Tuesday, 23 December 2008

'whats that gull'

22/12/08 sheepwash urban park
soz only a quick post i got things 2 do( 2 do with christmas) the goosander total has increased 2 29 birds with quite a few males 2(i think this rivals the amount i saw a sandwell valley last winter) i saw 11 fly off in the direction of the valley at around 2pm so if any arrived at the valley at about 2:30 mabey that they were these birds.i think sheepwash is a real compettator against the valley.both these sites have records of spoonbill but sheepwash hade 3 and the valley only 1.sheepwash has had night heron but the valley has had great snipe.i would bet(no money) that with a few more observers sheepwash could become a truly urban oasis(it is surrounded with houses but the valley is more like a bit of countryside in the town and is packed with birders so therefore more things are found) soz no offence to any valley regulars.both are great sites and both are great places to watch nature.back 2 birds and more importantly the title.over on the albright and wilson pool there was an unusual gull.every time i scanned the end of the lake i kept on picking out this gull.it overall was larger than the herrings and lesser blacks with it but had the same shade back(if slightly darker)than the herrings.it looked very bright white compared to the herrings streeky head.its legs were a pinkish colour an were quite long.this bird was almost certinaly an adult or an advanced 3rd winter.thinking of id details of gulls from other blogs.now i was on the verge of calling caspian when i remembered i have no experience with caspians and am not a great gull watcher myself so i called my friend(who also isnt good at identifying gulls)and said to get onto this caspian type gull on the pipe. we watched it for a few minuites and then it started flying towardes the mound behind the pool(from the side with the lorries going up and down it all the time)all i noted now was a herring gull like wing pattern.it then flew over the mound and i didnt see it again.please could anyone help with this id i have no real littritue on caspian gull but the features dont match yellow legged or herring.if you can help please leave a comment.i dont care if you call me a dumbass for missing a feature for positive id but i dont know ive only being birding for 3 years and have only realy started taking notice of gulls and only found out about caspian a few monts ago.there are no real differences between the list for today but the highlights are:
pochard-7 goosander-29 the odd gull
there was also an unusual part of the day when we saw a lapwing swimming in the pumphouse pool never seen that before
what happened to my quick post
p.s- i didnt want to put out the news because i am not totaly sure with the identification its not going on my list and no photos were taken to back me up so it looks like its going in the one that got away bin

my local patch

I said I would post something about my local patch, so here it is. I really went out to try and find some waxies but, in my bemusement i found out that the fieldfares,redwings,blackbirds,song thrushes and missle thrushes have already eaten all of them( but there wasent too many 2 start with) so because of this most of them have gone but have been replaced with 4 bullfinch(2 female,1 juv and a dull male,possibly first winter) this is the first flock i have seen here for ages. i got great views of a showy male kestrel which showed well for long periods.first in an oak tree then a willow near the sand martin colony(none were there) and finally in the tall trees on the entrance road(no need to know where these are no other birders come here)as i was watching the kestrel on the entrence road i noticed a treecreeper on the same tree.nice little bird but it gave crap views the full list is:
cormorant-4 canada geese-30c mallard buzzard-2 sparrowhalk-1 kestrels-2 moorhen coot b h gull h gull l b b gull woodpigeon green wood-2 g s wood-2 wren-2 dunnock robin song thrush redwing fieldfare mistle thrush blackbird great tit blue tit treecreaper magpie jay carrian crow starling h sparrow-6 chaffinch goldfinch greenfinch-8 siskin-4 bullfinch-4

Thursday, 18 December 2008


yes! finaly! the christmas holliday, should have some birding stories in a few weeks. i so want 2 catch up with some local waxwings this year(they need 2 get on2 my life list. theres 27 on the other side of B-ham at 2 locations as i right this so my chanses look good) hoping 2 get 2 sheepwash next week(only thing that week) and the next week almost deffinetly(spelt wrong but i got an excuse i live in dudley) upton warren and my local patch. wait a minuite. i havent ever mentioned my local patch.well i better explain it. its a(im getting ready 4 the mocking) caravan site in stourport. what can u blame me its its the closest area of green areas near me. it is acctuatly quite good.ive seen over a hundred species there.it comprises of 2 lakes a douzen small blocks of woodland(some deciduous some coniferous) loads of fields(some wet and flooded) a farm, wet woodland(now a nature reserve) and the river severn(which is why a lot of species there).note: im also the only birder to bird here and i get very lonly and yet another reason to visit a well known birding spot.e.g. upton warren

right so what to do this holliday: find waxies,explore,and a whole lotta persuaiding.

p.s.theres a lot of writing here so ill put in some random birdy pictures. happy christmas to the world

p.s.s theres a red brested goose at holt prarie in worcester an i might go for that itll be a lifer

fitting picture the holt birds in a canada flock 2

Thursday, 4 December 2008

lesser spotted woodpecker details

a few days a ago i got a comment about my l s woodpecker at sheepwash and it said it was the first 4 the reserve and was asked 2 write about the details of it.so this is just 4 u martyn:
it was found neer the bridge opposite the fishing lake(on the road from the main entrence) i saw it first when i accidentally flushed it from a tit flock by the river. in flight it had rounded and braud wings and was like a typical undulating flight of a woodpecker but was more fluttery( almost moth like).there was barring on its back that streached all the way 2 its primarys where they curved towards the front of the wing.it gave a short+sharp 'kick' call .it had a small and weak bill.it was about the size of a sparrow. it landed next 2 the wooden sign and i noted it as being an adult male.it had a red cap and 'dirty' cheaks.there was also slight barring on the flanks and no red undertail coverts. i then watched it for a bit and left for home. if any more detail is needed email me at midlandsbirder@aol.com
midlands birder

Monday, 24 November 2008

sheepwash urban park

visited the park for the second time today.there was some quality finds for an urban area.the best was an amazing 20 goosander(a great total for a small park lake)which gave brilliant views down to a couple of metres.there were 48 lapwings on the working pool in dudley port as well as a gull flock containing about 300-400 birds(including 5 g b b gulls).there was also a lesser spotted woodpecker that gave a brief view(this is my first for a few years)
the full list is:
little grebe-5 g c grebe-3 cormorant-2 grey heron-8 mute swan-9 canada goose mallard pochard-13 tufted duck-6 goosander-20 moorhen-5 coot lapwings-48 b h gull common gull-2 herring gull-15 l b b gull g b b gull-5 woodpigeon collered dove-1 kingfisher-1 green wood l s woodpecker-1 pied wagtail-1 wren-1 robin-3 blackbird-6 great tit-4 blue tit l t tit magpie carrian crow-3 h sparrow-20+ chaffinch-2 goldinch-20+ greenfinch-1
i did hear a g s woodpecker which if seen would have completed the list of common british woodpeckers in a day

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

upton warren again

much better day today,visited the moors pool first. as i stepped in the west hide the rain and wind slowed.typical. i first watched the feaders in front of the hide.the normal feeder birds were there. although a female pheasent spent about 15 minuites on the middle feeder and a squirral on the ground feeder.a lesser redpoll landed on dead plants in front of the hide.i then scanned the reeds around the edges of the lake to see if i could find the bittern that was presant there.(it would be my first ever)but no sign of it.so instead i scoped the islands on the far side of the lake. i imidiatly found 19 teal feeding there.i looked at the other end of the island and saw what i thought was a wigeon.it was. but it showed unusual plumage with an eclipse male body and a normal head(which i couldent see untill some time later)then came the shout i was hoping for"bittern out".it took a couple of seconds to get directions but then it was flying.it looked massive in flight.as this was going on a lucky birder came in the hide and got onto it straight away.the bittern(lifer 176) landed in reeds near the car park and showed well over the rest of the time i spent in the hide(it was a very pale bird compared to pictures in bird books).
little grebe-2 g c grebe-1 cormorant-10 bittern-1(although 2 were presant) grey heron-3 mute swan-12 canada geese-10c mallards- shovler-25 wigeon-1 teal-19 pochard-1 tufted duck-11 sparrowhalk-1 male very good views pheasent-1 water rail-1 moorhen coot golden plover-3 lapwing b h gulls h gull-1 l b b gull-1 collered dove-1 kingfisher-1 pied wagtails-2 wren-1 dunnock-3 robin-2 song thrush-1 redwings-2 mistle thrush-1 fielfare-3 blackbird cetti's warbler-2 very good views(lifer- but i did find one at sheepwash urban park on 21/8/08) goldcrest-3 great tit blue tit coal tit-2 blue tit/ l t tit magpie carrian crow-3 starling-20c h sparrows-2 chaffinch linnet-2 lesser redpoll-1 goldfinch-3 greenfinch-2 siskin-1 bullfinch-1 reed bunting-1
also visited flashes highlights are jack snipe curlew+ 3 greylags over

the pictures below are not taken by me(i need to buy a good camera soon)

on the tail of a shorelark

i visited upton warren flashes today to see if the shorelark was still there after its week stay.it was reported as presant . guess what. it wasent.it wasent there all day. the only bird of note was a jack snipe. i cant be bothered to write all the species seen. im that anoyed.this would be my first ever(i need 2 have a visit to tichwell in norfolk ill get a few new species there)i hate dipping birds that i can so easily see. this autum alone i have missed red backed shrike, grey phalarobe,shorelark and that is only a few. great isnt it. i love midlands birding(sometimes)
i did visit the moors pool today it was covered in birds including a massive number of coots.note i didnt see everything as it was dark and the remaining light shone into the hide putting the birds in silouette.
a week later i have found out why it had gone, a sparrowhalk flushed it the day before.

upton warren again

visited the flashes today got even more firsts today, curlew and ruff. the ruff (which is a juvernile female-reeve)the curlews were spectacular starting with 2 on the other side of the flash at around 5:30 pm. one flew off about 20 mins later. then around 7pm that bird came back and landed right in front of the hide giving great views.over the next half hour 40 more birds flew in and landed in front of the hide.the green sands again gave brilliant views right in front of the hide 3 metres away. also joining them were 2 common snipe giving great views(my best ever views) the only thing i was dissapointed about was the grey pharalobe witch left last night.the list for today is:
5-little grebe, 3-g c grebe ,4- cormorants, 3-grey herons, 5-greylag geese ,150+ canada geese, c50-mallards, 15-gadwall, 20-shovler, 30-teal, 20-tufted ducks, 1-sparrowhalk, 1-kestrel, moorhen, coot, 100+ lapwing, 18-green sands, 6-common sands, 42-curlew(lifer), 8-snipe, 1-ruff(reeve-lifer), b h gull, 2-l b b gull, 2- stock doves, woodpigeon, 5-kingfisher, 1-green wood, 2-g s wood, robin, reed warbler, great tit, blue tit, 50-l t tit, magpie, carrian crow, starlings, goldfinch,
i would also like to thank the man who was kind and pointed out the ruff and greylags and for being so nice and exchanging some of his birding memories.
there is a cleanup of upton warren flashes on the first sunday of every month so please come along and help .you could do a lot for such a brilliant wildlife area
i cannot wait to go again