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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge.....

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Old Wednesday 27th March 2013, 10:45   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g.h.1 View Post
Hi
Just by chance have picked up on your thread, nice to know someone else out there also covers Hagley fields - Brakemill Pool area been watching the area for the last 30 + years cannot recall coming across another birder in that time - hope to catch up with one of you soon ( Ill post anything of note on here from now on. )
Cheers Glenn
Good to catch up with you this morning Glenn!

I had a 2 hour stint at freezing cold Brake Mill Pool and surrounding area this morning. Highlights were 3 Goosander on the pool (1 male and 2 female), a flock of 30 + Meadow Pipits, numerous FIeldfare, Mistle Thrush and Buzzard x2! Oh, and I finally caught up with a small flock of Siskin Glenn!
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Old Wednesday 27th March 2013, 22:04   #102
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Likewise Pam, nice to catch up with you too, hopefully have attached a record shot of the Mistle Thrush I was trying to get this morning.
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Old Thursday 28th March 2013, 07:32   #103
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At least you found a break in the clouds......The Mistle Thrush shot illustrates nicely the 'pot-bellied' appearance which can be a useful silhouette ID in flight.

Laurie
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Old Thursday 28th March 2013, 07:50   #104
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Marsh Harrier..........

For those of you who do not visit/have not heard of/live in the Kinver caves... There is a Marsh Harrier at Upton Warren that has been there for a few days and has been seen well.

Althought initially thought to have a 'dodgy' background (like a few birders) it is notable for it's 'pale' appearance and interesting plumage. So much so that the bird has not been easy to age and has even changed gender on occasion.

It has been wing-tagged as part of a ringing scheme and currently carries a single tag on one of its wings around the carpal. Most ringing schemes tag both wings, there appears to be a letter 'T' (if it turns out to be a male then it will be Mr T to you). The bright colour of the tag might be due to dis-colouration caused by UV damage?

It would be nice if something like this was logged around here, it is possibly from a continental scheme in either the Netherlands or Belgium, enquiries are being made - it has been confirmed as NOT being from the Norfolk birds.

Below is an excellent photo from Vern Wright plus an enlargement of the single wing-tag, i have removed the 'watermark' from the original image for asthetic reasons only.

Laurie
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Old Thursday 28th March 2013, 22:46   #105
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Marsh Harrier..........

For those of you who do not visit/have not heard of/live in the Kinver caves... There is a Marsh Harrier at Upton Warren that has been there for a few days and has been seen well.

Althought initially thought to have a 'dodgy' background (like a few birders) it is notable for it's 'pale' appearance and interesting plumage. So much so that the bird has not been easy to age and has even changed gender on occasion.

It has been wing-tagged as part of a ringing scheme and currently carries a single tag on one of its wings around the carpal. Most ringing schemes tag both wings, there appears to be a letter 'T' (if it turns out to be a male then it will be Mr T to you). The bright colour of the tag might be due to dis-colouration caused by UV damage?

It would be nice if something like this was logged around here, it is possibly from a continental scheme in either the Netherlands or Belgium, enquiries are being made - it has been confirmed as NOT being from the Norfolk birds.

Below is an excellent photo from Vern Wright plus an enlargement of the single wing-tag, i have removed the 'watermark' from the original image for asthetic reasons only.

Laurie
Was down there for it this morning but missed it by about 30 mins. was last seen flying north over North Moors....grrrrr ! but still as you say Laurie, would be even better to log a Harrier ( of any species ) on the local patch.
Glenn
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Old Friday 29th March 2013, 06:53   #106
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Marsh Harrier.............

I have trawled the Net for info on ringing schemes and have seen the feedback from other enquiries.......I currently have a request for info from the BTO who are linked to Euring and their European-wide system of ringing and wing-tagging.

They have not responded yet save for an automatic reply acknowledging receipt of details.

This does beg the question, if the information is not easily available. Why bother?

Yes, i know why it is done but if ringers are not centrally co-ordinating their activities so that information on movement etc can be gathered how will they know the result of their efforts?

Ringing has provided a lot of useful data and is much cheaper than Geo-transmitters, however, Geo-T's provide ongoing information until either the equipment of the bird becomes moribund. In short, if everything goes well you get a lot of bang for your buck, less time wasted and less stress to birds? A good example was a group of Nightingales ringed in East Anglia. OK there were a number of devices that mal-functioned, got wet etc but one that worked sent back more information on where this particular Nightingale rested up, distance of movements and wintered.

It gave more information about Nightingales than ALL other ringing records have ever done.

Most people will be aware of the trials and tribulations of the BTO Cuckoo project. Steven Spielberg could make a half-decent movie out of that one!

http://www.bto.org/science/migration...uckoo-tracking

Bear in mind that ringers, in this case Marsh Harriers, are working with scheduled species. Species that if you and i were hovering around during the nesting season could well end up in court. The least they could do would be to liase with their fellow ringers. They are a priveliged cadre that are being allowed to handle wild animals because they have a permit (presumably they do posess one?)

Ringers are not gods gift to conservation they are merely a tool in the box IMO. I, along with thousands others submit records, have partaken on CBC and have carried out countless hours on habitat management for a wide range of species.

I find the fact that this bird cannot be tracked by the people interested in submitting the record highly irritating, but there again i am vexed by so many things these days.........

Below - any ideas, a juvenile Jackdaw, the other wing-tag is just visible....

Laurie
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Old Friday 29th March 2013, 09:42   #107
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Thur 28 Mar........

Withymoor

Quiet and cold, 5 Tufties - 3m2f, LBB adult over and a Green Woodpecker calling in one of the tall Willows on the lakeside.

Mary Stevens Park -

5 Tufted Duck - 4m1f

Waxwings.........


On the way over to Withymoor whilst crossing the railway line. I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a party of birds wheeling several hundred yards away. I dismissed as Starlings but as they turned they were a tad paler. When i got to where i had initially seen the flock they had gone but then suddenly returned........My intitial suspicions were correct, 26 of the little buggers. Upon returning about an hour later they had departed, they were in a small Ash tree presumably looking for berries. The Cratageus on the railway line and the odd Sorbus on the adjacent estate were devoid of any food.

Below - crappy iphone image.

Laurie
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Old Friday 29th March 2013, 14:56   #108
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A good find with the Waxwings Laurie!

Hurcott Wood and Pools. 29th March.
A lovely sunny morning but still a very cold one! 3 x Mistle Thrush in one of the paddocks along Hurcott Lane.

On the pool were Great Crested Grebe (2), Canada Goose (7), Coot, Moorhen and a Grey Heron.

Seen on the Woodland walk were: Blue & Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Robin, Jay, Jackdaw, Buzzard, Raven and heard only were Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker and surprisingly Nuthatch was heard only!
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Old Saturday 30th March 2013, 07:57   #109
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Fri 29th Mar...............

Mary Stevens Park -

Everything of interest........gone!

Presumably to make way for Spring migrants

A few larger Gulls, including Herring, making their way to roost at 1700 and that was about it. Time to have a bit of a boot about further afield this weekend methinks.

A little bird-related snippet that has come to my attention.

Britains new head of internal security (MI5) is to be headed by a keen birder no less. I can't recall seeing him at many twitches or on the Scillies but 'keen' is a relative term. He's had a lot of foreign experience, particularly the Middle East so i presume he did'nt need last years Cream Coloured Courser?

From the Sunday Times in February..........

Look, a greater spotted spook: bird-watcher tipped as MI5 chief

"THE man tipped to become the new head of M15 should have no problem with surveillance — he is one of Whitehall’s most avid bird-watchers.When he is not overseeing terrorist surveillance operations from Thames House, the London headquarters of MI5, he can sometimes be found concealed in a countryside hide peering at flocks of birds."

"The man, who The Sunday Times has been asked not to name, is in his late forties and has won respect across government for the way he has handled the agency’s counterterrorist operations."

He can now be named as....................

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...py-agency.html

You can all sleep safer in your beds.

Below is my take on it and, before you ask, YES i do have way too much time on my hands

Have a good weekends' birding.

Laurie
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Old Sunday 31st March 2013, 07:41   #110
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Sat March 30th....................

Popped down to Whittington to move my boat and had my first 'proper' Chiffchaff singing in the bushes adjacent to the sewage beds plus a couple of Ravens over...................

These turned out to be the highlights of the day

A bimble, later on, around the top fields @ West Hagley only produced a mixed flock of Wood Pigeons, Stock Doves, Starlings, Redwings and Fieldfares feeding on the newly-established playing fields.

Mary Stevens Park has reverted to.......normal service has been resumed, i.e. nothng!

Laurie
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Old Monday 1st April 2013, 06:31   #111
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Sun 31st Mar...............

1130-1430

A 3 hour bimble around the local migrant hotspots produced just one bird. This just about sums up the so-called 'Spring' at present. Migration, nationally, is sluggish to say the least and the record low temperatures and blocking winds are not helping...........

Not even much in the way of singing passerines, a pair of GCGrebes 'squaring up', an increasing number of Black Headed Gulls with nuptial hoods and a Coot on the next in MSpark were the only tangible signs.

FensPools/Sheepwash/NethertonRez notes are posted on the relevant thread.

Withymoor 1415

Nothing of note only about 40 BHG's

Mary Stevens Park 1600

Tufted Duck 3 males 1 female
LBB Gull single ad
BHGull ca250
Cormorant single 1st-Winter type

It's been a long Winter, the weather seems to be getting more unpredictable, i can't believe it's been a year since this was washed up and found by an RSPB warden in scotland!

http://www.countrylife.co.uk/country...e-of-Mull.html

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 2nd April 2013, 07:21   #112
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Mon 1st April............

Mary Stevens Park ca1600

A bit of late afternoon sunshine, lots of folk about, quite a few with bags of bread which is good to see - it means the Gulls hang around longer!

Black Headed Gull - ca250
Lesser BB Gull - 2 smart adult birds
Tufted Duck - still 4 males and 1 female
Goosander - back up to 8 birds, 7 females and a single male

Walked back last night about 8.30, bitter cold, this looks set to continue until at least the end of the week and probably into the middle of the month. The vicious Easterly wind is due to strengthen from Wednesday onwards

The usual suspect appears to be the 'Jet Stream'. Unknown and undocumented properly until the 2nd World War. It is now considered the major player in determining where the boundary layer between cold Polar air and warm, moist air from the Equator 'mixes'.

Below, the Wiki page and below that a dedicated website.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream

http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?a...etstream;sess=

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 3rd April 2013, 06:00   #113
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Tuesday 2nd April..........

Goshawk (Northern) in the Bird Denuded Triangle!!!

Always expect the unexpected, a good bird can always brighten up a dull day. I had spent a couple of hours around the West Hagley Fields via Norton Covert and the adjacent paddocks looking, in vain, for the first Wheatear of the Spring and only getting a feeding Green Woodpecker for my efforts. The fields were, apart from a few Stock Doves lifeless - no Larks, Pipits or Buntings.

Yes, the 'patch' was certainly living up to its' name today, pulling out NO stops and NO surprises

I bimbled back over Stourbridge Golf Course feeling sorry for a few members who had braved the elements in order to spoil a good walk. About half way over and heading towards the mixed shelter belt of Birch, Oak and Scots Pine that is the boundary a bird flew up out of the top of one of the Pines and circled a few metres above it, slowly. It turned a number of times giving views that i normally have only seen at a much greater distance in places like Wyre Forest. The light was excellent and features like supercilium and dark cap stood out as did the fine barring on the chest and 'cotton-bud' White Under-Tail-Coverts. The bird was seen for about 30 seconds from about 300 yards away. I've had views like this several times in Maroc but never seem to get them back over here. The bird then rose quickly and then banked over as a group of half a dozen Woodies flew off further along disappearing from sight.

There's nothing to get the pulse racing than a good BOP and in the smaller category of European spp Goshawk hits the spot. As much as i like waders and gulls....and thoughts of combing fields for Wheatears can wait another day!

Elsewhere Mary Stevens Park held about 75 BHG's, 2 adult LBB, a pair of Goosander and increase in Tufties to 7 (5 males 2 females).

Changing the subject - for those fortunate enough to have seen the June 2003 Black Lark on Anglesey, i saw it on the last day it was present. Below is a link to a project that is surveying, this Spring, in Khazakstan. 10% of the Worlds 'unimproved' grasslands are in this country, lots of species becoming ground-nesters due to the lack of trees and the water needed for growth. I shall be following this blog as i am particularly interested in birding the 'stans' and the trans-caucasus if time, health and finances allow.

Makes Salisbury Plain look like the 'grassy knoll'!

http://blacklarks.blogspot.co.uk/

Below - Gos in the BDT, The 'Black Prince' and some of his new friends...


Laurie
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Old Thursday 4th April 2013, 08:35   #114
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Wed 3rd April............

Still no let up, possibly snow showers anywhere in the region today and cold over the weekend! It might be 'ard oop t'North' and 'soft darn Sarf' but it's 'Grim in the Midlands 'aer kid'!

There is light at the end of the tunnel, the Jet Stream is due to move North next week according to my sources. Whether the winds veer to pull up migrant-absorbing winds from the Med and North Africa or back to pull in an Atlantic depression or two. Who cares? At least it will break the impasse.

There are a reasonable spread of species now being reported and quite widespread with coastal sites, as expected, recording the most. Locally there was a Hobby reported in the Kingswinford area over the weekend and Wheatears up at Berry Hill (Stoke) also Sand Martins at Clifton (Worcs).

I got the surprise of my life yesterday with a contrast of 2 species to illustrate the topsy-turvy weather situation.

I was returning from the pool @ Withymoor having only seen a solitary Buzzard, ca60 BHGulls, a couple of adult LBB's and 4 pairs of Tufties when i heard the distinct 'trilling' call of Waxwing in exactly the same stretch of the Amblecote/Brierley Hill railway line. 3 birds flew over, they can look remarkably like Starlings so it is worth noting the call. I returned to the footbridge that takes you down to the Penfields when i saw a couple of birds flitting just below the treeline on the cutting. At this point the cutting is quite deep and considering the wind direction very sheltered, indeed the ballast on the rail line coupled with the sheltered aspect can be a good site to see various species 'flycatching'.

In this case it was 2 Swallows! Now the date is no great shakes, i usually record my first Swallow about this time. Always after Sand and House Martin. Due to the current poor Spring weather this took me completely by surprise, i have no doubt that the only reason i was able to record these birds was because of the sheltered feeding habitat otherwise they would have flown straight thru............

I posted the sighting on Birdguides and noted that another record appeared later in the day from Shropshire.

In addition i also bumped into another 'Birdforumer' - it's nice to put a face to a name and in this case it was 'TheOnlyMarmot' who was out walking the dogs with her (i presume) son! I could'nt help but notice that she was NOT wearing the regulation binoculars, i shall have to have a word and point out the error of her ways.

Mary Stevens Park ca1715

BHGull - ca150
LBB Gull - 2 adults
Tufted Duck - 4 males 2 females
Goosander - 1 male 3 females

NB -Waxwings can be sexed and aged altho this is easier if you are a ringer handling the birds but for us mere mortals there are a few pointers for perched birds......Males have broader Yellow tips than Females and Immatures have virtually no Yellow except for the outer tail feather.

Males are darker on the throat and Females fade out to a 'smoky' Black, this could be worth checking in decent light.

Below - Waxwing chins, Male and Female Hirundo in the BDT and calls of a party of Waxwings from Switzerland........

Laurie
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Old Friday 5th April 2013, 06:33   #115
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Thur 4th April..........

Hopefully yesterdays wind signals the end of this dreadful run of bad weather (i'm talking about the last 3 1/2 months!)

Things should pick up, temperature-wise, over the weekend with the wind direction veering round to the South.........bring it on.

Withymoor ca1500

BHGull ca60
LBBGull 2 ad
Tufted Duck 4 pairs

Upon starting the circuit walk the dogs sloped off to sniff 'something' on the middle of the path - a dark blob, i thought nothing of it. Upon completing the stroll they went back to it, it turned out to be a largeish warty toad which, altho very much alive, was still in the same prone position as when i first arrived. I scooped it up and put it at the base of the hedge taking care not to get covered in Bufotoxins in the process. It just shows how much the weather affects cold-blooded animals such as Amphibians and Insects.

Mary Stevens Park ca1700

Much the same as the previous few days......

BHGull ca225, mainly Summer-plumage
LBB Gull 1 ad
Goosander - 1 male 3 females
Tufted Duck 4 males 1 female

Migrants, altho thin on the ground, are being reported with Wheatear and White Wagtail at BerryHll, Wheatear and Chiffchaff @ Clent, a couple of Swallows in Worcs (don't need that for the year) and a stonking Male Ring Ouzel found by Jason Kernohan over at Shenstone.

http://shenstonebirder.blogspot.co.u...shenstone.html

Eyes peeled and ears open over the next few days, Spring is imminent.

Marsh Harrier

It looks like the wing-tagged bird could be part of the scheme that i have linked below. Information is being further sought, interestingly it states that a particular nest failed for the 3rd time in 5 years probably due to disturbance by 'birdwatchers'. You do not need to get that close to see and identify Marsh Harriers, i am willing to bet it will be photographers (unless it's eggers)?

http://www.roydennis.org/animals/rap...acking/2006-2/

On the National 'news' front is this long-awaited report on the effect of synthesized Nicotine-based insecticides and the effect on wild and domestic populations of bees. There is a very real threat of the pollination scenario of a 'nuclear winter' where areas of crops fail due to a lack of pollinating insects.

I have to smile quietly to myself when it says EU proposes blah blah blah. They are not the solution to the problem they ARE the problem. The Common Agricultural Policy has been responsible for the destruction of large areas of former wildlife habitat all over Western Europe and nowhere has the effects been more marked than in the UK. There are large areas around here that, altho looking 'green', are largely devoid of wild plants, the associated invertebrate fauna and the 'marginal' bird habitat that goes with it.

I for one do not want to live/bird in a countryside where i have to visit 'managed' reserves in order to see something of natural-history interest....nuff said

The main problems with the insecticides seems to be the effect of inhibiting their ability to find their way back home and reproduce.......

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neonicotinoids

Below - the same effect of chemical compounds and nicotine-based drugs might have a similiar result on other creatures?

Laurie
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Old Saturday 6th April 2013, 07:01   #116
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Friday 5th March......

Still breezy but the cold, biting edge has gone - bodes much better for the weekend!

Withymoor ca1400

BHGull 75+
Tufted Ducks 5 males, 3 females
LBBGull 4 ad, 2 x 3rd winter birds

The 2 3w LBB's were quite distinctive with the 'saddle' a shade darker than the wings and the dark-tipped wings were more extensively 'smudged' and a complete absence of 'mirrors'.

Below, a link to an article for Herring/Lesser/Yellow Legged for those interested.

http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/categorie...int=1&item=738

Mary Stevens Park ca1700

BHGull 250+
LBBGull 2 adults
Tufted Duck 5 males, 2 females
Goosander 1 male, 3 females

Migration........

Things should start to move over the weekend, just before next weeks rain. Bushes and vegetation will be combed and pools checked. I find it just as important to keep checking the skies. Visible migration 'vis-mig' in birding parlez can be very productive, particularly at high points and coastal habitats. Even so, local walks can produce results, lots of species call on migration e.g. waders on nocturnal migration (i have already had Whimbrel over Stourbridge at the end of February) and species such as Pipits and Wagtails which can fly much lower than other species.

I spent a couple of 'halycon' Summers as Seasonal Warden on Blakeny Point in North Norfolk and Spring vis-mig was a sight to behold. The long, low, linear habitat was ideal for observing this sort of migration. So, eyes to the skies as well!

Below is a link to an article on vis-mig and another to the excellent Trektellen migration website, Oh and a couple of pics of Blakeney Point, 30 years on i still can't believe that i lived there.

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3672

http://www.trektellen.org/

Laurie
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Old Sunday 7th April 2013, 07:30   #117
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Sat 6th April...........

Quiet, considering the weather, mind you it takes a couple of days of reasonable conditions for things to start 'catching up'.

Even so, a quick stroll down to Withymoor was noticeably different with Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Great and Blue Tit, Greenfinch and Wood Pigeon all singing and declaring territory No Blackbirds, they were too busy in groups of 3 and 4 'fighting' one another with various females looking on from their 'grassy knolls'.

What a difference a day makes walking back from Stourbridge at 9 o'clock it was positvely balmy. Bodes well for today.

Withymoor

LBBGull - none on the pool but 3's and 4's going over to.......somewhere.
BHGull - ca30
Tufted Duck - 5 males and 5 females
Grey Heron - 1 adult

PM 1330-1630

A 3-hour walk from Stourbridge Tip to the West Hagley Fields via St Peters Church then back over Stourbridge Golf Course (no Goshawk today) to MSPark and then........the Pub - nothing to celebrate more a drowning of sorrows and a quenching of thirst.

Buzzard x2 over Stourbridge Viaduct

West Hagley Fields

Buzzard x2
Skylark - a total of 33 feeding over a wide area of the newly made-up playing fields
Green Woodpecker - calling
Kestrel - female hunting

Dust Devil x 1 - quite a sight, looks like 'twister' season is upon us!

Despite plenty of habitat, i did'nt see anything of note on the freshly ploughed fields, i do expect to find something this week - if the rain allows.

Mary Stevens Park

BHGull - 25+
LBBGull - 1 ad
No Goosander
Tufted Duck 4 males 1 female

I did expect a singing Phyllosc or two altho not the right time of day these do sing at different times particulary when migrating and sitting in a bit of Sun but it was not to be.

From time to time i pick one of my field note-books and thumb thru to a similiar period from years ago just to refresh my memory particularly with the run of current [email protected] weather. Yesterday i pulled one off the shelf from Mar/Apr 2005. Below is a summary of a week or so period.

25th Mar - Ismere area

Raven x2
Fieldfare 12+
Black Redstart female!, i remember this bird feeding in a puddle next to a dug heap (no Internet to report it for me in those days)
Chiffchaff 2 singing

26th Mar - Stewponey
Raven displaying
Chiffchaff

27th Mar - Wilden

Chiffchaff 6+
Waxwing 35+
Tree Sparrow 4+ (Ismere)

28th Mar - Clent
Buzzard x2
Raven party of 5
Chiffchaff 3+
Willow Warbler
Chiffchaff 10+
Blackcap 2 singing

29th Mar Kinver

Willow Warbler
Chiffchaff
Wheatear single female

So, the usual mix of residual Winter visitors and a good scattering of the early Spring migrants. No real change but this year has been late.

In additon THE bird of the year, for many, turned up...........locally!

Found on 1st April and reported, many thought a hoax. An adult male Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alycon, it even has the word mega in its' name) was reported at Shugborough Hall near Tixall in Stafffordshire.....MEGA or what? I had previously hitched to Ireland to see a long-staying bird in the 80's but it had decided to move aroud whilst i spent 3 days chasing my tail and i did not click with it unfortunately. When pictures of the bird were posted and it was the real deal i, along with my 'bro, turned up with several hundred other 'hopefuls'. It was all in vain the bird was NOT relocated and seemed to vanish into thin air. The day was salvaged with Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a pair of displaying Oystercatcher and superb views of swimming Otter on the calm water of Tixall 'wide'.

The bird, amazingly, was relocated hundreds of miles away in Scotland and one of the first birders to confirm it's ID was the son of the finder in Staffs (read the account below).

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=512


Below is the original image on a murky April 1st by Roger Broadbent, some excellent field sketches by Steph Thorpe and a link to the sighting.

Incidentally, 'alcyon' was the daughter of Aeolus - ruler of the winds, she threw herself into the sea and drowned and was re-incarnated as a bird. I suppose the Kingfishers rising out of the water fits the bill. Most people associate the phrase with a harking back to peaceful, enjoyable more settled periods. Birdwise the bird was a harbinger of Summer by the North American indians of the Great Plains, the species spends the Winter away and when it arrives back on the breeding grounds it is the times of plenty similiar to the returning Buffalo.

Gone on a bit but one link leads to another, it's about time for another 'Belter'

Laurie
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Old Monday 8th April 2013, 07:05   #118
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Sun 7th mar.............

What a dissapointing day, after Saturdays 'balmy', by comparison, day i thought Sunday would deliver some goodies albeit only in the form of expected common Spring migrants.................wrong!

The BirdDenudedTriangle was going through another 'Purple patch'

I thought i would go 'off patch' and visit OPP (Other Peoples Patches) - always a good wheeze with the added bonus of gripping them off with a good find. Ah well, there's always tomorrow.

First off, Hurcott - never IMO a site to get the pulse racing but it is a body of water with a reaonable sized reedbed at the inflow end.

Only species of note, apart from a pair of displaying Great Crested Grebes was 3 Teal (2 males and a single female) not that noteworthy really except it is the first i personally have recorded there. They were a bit lively, bombing about here and there. Interestingly Teal have been reported moving in small groups from several other sites were they are not commonly recorded so it is presumed to be movement from Winter to breeding areas.

Next up was the paddocks around the fishing pools @ Wassell Grove, an area well covered by Craig Round in his Lutley blog, link below.

http://lutleybirder.blogspot.co.uk/2...scattered.html

Unfortunately nothing of note was seen and as we had dogs we could'nt go down to the pools not that i wanted to anyway. A couple of circling Buzzards was about it. Had an amusing site of 6 Moorhens in one of the paddocks pecking away at vegetation, they wer circling around one another and reminded me of a Blackcock 'lek'.

Off down the other end of Lutley to Lutley Mill and the surrounding fields, absolutely zilch altho there is always the possiblity of feeding Dipper in the Lutley 'gutter' if the species is still present.

Finished at Mary Stevens Park where everything appears to have 'gone' bar a pair of adult LBBGulls.

Sometimes it is not worth bothering but you are not going to see anything stuck inside. The weather was also cooler than i thought it would be and the Sun was distinctly hazy.

Laurie

Below - another unproductive day in the BDT.........
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2013, 08:21   #119
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Mon 8th April........

4 letters, one word and all printable!

DIRE

2 hours ystda afternoon, when a bit of sun finally broke thru failed to produce anything. For a change i mooched around a number of open areas and playing fields looking for Thrushes and poss Wheatear. Nothing on the ground and nothing in the air - as far as i could ascertain.

Looking around on the local Websites and blogs reveals much the same, a scattering of migrants, often single figures e.g. Sand Martin at UW reveals much the same. They must all be in Iberia (hopefully).

The Jet Stream is still. at present, meandering it's way over central Iberia and the Northern Med. We are on the Northern edge of it and so are sitting on these cold un-productive Easterley winds day after day and until the JS decides to haul ass and move North nothing is going to change.

The remainder of this week will see a slow change to wetter conditions with a mixture of showers and longer periods of rain almost anywhere eventually. The weekend will see a change with temperatures finally picking up into double figures (the seasonal norm) and winds swinging to the South and breezier with it particularly on Sunday. Next week should see the welcome arrival of migrants widespread and in numbers!

I am off to Lisbon for a week and the Upper Tagus for a second towards the border with Spain at the end of the month. I did not think that i would be seeing a lot of the commoner migrants until then.

I will post daily sightings on another thread on Birdforum with an appropriate link here for those that are interested......

We shall see, all in all a depressing situation. They are not even having much fun in Norfolk (he said with a slight hint of shadenfreude)

For those that might be interested below is a link to an 'initiative' promoting 'citizen scientists' in conjunction with the Field Studies Council for those wishing to brush up on skills in likewise company. Also a brief explaination of the Jet Stream, with this tutorial for the unitiated.

http://www.birdguides.com/webzine/article.asp?a=3711

http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?a...tutorial;sess=

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 9th April 2013, 13:42   #120
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RED KITE

Single over @ 1347, details and 'fuzzy' picture 2moz..........

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 10th April 2013, 06:40   #121
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Tue 9th April..................

Withymoor ca1315

A quick stroll down pulled in a hunting female Sparrowhawk whilst on the pool itself were 9 pairs of Tufted Duck, the most i have recorded there since the Autumn. Gulls were thin on the ground with the ca10 BHG's being joined by another 25 or so, LBB's were represented by 3 adults and a 3rd Winter-type. In addition a solitary Fieldfare flew over calling.

During th lull i happend to be looking at a Police helicopter hovering somewhere over Brierley Hill (i think it would make more sense to base it around here, it's where it seems to spend an inordinate amount of time). Adjacent to it i saw a couple of birds, one looked Buzzard-sized the other a crow-type, this was with the naked eye. A quick raising of the 'bins revealed a Red Kite being mobbed by a Carrion Crow!

Now, a tick from the 'patch' is not the same as one either on or over the patch. This was at about 1347 and 2-3 mins later the pair had drifted towards the railway line and then over the pool, well inside the BirdDenudedTriangle.

This was possibly the same individual that has been seen both @ Warrens Hall and FensPools recently? Plumage details might establish this. The bird i saw looked an 'immature' type with the underside of the wings not as contrasty as a full adult imo. This must be a wandering non-breeder from wherever? As more sightings of this species occur and the breeding comes ever closer, at present pairs are in Clun/Herefordshire/Shropshire so it won't be long before Worcs/Staffs have breeding pairs if not already.

Leo Smith is co-ordinating records of breeding etc and his details can be found on the Internet by searching, below is a background info link also the Wiki page on RK. It's hard to believe that there is an estimated 2,000 breeding pairs in the UK and we are now 'exporting' them back to the areas where we had them from at the start of the scheme!

http://gigrin.co.uk/welshkitetrust/leosmith.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Kite

Laurie

Below - a couple of pics from ystda. OK i know they will not win any prizes but they are from an Iphone, the lens' is made for close shots and landscapes. Distant or mid-distance objects always look much smaller.
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Old Wednesday 10th April 2013, 14:01   #122
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Did Ounty John this morning with my Grandaughter. Weather dull,the sun did try to come out. Had my 1st Wheatear of Year(Male) on top of Mud by where they are laying pipes down towards County Lane. Also 100+Fieldfares Green Woodpecker+another calling. Num Skylarks,dunnocks&Mistle Thrushs.
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Old Wednesday 10th April 2013, 21:13   #123
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Raven still appearing most mornings over Brierley Hill town centre (Marsh park) usually flying towards Wordsley. Saw it a couple of mornings last week, again yesterday morning, but not today.
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Old Thursday 11th April 2013, 05:27   #124
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Wed Mar 10th..............

Milder, much milder and quite pleasant......for a change but there's always something to moan about, fortunately - very little sun!

A 2 hour bimble around the general Withymoor area failed to produce any migrants. The pool itself was quiet with a noisy party of about a dozen LBB's, mainly adults but also a couple of sub-ad included. Tufted Duck had increased from 9 pairs with the addition of another male.

West Hagley Fields ca 15-1630

Very quiet but congrats to Paul on the first posted Wheatear of the 'Spring'. There are ample fields for feeding, it will be interesting to see if anything uses the 'flash' water feature and to see how long this lasts. There certainly does'nt appear to be much work going on as far as the pipe laying is concerned altho there are people tinkering about with infrastructure at the pumping station?

I only recorded a single Buzzard and a distant, calling, Green Woodpecker, it was probably mocking me for not getting a Wheatear yet I did have several interesting sightings of my shadow which means the sun had put in an appearance

I made my way down past the 'pool' to the junction with County Lane and was about to swing right on my pushbike and back to Stourhole. My attention was drawn to the continuing pipeline and the next field as i heard the rattle of some Fieldfares. A lot of the field is hidden by the soil that has been banked up prior to pipe-laying. A wander over and up onto the bund revealed a field crawling with a wide range of birds!

I would estimate in excess of 1000 easily. Several hundred corvids, groups of Yellowhammers and Skylarks, mixed Wood Pigeons and Stock Doves and the most numerous about 500+ Fieldfares/Redwings with about 350 of the former. Easily the largest party i have had this Winter. This field has recently had manure spread on it so i assume this is the attraction? There were a couple of tractors harrowing on the usual fields. The light was very hazy and i only had bins but i will re-visit this afternoon to have a closer scrutiny.

With Spring in mind.......In Blighty we are eagerly awaiting the harbingers of Summer altho the situation is NOT the same in a couple of notable Mediterranean islands, namely Malta and Cyprus - 2 i will not visit until the situation improves altho i am glad some birders make an effort to disrupt some of the local 'sportsmen'. The situation in Cyprus is a bit more sinister with widespread trapping taking place in order to provide much-needed delecacies for the table! There is evidence that organised crime is now involved and that large areas of British Crown land around military bases are being used.

A German birding organisation has been actively involved in local 'enlightenment' for a number of years and have, again this year, dispatched a hardy crew. Given the current disdain in which most Germans are viewed in Cyprus at present their arrival might just give the local shooters an alternative target if migration is a bit quiet!

Link below.......

http://www.komitee.de/en/projects/cyprus

Laurie
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Old Friday 12th April 2013, 08:18   #125
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Thur 11th Mar.............

The change to milder, warmer weather is going to be slow and subtle, by the looks of it, with a bit of wet and (for Sunday) Windy conditions. This should bring forth a torrent of Summer visitors to comb for next week.....hopefully.

Despite this, there has been a sprinkling of migrants with record numbers of Avocet and few hirundines at UW, a couple of Ospreys thru locally, Ring Ouzels reported in this part of The Black Country. It's all down to coverage and then reporting the stuff.The birds are where the birders are, if nobody gets out and find them then they don't exist - if you get my drift.

There was even a Lapland Bunting reported @ Berryhill, late-Winter bird or a migrant 'drifted' over on the current run of Easterlies? Who can tell. I remember opening the door to the Lighthouse on Blakeney Point one brilliant early-May morning to see a full Summer-plumaged male Lapland Bunting sitting in a Gorse bush about 25 yards away! The bird then proceeded to sing. Almost certainly a 'drift' migrant!

Withymoor ca1130

Tufted Duck down to 6 males and 5 females
LBBGulls - half a dozen around the pool.

Nothing else of note.

I decided to start visiting a relatively 'new' site.........Ridge Hill @ Wordsley.

I have paid the odd visit before but nothing regular. For those of you who don't know of the site i will give a little detail. It is situated behind Wordsley Church and rises to what looks like about the same height, once you have walked to the summit. The OS gives the height at 181metres that is about 380' - not that high really? It's main attraction, for me, is that it is isolated. Both Clent to the SE and Kinver to the W are along way off. It is certainly a good vantage point for looking over this part of the Black Country. Habitat-wise if you approach thru the Churchyard and Cemetery it consists of grassland and scrub with isolated bushes, several acres of it. Once on the summit there is a steep scarp with mixed Birch woodland. Adjacent is the very large site of the old Wordsley Hospital and former Workhouse.

It is also a fairly quiet place to set up with a tripod and scope for an hour or so. Yesterday was quiet with only the local Woodies bombing about, a few LBB's, a couple of Buzzards and a Green Woodpecker. I shall be checking this area far more regularly for passage birds and general 'viz-mig', it is about 10 mins up the road on my pushbike and can be added to the list of 'local' sites and within the dreaded BDT - you have been warned

Below - an ariel view of Ridge Hill and surrounding area and a Photoshop panorama from the summit taken by me yesterday. It is about 150degrees.

Laurie



Laurie
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