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Old Sunday 15th December 2013, 20:30   #1
lesser kestrel
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Cole Valley

2 chiffchaffs along the River Cole between Warwick Road and Formans Road, per city ranger.
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Old Sunday 15th December 2013, 21:52   #2
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Good to see this report LK, it's a great stretch through Brum! I 've had some good sightings there! I shall be getting on my bike and checking it out soon over the forthcoming holidays, can't wait.
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Old Sunday 15th December 2013, 22:06   #3
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When you are in the area check out Priory Fields, although it can be a bit muddy by the stream.
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Old Monday 16th December 2013, 19:34   #4
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Originally Posted by lesser kestrel View Post
When you are in the area check out Priory Fields, although it can be a bit muddy by the stream.
Actually Priory Fields is on my list to check out but isn't that by Trittiford? Please let me know the post code, thanks!!
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Old Monday 16th December 2013, 20:00   #5
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Priory Fields entrance is on Priory Rd, near to Bach Mill Drive.


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Old Monday 16th December 2013, 20:02   #6
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Upstream from Trittiford, onto the Scribbers Lane section of the Shire Country Park (Tolkien and all that). When you reach Slade Lane turn right, up to the junction of Priory Road, turn left and cross over. Entrance is immediately before the Mill Pool.
Priory Fields is a Warks WT reserve and details are on their web site.
Priory Fields is next to the B'ham Stratford Canal and can be also reached by joining the canal at Brandwood Tunnel and cycling for a couple of miles. A few more miles along the canal and you're in Earlswood.
Not going to list but the Cole Valley area is very good. On anyday you'll see a decent number of birds. Also good for mammals and during the summer butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.
Fields around Shirley, Majors Green, Dickens Heath and Wythall are also worth exploring

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Old Thursday 26th December 2013, 22:41   #7
Matt Griffiths
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1 Pochard reported at Trittiford Mill Pool on December 24th.
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Old Friday 27th December 2013, 19:39   #8
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Originally Posted by Matt Griffiths View Post
1 Pochard reported at Trittiford Mill Pool on December 24th.
Yes three Pochard at Trittiford Mill Pool today, one was diving on it's own, then when I looked again later there were three together. Plus two heron, at opposite ends of the pool and then in the river.

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Old Friday 27th December 2013, 19:46   #9
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On the Cole Valley past Trittiford Mill Pool there were 5 or 6 heron all within a short stretch of the river, every time I went past one, there was another one round the corner!!
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Old Saturday 28th December 2013, 14:06   #10
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Earlier this year when the weather was Arctic, there were several sightings of three little egrets roosting along the Cole at Four Arches bridge and reports of a little egret along the Rea at Hazelwell.

A barn owl was also seen at a nearby location.

Pochard and goosander turn up at Trittiford Pool and also on the Mill Pool next to Priory Fields.

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Old Friday 3rd January 2014, 13:01   #11
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Only recently discovered this thread..,spent much of my childhood along the River Cole. In the mid 1950s we were one of the first families to move into the then new Kinghurst housing estate; most of the estate was still being built and the area around what is now Babbs Mill Lake was still being farmed by a lovely old guy called Wally Townsend. He recalled how he used to catch trout in the river but was heartbroken when pollution from factories upstream killed all the fish pretty much overnight. There were no fish in the river when i was a small boy but the ponds in the fields contained sticklebacks, frogs and newts. Water voles were common along the river banks and there were also water shrews and field voles in the meadows which were hunted by kestrels. Yellowhammers were also common along the hedgerows and 'a little bit of bread and no cheese' was the first bird song I learnt to recognise when I was around four or five years old.
Fast forward many more years than I like to admit to and I have taken my children and now grandchildren along the River Cole (mostly along The Millstream section but still like to get to Babbs Mill on occasions.) Currently on 87 species of bird for Millstream (most recent; little egret) plus 6 more at Babbs Mills giving me a River Cole total of 93. Would dearly love to reach the 100 mark, very few ducks on my list so reports above of goosander are exciting, also no owls to date. I have had both red kite and raven fly over my garden but not seen either over Millstream as yet so hopefully I can get to three figures. Happy New Year to everyone and good birding for 2014.

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Old Friday 3rd January 2014, 20:50   #12
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When Leo was ranger there, skylarks were still breeding and water voles were on the river. There was also a report of an otter being seen. Spraints were found where the Cole joins the Blythe. There was also several sightings of an otter along the river at Trittiford and at Scribbers Lane, the most recent being in 2012.
I've always reckoned the description of the character Gollum in LOTR was based on an otter.
Glad you've confirmed the little egret. A couple of people (dog walkers) I know reckon they've seen one recently along the canal, where the Chinn Brook goes into the Cocks Moor Woods Golf Course. The Dingles is another place where it seems to turn up.
The Environment Agency carried a fish survey and confirmed brown trout are still in the Cole, with good numbers under the road bridge at Sarehole Mill, at Four Arches by the weir and also by the Aqueducts.
Ring necked parakeets bred at Green Road Ford and it was a good place to see lesser spotted woodpecker but sadly there have been no records since 2012. Up to four pairs were known to be present in the general Hall Green/Yardley Wood area but a succession of bitter winters, cold springs and wet summers have put paid to them.
A pair of willow tits were still breeding up to 2007 and spotted flycatchers were still around until the mid 1980's. Reed buntings are another bird recently lost. Mistle and song thrushes are rarities. Only know of one place where kestrels still breed. I even think sparrowhawk numbers may have peaked. However, house sparrows are common along the Cole Valley.
Still occasionally see woodcock and there is one section where reed warbler and water rail breed; at another, snipe overwinter.
Black redstarts were breeding on the Cole. One site has since been demolished. Also gone are breeding linnets and goldfinches.
I moved into the area in the late 1950's and can recall much of it still being fairly rural and affluent, with gardens the size of tennis courts, many of which were mini orchards. Older people told me they can remember barn owls and red squirrels around that time, although obviously by then the respective populations were in irreversible decline. There was certainly grass snakes. Newts and toads are now scarce. Muntjac deer are reported everywhere and two roe deer were photographed on one of the sites managed by the ranger service.
According to the WMBC annual reports for the late 1940's and early 1950's, little owls were still in the Hall Green district.
Go back a hundred or so years and there would have been nightingales, cuckoos, red backed shrikes, redstarts, tree sparrows, plus a host of other species.
Quite sad what has been lost.
Common buzzards are now breeding locally (even had one in the back garden) and ravens are seen fairly regularly. Other flyovers include peregrine, red kite, hobby, osprey and common tern.
Just imagine the list I could have had if I'd spent less time watching Blues and other dubious pursuits.

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Old Friday 3rd January 2014, 22:00   #13
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Thanks Throstle and Paul for 2 brilliant reports of the patch.

Yes so sad to think of all the beautiful wildlife thats been lost over the years.
For gods sake lets hope there will be no more...but when Goldfinches are now gone I fear it will not be.

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Old Saturday 4th January 2014, 07:32   #14
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Thanks for your replies LK amd Keith, much appreciated. I think the river upstream of the Stratford Road bridge has not really been subjected to the levels of industrial pollution found downstream of this point (run-off from the surrounding areas would probably not be too pure) and kept its fish population pretty much intact. I can confirm that in addition to brown trout there are also stickleback, minnow, stone loach, bullhead, gudgeon, perch, roach and chub in the stretch from that point to Shirley. However since the unwelcome addition of the American signal crayfish to the river's fauna, bullheads may have become extinct (I certainly haven't seen any for several years) and stone loach much more difficult to find. The river around Babbs Mill now supports those species (incredible how quickly it was cleaned up in the 70s/80s) plus anglers tell me there are carp in some of the deeper holes.

I always hope to see a grass snake but never have (seen them at Earlswood which isn't too far away) Slow worms used to breed along the railway embankments on the Stratford line but once again I haven't seen one for a long time.
Linnets used to breed at the Burberry site. with post breeding flocks of up to 25 birds but I last saw one there in 1993 :-(
Burberry is a much under-rated site where I have had snipe, jack snipe and woodcock,all three woodpeckers (LS not since mid '90s) and several passage passerines including lesser whitethroat, also my first Birmingham buzzard record.
Have had hobby at Babbs Mill and regularly see peregrines around the city centre but not yet along the Cole. I can confirm my egret sighting was in The Dingles (Who called it that? I guess it wasn't a Wolves fan...) by the meander bend. Didn't see the parakeets at Green Road but had one at Trittiford a few years back.
I'll stop rambling on now but just to wind you up LK, I do remember hearing/seeing a yellowhammer at Babbs Mill in the spring of 1968 as I took my dog for a walk before heading off to Villa Park to see Albion beat the Blues 2- 0 in the FA Cup Semi-Final, boing boing!

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Old Saturday 8th March 2014, 09:27   #15
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KF on River Cole

OK - I've already posted this once but I like seeing double.
8-3-14 @ 7.30
I thought I'd have a run along the River Cole in Brum this morning.
I started off at Trittiford Pool and saw a couple heron.
Then ran into Brum, past Sarehole Mill.
Was very lucky to see one kingfisher fly from a perch and then another!!!!!!
They were then calling each other as they flew off and up the river.
I tried to find them again and just about made them out in the murkiness, sat on a perch together before of course they flew off again.
Their calls now just sounded like any other bird whistle.
I then saw one fly high and over a bridge and then left them to it.
I have now seen 4 couples in the past 2 months!!!
Happy birding to all!!

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Old Saturday 15th March 2014, 10:16   #16
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15-3-14 @ 7.30
Thought I would check the rest of the River Cole through Brum,
And it was great!!!!!!!
I went from Sarehole to Ackers.
Dunnock, LT tit, Thrush, GSWP, Finch - I must check which one, Pied and Grey Wagtail trying to imitate a KF.
Loads of blackbirds and robins.
Mallards and Moorhens on the River.
And even a Buzzard.
I'm not much much of a spotter and missed a few.
What was of concern is the rubbish dumping.
As I was walking back I heard a very different and loud shrill whistle chi!!!!!
I thought wait a minute that's last weeks kingfisher!!!!!
It was flying up and down with fish.
It was funny when it landed on a perch right next to me
and then flew so high and up around to miss me stood on the bridge
Stunning!!

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Old Saturday 22nd March 2014, 15:31   #17
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22-3-14 @ 6.27
As soon as I got to the river by Sarehole, I heard a couple loud whistles chi!!!
And a kingfisher flew past, it did stop on a perch but flew off before I got a photo.
Plenty of robin, blackbirds and thrushes. As well as a bird with a metallic like whistle but I couldn't see what it was.
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Old Monday 5th May 2014, 09:52   #18
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03-05-2014.
I had a stunning walk along Cole Valley. The number of common birds is impressive and right in front of me. Good to see so many heron, one hiding under a bridge. Also a pair of Jays, GCG on Trittiford. No kingfisher couple this week, hopefully they are now being elusive and nesting somewhere. I still can't believe I saw a couple on two visits, a month apart and in the same spot.
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Old Sunday 11th May 2014, 12:32   #19
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11-05-2014 08:00
Water vole seen on the section before the Stratford Road. I note above previous reports.
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Old Sunday 18th May 2014, 15:20   #20
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18-05-2014 13:00
Today saw the kingfisher on the R. Cole. It stopped a couple times in very low trees over the water. Then heard it calling as it flew up the river. Also spotted a group of small KF suitable size fish swimming up the river and a larger fish suitable for a heron.
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Old Saturday 24th May 2014, 09:47   #21
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More River Cole kingfisher

24-05-14 07:00
What a treat this River Cole is turning out to be!!! All my favourites this morning, a Grey wagtail, Bullfinch, Heron and a possible blue dart of the KF. All the regulars as well with a Thrush having a really good sing. The Swans on Trittiford pool have 6 cygnets. I decided to put something back in by picking up all the rubbish (four full bags) around Sarehole mill - it looked like someone had, had a party with too many energy drink bottles and plastic cups. I decided to do this as for me this has been a great KF stretch. I was then rewarded with a high speed kingfisher fly past on the John Morris Jones Walkway and then it flew up and down a couple times calling 'chi'!!!!!!!!! Great!! (And I missed the rain)
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Old Sunday 8th June 2014, 10:18   #22
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8-06-2014 8.00
Plenty of bird song from Blackbirds, Thrushes and Robin along the JM walkway. Heron behind and a pair of Swans with 5 cygnets on Trittiford pool. Didn't hear or see a KF, was hopeful of fledglings. (someone on one of my Essex patches saw 9KF!!)
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Old Saturday 14th June 2014, 15:13   #23
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Still plenty of bird song along the R. Cole. 4 Heron. Mallards and Moorhens. Swan with cygnets on Trittiford and a few young GCG. My first LSWP. No KF though!!
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Old Saturday 21st June 2014, 10:56   #24
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Plenty of bird song along the R. Cole. I thought the kingfisher had moved on but saw it today, firstly in a tree over the river at perfect fishing height (although the water level was only approx. a foot deep) and then it flew past me head height a few feet away. Great!! (Still curious though if there is a nest some where)
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Old Saturday 5th July 2014, 14:03   #25
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05-07-2014 06:15,
I had just started to walk along the path next to the R.Cole, after Trittiford, when I heard a couple dull 'chiiiiiiii' calls coming towards me, I looked along the River only for the kingfisher to fly past me on the path, not the River. I then heard the echo of it's calls as it went under the bridge up to Trittiford. I then had a look around Trittiford and there was a family of 4, GCG and a lone GCG that caught a fish, whilst I watched. Also a few heron present.
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