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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge.....

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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 20:12   #1401
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Originally Posted by rollingthunder View Post
6 hours in the field to be precise

No new species of Spring migrant were recorded unfortunately


Laurie
Only managed 4 hours today myself during my alloted exercise session around Clent and Walton Hill, was hoping for a little something around the well known Wheatear/Ouzel paddock but nothing!!

Only the thought of plodding through the centre of Stourbridge puts me off a walk over to Bellsmill area along the canal and possible up to Gothersley Rough, plus the stream of sweated joggers/mountain bikers throwing out spittle in all directions!

Maybe I'll find a quiet corner of Stourbridge crem and count Colld Doves

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Old Thursday 26th March 2020, 23:16   #1402
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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"?
I have NO respect Laurie, I see you`ve increased to 6 Hours.

In a nutshell GET-Off your bike and stop at home like the rest of the responsible birders

Dont bother responding
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 06:40   #1403
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I am following guidelines which is open to interpretation and as it is my thread i will respond whenever i like👍🏻

I am exercising common sense which is something i suggest others do.

I also suggest that you save your invective for dickheads like these

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-englan...shire-52047532

I have been railing against these tog idiots for quite a while. A % of the current crop of newbie birders, mainly older people with time/money/car etc, contribute nothing and take whatever they can. This personally has led to me becoming even more insular, if that is possible, in my dealings when out in the field. I find i have to ‘weigh up’ approaching birders and decide whether to even acknowledge their passing presence and whether to ‘shoot the breeze’ with them or will they demand info e.g. ‘what’s about’? The advent of social media has been a double-edged sword and i owe it to nobody to pass on information and will be circumspect, even with birding friends, on exact details of breeding species in particular. You only have to read about the wall-to-wall braindead at a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker site in Wyre - no wonder they are scarce

Elsewhere on this forum a well-known patch-worker and twitcher puts a case that joggers and cyclists pose more of a risk than does a twitcher in a car who stands a couple of yards (we have left the EU btw). Lone twitchers in a one-person car driving miles with their smartphones and GPS are hardly the poster boys for small carbon footprints and are unlikely to be on St Greta of Thunberg’s Xmas card list

Garden birds are fine, i still have a feeder up, but let’s face it not much happens - might as well set up a webcam and fast forward to the ‘action’

As for Stourbridge - it’s like a set from a science fiction movie. Virtually everything is closed. What will all the ‘seats’ at all the haidressers, nail bars and tanning salons do? Not a legal PAYE employee exists at any of the 20 or so premises in the Town. Hopefully these money-laundering franchises will go to the wall - karma or what

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 08:13   #1404
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Your posts are shameful Laurie!
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 09:09   #1405
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No shame here Pam - oh and nice to hear from you

As i have already stated please save your ire for the idiots chasing a Ring Ouzel instead of finding their own...

Laurie -
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Old Friday 27th March 2020, 09:13   #1406
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A Warbler in a Willow and a Capped Black.....

Only 4 hours in the field yesterday...

The weather is forecast to change and altho pressure will remain high it is centred over Scandinavia thus the winds will be in the North. This will curtail my activities, good news in some quarters, the birding conditions will be the deciding factor and not any Hectoring Cassandra's on here or elsewhere - 2 words derived from the Trojan War so hopefully something has been imparted today

It is of note that the Worcs Wildlife Trust has closed its reserves to not only the general public but members as well. A shame as at this time of year it is virtually an alternative postcode for one or two regulars and i look forward to seeing what is moving there as i consider it a barometer for local seasonal movement. For those seeking a bit of daily exerecise there are Public footpaths in the vicinity where a scope could be set up whilst en-route to do your shopping...

8-10 would have found me at Fens Pools - looking good but still no cigar! I was hoping for a wader sp or possibly some recently arrived Sand Martins but it was Chiffies just into double figures. The Williams pool drew a blank but last Spring produced 3 Wheatears and 6 spp of singing Warbler on the same visit so it has to be checked. Back via the 9 Locks where a smart Willow Warbler was feeding in an area of mainly dwarf Sallows interspersed with Blackthorn. These 2 species are worth targeting as they are an important source of nectar early in the migrant season I normally click with Blackcap before WW so it was an unexpected surprise and a reward for a bit of effort.....and flak! The Delph flats were scoured for Peregrine but no sign altho there have been 2 birds reported over the Autumn/Winter. Withymoor held 4x LBB. CC's were absent from a day ago so it shows how ephemeral these birds are when recently arrived - they are 'hot to trot'.

The now regular 4 mile round trip to Wordsley Basin yielded nothing. I decided to take the Dog further to the Bells Mill bridge. Dippers nest upto half a mile either side so it is worth 15 mins to see if you catch a moving bird. A singing male was present in February and the do breed every year somewhere in the vicinity. Upon departing my ears pricked up with a scratchy song that turned into a robust affair revealing a smart male Blackcap - first of the season 3 for the day

Finished with a toodle around local fields from Churchill to Hagley noting an occupied Sparrowhawk nest recently refurbished but drew a blank on 2 Raven sites one of which had a Buzzard rearranging the bedding.

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Sunday 29th March 2020, 09:32   #1407
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A few pics locally.....

Sadly 2 of a dead Badger almost in the centre of Stourbridge, just off the Ring Road up Worcester St past the Waggon and Horses

I have no time for these people - what sort of speed does a car driver have to be doing to hit one of these beautiful creatures? The poor animal had not been knocked out of the way it was lying where it was hit.....by the pavement.

I hope the idiot that was responsible for this has a sleepless night and if reincarnation exists he comes back as one - maybe, hopefully, the World will have changed by then and the genes of these braindead boy-racers have been bred out.

I blame Jeremy Clarkson.

A solitary Heron down Fens Pools 'King of the Hill' and a singing male Blackcap down at Hurcott on Friday.

I haven't been out yesterday and neither will today it is far too cold - i will post some notes from Friday at some stage

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Tuesday 31st March 2020, 05:57   #1408
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Friday was the last of the Sunny days for the foreseeable future, certainly according to the BBC weather. Fingers crossed because although Meteorology is a science forecasting is not an ‘exact’ branch of it. It is cloudy all the way with the odd break in them but mercifully dry with pressure remaining high but cool cyclonic winds dominating from very light to moderate. Migration has all but stopped at Portland Bill which is my birding barometer of choice. I also check Birding The Strait but although their blog is interesting it consists of video clips comprising local stuff and organised trips and their Twitter feed appears to be moribund. They have, as expected, had to drop everything for the foreseeable future so i wish them well for the Autumn

My socially-distanced bimbling on Friday lasted 3 hours and i covered 16 miles on my Red Brompton. I cycled out to Sugar Loaf Paddocks where a sprinkling of owners were to be found involved in Horsiculture - all drove there of course. From Iverley to Ismere and Island Pool. For those that know it i position myself by the water ‘bunker’ adjacent to the steep set of little steps cut into the hillside. This means the overgrown pool is to one side and a couple of hundred yards of Blackthorn scrub to the other. Chiffchaffs were in double figures with a couple of Blackcaps for support. At the top of the steps is an interesting area of Gorse and Heath where Stonechats still breed afaik and is also a spot where local BBC sleb Brett Westwood is to be found on New Years Eve - Brett lives in Stourbridge when not in Bristol. From there over to Hurcott where i bumped into 2 more birders, one i know and one i didn’t. 5 Teal dropped in 2m3f but as usual little else on the pool. Again CC’s and BC’s were present - about half a dozen of each.

I did not bother going out at all over the weekend due to the biting wind. When you cycle everywhere the conditions that you bird in are the most important factor - no mobile hide to skulk in or roll a window down for Winter Gull roosts etc. Yesterday just a 4 mile round trip with the Dog to Wordsley Basin picking up just 1 each of the usual suspects en route.

I will be out for exercising and shopping this week as long as the wind allows...

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 07:17   #1409
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Before posting yesterdays notes a few snippets...

The BBC posted an article about the results of a 20-year survey on Spanish Nightingales. The paper reveals that birds are having smaller broods with shorter wings. It hypothesises that this is due to ‘global warming’ and that it will inhibit returning migrants from sub-Sahara to Northern Europe. Here in the UK they have been declining for years due to habitat degradation. Twenty years seems too short a study period to my mind. Perhaps birds are not travelling South of the Sahara? I have birded during this period in Morocco in November and December and have encountered Nightingales ‘out of season’ every time.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-52111309

In the light of current events i wouldn’t want any birder’s experience of a Nightingale to be a spell recovering in the new ‘hospital’ at the converted Excel Centre in that London place.....

On a lighter note here is Andre Rieu’s Nightingale Serenade

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YmDNhi07_Ho

Laurie -
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 07:25   #1410
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What a difference a day makes - a day in the life of BBC weather forecasting that is.....!

Yesterday’s doom and gloom drum roll of cloud n cool has been replaced by Sunny spells and double figures - none of this was on offer when i posted yesterday. Presumably the high pressure is slowly moving South with the winds pulling in warm air.

Attached is a screenshot along with another noting, encouraging, local birders to take their permitted exercise and find good birds accordingly

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 1st April 2020, 07:57   #1411
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Yesterday i managed a 2 hour jaunt around the Fens Pools / Merry Hill area in reasonably pleasant conditions actually better than i saw forecast. I decided to pop out late morning and eventually set off at midday returning at 2ish. Birding later means that any breeze is warmer but considering it is Brierley Hill and 'locked down' it does mean that by Noon the manhole covers are well and truly up and a sprinkling of locals with tins and spliffs was not entirely unexpected - i will make it earlier in future.....

As expected there were no waders and the group of Teal and solitary Shoveler that Todd Chater had reported had departed. A handful of Chiffchaffs were singing and a group of ca5O large gulls were assembled on the Top Pool. They looked the usual mix of Herring and Lessers but i generally photograph these groups and check later on the PC for anything more productive.

En-route there and back using different roads there were more Chiffchaffs singing. I think i probably encountered more than were reported on Portland ystda which is going thru a dire patch particularly as there are no visitors to the Obs to check the fields and quarries etc. Should the forecast stick then things will change somewhat over the next week or so

My route back took in Merry Hill and as i approached i could see a Corvid in some Alder and stopped 'just in case' and it turned out to be a Raven. The bird then called. It was a couple of hundred yards from the nest and was presumably the male calling to the female to sit tight. I didn't and don't hang about. The site can be viewed from a mile away along the canal which is where i will observe for the foreseeable future now it is obvious that a female is sitting.

An hour with the Dog down the cut to Wordsley yielded a couple more CC's.

Good Birding -

Laurie

Attached: a couple of yesterdays bad boy at MH...
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Old Friday 3rd April 2020, 06:46   #1412
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Things have finally picked up at Portland with overnight rain downing a range of species for yesterdays tally including around 40 Wheatears (34 the day before) and 150 Willow Warblers around the Bill alone

I sallied out from 10-12 to take the local pulse. I haven’t failed to record a Wheatear locally in March for as long as i have been back round here birding and certainly the last 20 years around Stourbridge. I have also never recorded a March Willow Warbler around here but still no former and the latter picked up over a week ago. Looking for migrant birds and forecasting the weather share the same vagaries of not being an exact science.....

I cycled a leisurely 14 miles yesterday in a light to increasingly moderate cool wind with clouds becoming noticeably ‘dark-bottomed’ towards the end. It did however brighten up later in the afternoon.

Over to Gothersley where the Flashes have noticeably reduced in size no doubt the wind has played an important factor in water evaporation. With the forecast of double-figure days ahead i doubt whether much will remain beyond the month end without some heavy precipitation. We have had enough rain imho so no fingers crossed here for more of the wet stuff. Both Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were evenly scattered down as far as the Stewponey Lock. I made a point of scanning every ploughed field i could see, which were plenty, alas still no Wheatear but i did clock a party of foraging Fieldfares c50 in the roadside fields around Whittington Sewer works - must check the adjacent Stewponey Tip for Raven this week. Whittington Track also held no surprises and no sentinel Peregrine either.

The weekend promises to be good birding weather with things picking up on Saturday and Sunday looking excellent - plenty of scope for exercise with a bit of shopping thrown in. Judging by posts, threads and blogs i have looked at there are a lot of birders out patch-working with discretion

Good birding -

Laurie
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Old Yesterday, 08:00   #1413
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Black Beauty...

The Grand National might be cancelled but there are other 'Black Beauties'

Only a coupla hours out ystda. An hour each down Withymoor with the Dog and another up at the West Hagley Fields. This 2 hours provided me with the best birds of the week after all the cycling / shopping / exercising...

The spur railway line up to Brierley Hill is only about 300 yards from the house en-route to the Golden Puddle. It usually provides the first encounters with migrants, local stuff like Bullfinch, Foxes and yesterday a low-calling Raven that was beating up and down the track. At this time of year adults should be paired so this bird, probably a male, should be nesting fairly close but it could be the male from earlier on in the week as that nest is about 2.5 miles away. Either way i never tire of watching and listening to this increasingly urban species

The pool held no waders, i hope to not have a second consecutive blank year down there. There are 2 distinct scrub areas within the Lake perimeter. One is Sallow scrub that is in bright Sun and is usually crawling with insects at this time of year and the other is in dappled shade at the other end. Both are sheltered depending on the wind. The dappled area held several feeding Chiffchaffs yesterday afternoon. Hagley Fields again held no Wheatear but there are only 2 suitable fields this Spring. I did however pick up a distant tinkling Corn Bunting and a subadult Yellow-legged Gull flew off out of one of the stubble fields.

Anyone doubting the late Spring? Portland only recorded its first Ring Ouzel ystda - this could be linked to lack of coverage...

Good birding -

Laurie

Attached: Raven, singing male Starling and distant Corn Bunting.
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Old Today, 05:33   #1414
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Yesterday i took off as soon a i saw the Sun break thru at 9 o/c and headed to Fens Pools..........big mistake By the time i got there the skies had closed in threatening either rain or fog of sorts and more to the point it was very cold which, for me, takes all the enjoyment out of it. Despite always being prepared i simply do not like birding if it is cold as being on a bike there is no shelter from it...

The Pools themselves gave up nothing despite scanning and re-scanning the copious shoreline. Narrowing of eyes could not turn mishaped stones and large pebbles into crouching Stints A solitary pair of Tufties on the Top Pool was about it. A handful of Chiffchaffs and a couple of Blackcaps provided background music and that was it as they say.

I am optomistic that things will change this week with the long Sunny periods and Southerly winds that are forecast - a steady trickle of Swallows at Portland yesterday promises more and variety this week although a mate has a pair of Swallows back outside his house on the telephone lines in that Kinver place. I have yet to see a Sand Martin

I ambled back via the Raven site and was rewarded with brief but 'socially distant' views of the female appearing to be turning eggs so all is well. A mile away along the canal at the Delph i picked up another alighting on an area of grassland and feeding. After about 10 mins it flew off with a low kronk and tracked a convoluted 'S' flight back to the nest to disgorge whatever it had gleaned.

Today is Sunny from 7 until 7 and i intend to be out cycling, exercising, shopping etc etc for large chunks of it. I note that Government guidelines are now morphing into 'instructions' but i satisfy myself that the latter are for the idiots in the parks and on Brighton beach whereas the former are for the more discreet and discerning

Good birding -

Laurie

Attached: male Raven alighting to feed and en-route with breakfast for his bride (i know the feeling mate).
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