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Withymoor - Amblecote, Stourbridge..... (4 Viewers)

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Not much change birding this week but i can't knock the weather and managed to get bits of the garden knocked back before leaving for Fens Pools / Withymoor at 7 each morning - back between 9 and 10. Afternoons have been limited to a couple of walks down to Withymoor with the Dog but no sign of the LTD since Tuesday morning on the Middle Pool mud...

Numbers of large Gulls are starting to build but no juveniles, whether these are adults that are happy to leave relativily large chicks whilst off bathing or just non-breeders i do not know. Next month will potentially see the arrival of juvenile YLG's so that will bring something to the table to pick at. An adult Peregrine flew through on Wednesday morning attacking a group of racing Pigeons en-route - not a good career move around Pensnett. Still 4 species of Warbler singing regularly with 2 Blackcaps singing around the car park adjacent to the house. Dawn chorus now consists of a couple of Blackbirds from around 4am for half an hour.

Yesterday yielded a gem on Fens Top Pool. The true 'Black Headed' Gull, in our context, a Mediterranean 'melanocephalus' Gull:eek!: I cycled thru and as usual when on the Dam that seperates the Top and Middle Pools i have a quick scan over the former checking the edge for waders and anything else. I noted a group of about 10 1st-Summer BHG's and as insurance i always take some shots of Gull groups to look at later if something looks dodgy. I quickly dropped down to the Middle Pool which held bivouaced fishermen and nothing else although a brood of 6 cygnets were present c/w wary adults. I cycled back up and around to the lower viewing area on the Top Pool where there are a couple of benches. Straight away i clocked an adult Med which i knew wasn't present 20 minutes ago. Took a few snaps, without spooking, then texted Todd who was there in 10 straight off a local roofing job - a patch tick for him although i had had a fly-thru about 3 years ago...

Med Gull is probably the rarest of the resident and scarcer species that occur around here at Fens Pools. Although Glaucous is now almost a thing of the past there have been a few records. Caspian Gull has probably been overlooked but having said that i have not recorded it on my patches and have only seen about 3 in the UK but a lot more in both Georgia and Poland.

Waders are still coming through so i anticipate something notable - a nice brick-Red Knot or Curlew Sandpiper will do although a Stilt would be better:eek!:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached: The Boy - the bird must either be lost or have mental health issues as there is no way you could confuse Fens Pools with the Mediterranean;)
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
Banana Bill at Belvide!!!

I can’t match that but if it disappears you might read about it here;)

A County 1st no less although the last one i ‘chased’ was at nearby Chasewater which afaik is in.....Staffordshire? I never clicked with that bird, i don’t even know if it was photographed and/or accepted which would have made it a ‘first’.

I’m confused could somebody, anybody, preferably PhilA clarify things for me?

A rather smart first-summer bird sporting the distinct ‘Banana’ bill. If you watch Yank documentaries e.g. around Manhattan and the Hudson you will hear background ‘yelping’ - it will be this species:t:

Yank Gulls, of all spp, have gone thin on the ground for quite some time compared to 20-25 years ago or so it seems. When do you hear of Ring-bills these days compared to the 80’s? I have RB, Franklin’s and Boney and would very much like this to complete the set so i shall see if it sticks and cycle the 40 mile round trip c/w 6” Celestron and heavy-duty tripod. This was bought for such jaunts and it is actually very light as it is all done with ‘mirrors’.

For those who are blissfully unaware Belvide is a West Midland Bird Club reserve for which a permit is required and a passcode for the car park (nobody walks). It is not recommended to park on the A5 and walk down the track as it is for boaters and there is also no car access at the Western end which is residential. There is however public footpaths around that end and discreet parking half a mile away will not cause any issues but bear in mind the bird has been in the NE part of the Razzer.

Attached is a nice photo from Hughie King (there wasn’t one one the rare bird thread so i am putting one here), an OS screenshot and my route if i decide to attempt it - the wind will have to abate and no threat of rain forecast.

Good birding -

Laurie:t:
 

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Phil Andrews

It's only Rock and Roller but I like it
Honoured to be your bird information service of choice Laurie!

I am not aware of a Laughing Gull record / claim from Chasewater - sure you aren't confusing it with the Franklins Gull of 10? years ago?
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Yes mate and thanks for the prompt reminder - although i had seen one i am at the stage where my vast haul of ‘ticks’ from that Purple decade are distant memories. I almost class an 80’s ‘lifer’ as a new bird now so i will definitely put in the effort for a Laughing Gull. I just hope it stays this week with the iffy weather for cycling 40 miles:C If it moves on, well, the large Gull spp are starting to build locally and ‘the boy’ would stick out like a dick on a Dog at the waters i cover:eek!:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
Curlews.....

Attached are photos of the nest, eggs and young from the Shatterford site...

It would appear, from observations over the weekend, that they have all been predated:C There are 3 pairs so earlier liaison with the farmers next year should ensure that they all attempt to raise young.

Good birding -

Laurie:t:
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
More or less the same daily pattern this week but i have varied the times of the daily visit to Fens Pools from late-morning to mid-afternoon the problem being that the local 'pondlife' is up and about once the Sun has warmed their blood.....

Todd dropped on a party of Common Sandpipers - 7 in total which is a good find, i personally have had no more than 5. I will post the notes on the dedicated thread for a change.

En-route i cycle along a section of the canal from the Link 51 unit at Merry HIll for about 500 yards until i exit at the Waterfront. This avoids Brierley Hill High St and God's misshapes counter and takes in a nice scrubby section behind the light-industrial units. it is usually good in early-Spring for Warblers and i have had upto 6 species and 3 Wheatears in one memorable session - not bad for a scrutty bit of the Black Country. The much-trumpeted new monorail is due to go over a small section of that but mercifully it will remain as a reminder of what Merry Hill used to be like before terminal consumerism and the Richardson Twins arrived...

One sp i have not recorded there is Reed Warbler and along the offside section is a tiny bit of Phragmites about 5 yards long and hey presto yesterday and the day before was a 'chugging' Acro - more variety than i usually hear.....so i hung around a bit longer to safely eliminate Marsh:C Further along is the 'Williams Pool' a small Typha and Salix fringed area that at the moment is running quite dry probably due to evaporation but it is exposing a lot of mud and has a distinct 'Wood Sand' feel about it:eek!: The pool is fenced on all sides and currently there is a brood of 2 nearly fledged Coot and a Moorhen on eggs - inside is the restricted but safe World of the young Coot.

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached: Acro habitat, Williams Pool and 'The Prisoner'.
 

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matt green

Norfolkman gone walkabout
More or less the same daily pattern this week but i have varied the times of the daily visit to Fens Pools from late-morning to mid-afternoon the problem being that the local 'pondlife' is up and about once the Sun has warmed their blood.....

'.

Is it that bad?

I've yet to have the pleasure of visiting this area, I mostly stick to the more scenic parts of the canal between wolverley and gothersley and clent/walton hill etc..I have to confess urban birding doesn't come naturally to me but those pools do seem to produce some nice sightings...

..plus every nawfokmn needs somewhere wet to dip his webbed toes into every now and then!

Matt
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
No not really - i make more of it as my ex-wife still works there and my son works at Davicon by ‘the Aldi’...

The locals i see pre-breakfast are friendly and affable like a lot of Black Country folk imo. Quite a few dog walkers and retired ‘Snetters’. There is however an underbelly of feckless types that do not appear to be gainfully employed, studying etc - Pensneet’s i would term them. Groups drinking from tins, weed-heads etc i am sure you are familiar with the type. The days of rampant bike scramblers, burning the plastic off of Copper wire and Gyppo horses tethered everywhere are mercifully over. The Police do arrest and have crushed motorbikes, sadly not with their riders still sitting on them, whilst the Local Authority revoked the free grazing licenses that ‘Oss owners had awarded themselves. That said there is always the odd idiot and i had to chase 3 airgunners last week:C

My ‘quality’ time is 6-10 when there are very few about and in good weather, with sometimes my Dog and the odd cigar, it can be very pleasant. More coverage is what is needed as 2 of the most regular are unfortunately no longer with us. My own visits can be as little as an hour which is a tiny vignette and Todd Chater works full-time. Over the years it has produced good birds and will continue to do so particularly if coverage increases. I live in Stourbridge so my local patches are by nature (no pun intended) urban. I derive a lot of pleasure from seeing species that would not be particularly noteworthy on the coast or on local well-managed reserves like UW etc so it doesn’t take much to make your day. I actually find a large % of my nearby traditional Shire countryside of little interest.

I have managed several good records this Spring instead of being cooped up, obeying orders and developing Rickets. My Vitamin D levels are at an all-time high and had breeding Ravens at Merry Hill’s Waterfront - how good’s that for urban birding:eek!::t:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
It’s here!!!

Haven’t done much for 4 days due to 2 each of strong winds and then miserable lighting and rain. I simply do not enjoy it and the effort on a bike is simply not worth it for me. If i lived on the coast, as i have done, then it is a different game - the World is your Oyster.....catcher;)

Last night this arrived - nice to exchange precipitation for anticipation...

‘Mighty tome’ springs to mind and ‘simply stunning’ does this 2-volume beast no justice and is an insult. Nearly 2 decades in the making i am confident it will see me out without a 2nd edition materialising. I anticipate any updates to be digitally available as is the case with other works.

It weighs in at nearly a whopping 6 pounds per volume!:eek!:

I will not be ploughing thru it anytime soon but rather pick a species as and when. The wealth of info, as you would expect, is gob-smacking to say the least and the 5k (no not definition but number) of images represent all plumages, ages, subspecies, forms etc - there will be mistakes and issues with lumping and splitting but not from me as i am not qualified as such.

I will simply enjoy the book.

At £150 it is not expensive imo but i waited until i saw it at £115 and literally was going to order when the Bride reminded me that her son works at Waterstone’s, Merry Hill and gets 50% discount on selected books. This qualified and i paid a measly 75 quid with free P+P and NO i cannot get the same deal twice for the same book. It is digitally available for about what i paid for it but it's not the same and if i require info on a certain species when going abroad i will simply take a copy on my Ipad with the camera.

I have a couple more field-guides arriving and will post accordingly:t:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached: with Ipad for scale and who would have thought adult Rosy Starling had a Blue throat? (Presumably a feature during the breeding season).
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
A frustrating week with the mix of strong winds followed by rain so not much to report really. Stuck local yesterday with Sheepwash and Fens Pools being hit but apart from that it has been FP and Withymoor as and when.....

Still a few Warblers singing at Fens Pools comprising Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. No other species heard apart from a sporadic Reed Warbler still present adjacent to the Williams pool. Todd had another further down the Delph in addition to a solo Common Sandpiper on the Fens Grove Pool. Swifts present along with a solitary Sand Martin midweek. Juvenile Gulls are starting to show with a brace of BHG's on Friday and a party of 7 LBB's ystda - eyes peeled now for a YLG and GBB.

Yesterday i paid a visit to Sheepwash. If it was a couple of miles closer to FP i would hit it at the same time but it is about 5 miles away and a busy traffic route. Warbers singing included 2 Reed. A solitary female Shoveler was present along with a brood of Tufties. A smart adult Little Egret hawked around the far island and more juvenile BHG's present - easily the nicest plumage imo with lots of Ginger on the head and neck. This phase doesn't last long for those wishing to photograph as the post-juv moult kicks in quickly.

Back via Netherton Razzer and Fens Pools with nothing else to add...

I perused the Spring totals for the Batumi raptor count and most impressive it was. The official Autumn count has been cancelled already which is bad news for the records, the birders and the local economy in Sakhalvasho - a pity what with the new Obs only opened last year. I will not bother as although i treat it as an annual 'fix' at the moment part of the reason for visiting Georgia is sitting birding and chatting with kindred spirits particularly as i spend the bulk of the year birding on my own from Mon-Fri. Tarifa/Gibraltar is plan B and Maroc plan C. I would quite like to try the Straits of Messina but that depends on a plan - Eilat will deffo be done next March.

They recorded 700k+ raptors from March 1st > May 25th the bulk being Honeys and BKites but several thousand large Eagles including many 'Spotteds', Steppe and Eastern Imps, WTE and Goldie, Harriers aplenty plus a range of passerines including parties of Rosy Pastor, Rollers plus larger Cranes and Storks - magical, the stuff of dreams. If you haven't visited then you must - Autumn for me the numbers and variety is simply phenomenal! Sights like our common Sparrowhawk, my favourite UK raptor, migrating in parties of 10-30 with day counts this Spring of 1600+ are pulse-racing.

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached: stuff.
 

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rollingthunder

Well-known member
Nice bird Matt - having travelled to Devon to twitch one in the 80's i never tire of seeing them:eek!:

I have had an adult YLG on that pool and about 5 years ago there were 3 Firecrests around that cluster of buildings:t:

Hi Al - that Grebe arrived the morning of the 9th i texted Paul Legge:t:
GCG is usually one annual record so like the LTD you jammed in.....again;)

There is talk of dredging and putting the silt behind a bund to deepen for diving species like Tufties etc - the talk is ongoing, a Reedbed has been mooted. I was asked re: location i.e. one of the other corners or extend the existing one? I pointed out that there, technically, is not a Reedbed present it is a Typha bed i.e. Bulrush and that both the common Greater and the scarcer Lesser is present - something that they did not realise:t:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:
 

rollingthunder

Well-known member
It's time to start posting again.....

Despite higher than your average birders' vitamin D levels, i am practically sweating the stuff, i really have not seen anything that i would consider updating even weekly on here but all good things have to come to an end:-O

I have resisted the Lammy but we have a carload for the coming weekend if it hasn't been re-wilded, shot or poisoned. None of this solo travelling - St Greta of Thunberg (remember her) would not approve. I personally have found nothing since the Fens Pools Med Gull so another goodie is long overdue:C

Warblers are on the move and there is an Autumn feel to it - this weeks weather helps and todays residue of Storm Francis is a reminder. The media says 'unseasonal', i am old enough to remember the Fastnet disaster - the current generation of birders would think i am referring to their Internet speed. Fastnet celebrated its 41st anniversary about 10 days ago, i was overseeing a 50k tree planting project at Jumbles Reservoir just outside Bolton, Lancs. We got back to find out large cook tent blown several hundred yards away - very unseasonal.

Parties of Chiffies can be heard so it is worth listening for an associated sp e.g. Greenish, for those unfamiliar i recommend Xeno-Canto:t: Almost daily visits to Fens Pools have produced little although singles of Common Sandpiper appeared every other day last week. Large Gulls continue to build but numbers vary wildly with about 75 present most days but over 400 last week. I had my first Juvenile YLG on the 16th Aug bang on time for post-breeding dispersal birds - no pic as battery was flat. Ravens are more frequent and i have recorded Swift every day over the last few weeks and on Sunday at Sheepwash. 3 visits to Grimmers in July produced only a Yellow Wagtail.....

With no light at the end of holiday tunnel a depressing Autumn and Winter looms. Post-vacation lockdown would be an issue for the Bride not that i would pay any attention - my fans would expect no less than a subtle combination of common sense and 2 fingers. Morocco is a possibility or the Canaries but lockdown issues aside if i travel to another country then i want to feel i am in that country and not forced to muzzle up - something i have not done over here as i am medically exempt.....i am actually but i do not have to and have not had to explain it to anybody:t:

Good birding -

Laurie:t:

Attached:
Raven Merry Hill
Hettie Withymoor
Hybrid Curlew x LBB Fens Pools
Fox Williams Pool Delph
Common Sandpiper Fens Pools
 

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