up on some bramble next to me! A male STONECHAT! A double mega night! With only a few minutes of daylight, a quick run home to collect my scope and i was soon back watching the male Stonechat as he moved between weeds.
For years i have watched this field, mainly in the hope of Chats as the habitat present seems perfect for them, however, a series of poor winters had meant that few birds have wintered in the area.

Happy with my two area megas, i returned home!

The next morning, i was back again, and i soon located the male Stonchat, but was immensely surprised when a female bird then flicked up onto an adjacent patch of weeds! TWO STONECHAT! Unbelievable! Somewhat like the local bus service, you wait ages and then 3 turn up at once!

Carrying on, it was a quick walk to the reservoir, where the female Pochard was still showing, and again, feeding well. A party of 6 Goosander had also joined the party, and 2 Grey Wagtail were flitting about the muddy shoreline.

Following a decent walk, i arrived to look for a famous local attraction, and i soon was looking in the top of a broken oak tree where a TAWNEY OWL roosts daily and has done so for many years. For once however, he chose to wake up in response to another nearby Tawney Owl, and started hooting at it before having a scratch.

Himley Hall lake is an area i very rarely visit, so i chose to walk even further to have a look at it, and soon after, a male Pochard was feeding close inshore, being followed by Black-headed Gulls in among the Coots and Mallards

The male Stonchat remained on the field at the bottom of the road, but despite searching, it would seem as if he company was only a one day wonder, and being the lonely fellow he was, he also departed the following night.

This night also saw me walk back from college, and it was quite a surprise to see that the female Pochard remined on the pool, feeding incessantly during the time i watched it. Again, this proved to be the last i saw of the bird, hopefully having migrated to somewhat more pleasant surroundings


Jason K said...

Great stuff Craig. It just shows how rewarding working a local patch can be (even within an urban area)!

midlands birder said...

Exactly Jase! Even plodding around a decent bit of habitat anywhere can reveal birds!