Coney Meadow and Adjoining Areas
I thought I'd start a new thread for this relatively new wildlife reserve between Droitwich and Salwarpe. I've been birding the general area for the past 10 years (it's literally on my doorstep), although the centrepiece, 'Coney Meadow Reedbed', was only constructed in 2008 - as mitigation against loss of fringing reeds along the Droitwich canal when it was dredged to make it navigable. Since then, the wildlife interest has developed further and the whole area has a great deal of potential. The habitat includes a 2.5 hectare reedbed, grassland, scrub and thick hedgerows. It is bordered to the west and south by the River Salwarpe, to the east by the Droitwich Canal and to the north by 'Droitwich Woods NR'. Complimenting this variety of habitats is a small area of mature woodland, the churchyard and gardens of Salwarpe village plus farmland (permanent pasture and arable).
My own birding highlights over the years have included Pied Flycatcher (recorded once), Common Redstart (once), Tree Pipit (2 records), Little Egret (once), Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (twice), Hobby (frequent), Tawny Owl (frequent), Common Tern, Little Owl (very scarce), Cuckoo (regular), Grasshopper Warbler (regular), Brambling, Green Sandpiper (occassional), Spotted Flycatcher (regular) and Grey Partridge (once, 'wild' credentials unknown). Marsh Tits used to occur but I haven't seen them here since 2005. Over the past couple of years the site has provided a roost for impressive numbers of hirundines (e.g. up to 700 Sand Martins) at various times of the year but especially late March/ early April. Other notable wildlife recorded includes noisy Marsh Frogs, Badgers, Roe Deer, various species of Bats including Noctules, Marbled White butterflies and, last year, I saw and photographed an Essex Skipper. The area is also pretty good for Dragonflies (especially Brown Hawkers, Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters). Several good plants are present, including Dittander, and there is a small colony of Pyramidal Orchids further down the canal.
A quick stroll this afternoon produced a singing male Blackcap, Raven, Buzzard, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, singing Skylark, Green Woodpecker, Reed Buntings, Water Rail (heard), 2 Linnets, Greenfinches, Kingfisher and Grey Heron.
The best time to visit, however, is spring/summer when the site can be heaving with Warblers (Reed, Sedge, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff are common, Willow, Grasshopper and Lesser Whitethroat are regular and Garden Warbler is occasionally seen and has bred nearby). I tend to visit at least twice a week during the summer (usually in the evenings after work).
Anyway, it's well worth a look if you're in the area and it would be great if anyone visiting the site could post their sightings on this thread. Many thanks.:t:
Very interesting Dave, I will definitely check it out, been over that neck of the woods a bit lately for other reasons so getting a bit more familiar with the area :t:
Given a decent amount of coverage, I reckon this site really does have the potential to produce a biggy. Oakley Marsh, not far away, has produced Savi's Warbler, Aquatic Warbler and Purple Heron in the past, so why not something of that calibre here - in some respects, the habitat and position (next to a river) may even be better than Oakley. I have a dream of finding Worcestershire's first Great Reed here - now that would put it firmly on the map. Wishful thinking, perhaps but who knows. :t:
I agree that this is a cracking site good variety of habitat in a small area, that makes it easier to cover. Heard Grasshopper Warbler last year saw Cuckoo and the view up the valley had me hoping for Red footed Falcon. Viewing screens OK but a hide would be good but lets not go down that route.
A lovely sunny morning walk today produced 2 Goldcrests in the churchyard plus Coal Tit. Grey Wagtail over. Six Greylag Geese flew south over Coney Meadow plus 3 Lapwings, Snipe,Skylark, Linnet, Goldfinch, Stock Dove singing, male Kestrel, 2 Raven (displaying), 2 Meadow Pipits over, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers (the latter drumming). Lots of Reed Bunting activity in the reeds plus at least two Water Rails calling. Still plenty of Redwings about.
At Droitwich Woods NR, two Lesser Redpolls singing in the Larches, Long-tailed Tits building a nest, a pair of Bullfinches, another Coal Tit and Goldcrest.
Plenty of House Sparrows in hedgerows along the canal bordering Chawson housing estate and Siskin flew over calling.
Blackcap singing again in hedge along Canal about half way between Droitwich and Salwarpe plus an early Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.
2 Kingfishers showing well along Salwarpe by the village. Nuthatch calling, another 5 Siskins, two Meadow Pipits and a couple of Redpolls over.
I might have a look in as an addition to Upton (if things are quiet there) during spring. Lower Park is a bit of a dead loss at the moment, although it may well perk up in next few weeks.
Do you have a full site list of bird species seen?
I'm just heading over to Upton now. I do have a list of the birds I've seen around the Salwarpe / Coney Meadow area which I will post at some point. In addition, there are a few species that have been recorded / reported here that I haven't personally seen, including Hawfinch and Firecrest.
What did you get this afternoon mate:t:
A few photos of the site attached:
1. Visitor information / interpretation board
2. Coney Meadow looking north
3. Pollarded Willows along the River Salwarpe
4. North end of Coney Meadow looking towards Droitwich Woods
5. Droitwich Canal looking south with mature trees around Salwarpe village / churchyard.
Another brief visit late this afternoon produced 17 Teal, 7 Snipe, male Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron and singing Water Rails.
Good numbers of Teal and Snipe (relatively speaking for the site). Nice to hear Water Rails singing, too - prior to this season, I've only recorded three or four here before (in winter). Constant stream of LBBG and Herrings at dusk towards Westwood.
2 Grey wagtails over.
Also, several Fieldfares and at least four Pipistrelle bats flying around at dusk.
Here is the list of birds that I've personally seen at this site:
1 Mute Swan
2 Greylag Goose
3 Canada Goose
9 Grey Partridge *
11 Little Grebe
13 Little Egret
14 Grey Heron
20 Water Rail
24 Common Snipe
26 Green Sandpiper
27 Black-headed Gull
28 Lesser Black-backed Gull
29 Herring Gull
30 Great Black-backed Gull
31 Common Tern
32 Stock Dove
33 Wood Pigeon
34 Collared Dove
36 Little Owl
37 Tawny Owl
40 Green Woodpecker
41 Great Spotted Woodpecker
42 Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
44 Sand Martin
46 House Martin
47 Tree Pipit
48 Meadow Pipit
49 Grey Wagtail
50 Pied Wagtail
57 Song Thrush
59 Mistle Thrush
60 Grasshopper Warbler
61 Sedge Warbler
62 Reed Warbler
63 Lesser Whitethroat
65 Garden Warbler
68 Willow Warbler
70 Spotted Flycatcher
71 Pied Flycatcher
72 Long-tailed Tit
73 Marsh Tit
74 Coal Tit
75 Blue Tit
76 Great Tit
83 Carrion Crow
86 House Sparrow
93 Lesser Redpoll
96 Reed Bunting
* Unknown origin (possibly released stock)
In addition, the following have been reported to me / recorded at the site but not seen by me personally:
1. Red Kite
2. Jack Snipe
3. Turtle Dove
Therefore, the site list is at least 101. I have personally seen a Turtle Dove at nearby Martin Hussingtree and others near Hadley village in the past. Also, there may be other records for species that I'm not aware of. If anyone knows of any, I'd very much appreciate it if they'd please come forward with the info.
There are also a few species that I've recorded at Oakley Pool but not here (Barn Owl, LE Owl, Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Cetti's Warbler, Savi's Warbler, Tufted Duck, GC Grebe, etc.) and that site has many other good historical records (Aquatic Warbler, Purple Heron, Bittern etc.)
PS. Don't think I can count the Black Redstart that turned up in my garden in 2003. 8-P
How many have you seen at Lower Park?
Anyhow, cheers for the interest,
I'll sort out the list when I'm on my own PC, but off the top of my head the Lower Park total is very similar based on what I and John have seen. In fact I think it's 101 as well!
This map might help you find it:
The best directions are to head along the A38 towards Worcester from Droitwich, turning right a few hundred yards from the roundabout (by the pub) accessing Copcut Lane and following it all the way to Salwarpe village. Park by the Churchyard (enough parking for ~10 cars). Walk through the churchyard to access the canal towpath. Coney Meadow is on your left.
BTW, Oakley Pool SSSI is situated ~1.3 miles south-east of here (on the opposite side of the A38), accessed via Pulley Lane .
Lower Park list is:
01. Mute Swan
02. Pink-footed Goose *
03. White-fronted Goose
04. Greylag Goose
05. Canada Goose
06. Barnacle Goose **
12. Tufted Duck
14. Red-legged Partridge
16. Little Grebe
17. Great Crested Grebe
19. Little Egret
20. Grey Heron
30. Little Ringed Plover
31. Golden Plover
35. Jack Snipe
40. Green Sandpiper
41. Common Sandpiper
43. Mediterranean Gull
44. Black-headed Gull
45. Common Gull
46. Lesser Black-backed Gull
47. Yellow-legged Gull
48. Herring Gull
49. Common Tern
50. Black Tern
51. Stock Dove
52. Wood Pigeon
53. Collared Dove
54. Little Owl
55. Short-eared Owl
58. Green Woodpecker
59. Great Spotted Woodpecker
61. Sand Martin
63. House Martin
64. Meadow Pipit
65. Yellow Wagtail
66. Grey Wagtail
67. Pied Wagtail
77. Song Thrush
79. Mistle Thrush
80. Sedge Warbler
81. Lesser Whitethroat
83. Willow Warbler
84. Long-tailed Tit
85. Blue Tit
86. Great Tit
91. Carrion Crow
94. House Sparrow
101. Reed Bunting
* provenance unknown
** unlikely to be wild
Those highlighted in red have been seen by John not me.
Hi dave I never knew of this site before this thread, it sounds lovely
Oh and I will definately be getting myself down there, it looks beautiful :t:
Cheers for the info, Mike.
Had a quick walk around Coney Meadow this evening - 5 Chiffchaffs, Raven, Redwing, 2 Bullfinches, 7 Common Snipes, Grey Heron, singing Blackcap, plenty of Reed Buntings, Mallards and 1 Canada Goose over. The Water Rails (2+) were especially noisy. 7 Pipistrelles flying about at dusk.
Nice to see that an Owl / Kestrel box (pictured) has been erected, plus a bat box.
A Willow Warbler along the Droitwich canal near Salwarpe this evening was the only sign of fresh migration. Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap singing, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Green woodpecker and a Treecreeper. Water Rails calling from the reedbed and 2 Snipe flew out at dusk.
Didnt know about this place, sounds great. Is it accessible by public tranport and or walking
Pretty quiet down here this evening, with no sign of any new spring migrants. Three Gadwall, singing Goldcrest, 2 Ravens, Grey Wagtail and Linnet over. Should start livening up in the next couple of weeks though.
The spring migrants seem slow to arrive this year at Coney Meadow. Last year, both Reed and Sedge Warblers had already appeared by the 11th April and 400+ Sand Martins were roosting in the reedbed. None of these were present this evening but it can't be long now until they put in an appearance.
Highlights this evening were 1 male Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, Raven, 2 Gadwall, Chiffchaff 2 Snipe, 2Jays, 3 Grey Herons and 2+ singing Water Rails.
An adult Great Black Backed Gull flew due south over Coney meadow this evening at about 7:30 pm.
A single House Martin was the only nod towards spring migration and, amazingly, the first hirundine I've recorded here this year.
Two Ravens, two Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker and Great Spot. A pair of Gadwall again and a Lapwing over.
5 Swallows this afternoon plus Mistle Thrush, Raven, Buzzard, Kestrel, Linnets, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, pair of Gadwall, Skylark and Water Rails. Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Coal Tit in Salwarpe Village.
Still no signs of any acros and summer migrants still very thin on the ground. I'll give it another bash tomorrow.
HOOPOE just flew low due north east directly over Coney Meadow!!!!!
Unfortunately, the Hoopoe could not be relocated after searching nearby horse paddocks and playing fields. Many thanks to Phil Andrews for helping me look but it was always going to be a needle in a haystack, really - but maybe it'll pop up again. Excellent flight views were obtained for maybe 30 seconds - I picked it up in the distance as it flew in typical floppy flight directly towards me - it eventually passed virtually directly over my head at tree-top height and then continued to fly due east-north-east towards Droitwich. A superb addition to my patch list.
A second addition came in the form of 2 Shelducks that flew over heading towards Westwood. Other birds noted in the area today included 7 Willow Warblers, 1 Sand Martin, 2 Ravens, 2 Mistle Thrushes, Treecreeper, 4 Meadow Pipits over, Water Rail, GS and Green Woodpeckers, 5 Buzzards, Coal Tit, female Kestrel (eating worms) and a Swallow.
A really excellent morning - things are looking up at last!
It was a little quiet when I visited yesterday evening - and cold and windy - but I did manage to see Kestrel, Kingfisher, Swallow, Skylark, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests, Raven, Buzzard, GS Woodpecker and quite a few large gulls passing over heading south (including 9 Herring Gulls). Nothing spectacular this time but Sunday morning amply demonstrated that this site is capable of producing unexpected magic - albeit fleeting in that particular instance.
Water Rails are still calling regularly but almost impossible to see at the moment.
A Cuckoo was reported south of Salwarpe village today (Steve Avery per Birding Today news service). Unfortunately, I probably won't be able to get down there now until the weekend.
Back at last - a Sedge Warbler was singing away in the reedbed just before dusk.
Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler singing in the reedbed plus a male Kestrel, Raven, 2 Goldcrests, Skylark, Grey Wagtail and 6+ Buzzards. Reasonable numbers of Sand Martins, House Martins and a few Swallows through in the afternoon.
Butterflies on the wing included 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Brimstone and 5 Orange Tips. Plenty of Bumblebees plus a Tawny Mining Bee.
Cuckoo performing well this morning plus Reed and Sedge Warblers.
I'm still buzzing from last week's Hoopoe. That convinced me of the real potential of this place and the fact that it currently gets very little coverage.
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