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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge.....

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Old Sunday 17th March 2013, 13:07   #76
rollingthunder
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Cheers Glenn - the more the merrier, particularly with posting of sightings. More records away from everybodys favourite local patch would be nice. OK records will be transient but it would give a broader picture of what is being seen and what movement is taking place.....

I am either on a racing bike or with a couple of Staffies, look forward to bumping into you at some stage.

Laurie
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Old Monday 18th March 2013, 05:48   #77
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Sun 17th Mar............

Withymoor 1115 -

Quiet, 2 pairs of Tufties and about 40 Black Headed Gulls.

Hurcott 1200 -

Unbelievably quiet, 1 1W Black Headed Gull, 1 ad LBB Gull and a pair of GCGrebes noted. I did think of the possibility of a Sand Martin but........for me, i have never found this piece of water at all productive and consistantly dissapoints. No edge habitat as such and could do with a couple of loafing platforms imo.

West Hagley Fields 1230-1330 -

A bimble around the top fields. Lots of ploughed habitat, soil looking dark after the recent rain should make a Wheatear stand out. But today just a lot of interesting but ultimately dodgy pebbles to scrutinise. A useful exercise none the less.

Plenty of corvids, as expected, and small parties of Stock Doves, a couple of singing Skylarks and a total of 3 Buzzards including the perched very pale bird noted recently. Also notable was an adult Grey Heron foraging in one of the recently ploughed fields.

Mary Stevens Park 1530 -

Lesser BB Gull - 2 adults, 1 second-Winter and 1 3rd Winter/4cy.
BHGull - ca150

NO Goosander/Tufties/Cormorant.

Laurie
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Old Monday 18th March 2013, 10:00   #78
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Mon 18th Mar.........

Withymoor -

A superb early-Spring morning for potential migrants.......somewhere... Gibraltar for certain and possibly Portland but not the BirdDenudedTriangle

Still, plenty of small stuff singing - lots of Great Tits, Greenfinches and Dunnocks. Also Blue Tit, Robin etc. Just what you would expect at this time of year.

Not much change on the Pool with about 50 Black Headed Gulls and 4 Tufties present, 3males and 1fem (same as ystda not as i reported, I was thinking of somewhere else.)

Of note was an adult Lesser Black Backed Gull that was hawking for insects above the embankment where the mixed Birch and Conifers are. It was twisting and turning and i watched it catch several 'critters'.

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2013, 06:35   #79
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Mon 18th Mar...........

Mary Stevens Park - 1700

Black Headed Gulls -only about 30 birds, OK it's towards the time where most leave to roost overnite but the numbers have been dropping from a peak of over 400 in January so i guess the 'longed-for' Med Gull will have to wait another year but you never know.

Lesser Black Backed Gull- just a pair but there was a monster size difference with the larger, presumed male, about 50% bigger even to the naked eye. We know who wears the Yellow trousers on that island!

Goosander - single male and female.
Tufted Duck - single male and female present.

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2013, 16:09   #80
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I though you had had a Med Gull at first glance of your post today Laurie!

I passed by Hurcott on Sunday afternoon and could see a couple of Gulls at the back of the pool! It is unbelievably quiet there! I think my highlight on the water there has been a lone G C Grebe a couple of years ago! I haven't walked around the woods for a while now so maybe an overdue walk will be made in the near future. I know it is in the Wyre Forest but still close enough to Stourbridge to warrant a mention occasionally!

I had a male Stonechat in the Whittington area on Sunday (male and female there on the 19th February)!
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Old Tuesday 19th March 2013, 20:23   #81
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Yes, Pam, I think i will only put pictures inside the triangle of good birds rather than wishlist stuff otherwise it will get confusing......

Withymoor today -

3 pairs of Tufties and a single adult LBB on the pool, a few more overflying and about 30 BHG's - quiet. I do hope things start to perk up weatherwise i don't want the first migrants i see to be in Lisbon in early-May

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2013, 05:34   #82
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EQUINOX........

Today is the Spring Equinox - equal Night (and day) @ 1102 to be precise.

We have the next 6 months to see whether Spring and Summer actually exists!

The weather forecast for the next 5 days is mixed, the Golden orb might well put in intermittent appearances in the West Midlands but temperatures will be nothing to write home about.

I feel sorry for the first migrants back here struggling to find any food having used up precious reserves to make the trip.......Already, with 1/3 of the month to go it looks set to be the coldest March for 50 years, average temp has been 3.8c up until the 17th not quite the 1.5c of 1961 but there is time. Yes i know we have an equable climate moderated by the Gulf Stream but over the last few years it seems to be made of seasons of 'extremes' with everything except Sun and the associated heat.

Movements and species present in the Midlands at the moment still have far more of a Winter flavour, a Spring wader here and there and the odd singing Chiffie that you still can't be sure is a 'proper' new arrival or an over-Winterer? I had one singing at Withymoor, albeit subsong about 3 weeks ago followed by a foraging male Blackcap - what price Spring.......

Laurie

Below -

What it is......What is it?......and Where is it?
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Old Wednesday 20th March 2013, 09:32   #83
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Over the past week Ive had two Ravens over marsh park, Brierley Hill. Couple of Grey Wagtails around the canal basin in Moor Street. And several sightings of Buzzard over the Delph locks area.
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Old Thursday 21st March 2013, 05:45   #84
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Ravens......

Always worth noting but ths this time of year particularly for prospecting pairs that might be displaying or attempting nesting.

I had a pair ystda adjacent to Stourbridge Crem 'tumbling' at one another before dissapearing behind some houses. I've had them around the Crem, on and off, for a few years and have thought that this would be a site for the nearest breeding pairs to Stourbridge Town Centre. There is no shortage of suitable large trees.

AFAIK the nearest pairs of a new one near Lea Castle and the long-established birds off Kinver Edge. A mate of mine has been surveying for them for a few years and has 15+ pairs within 10 miles of STC (birds currently on eggs).

Worth keeping eyes open, for such a large bird they become very elusive when nesting and become extremely wary of people.

Just a few thoughts.....

Laurie
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Old Thursday 21st March 2013, 06:42   #85
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Wed 20th Mar........

Another dull day in the BDT - A quick cycle ride to Whittington to turn my Narrowboat before checking suitable fields either side of Bunkers Wood, the ones adjacent to the Stourbridge Tennis Club and Norton Covert and The West Hagley Fields.

Nothing of note whatsoever! Hardly surprising considering the lack of migrant-assisting weather. not even Portland managed Wheatear as a 'day'-list species on the 19th. There early day-list totals of 25+ having moved on.

A long, dull Winter followed by a late, [email protected] Spring - whatever next? Almost certainly the latest in a series of wet, overcast Summers. It's grim being a birder altho it could be worse, could be a farmer..........

Attached is a picture taken @ 1102 yesterday, somewhere out there is the Equinox

Laurie
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Old Thursday 21st March 2013, 07:20   #86
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Oh, in all the excitement of ystdas migrant-hunting there was a solitary Female Goosander on Mary Stevens Park at about 1530.......

Laurie
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Old Thursday 21st March 2013, 10:27   #87
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Interesting posts Laurie!

From Hagley Hall car park Yesterday a Raven was heard 'Kronking' eminating from the Clent Hills area! Raven often seen and heard Brake Mill Pool/Brake lane area! Splendid birds!
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Old Thursday 21st March 2013, 19:14   #88
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21st March

Brake Mill Pool.....Goosander, 2 male & 4 female.
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Old Friday 22nd March 2013, 06:01   #89
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Thur 21st March............

Compared to what is about to befall us ystdas weather was benign by comparison. Still depressing but at least there's food on the table!

I got to Stourbridge Ring Road, was about to go under the subway and thought i would look skyward, a 360 degree view revealed not a single bird in flight......

The silence was broken by a noisy roost, or pre-roost gathering, of an unknown number of Greenfinches in the Yew on he corner of the Church by Waitrose.

Mary Stevens Park at about 1630 held a single female Goosander and a pair of Tufties, BHGull at about 150 with many more birds sporting full Summer breeding plumage (easy, boys it's going to snow this weekend) and a solitary adult LBB Gull to top things off.

I had to smile at a male Goldfinch 'jingling' like the clappers - best of luck mate

It's at times like this that i seek solace in other peoples birding via the Blogosphere - thank God for the Internet. I am a keen follower of Martin Garners 'Frontiers of Birding'. Martin is one of the 'Ten Rare Men' and as such is absorbed by all things identifiable including a particular interest of mine........subspecies. Below is a link to his blog.

http://birdingfrontiers.com/

He is, at present, along with like-minded souls, ensconsed in Arctic Norway at this years ID-related gathering of 'Gullfest 2013'. Link below.

http://www.biotope.no/

I'm a North African/Med man myself but there's some good stuff up there that is just not obtainable elsewhere.......

And you get this sort of stuff......Aurora's, the visual display of the power of the Earths magnetic field protecting us from the destructive Solar 'winds'.

Arctic Redpoll - might be one on the bird feeders this weekend?

And the native Huskies, who does'nt like dogs? Oh the birder top left in Blue is top bloke and illustrator Ian Lewington who i had the pleasure of stopping with on Honeymoon on the Scillies in 1987 (me and the bride slept on his floor)......

Halycon days.............another birding term!

More from the BDT over the weekend.

Laurie
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Old Saturday 23rd March 2013, 06:18   #90
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Fri 22nd March........

Well what can you say? Quite a lot but not on here!

Last March was the sunniest for 100+ years now we have maybe the coldest for over 50. If there is such a thing as re-incarnation then i do not want to come back as a Sand Martin.

Braved the elements @ 1700 hours, popped over to Withymoor in order to take a couple of carrier bags of bread. All the gulls had gone and the only birds of note were 5 Tufted Ducks (3 males, 2 females).

I like to pop out when its wet/windy etc as it's just the sort of conditions where something might have dropped down on passage........but not today and not there.

Mary Stevens Park 1730

Blizzard conditions, still a solitary female Goosander but with a mega wildfowl influx! The pair of Tufties had been joined by another 2 males and a female. Unless they were the Withymoor birds but i doubt it. No Gulls, too late.

Cold Easterlies next week so it does not bode well for migrants.

A quick look at the websites for 3 coastal bird observatories makes grim reading. Sandwich Bay had its' first and only Wheatears with 2 on the 19th, after 25 thru last Monday Portland has'nt recordeed one for 3 days at least and Dungeness is reporting very little passerine arrival.

Below - dejected birders leaving the fields at West Hagley after failing to locate a Wheatear in Spring 2013.

Laurie
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Old Saturday 23rd March 2013, 21:14   #91
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Had my best count of Goosander at Brakemill Pool yesterday - ( 4 males and 10 females. ) Sadly, had no camera for a record photo.
Glenn
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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 05:47   #92
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Goosander

They do seem to be moving about, locally, I braved the elements ystda and was rewarded with 5 birds on Mary Stevens Park - 2 males and 3 females. Hopefully this Winters sightings will be the start of logging this species regularly there as well as the Cormorant sightings since the New Year......

Saw something that i have not noted before. I saw the first male Goosander with something lying on the water beside him. It turned out to be a female Goosander which i thought was dead. The bird was on the water with its' complete neck and head outstretched in the manner of a Crocodile! Closer inspection revealed that it was swimming adjacent to the male and did so like this for 15-20 yards. Whether it had its lower mandible open and was either feeding or drinking i do not know?

Spring is still nowhere in sight. 3 reports of Swallows ystda from Ireland to Devon to the coastal NorthWest, they'll struggle to find anything to eat also scattered reports of Ring Ouzels is more like it, at least these 'mountain thrushes' are more catholic in their tastes and should be OK.

A belated 're-tweet' of sorts of a reported Wheatear at UW on the 17th turned out to be over a year old and highlights the dangers of not practising 'safe text'. I saw it was from last year and was a bit puzzled (i used to be a proof-reader in my first job decades before Spellcheck) but somebody further down the page picked up on it and pointed it out before it sparked a mass twitch to the 'Transmitter Field'.......A report of 4 Sand Martins on Thursday is more like it altho quite where they are now? At least somewhere is getting something.

I will trek down to Withymoor with some bread later on today and have a quick look at MSP on the way to the pub - it's a tough life in the BDT.......

Laurie
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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 10:34   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollingthunder View Post
Goosander

They do seem to be moving about, locally, I braved the elements ystda and was rewarded with 5 birds on Mary Stevens Park - 2 males and 3 females. Hopefully this Winters sightings will be the start of logging this species regularly there as well as the Cormorant sightings since the New Year......

Saw something that i have not noted before. I saw the first male Goosander with something lying on the water beside him. It turned out to be a female Goosander which i thought was dead. The bird was on the water with its' complete neck and head outstretched in the manner of a Crocodile! Closer inspection revealed that it was swimming adjacent to the male and did so like this for 15-20 yards. Whether it had its lower mandible open and was either feeding or drinking i do not know?

Spring is still nowhere in sight. 3 reports of Swallows ystda from Ireland to Devon to the coastal NorthWest, they'll struggle to find anything to eat also scattered reports of Ring Ouzels is more like it, at least these 'mountain thrushes' are more catholic in their tastes and should be OK.

A belated 're-tweet' of sorts of a reported Wheatear at UW on the 17th turned out to be over a year old and highlights the dangers of not practising 'safe text'. I saw it was from last year and was a bit puzzled (i used to be a proof-reader in my first job decades before Spellcheck) but somebody further down the page picked up on it and pointed it out before it sparked a mass twitch to the 'Transmitter Field'.......A report of 4 Sand Martins on Thursday is more like it altho quite where they are now? At least somewhere is getting something.

I will trek down to Withymoor with some bread later on today and have a quick look at MSP on the way to the pub - it's a tough life in the BDT.......

Laurie
Hi Laurie....was it similar to what G.C.Grebes do when telling rivals to "keepaway".Mind you not sure if it's only the Male that does it.
Also the Female grebe does it to present herself to the male for mating.....
Keith
PIC...female presenting...male not interested.....other way around in our house...he he
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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 11:26   #94
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Some sort of pre-nuptial courtship thingy?

Keith, i had not even thought of that probably because of the current weather conditions but i suppose it does'nt stop the old biological clock ticking - hence the bird song.

Have not seen GCGrebest doing what i saw bit will do some research.......

Tnx for poss pointing me in the right direction (much as what the Goosander was doing!)

Laurie
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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 11:36   #95
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You are indeed right Sir! - Give that man a ceegarr..........

I hvnt heard any calls as yet but will keep my ears open. Attached are display photos in both upright and flat mode and a present for you.......

Laurie
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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 13:15   #96
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You've got to watch those females...right floozies they are .....


Woops nearly forgot to say...great pics...I love the Goosander...such an exotic bird and I am so grateful they come and visit every year......saw a Mandarin today at Bittelll - same sentiment here as well.
Keith

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Old Sunday 24th March 2013, 22:05   #97
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You are indeed right Sir! - Give that man a ceegarr..........

I hvnt heard any calls as yet but will keep my ears open. Attached are display photos in both upright and flat mode and a present for you.......

Laurie
I too first saw the 'lying flat' behaviour of female Goosander (At Sheepwash) recently. She was lying like this for around 2 minuites, in which time i thought she was dead, and it was only when the adjacent male started flicking water with its bill at her, and eventually climbed aboard did i realise what was happening
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Old Monday 25th March 2013, 07:20   #98
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and eventually climbed aboard
I like your style!

Two pairs on Mary Stevens Park @ !600 ystda and no 'climbing aboard'......plus a pair of Tufties and about 150 Black Headed Gulls the majority (75%) in Summer plumage accompanied by a couple of smart looking adult LBB Gulls.

Whilst we are caught in the grip of Winter there is stuff arriving, the Scillies are scoring well for the residents birders (Higgo, Spyder et al). The first Swallow is sporting a nice Red rump, plus Hoopoe, Black Redstart, and a very early Swift.

Yesterday saw mass arrivals of Chiffchaffs 200+, Wheatear 70+, Black Redstarts 15+ and Ring Ouzels here and there.

Further along the coast Portland has at last started to 'perform' with 250+ Wheatears being logged, Bluethroat trapped, KP in the harbour and Great White Egret in off the sea at Chesil.

My only 'notable', stepping out of the house ystda was a 2nd Winter-type GBB. Okay not the same quality but i only click with this sp, away from the coast about twice a year and to see one darkening the sky over Stourhole makes the spirits rise...........

Below.......Sky darkener,RRS on Scilly and White-spot.

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 26th March 2013, 07:42   #99
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Mon 25th March..............

A 'raw' day all-round with a little bit of Sun popping out from behind the clouds to cheer things up.

Withymoor ca1200.

Quiet and 'choppy' ca40 Black Headed Gulls, a couple of Adult LBB's and a 2winter Herring Gull - Tufties had increased to 4 males and 2 females. Away from the pool a sheltering Buzzard and some Redwings looking for berries

Mary Stevens Park, Ca1600.

Goosander 2 females present, Ca60 BHGull and 2 adult LBB's..........

WEVVER........

Philip Eden, the BBC weather 'guru' on the World Service weather review says that he can't find a March period in the records where there was a combination of sub-zero temperatures, snow cover and NE winds over so much of the British Isles. It is looking set to beat 1962 as he says apart from more sunny spells (in the West, mainly) and a slight lull in wind strength over the Bank Holiday weedend the Easterly airstream will continue until a week on Friday.

This sort of weather is quite localised to the Low Countries and us! Paris and further South through Central France have temperatures in the upper teens. Meanwhile Seville touched 27c and Malaga 25c last week in warmer than seasonally normal readings.........

It's not getting any better for the birds, the Government have announced a 'crackdown' with a policy of not 'something for nothing'. I've often wondered why bird-feeders tend to be used mainly by resident species and not much by the foreign visitors!

Laurie

Below - David 'call me Dave' Cameron getting tough on migration and tough on the causes of migration, included is possibly the only guaranteed bit of sun.
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Old Wednesday 27th March 2013, 06:24   #100
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Tue 26th Mar........

Another depressingly 'raw' day all-round. No end in sight and small snowflakes through the window as i type this today

Locally there has been a very obliging Marsh Harrier at UW with another reported @ Middleton. An early Hobby was seen in Dorset a couple of days ago. It's nice to have some mobile raptors.

I wonder how much of our Marsh Harrier population migrates? Ringed birds are logged abroad but how many Winter?

Portland has a good range of passerine migrants with Wheatear at 200+ being the most notable, further down the coast Dungeness had just 2! just 1 would do - maybe i will try the West Hagley Fields today and check for snow cover.

Withymoor ca1300

Tufties 4 males and a single female nothing else of note, had trouble shaking off the Mallard and Canada Geese who followed me around the pool. The poor things must be starving.

Mary Stevens Park ca1630

Tufties increased to 3 males and a single female plus a lone female Goosander.

Laurie
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