Thursday, 31 May 2012

Return to Sheepwash

It had been  very long time since i have visited Sheepwash, as much more time had to be foucused on studies, however, i found myself back on 21st for the first time since January.
It was nice to be back at the park, however, birdlife today was rather dissapointing!
Highlight was surely the first HOBBY ive ever seen at the park which flew over the main Pumphouse pool towards the chemical pool with prey (presumably a hirudine) in its talons, it seemed to drop down into trees, but was not relocated, or seen again, 4 Common Tern were resting on the rocks but otherwhys, birdwise, it was dead.
It was a supprise to see 5 birder on site while i was there, the most ive ever seen at one time there!

So, with birdlife practically non-existant, we switched to buttefly mode, and we soon found the personal highlight of the day, 2 stunning male GREEN HAIRSTREAK butterflies! The first ive even seen at the park, and only the 2nd time ive seen one!

3 Brimstone butteflys were 'around' and a single Common Blue was also spotted. Also, a few recently emerged Common Blue Damselflies were spotted.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Pied Flycatchers

I was lucky enough to hear news on a pair of breeding PIED FLYCATCHER's at an undisclosed site. As i only saw one bird last year, and having not manadged even the crappest photo of one, i was keen to have a look at the site to see if i could find the birds.
While searching, we quickly found a Nuthatch nest, and the adults flight path was quickly learned, so i trained my scope on the spot where they always land on the tree, and soon  after i manadged this pic of a Nuthatch doing what no other british bird can. 'Climb' head first down a tree!
(You can just see the nest enterance next to the birds left foot.

Once the location had been established, the PIED FLYCATCHERS were very easy to find, and stunning views were had as it flitted about between tree's and bushes in search of insects, initially, 2 birds (Male and Female) were visiting the box they were nesting in, and the male of that pair is shown below:

Great views were had as the bird went about its buisness, however, the bird almost constantly stayed in cover, however, for a brieft minuite, the bird appered in the open, and preened, allowing some amazing views!
I was getting the best views of a Pied Fly ive ever had, and for it to be a stunning male aswell was just mindblowing

Brief snippets of song were heard from the bird.

He was a shy little fellow!

Away from the nesting box, we found another male Pied Fly, although this one was alot more elusive than the first, and it soon dissapeared! Making a total of 3 Pied flys at the site seen by me (2m)
3 Wood Warbler were found in various area of the wood and a single Tree Pipit was heard singing

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Wyre Forest, Summer Migrants and Breeding birds!

In the interest of the breeding birds involved, i wont be mentioning specific locations on any breeding birds that i find, or have seen on the blog over the coming months. It is simply to protect breeding sites to potential disturbance and/or stealing of birds egg's (Which sadly, does still happen).

At a location within the forest i was able to have great views of a male LESSER-SPOTTED WOODPECKER. Simply by luck we stumbled upon this bird as it fed in tree's and bushes for about 5 minuites around us, which certainly made up for the almost complete lack of birds that we had encountered so far!

One of the best examples of a male 'LesserPecker' your likely to find, it certainly was a privialage to find this bird, in what is, truithfully, a needle in a haystack within a forest as large as the Wyre.
Over the years this bird has become increasingly hard to get, i remember only 5-8 years ago when i could find LesserPecker quite regularly, but its population has had dramatic declines recently, with the Midlands being particularly 'hard hit', a shame really, because a Lesser Spot always brightens the day!

We walked a long way through the woods, picking up summer migrant after summer migrant. I picked up 2 male REDSTART singing which was down on the total i had the same time last year! 3 WOOD WARBLER were singing and also 3 Tree Pipit was seen/heard in the many clearings. 2 male CUCKOO were singing.
Oddly, while walking along a track, we flushed a RED-LEGGED PARTRIDGE! for the brambles next to us, which was an immense supprise, as i have never seen one in here before, nor did i expect to see one!

2 Dipper were also seen visting a nesting site.

A party of 3 Roe Deer ran past us, which was a nice end to the trip!


Upton Warren- Migration and Lingerers

An evening visit to both sides of the reserve led to a nice little array of migrants, and lingerers.

Firstly, we dropped into the Moors Pool where a quick scan here revealed a Common Sandpiper on the East Islands, Not wanting to spend too much time here, we departed to the Flashes.

A female White Wagtail was my first of the year of this Ssp, and it shown well occasionally switching between the channel below the hide and the transmitter field.

Also very quickly located, was the flock of 6 DUNLIN which was found earlier in the day, all adults in more or less summer plumage. It took them most of the night to work there was in close to the hide, bt i gladly got some photos when they did.

The 1st winter LITTLE GULL that had been frequenting the Moors was located here, sleeping blissfully close to the hide. the only challenge then was to try and get a photo of it awake, as it spent most of its time asleap!
However, in the brief moments it awoke, stunning views were had of this jewel of a bird.

It is only when you compare a Little Gull with an LRP that you realise just how small these highly pelagnic birds are. It really is tiny!
Hard to believe these things winter out in the north sea really. The only bird they are comparable to are the 'marsh terns' (to which it has a similar feeding technique), and the bird does seem as if it would be better suited to spend its non-breeding life (They breed on marshy pools, often among terns, BHG's and Grebes!) at inland lakes and marshes than out in the harsh sea. They just seem so out of place with there small body size seemingly dwarphed by the huge waves.
However, Little Gull does have an ace up its sleave, it has disproportionatly long wings for its size, and this helps them with their pelganic lifestyle.

Over the coarse of the night, the DUNLIN flock slowly edged it's way closer, probings there way through the soft mud. Eventually, they were showing on a spit near the hide that was being frequented by the Little Gull. It was nice to have both these species together at an inland scrape.

4 birds aproached, the other 2 Dunlin seemingly content with staying on the far edge of the main island, however, with the warm evening light shining, the Dunlin's glowed, and the birds that aproached the hide gave great views!.

A nice little mix of birds there, and shows how the wet weather over April has dropped migration back a few weeks!
I think there is much more to come over the next few weeks, potentially even into june!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Patch Birding

A friday evening visit to the patch was rewarded by stunning views of a drake MANDARIN perched on the riverbank at blackstone, showing well.

Also at Blackstone, was a singing male Sedge Warbler, 2 Kingfishers, 4 Garden Warblers, a single Reed Bunting and many Whitethoat

Tuesday, 22 May 2012



I manadged to get in a little bit of sneaky twitching to Upton Warren at 9:20 PM in almost darkness to see the LITTLE GULL, which has taken up tempory residence there, i did manadge to get some video footage, however, my SD Card corrupted and i lost all footage from the Gull (and the remainder of this post) and all the footage from a non-birding visit to London, A timely reminder to back up anything taken ASAP rather than having to wait because of revision.
Luckily, i manadged to recover most of the photos from the memory card!

A early walk along the patch was moderatly rewarding, Whitethroats are now back in huge numbers and birds seemed to be calling from every suitable bit of habitat along the walk. There seemingly more common this summer, (As are Swift and Willow Warbler, Sudgestions?). A Garden Warbler was showing form the Garden, and a further 3 were located around the patch.
A Pait of GOOSANDER were showing along the river.

I recieved news that the LITTLE GULL  was still at Upton Warren, and that a BLUE-HEADED (Type) WAGTAIL had been seen. Firstly, we looked for the Wagtail, which was still showing on the at the Moors Pool, however, it had now moved onto the Broadmeadow Pool, and was increasingly hard to see (And photograph), But i tried!
Im actually quite supprised how these came out considering the distance.

Also showing here was 2 additional male YELLOW WAGTAIL's.
I have to admit, Both the 'Flava' wagtail ssp were very good looking, and was worth the effort to see even if one of them can't be classed as a species, It all add's to our knowledge!

The Blue-headed type worryingly showed a pale(ish) head, which could possibly indicate a hybrid (Channel Wag) or possibly even a backcross bird, Flava x Flavissima x Flava, however, this ID is not clear cut as it showed a mix range of features between both Ssp. Despite this, a very good looking Hybrid!

As mentioned however, the main reason for the visit was to see the LITTLE GULL, and it was still showing. However, the Bird rarely landed, and was therefore a pain in the arse to photograph!
However, as is the typical MB mentality, I tried!

Yes, in an hour or so, thats the best i manadged! Laughable, but tbh, my main focus when out birding is birding. A recognisable photo is good enought for me!

At 4:03 pm, This brute of a Great-Black Backed Gull dropped in, however, after incessant mobbing for a few minuites, it had left by 4:06



4/05/12+ 5/05.12These days were spent in london, so very little birdwise. However i had 2 Red Kite on the way down to London and 1 on the way back, well below the numbers i was expecting tbh.
Anyhow, a nice year tick!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mediterranean Year tick.

News of a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull at Upton Warren emerged, and as luck would have it, the bird was still showing when i arrived in the late evening,
The MEDITERRANEAN GULL was showing decently from the main hide with the small flock of mainly non-breeding 1st summer BHG. The bird showed unusually bright bare part colours for its age, and its seemingly advanced moult ( faint carpal bar markings and not very prouounced tertial markings) and bard part colours hinted towards quite an advanced plumaged bird

I watched the bird for some time as it preened and swam around in the pursuit of the local BHG.

A taster of a typical roost scene (below) Can you name and age them all? (Quite an easy one)

As the light was now very weak, it made it very hard to get any decent footage/ photos of the bird. and when news came through that the SEO had just been seen again, we soon headed off. However, an unseasonal male Shoveler was showing at the back of the flashes

We spent some time in the 'archery field' at the back of the sailing pool, however, in 45 minuites, the SEO failed to reappear, which was a shame.

A Swallow was showing well on the jetties outside the sailing club building.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


A visit to Earlswood in the afternoon was rewarded by a single adult ARCTIC TERN that was hawking over Windmill pool, with a flock of 27 Common Tern.
Also, a large flock of Swallow were here.

Over the coarse of the day, i manadged to see 8 Swifts, firstly 6 over the M42 near Bittel, next a single bird over my nans in Bewdley, then another single over Bewdley town centre in in the later afternoon!

Also been doing quite well with Garden birds, Siskins still visiting, but highlight was seeing a pair of BULLFINCH in the garden.


Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wyre Forest


I started by photographing birds in the garden, where a Siskin and 4 Goldcrest were showing, i even digiscoped one of the male Goldcrests.

We then moved onto the Wyre.
 A quiet visit here in the early afternoon with occasional rain showers, not the greatest weather to try and find summer migrants, and that was shown by the lack of them, However, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Blackcaps were now back in numbers.

Between the frequent showers, we got bouts of sunshine, and in that sunshine we were able to find a male Tree Pipit singing.

We then walked into the wood looking for Redstart, Wood warb and the like, however, there was no sign of either of these.
As compensation, while walking along one of the tracks, another Tree Pipit flew up from in front of us and landed in a tree nearby, allowing for some decent views!

Soon after, with storm clouds starting to build around us, we headed for home.
Another visit into the Wyre is needed very soon!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Patch Working Summary 12/04-15/04

Birthday Birding is always good, however, the patch was rather devoid of most birds, Although a few colourful birds made up for the day, as well as a couple of Swallow, which were my first for the year, and an overdew year tick, my first Hirudine of the year!
A pair of Reed Bunting (Still a good patch bird) appear to be holding teritory at a lake on the patch away from a 'normal'' breeding site, and a single Willow Warbler was showing at Blackstone,

However, the highlight was a pair of MANDARIN DUCK which were showing amazingly well adjacent to the river, as ive never been next to a male in 'good' sunlight before, i tried to take many photo's of him, what a beaut!

Whe heading home, i decided to try something different, and digiscope a Goldcrest, it didnt go too well, but i did get this one shot.

The Mandarins has manadged to go hiding and i didnt see them, however i was rewarded when the palest Common Buzzard i have ever seen flew low over my head, litterally a white bird.
Body, head, neck, forewing and its rump extending to its back were all white, and the remaining flight feathers and tail were only slightly darker brown, and Insane looking bird!
As it spent much of its time in the air, i failed to digiscope it, however i also showed the bird to my dad on 15th.
Birdlife was rather quiet, however, at Blackstone (Recently the 'best' area of the patch) there was a few suprises.
I took some time to photograph a male Orange Tip, there was a fair few of them about, but strangly. every one were males!

Blackcap's were now seemingly everywhere, with many located over the patch, including this one at Blackstone.

 Birdlife was restricted to north of the road bridge, where a female Goosander was showing, initially on the far bank, but walkers and very noisy children soon pushed it off the bank, into the water and then started swimming up the near bank a few metres from me!

This section of the river seems to be the most productive on the patch, It is the exact spot where ive seen Smew, Goldeneye, Dipper, and where last years Red-throated Diver took up residence for a short time. There is something attractive about this section of the river to many birds!

Amazingly, a Common Sandpiper had somehow found its way to feed here on one of the small mud banks which were showing, Nothing is better than getting a patch year, and year tick at the same time!

The pair of Mandarin were again showing. but there was very little else.