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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge.....

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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 06:32   #1301
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A different Black Redstart to last week’s individual?
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 06:36   #1302
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Central Park in Spring😱

https://patch.com/new-york/new-york-...rders-paradise

A bit like the Scillies in Autumn..........ish

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 15:00   #1303
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Netherton Cricket Club

Ring Ouzels still at Netherton Cricket @ 14:45 today.
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Old Tuesday 16th April 2019, 17:19   #1304
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Just to clarify:- Indigo Jones’ photo of ‘Walton Hill’ hen Black Redstart was taken on Thursday last week (11/4/2019). Myself and three other ‘birders’ were with him when he was photographing.
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Old Wednesday 17th April 2019, 06:23   #1305
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Cheers for the clarification on Black Redstart and the update on Ring Ouzel(s).

I watched the male Peregrine at the Delph ystda from 7:30 until 0815 when it flew off - during this period it used 2 of the tower blocks and called frequently.

Withymoor was quiet with Chiffchaff and several Blackcaps singing. I had both these and a Willow Warbler in song in a small area of scrub adjacent to the house ystda aftnn.

Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge held a pair of adult LBB’s and an hour up at Shergar Loaf Farm yielded a female Wheatear in the barn paddocks and a handful of Swallows hawking around it.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 18th April 2019, 10:02   #1306
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Still one smart male Ring Ouzel on Netherton Cricket Club pitch at 7 ystda and i had my first singing Whitethroat on the hill - a reported Gropper in the scrub adjacent to the Churchyard this morning.....

No change at Withymoor just a pair of LBB’s with Chiffchaff n Blackcap in the bushes.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Monday 22nd April 2019, 05:01   #1307
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A few notes before a pre-breakfast jaunt.
I have been out for 6 and back between 9 and 10 the last 3 days. Just local sites involving 10-12-miles cycling and then out for 2-3 hours mid-afternoon before o’clock around 4pm.....

Lots of Blackcaps and increasing Willow Warblers for me is the most noticeable when cycling quiet lanes locally. My first Whitethroat up at the Hagley Fields following one at Netherton Hill a week ago. The Peregrine at the Delph is intermittent and wasn’t on show ystda at 7am. Withymoor has still been a no-show for Common Sandpiper thus far. I have been visiting Fens Pools on each of the 3 days and ystda added Lesser Whitethroat to the Warbler tally c/w adults of GBB and YLG. Water levels are high so not conducive to waders altho LRP has been seen a couple of weeks back.

Yesterday afternoon i decided to pay a visit to Hurcott.
4 spp of Warbler including a couple of Reed was all i could manage.
Seldom am i impressed with some of the management work that takes place but the regeneration of the marsh/mire habitat and brook that feeds into the reedbed is gobsmacking imo Gone are the huge alien Poplars that were felled about 5 years ago Dozens of these water-sucking monsters cut out all available light and deposited tons of de-oxygenating leaf-litter.....not any more. There is now about 750 yards of pools, islands, dead trees, weirs etc giving the whole area a ‘bayou’ feel and that at any moment their would be the distinct call of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker Last year i had a Cetti’s Warbler on territory for 3 weeks (the reason for ystda’s visit tbh). Definately an area that could yield a passage Crake or skulking Nightingale the latter i have seen there a few years ago.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 25th April 2019, 07:05   #1308
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Withymoor continues to be very quiet despite 3 visits per day and the water level is now high following yesterday's Monsoon hour I turned up late afternoon to see the female Swan and the Coot on the raft looking decidely bedraggled nursing partial clutches - the things we do for our kids eh!

En-route in the morning the Peregrine could be seen perching from Withymoor but on passing it had flown. I hadn't seen it since Monday when i took the attached pictures but the local Pigeons have grown decidedly wary.

A couple of hours extended walk around West Hagley Fields was great for the Dog but only yielded Blackcaps a coupla Chiffchaffs and a single Whitethroat. No other migrants noted other than those over at Hurcott planting Asparagus in the middle of a hot day on my last visit...

Again NO hirundines

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 25th April 2019, 07:27   #1309
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For those that visit the West Hagley Fields some might be unaware that the area borders 3 counties which can make for interesting records with a mobile bird. The bulk of my recording area is West Midlands but South Staffs is at its limit here with mighty Worcs at its Northern boundary before enveloping the landscape and onto Bewdley.....

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Saturday 27th April 2019, 04:56   #1310
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3 visits to Withymoor yestda yielded little - the water is still very high.
Both Blackcap and Chiffchaff singing on my first visit.
I clocked the Delph Peregrine soaring from the pool so snapped it as i knew it would be gone by the time i had cycled the 2 miles or so.....and it had!
Both Todd Chater and Andy Daniels have had male Ring Ouzels locally ystda at Mushroom Green and the Sheepwalks respectively so they are still moving thru.
5 Wheatears reported on Netherton Hill.

Today is going to be changeable and windy but tomorrow is calm and will allow some searching so a visit to Muddleton is in order

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Monday 29th April 2019, 04:56   #1311
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Despite a number of visits over the weekend, mainly to and from Fens Pools, Withymoor continues to underwhelm with only Chiffchaff and Blackcap in song.
The Delph Peregrine has been in its usual perch at 6:30 so yesterday i detoured to take some pics as it was sitting side on. As i approached the access road the bird just dropped like a stone and hit a solitary passing Pigeon carrying it off into the distance.....and that as they say was that!

This week might see some improvement with the annual April Spring record of Common Sandpiper still up for grabs

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 30th April 2019, 04:55   #1312
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Withymoor: only Blackcap and Chiffchaff heard on both visits ystda. The pair of adult LBB’s are present at 6:30 each day but are not showing signs of nesting on the raft. One of two pairs of Coots have built on it and are sitting so maybe the Gulls will not bother.....

More importantly - what is happening down at the Goldfish Bowl?

‘Da Management’ appear agitated over a series of records posted anonymously on Birdtrack. These range from rare Geese and large Gulls to small Yellow birds normally associated with farmland. Mysteries deepen and plots thicken but a word of cautionary advice to ‘El Spurioso’ - ffs don’t claim Marsh Tit

Mind you some of us with short memories remember the Great Grey Bullshrike

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Thursday 2nd May 2019, 06:35   #1313
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"No one would have believed, in the last years of the twenty-tens that Upton Warren's affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of the Black Country. No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of getting a life. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably fixated to ours regarded this Goldfish Bowl with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us…"
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Old Thursday 2nd May 2019, 14:00   #1314
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It’s called banter Phil - don’t take it too seriously mate, after all we are all on the same side. I am self-deprecating towards my own feeble little patch aka the Golden Puddle. I remember the ‘Halcyon’ days of Reservoir Birds and, if it’s still going Gyr Crakes - nothing wrong with ripping the piss there. I’m all for statistics but it’s not really my thing and to each their own as they say.

This thread punches well above its weight considering how little i see and find relative to the GB but what i do see and from time to time ‘find’ is mine and not somebody elses finds - that is what gets me up and out, not having to work helps, my local patch(es) are exactly that. They are within 5 miles of where i live and i cycle to them i do not call somewhere that is 15-30 miles away a ‘local’ patch and travel alone in a car to do so but as i have stated to each their own and i do not intend to fall out with anybody or stop popping into Upton Warren from time to time

Btw Halycon derives from Alcyrle = Kingfisher the Greeks believing that the Kingfishers disappeared in Winter to be reborn in the sea and return bringing the Summer, the Halcyon days with them. Statistics are your thing Etymology and Greek mythology are mine

All the best for now and Good Birding.

Laurie -
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Old Friday 3rd May 2019, 04:21   #1315
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Always and at present all is quiet at Withymoor. I am currently making 2 visits per day en-route to and from Fens Pools i do another visit if showers are likely as they are this afternoon. Yesterday i bumped into Al at around 0715 and pointed out the perching Peregrine some 2 miles away

Good Birding -

Laurie

Attached: The Delph Sentinel and a male Grey Wagtail feeding a female.
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Old Sunday 5th May 2019, 06:50   #1316
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I PetalDicked out of a Most-Of-The-Dayer at Fens Pools ystda and only one visit to Witymoor due to the bitterly cold East Wind upon my arrival at 8 o'clock. By lunchtime the Sun had warmed the still moderate breeze but the damage had been done. I will do a MOTD later on this month probably this coming week depending on the weather.

Despite the above a couple of sites did rather well with Ladywalk taking the Cup at 100 and Middleton tagging behind at 97. Several sites weighed in in the mid-90's with a couple in the mid-80's. I did an all Halycon-dayer in the mid-80's with 107 iirc but that was for all of Staffordshire.....

I did manage my first Raven of the year up at Fens Pools and managed to grab a picture whilst still on the bike - it's not an ID clincher but if you can post an Alpine Swift from Grimmers it will do for me

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 7th May 2019, 07:37   #1317
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Withymoor - still no change but a 3rd pair of Coots has now established a nest and is sitting. For those familiar with young, freshly-hatched, Coot Wednesday's revealing of Harry and Meghans baby could show striking similiarities

The Delph Peregrine has been a no-show for the last 3 days.

Had a mooch around the remaining 'waste' ground of the Stourbridge Rolling Mills on Sunday afternoon with the dog. I found a pair of breeding Black Redstarts about 12 years ago and so still have a look around in May each year. The area also has and excellent colonising ruderal flora. In addition it has an area of sandstone face that might just might host Sand Martins before the become extinct as a breeding species.....Stonechat and Wheatear are always a possibility as i have recorded them as breeders on similiar habitat locally in the past.

The above site yielded nothing of note, it is still too early for the flora which is at its best from the end of May onwards. I cut thru across the Stour on my way to the Duke William and glanced down over the bridge wall to see a colony of Toothwort No great shakes and not a rarity but it is a very scarce localised species around here and i have only recorded it at Colley Gate when looking for Dippers and at Halesowen Athletic Club when i was teaching hedgelaying with students on my course at Stourbridge College.

It is an interesting species and is a semi-parasite protocarnivore - this means it uses a host plant to tap in for nutrients (without unduly affecting it) and traps small insects that lands on its scale-like 'leaves' then sends out filaments which kills and dissolves the unfortunate victim - Hollywood script-writers eat ya heart out!

Its colloquial name is a bit of a misnomer as the plant was said to live off of the rotting wood of Elm coffins in graveyards and the dead petals said to resemble the teeth of the occupants. In truth it needs living hosts and takes nutrients from both Hazel and Alder. The former is not an uncommon resident of Churchyards whilst mine was found on the latter.

Toothwort belongs to the genus Lathraea part of the Orobanchaceae family or the Broomrapes as they are commonly known. We have a number of species in the UK most of which are single host parasites but the Eastern Med is where the greatest variety are found particularly Greece and Turkey. This is due to the fact that the Med Basin was a botanical refugia during the Ice Age where plants could tick over and seperate into new species before recolonising new lands to the North. I have been fortunate to see all the native Broomrapes in the UK except for Thistle which is restricted to a couple of colonies in Yorkshire

Good Birding..........and Botanising

Laurie -

Attached: Toothwort and the new Babby
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Old Thursday 9th May 2019, 10:13   #1318
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Withymoor remains quiet, certainly when i pass thru but the adjacent canal section went thru an instant Purple patch when the-one-and-only Paul Legge heard a calling...........Cuckoo

Hot after a text i cycled over to hear it a coupla times
My last local bird was a calling bird almost to the day 3 years ago at Fens Pools - excellent local records both of them - ta Paul

In addition a highly mobile Lesser Whitethroat was rattling away, a lone Raven kronked over and all within sight and sound of the Delph Sentinel who was in Town with a few days to kill.....

So - Cuckoo, Raven and Peregrine added to the Withymoor year list

Attached: Lesser Whitethroat, anybody for the IVF and Sextuplets theory? and a Clematis montana in a lowland setting.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 04:04   #1319
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Withymoor continues to be quiet and looks set to be the first blank Spring for Common Sandpiper for about 8 years following the absence of a mid-April record

Coots are on 3 nests but seriously how close do you look at their feet?
They are lobed and flare out to twice that size at least when swimming.

The pair of LBB's are there every day and this week i shall be checking local industrial estates for breeders. Say what you like but Gulls are smart-looking birds, particularly in nuptial plumage, this one is hot to trot with soft parts flushed with coloration including bill spot and engorged orbital - what a looker

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 04:14   #1320
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As promised i had a closer look at the area of wasteland below the Stourbridge College Annexe (which is due to be closed this Summer as part of cost-cutting for the over-spending by BMet).

This proved to be very productive with no less than 6 species of Warbler singing in the various habitats which covered a mere 500 x 50 yards

Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were all present. In addition an amazing 3 different female Wheaters were around plus a pair of Foxes with 4 young who were oblivious to my meanderings and allowed me to photograph them although both parents eyed me warily. All this in an area in the middle of Merry Hill!

This is the sort of habitat that used to be plentiful in the Black Country but is now much scarcer with Dudley MBC's 'scorched earch' policy of developing every bit of land that they can in order to yield taxes of one sort or another to fund their Pensions 'black hole' deficit or whatever. Pretty soon the landscape will be soulless with little bird song.....we shall see.

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 14th May 2019, 04:17   #1321
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The Little Foxes.....
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Old Wednesday 15th May 2019, 07:30   #1322
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Yesterday -

Withymoor continues its run of unproductive activity but the water levels have now dropped allowing the appearance of the 'island' at the Sainsburys end which bodes better for passage waders hopefully...

Williams Pool at Merry Hill was very active with lots of Greenfinches and Goldfinches in particular and 3 species of singing Warbler. Views towards Netherton allowed me to assess a large area of suitable roofing for breeding Gulls. Of particular note was a recently fully-fledged brood of young Goldfinches being fed by an adult this struck me as amazingly early considering the weather we have had?

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Friday 17th May 2019, 08:09   #1323
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A couple of visits en-route at Withymoor and just ChiffChaff and Blackcap singing ca0730 and 0900...

Williams Pool held 3 species Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler .
The appearance of a piece of piling/drilling equipment is an ominous site as it usually means tests for development. This along with spray-painted signs on the grass that resembled some sort of Satanic cult does not bode well in the Black Country where 'progress' is the mantra.

It is hard to believe that in the late 70's when i was living up in Lancashire working on a number of conservation projects that i came back home for the weekend to attend a bird-ringing course at a place called Merry Hill Farm. The nets were set up in a small reedbed that was amongst the small fields and network of hedges that i think had a Bearded Tit one Winter.

For those that are familiar to the current Totem to consumerism the farm buildings that we were based in were about where today's Bus Station is!

How times change but that's enough of living in the past.....

Good Birding -

Laurie
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Old Yesterday, 08:44   #1324
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Popped down to Withymoor this morning. A little grebe is on there, first interesting bird to turn up in ages. The coots are still sitting, well 2 of them. The one on the raft has disappeared along with the nest (what nest there was?) The willow on the west side, near the inlet had a hungry family of Great Tits in it, poor parents were run of their wings. Black cap was calling and a Goldcrest from a large conifer in one of the gardens.
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Old Today, 04:09   #1325
rollingthunder
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Typical - the only day i haven’t popped in at least once for weeks

The Coot nest on the raft has indeed been deserted or probably predated if the bird had actually been on eggs - i never saw her turning them so it could have been a ‘ghost’ pregnancy if birds have them... On Sunday i had my first Swifts down there with a pair feeding briefly and again on Monday - this brings the year list to a staggering 44.....not including Little Grebe (for me) but it will be added and i shall pop down first thing this morning

Good Birding -

Laurie
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