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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge.....

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Old Tuesday 1st October 2019, 06:50   #1376
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I will post my raptor list eventually but at the moment i cannot summon up the enthusiasm due to the high number of birds streaming thru Batumi e.g. another 65k Steppe Buzzards yesterday.....

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 2nd October 2019, 12:13   #1377
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Ho hum - back in the saddle, just in time for the aptly-named Hurricane Lorenzo

Attached are yesterdays 2 Ravens overflying Withymoor, a pair of Cormorants down at Mary Stevens Park and the Bartley Skua from Sunday...

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Saturday 5th October 2019, 09:59   #1378
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Water levels, not unexpectedly, are high everywhere locally. Deeper water normally means movement around here. Some bits become turgid due to sediment washed in from adjacent fields whereas others enable diving species to exploit a seasonally deeper habitat...

Consequently Mary Stevens Park holds a record, for me, 3 Cormorants as of yesterday - a Winter adult, a 2w bird and a juv/1w by the looks of them. BHG's are starting to build with 75-100 most days with the odd adult LBB.

Withymoor held about 25-30 BHG again with 1 or 2 adult LBB. A Peregrine was reported overflying Stourbridge ring-road so it's eyes peeled for a Wintering bird - the Delph flats are a good bet.

Nothing else of note for me although Redwings are now being reported.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 22nd October 2019, 10:53   #1379
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Annotated Raptor list Batumi, Georgia - Sept 2019.....

Final thoughts, trip details and list all summarised in the 3 attached screenshots.

Now it is local Gulls etc before, hopefully (finally) Eilat in March

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 16th January 2020, 12:08   #1380
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Haven’t posted much of late because i haven’t seen much. The crap weather hasn’t helped and enthusiasm has been found wanting to say the least.....

I recorded 42 species at Withymoor last year which highlights the depressing state of local birding imo. The lack of Hirundines everywhere was notable as was the first blank year for a wader in a decade. The last sp recorded was the Grey Phalarope I missed 2 species of Grebe, i will leave you to work those out, so the grand total was a miserable 44 species. The highlight was undoubtably the calling Cuckoo only my 2nd locally in 5 years the other being at Fens Pools on a May morning.

Mary Stevens Park has produced several records of upto 4 Cormorants (different ages) and my 2nd visit this year to The Golden Puddle yielded 2 year ticks in the form of Paul Legge and 3 Ravens that put up all the Gulls.

I am trying to finalise my trip to Eilat for the last 2 weeks of March and we are off to Malaga on Saturday for 5 days - don’t tell Greta

Happy New Year and Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 13th February 2020, 09:08   #1381
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It is reaching peak Winter count at Stevens Park but BHG’s have only just achieved about 300 and more telling only about 10% 1w birds - wonder what the current breeding status of the species is these days...

I have not recorded Goosander this Winter either there or down at Withymoor despite water levels remaining high for the last 4 months and over a year without any Tufties

The presence of small groups of Fieldfares on the Estate Rowans usually means the food supply has gone elsewhere - this species appears shyer than the few Redwings that i have seen here on an almost daily basis.

With Spring around the corner and bearing in mind the lack of migrants, for me, last year it is time to crack on with a bespoke survey of suitable areas for both Goshawk and Raven This year we have included another species that is easily much scarcer than Raven and possibly has less recorded breeding pairs than Gos - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We have included this as a number of earmarked sites have what we consider ‘suitable’ habitat for this declining species.

Yesterday we surveyed 2 areas in the Shatterford to Far Forest Triangle. Dry, bright, conditions were good with only a light breeze to contend with. The first site only yielded a solitary Raven but we did hear an LSW calling. This is a site where i had recorded them within the last 5 years but not during the last 2. Of note were several very active parties of mixed Tits and associated Finches feeding high up in the Alder canopy. The former included Great, Blue, Long-tailed, Coal and Marsh whilst the latter comprised Goldfinch, Redpoll and quite a few Siskins

The second site proved more productive with a huge female Gos c/w with full crop in one area and a persistent calling male at another. Several Ravens were noted - they have a habit of dropping out of a clump of Pines calling softly as they do so. This is generally perceived to be males alerting nearby females that there is another presence. There is quite a lot of excellent potential habitat for LSW but we did not have time. Weather is the key factor so the window of opportunity will probably be closed for a few days.....

All surveying is carried out from public rights of way and please do not PM for details as none will be given. Reports of disturbance at the now well publicised LSW site at Dowles Brook only confirms the selfish behaviour of these tog idiots who want everything and contribute nothing - the end result is suppression

Good Birding

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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 06:24   #1382
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I took advantage of a dry Wednesday and despite a bitter North-Westerly breeze and cycled from home to the Navigation PH then 3.5 miles down the canal to the Stewponey before returning via the main road up to Wollaston - a total of 11 miles for those that know the area.

The object of the exercise was to survey the recent flooding by the River Smestow which for most of the year is little more than a meandering brook.

Attached is the route with G for Gothersley, 2 squiggles to highlight stretches of flooded woodland and an arrow marking a roadside pool adjacent to Stourbridge Rugby Club...

Laurie
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 06:34   #1383
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Further attachments show the flooded fields at Gothersley which is the low point in the route and has the Greensforge Lane running adjacent but at present is axle deep in water. If you do visit in a car please park considerably at the end of the track, on the road, do not drive down the track towards the canal.

This area floods regularly but not to this extent annually. It last held water a coupla years ago and held passage waders, local breeders and passerine visitors. I only checked a handful of times from late Spring to mid-Summer but this year i will check more frequently from mid-March onwards and hopefully daily from mid-April.

The area of flooding is extensive and links up to muddy woodland for hundreds of yards. Half a mile either side of this are are more flooded fields which on Wednesday held a mix of Gulls and Ducks. There is plenty of edge and its proximity to both the canal and river means high visibility from natural migration features so hopefully bodes well for this Spring.

Yesterday morning i recorded my first Blackbird in full song - from 4am thru to 5:30.....don’t bottle it up mate!

Good birding -

Laurie -
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Old Friday 28th February 2020, 06:36   #1384
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Picture from Gothersley Flashes...
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 05:08   #1385
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Finally a few days without precipitation - each of the last 3 weekends has seen a named Winter storm The latest, Jorge, topped up both the Stour and the Smestow thus adding to the misery of those lucky enough to live in the much sought after riverside properties adjacent to the mighty Severn

The naming of the Winter ‘storms’ is a relatively recent one and presumably makes the people at the Met Office feel important because they are constantly being interviewed by their neighbours at the BBC. Quite why they slipped in a Spanish one intrigues me and one can only speculate at which one they use when it reaches the letter M

The culprit for all the crap, as usual, is the Jet Stream - the meteorological scapegoat equivalent of Dominic Cummings the current go-to pantomime villain that is responsible for all the UK’s problems as far as the Remoaners are concerned Only in this case the JS is responsible and should be somewhere between Iceland and Greenland but instead it has been wobbling over the UK and Biscay for weeks. Instead of being a nice gentle thumbprint it is a tortured Serpentine thingy bringing strong winds, heavy rain and changeable temperatures either side of the ‘kinks’ This week it has mercifully moved South to drown out the French and the Spaniards

Attached are some truly horrible images of Jorge.

Yesterday i clocked 20 miles to Kidderminster and back to check for residual flooding from the Stewponey to the remnants of the lower Stour Valley wetlands.
A bit of a damp squib but enjoyable none the less. Nothing to report although the wetlands are showing a lot of surface water. This area always looks promising and Spring visits i’m sure would be productive for passage birds whilst Winter could hold roosting waders or even a hunting raptor?

Attached is a panoramic of part of the area.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 05:20   #1386
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For those that are interested attached is the route i took. The top bit was on roads the bottom was half along the canal and the bit from Wolverley to Kidderminster was cycled both ways on the same route - ca20 miles totally.
Where the top bit crosses the A449 there is the Whittington Sewage Farm (where the Yellow-browed Warbler was a while back) as the Sun had dropped when i cycled past at about 4 i didn’t bother to stop as there was little insect activity - there has been 2 different Chiffchaffs wintering there since at least Xmas. I also clocked a pair of Goosander on the cut at Cookley by Titan Steel - no great shakes but they are the first i have seen locally this year

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 05:24   #1387
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And finally..........

The flooding has been extreme and for this poor householder it can’t get much worse

The good news is that the solar panels are still working the water pump

I am out surveying today and so will post tomorrow.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 4th March 2020, 04:59   #1388
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Having let the Dog out at 0500 this morning i was surprised at how mild it is after an overnight forecast of a light frost - not much in the way of singing birds but a nearby calling female Tawny Owl added some spice

Yesterday was spent from 1000 to 1530 which included an hour of travel. Overall things were very quiet and although only a couple of light showers interrupted proceedings the threat was always overhead. As soon as any Sun appeared it made birding more pleasant. An initial stop at Gothersley Flashes yielded a pair of Mandarin that immediately departed at escape velocity - a range of expected water birds were also present which bodes well for the coming Spring Also notable were 3 Greater Spotted Woodpeckers involved in some sort of drum off.
Another brief stop at the nearby Heronry where a minimum of 4 nests had adults sitting tight on eggs. This area usually holds double figures, easily upto 15 pairs, with early birds present from March onwards and other pairs joining upto mid-April. How long before a Little Egret joins them?

A roadside stop at a tree with a large cavity on the back road to Kinver confirmed a suspected Barn Owl in residence

Another visit to a site near Shatterford produced a calling male Goshawk and a very garrulous pair of Ravens with distinct tones from the presumed male. A female Sparrowhawk was seen perched adjacent to a previously occupied nest from a couple of years ago. Whilst Gos and Raven can be tolerant of each other with both species benefiting from the other’s alertness this is not always the case. We have found clutches of upto 4 well-grown Raven nestlings all killed by, probably the female, Gos. They also seem very intolerant of Sparrowhawks and supplement their diet of their own nestlings with them from time to time. I have just seen some footage of a female American Goshawk systematically killing 3 large Osprey chicks

A check on a handful of older nests near Button Oak indicated no presence as yet. A new area in Far Forest produced 2 nests within a few hundred yards of each other one of which was garnished with new Greenery indicative of potential breeding. En-route along some seriously trench-like walking conditions we picked up more small birds including a number of Siskins and Marsh Tit. A good brook looked promising for Dipper

Good birding -

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Old Monday 9th March 2020, 06:55   #1389
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Again taking advantage of Friday’s settled weather a 22mile tour around some local sites by cycle.

Withymoor still held a coupla dozen BHG’s, most sporting a hood of sorts, plus half a dozen mixed larger gulls. Stevens Park, Stourbridge held over 100 BHG’s, these will not be present for much longer as they will soon undertake a movement to suitable breeding sites either locally or the coast.

I wanted to check what i consider suitable habitat for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers if indeed it exists. A mix of open broadleaf habitat with standing dead and fallen decaying timber with damp areas or a stream nearby. I visited the Island Pool at Ismere/Caunsall as this former managed fishing ‘lake’ has let itself go a bit and ideally fits the bill although I would think the water would be in a deoxygenated state from the amount of leaf litter etc. The area also has a large area of Blackthorn scrub and hillside Gorse - in a month’s time it is usually good for passage Warblers and will pay revisits. No LSW but overflying Raven with another distant bird plus plenty of resident passerine activity.

Further up the valley was a regular spot for breeding Tree Sparrow and up until a couple of years ago one of the fields held a pair of breeding Curlew of which i informed the local farmer who duly placed a stick in order to avoid too much disturbance. Again i will check shortly.

From Ismere over to Hurcott which is an area i like, particularly the newly managed stream feeder wetland mire area which is still the haunt of native White-clawed Crayfish. The main pool held 4 Tufties 3m1f but little else and consistently underwhelms. An hour spent on the end of a Cigar on the little causeway yielded 2 perching Cormorants and a nearby calling Raven. Again the habitat looks promising for LSW but as my visits to these areas are but an hour vignette it will repay with further ones as the season progresses - 3 years ago i found a singing Cetti’s Warbler present for several weeks in May and i have heard Nightingale in the past.

I finished over at Churchill to check on a pair of Ravens that have nested regularly in a clump of large Scots Pines. These birds did not use the site last year but relocated nearby and on Friday a perching pale Buzzard with a 2nd bird calling and displaying suggests the clump of trees are spoken for...

This coming week looks changeable but less rain, more sun and mercifully milder temperatures with the cold NW wind finally abating. The remainder of the month, fingers crossed, is forecast for ridges of high pressure to build with winds turning to the South just in time for migration from the Mahgreb thru Iberia - we can but hope Wednesday looks good for displaying species along with Friday so i will post accordingly.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Friday 13th March 2020, 12:36   #1390
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The weather this week has not been as conducive as first forecast and thus completes nearly 6 months of some of the crappiest weather i can remember and to top that we now have a holiday-stopping virus started by a culture of people that eat Dogs, fried Bats, exotic bushmeat, smuggled wildlife and God knows what else

China are now trumpeting their declining infection figures, having bribed the WHO with copious amounts of ‘research’ monies in order to keep playing down the issue to sub-Pandemic level - what is needed is an apology from them to the rest of the World with a promise to ban ALL trade in this miserable adjunct to their cuisine - rant over!

We managed nearly 4 hours on Wednesday, 10-2, but stuck local due to impending whatever I headed to Pepper Wood the Woodland Trust reserve at Fairfield. It is a coppice with standards (Hazel and Oak respectively) wood of some 130 acres. I used to cut most of my materials for hedge-laying there and instructed in the first community woodland tool training there over 30 years ago. 3/4 of the wood is actively managed in 1-5 acre random ‘coops’ and the scattered regrowth is one if not the best example in the Midlands. It was good to see so many nestboxes in the cutover areas a few receiving the attention of local Blue Tits. I have some spare Ficedula-type boxes so i might go Commando and erect them at some stage. Nothing of note altho it looks ideal for LSW - return visits will be made as the season progresses...

Back to the Fairfield Island and then a visit to the old tip that has since been capped and of little interest to the good range of Gulls that used to frequent the place. There is, however, a lower older section which remains as a steep-sided quarry with some machine remnants and a fair-sized area of open flash habitat which should prove attractive for passage waders imo. Indeed we recorded an Autumn Wood Sandpiper a couple of years ago but this visit yielded 2 pairs of Teal...

A notable feature of this tip was the presence of between 60-80 Ravens during the Winter I do not know whether they congregate there now as they should be nesting as indeed several sites locally now have sitting birds.

Adjacent and further down the road there is the working quarry which has been expanded since my last visit. This has seen the removal of the colonising Willow scrub with water being pumped to another higher, flatter, area. Again it looks promising but held only a 3w Herring Gull. Numerous holes on the banks of the steep slope should provide for returning Sand Martins which have already started appearing elsewhere. Larger holes have seen breeding Shelduck which raised 5 young a couple of years ago

And that was that or almost that as they say. In a fit of nostalgia we went over to Chaddesley Corbett NNR where my mate found his first Goshawk nest over 25 years ago. The nest is still there and looks OK but i doubt Gos use it. Upon finding a sitting female he duly reported it to English Nature and an enquiry a few weeks later was informed that the bird had ‘deserted’ and that the 4 fertile eggs had been taken into care as a record. Crows were cited which is bollocks! Gos have no problem killing Crows, Ravens or Buzzards for that matter if considered a threat. For some reason they have a particular intolerance for Sparrowhawks and we have found a few dead near to nests.

Information is no longer given to non-trusted individuals as the risk of disturbance is deemed too high a cost.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Friday 13th March 2020, 14:19   #1391
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Originally Posted by rollingthunder View Post
The weather this week has not been as conducive as first forecast and thus completes nearly 6 months of some of the crappiest weather i can remember and to top that we now have a holiday-stopping virus started by a culture of people that eat Dogs, fried Bats, exotic bushmeat, smuggled wildlife and God knows what else

China are now trumpeting their declining infection figures, having bribed the WHO with copious amounts of ‘research’ monies in order to keep playing down the issue to sub-Pandemic level - what is needed is an apology from them to the rest of the World with a promise to ban ALL trade in this miserable adjunct to their cuisine - rant over!

We managed nearly 4 hours on Wednesday, 10-2, but stuck local due to impending whatever I headed to Pepper Wood the Woodland Trust reserve at Fairfield. It is a coppice with standards (Hazel and Oak respectively) wood of some 130 acres. I used to cut most of my materials for hedge-laying there and instructed in the first community woodland tool training there over 30 years ago. 3/4 of the wood is actively managed in 1-5 acre random ‘coops’ and the scattered regrowth is one if not the best example in the Midlands. It was good to see so many nestboxes in the cutover areas a few receiving the attention of local Blue Tits. I have some spare Ficedula-type boxes so i might go Commando and erect them at some stage. Nothing of note altho it looks ideal for LSW - return visits will be made as the season progresses...

Back to the Fairfield Island and then a visit to the old tip that has since been capped and of little interest to the good range of Gulls that used to frequent the place. There is, however, a lower older section which remains as a steep-sided quarry with some machine remnants and a fair-sized area of open flash habitat which should prove attractive for passage waders imo. Indeed we recorded an Autumn Wood Sandpiper a couple of years ago but this visit yielded 2 pairs of Teal...

A notable feature of this tip was the presence of between 60-80 Ravens during the Winter I do not know whether they congregate there now as they should be nesting as indeed several sites locally now have sitting birds.

Adjacent and further down the road there is the working quarry which has been expanded since my last visit. This has seen the removal of the colonising Willow scrub with water being pumped to another higher, flatter, area. Again it looks promising but held only a 3w Herring Gull. Numerous holes on the banks of the steep slope should provide for returning Sand Martins which have already started appearing elsewhere. Larger holes have seen breeding Shelduck which raised 5 young a couple of years ago

And that was that or almost that as they say. In a fit of nostalgia we went over to Chaddesley Corbett NNR where my mate found his first Goshawk nest over 25 years ago. The nest is still there and looks OK but i doubt Gos use it. Upon finding a sitting female he duly reported it to English Nature and an enquiry a few weeks later was informed that the bird had ‘deserted’ and that the 4 fertile eggs had been taken into care as a record. Crows were cited which is bollocks! Gos have no problem killing Crows, Ravens or Buzzards for that matter if considered a threat. For some reason they have a particular intolerance for Sparrowhawks and we have found a few dead near to nests.

Information is no longer given to non-trusted individuals as the risk of disturbance is deemed too high a cost.

Good birding -

Laurie
I believe China banned the sale of wild animals at their " wet markets" a few weeks ago. Also I find it hard to believe a big female gos would be chased off a nest
by a crow.
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Old Saturday 14th March 2020, 07:14   #1392
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Re China: yes but it is a moot point at the moment as nobody is out but hopefully it will mean an end to this miserable trade China should now stop ‘Crowing’ that they are over it and start apologising for being the cause of it.....but don’t hold your breath.

Re Gos: my mate said that when he saw the nest he walked around it and carried on but looked back and saw the head of the bird flattened. He revisited a few times but keeping well back as the returning male would call to the female. You are not going to get a coupla Crows ruffling its feathers. I would think that Gos take out Ravens, Sprawk etc at night but i have never been out looking nocturnally. He is convinced that the nest was the subject of continued disturbance much like anything is with parasitic Togs etc via social media these days. It reminds me of the Tengmalm’s that was trapped and released by Barry Spence for which the poor bloke was villified back in the 80’s. When one wannabee twitcher in a fit of self-entitlement harangued him as to why he just tersely replied ‘i have to live here mate’

Contrast that with the one on Shetland and some of the eejuts that have put a hole in the Ozone layer in order to increase their list by one and you can see the return of suppression - something i was against (mainly because i don’t find anything here in the Bird-Denuded Triangle) but now has a curious allure as it will thin out the non-contributors to the pastime.....

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 18th March 2020, 14:00   #1393
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First Chiffchaff!

Taking advantage of one of the few nice days of late i decided to throw 6 hours (inc 1 travel) at both existing sites and one last visited about 5 years ago where calling Goshawk had been noted.

First off was a quick recce of Gothersley Flashes where nothing of note but the water levels are still looking good and as soon as there is movement further South visits will be almost daily - weather permitting of course!

Next up was about half an hour at the well known Peregrine nest site just outside Bewdley at Blackstone Rock. There are plenty of fresh droppings adjacent to the ledge but no birds were noted which we thought unusual as they should not be far off nesting if not already - the season has been slow to start so there is still plenty of time. A solitary Raven was calling nearby...

Goshwawks were noted at a site several years ago at Ribbesford so it was time for a re-check. We spent well over an hour walking up thru suitable Oak with Hazel woodland that looked good for LSW but i have to say things were very quiet. Plenty of mewing Buzzards a couple of piping Nuthatches and a pair of Blue Tits were going thru their courtship with the female following the male around with much shimmering of wings. All very good but no Cigar! The adjacent piece of woodland held several large suitable conifers on the ridge line so a re-visit will be made.

Over to Far Forest to a regular site but again very quiet with not even Raven heard but the first singing Chiffchaff of the year which means, for me, Spring has arrived - calling Siskins, which breed there, were evident.

A quick, discreet, check from the road at Furnace Mill confirmed that a pair of Dippers were again present at a nice site with the female on eggs (presumed, we clocked them at a distance thru bins). Dipper territories from the Dowles Severn exit back up to the newly replaced bridge is looking at a minimum of 4 breeding pairs but a couple more visits will be made as birds should be on eggs by the end of the month at the latest.

En-route back on the main road towards the Running Hourse PH we clocked a lone Red Kite.

Finished with a quick look at the sewage works at the Windsor Holloway, Caunsall, and picked up both the remaining Chiffchaffs, one of which was singing unless it is a Spring arrival and 30+ Pied Wagtails on the beds.
Of further note, locally for me, has been an adult Yellow-legged Gull gleaning on the new McD car park on the ring road - no photo unfortunately

Good Birding -

Laurie

Attached: Blackstone Rock, Red Kite and YLG
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Old Tuesday 24th March 2020, 06:20   #1394
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A 15 mile toodle about ystda in very pleasant conditions and as usual i bird, generally, solo so i might as well be out in the field rather than indoors - i only said hello to a coupla dog-walkers and that was it - duration about 3 hours 2-5.

First off over to Gothersley. I chose a route that was mainly off road with only about a mile on the main drag from the Stewponey to Kiddy. At Wollaston it cuts thru an area of paddocks which is about as ‘Horsiculture’ as you can get. Rather unsightly imo but it does have lots of fences for perching migrants potentially but nothing noted. Gothersley Flashes itself held nothing but still has most of its water so it bodes well. My average date of the 18th March for Wheatear came and went but i hear Ian Whitehouse recorded a male near Turners Hill. 2 singing Chiffchaffs from the Flashes to the Stewponey basin were heard.

Took in Whittington track on the way back.
The regular Wheatear fields look undergrazed to me but there are large adjacent fields with low stubble and bare ground which look more promising. Of note down by the cottage was a large Peregrine, presumably a female, on the furthest of the 3 power pylons. After initial viewing i got out both camera and spotting scope and needless to say the bird had departed for pastures and pigeons new

Finished at Mary Stevens Park where 2 1w Cormorants were present.

The rest of the week is eminently suitable for spending time out birding incorporating my daily shop and ‘1 period of exercise’ - Bozza Churchill didn’t stipulate a time period. 1 period of exercise per day is 7 per week than most people around here attempt in a normal year

Our local McD’s has shut up shop expecting the Government to pay their wages altho quite why taxpayers monies should subsidise junk food takeaway franchises beggars belief imho I feel sorry for their zero-hours litter-pickers.....what will they do now Not to mention the regular adult YLG that has been patronising the car park.....

Good birding.....and ‘exercising’.....sorry ‘shopping’

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 25th March 2020, 05:32   #1395
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With a glorious day forecast i decided to hit some local ‘notspots’ and completed a 20 mile circuit in a dawdling 5.5 hours 0900-1430.

Initially Withymoor, which held 4xLBB, then over to Saltwells Wood. A single Chiffchaff a coupla hundred yards from the house heralded widespread double figures of singing birds leaving no doubt of their widespread arrival in the area

Saltwells held 2 more and a few dog-walkers. Over to Netherton Hill but no Wheatears or Ring Ouzel as yet. A report of a lingering male Goldeneye on Netherton Razzer prompted a detour but nothing really but about 30 large Gulls

Over and around Merry Hill where out of my peripheral vision i clocked a Raven dropping out of ‘an area’, calling as it did so, the bird then returned. I got off the bike and viewed from several hundred yards and noted lots of branches typical of a nest No further movement so i will keep an eye - they should be on the nest by now and if so it will be quite a coup to have species nest in such close proximity although footfall is likely to not be a feature as only the Copthorne Hotel and the supermarkets are open...

Fens Pools held more Chiffchaffs and about 80 large Gulls as they nest on local industrial unit rooves. The main feature is the huge reduction in water levels on both the Top Fens Pool and the lower Middle pool. This has left literally hundreds of yards of edge habitat from the indented shoreline - weather permitting i shall be up there early.....starting this morning

14 Chiffchaffs noted including 3 locally.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 25th March 2020, 05:41   #1396
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With the greatest respect Laurie, how is spending 5.5 hours out exercising in line with the Government's guidance on Covid to "even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home"?
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 05:47   #1397
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Point taken Phil and you are entitled to make it👍🏻

The Government have to make a general decision in order to minimise risk and consider public safety. You and i know that on an individual basis there is huge variation. We also know that birding, by and large can be a rather solitary occupation - certainly in my case. I said hello to maybe one person an hour. It serves no point to kowtow to a Government diktat that really does not affect my lifestyle or interests. If people can travel on public transport and work in close proximity of others then i will pursue my hobby but with discretion that i see most people are following.

I don’t even like sitting in communal hides but i am sure you know that. My birding, generally, is bimbling about not seeing that much. I do not have a 2-fingered approach to the situation rather the contrary. I can direct mr Plod to areas and ethnic gatherings in the Greater Stourbridge area that would better utilise their always scant time and resources

I am exercising good old Common Sense something which i consider i have in spades and am interpreting anything that comes out of Downing St on a daily basis. The Cezch Government approves of being outdoors ‘in the pursuit of Nature’ - i will champion that over here👍🏻
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 05:59   #1398
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Another glorious day in the neighbourhood

6 hours in the field to be precise

No new species of Spring migrant were recorded unfortunately

Chiffchaffs were widespread and in double figures.

7-10 at Fens Pools with c6 CC’s. The shoreline is impressive and i anticipate waders being present very soon. 7 is a bit early so i will move it to 8 today. The weather is forecast Sunny until 6 both today and tomorrow Cycled via yesterday’s Raven site but no movement. The Williams site along the canal held another 2 singing Chiffies.

An hour or so later on with the Dog upto Wordsley canal Basin with 2 more CC’s.

Finished with a 3:30-5:30 session around Iverley paddocks and the West Hagley Fields with more CC’s and a notable amount of Stock Doves in suitable fields - popped into Aldi on the way back.

So technically that is:

1 session of exercise.
1 walking the Dog.
1 shopping.

Good ‘Birding’😉
I will post some pics of the Fens Pools or what is left of them later on.

Laurie
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 16:32   #1399
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Laurie..... I live close to you in Woodrow, Chaddesley Corbett, amidst open countryside. Up to 2 weeks ago visited regularly Upton, Grimley, Coney Meadows and other local haunts until I self isolated. I know well all of the places you mention in your posts having lived in Stourbridge and have followed your trips with interest.

That said, since isolating, the amount of cyclists and walkers passing my quiet cottage has increased enormously. Today my daughter who lives in Blakedown, who is also self isolating because her little daughter seems to have the virus, had to go to Hagley to collect a prescription. She said that it was heaving with mothers and kids on trikes and bikes, people outside cafes and older people sitting on benches chatting..... she had to park at a distance from the chemist as there were no parking spaces and braved the throngs to collect it. She fully expected Hagley to be empty with people staying at home......but no chance.What the heck are these people thinking?

This is no chriticism of you because you go alone on a bike and no doubt avoid people when you can but there are loads of others who think they are doing the same .....it takes 1 to infect 2, 2 to 4, 4 to 8 etc etc. I don't want to isolate ... But I do want stay alive and enjoy birds in the future, so will follow advise.

This seems like a rant but it's not......I just want everyone to take responsibility so that we can survive.
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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 16:58   #1400
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With the self isolating going on this is the time to take advantage by watching the birds in your gardens and in doing so why not let people know what you see this goes for everyone
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