Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Worcestershire MEGA! 500th Post!

Wow, 500 blog posts! Its hard to believe at the beginning i would reach 500 posts. Thankyou for your ongoing support and i look forward to the next 500!

Upton Warren flashes was the destination as a Worcester MEGA had taken up residence, So upon our arrival i headed straight for the feeder hide, after briefly stopping near the bridge to listen to a begging juvenile CUCKOO.
Once in the hide, a wait ensured, but my hopes were not high as it starting to become late evening 7pm, and the feeders were almost inactive. 3 Greenfinch were all that kept us entertained.

That was until i spotted a brown tit species in hawthorns to the left of the feeders.


Sadly, now a very rare bird within the county, being classed as extinct as a breeder, and no longer has any regular location within the county boundaries! Therefore it was great to be able to catch up with one of these species within the home county.

Additionally, it also produced me the 2nd of the species 'pair, that is Marsh and Willow in the same county in 2 days, not the easiest of feats nowadays!

Having seen the target, and watched it for some time, we moved onto the main hide. Waders were well represented with 7 species, with 7 Avocet, 7 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper and 3 Redshank being the highlights.

We had to wait until very late in the evening for the Gull roost to produce anything, when a pair of adult Common Gull dropped in around 9pm, spending a short period on the deck before flying off south.


Monday, 12 August 2013

Patching comes up trumps!


Another patch visit, and another Mandarin count. I wanted to get out fairly early, and i did, so i was out scouring those hedges and tree's looking for some migrants. The first bird i came across was while standing adjacent to the old Sand Martin colony on the riverbank (now sadly unused) and i saw the distinctive flight shape of a Falcon approaching from the north. With its barrel chested-ness and heavy flight it was obvious a PEREGRINE was flying towards me, easily the rarest of the 'common' Falcons here on patch. Soon after i was treated to great views of this 1st summer male bird as it flew low over my head, across the river, dropping down low over the fields opposite, to suddenly rise up over the hedge to spook a flock of Woodpigeon before giving a pot-shot, and to be honest, half soaked lazy attempt at that, towards one of the Woodpigeons. Soon after the bird was lost to view, but a nice addition to the list.

Just a little further upriver, adjacent to the riverside field infact, and, for the 2nd time in 8 days, i heard a familiar 'glipping' sound above me, Looking up to see a party of 3 CROSSBILL flying along the river SW. I wont repeat from what i said a couple of posts ago, but this is still a very decent patch bird with very few records!

Moving onto Blackstone, i quickly found a variety of good birds, a LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER was seen briefly making its way through the dense tree's, the first patch record this year! And it was while trying to relocate the Woodpecker i heard the distinctive song and 'Pitchoo' call of MARSH TIT'S, a welcomed sighting as i had not seen any at this location  since the spring!

The expected flock of Mandarins had dropped significantly, with now only 7 birds remaining, 4 of which were drakes. The party of young that were first hatched have now disbanded and are now practically independent. 

The final highlight of the day was the confirmation that a pair of Lapwings had successfully raised 2 chicks at a site on patch! As far as i know, the first confirmed breeding for a few years, despite a semi-regular presence during the summer in previous years. The two adults and 2 fledged youngsters sitting together on an area of bare ground.

In the garden, both male and female Siskin have been present all summer, so it was fully expected when 3 newly fledged juveniles visited the feeders for around a month, however, more recently we have been visited by something larger...

A family party of Great-Spots!

But one of the most unexpected sights was to happen on the 3/08/13, when a WHITE-LETTER HAIRSTREAK visited the garden briefly, a butterfly lifer!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

My last month- July

A family party of 5 Grey Wagtail were showing on the river in stourport town center, 2 adults and 3 Juveniles. At one point, the two adults were mobbing an American Mink as it ran along the edge of the river for a good distance, only once the Mink was about 100m away from the young, did they stop mobbing it.

Moving further downriver, i moved onto a small site of heathland adjacent to Hartlebury Common on the patch side of the road, where a Cuckoo was heard singing, and 2 Willow Warbler were also singing. The 2nd area of the patch to hold breeding birds this year!

11 Goosander (adult female with 10 young) flew upriver past Lickhill, presumably the female which was seen to have chicks earlier in the year on patch. 2 Eclipse male Mandarin were still present at Lickhill, and the 5 Grey Wagtail were still showing.

A survey for Mandarin Duck came up with a new record count for the patch, when 16 birds were found, 2 eclipse drake, 3 adult female, and 11 nearly fledged chicks, including these birds which favored a log on the edge of the river.
A large emergence of Scarlet Tiger moth had me seeing over 40 of these stunning moths, with the main emergence centered around Blackstone.

Visiting Upton Warren with the Girlfriend, we worked our way across both sides of the reserve. At the Moors, we quickly located the 3 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS, feeding on the East Islands, other-whys it was quiet, bar the first returning Pochard of the winter (a drake), 10 Common Tern and a Cetti's Warbler.
The Flashes revealed the expected Wader species, with 9 Green Sandpiper, and a single Common Sandpiper. The trio of Blackwits dropped in, before flying off south when flushed by a Sparrowhawk. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover had also joined the wader's, but was obviously raised elsewhere.

A drop into Sheepwash had me seeing a Marbled White on the mound, my 2nd sighting at Sheepwash this summer. Slightly more expected though was the Gull flock, which included a LBBG, with the leg ring K+H. I have personally never came across a bird with a + as the middle character, so if anyone can shed any light on the record, please do.

A friday afternoon drop into Upton Warren had us seeing a nice array of waders. A moulting male RUFF was showing on the Flash, as was a adult GREENSHANK. 35 Avocet were still in attendance, while other migrant waders were 7+ Green Sandpiper , 1 Common Sandpiper and a Dunlin. 16 Curlew spent some time on the flash before flying off.

Another patch visit, again to count Mandarins had me counting 15 birds, but of a completely different combination of ages/sexes. I will have to wait until the end of the summer to judge the true figure, but looking through my notes and photos, it would seem that 20+ Mandarin have summered/being raised on the river this year.
3 Eclipse drake, 3 juvenile drake, 3 adult female and 6 un-sexed juveniles were found. A new brood of chicks was found, the 3rd breeding record of the year, with a female with 2 still downy young in tow. A single Emperor dragonfly was hawking the river, and a multitude of Brimstone butterflys were on show, including one which decided it wanted to use me as a perch!

Masses, potentially above 1000 very young Frogs were found, literally each step you would take 40 spring out of the grass below you! Some sight!

While looking for Dragonflys around the Gadwall lake at the south end of the patch, a loud 'glipping' sound alerted me to the presence of a flock of 5 CROSSBILLS flying over! Only the 2nd patch record, and the largest flock to date. With the large number in the country currently, it may be worth looking through these migrant flocks of Crossbills, even in the midlands, as their cousin, the Two-Barred Crossbill is also experiencing a influx!
Get looking folks!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Patch Mandarin sucess

A late evening patch walk revealed a hoped for sighting for the last month as i finally caught up with a series of Mandarin Ducks. 2 single females which seem to have been not breeding this years were still enjoying each others company, but just a little further downriver i found another female Mandarin, but this one with the company of 7 juvenile Mandarins!

A few locals have been keeping me updated on their progress, as up to this point i had failed to find them, so it was great to finally catch up with her, she has been very elusive this year!

A Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail were also seen,