Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Mid Section

29th April 15                                    mid morning

Partly cloudy,sunny spells after o/night rain, 6-9°c,  1010mb,  WSW 9-13mph

Mallard pr + brood 6 pr with brood of 8 (was 11)
Grey Wagtail 1♀ Smestow Bridge
Wren 11 singing mid section
Dunnock 5 singing mid section
Robin 13 singing mid section
Blackbird 6 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 singing Station Paddock
Blackcap 14(10 singing) mid section
Chiffchaff 9 ( 8 singing) mid section
Long Tailed Tit 2 pair mid section
Great Tit 2 singing mid section
Jay 1 >> N over Barleyfield
Chaffinch 4 singing mid section


Mid Section

28 April 15                                      early morning

Sunny but cold, 3°c,  1014mb,  SW 9mph.

Grey Heron 1flew  W over Barleyfield
Mallard pr+ brood 8  Meadow View, (was 11)
Coot 1 S&W Canal
Stock Dove 2 Wetlands Field
Grey Wagtail 1♀ Smestow Bridge
Wren 10 singing mid section
Dunnock 4 singing mid section
Robin 5 singing mid section
Blackbird 1 singing Meccano Firs
Song Thrush 3 singing mid section
Whitethroat 2 singing Barleyfield
Blackcap 9 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 6 (5 singing) mid section
Long Tailed Tit 2 pr + 1 mid section
Great Tit 3 singing mid section
Chaffinch pr+3 singing mid section
Greenfinch 1 singing Meadow View
Goldfinch 1 The Paddock

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The first Mallard brood but thats as good as it gets

26th April 15            mid section             mid morning

bright & sunny but chilly, 5-9°c,  1010mb,    NW 7-13mph

The first brood of 11 newly fledged mallard chicks greeted me on arrival between the 2 Tettenhall bridges, chiffchaff,chaffinch and blackbird singing I knew I was in for a pleasant morning even if the birds didn't perform.

Mallard brood 11Staffs & Worc
Sparrowhawk 1♀ soaring 1♀ with extensive white to undertail + rump & sides of upper tail soaring over Compton area,
Buzzard 1 over Barleyfield
Moorhen 1 Wetlands
Stock Dove 2 Wetlands Field
Grey Wagtail pair Smestow Bridge
Wren 11 singing mid section
Dunnock 5 singing mid section
Robin 9 singing mid section
Blackbird 4 singing mid section
Mistle Thrush 2 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Blackcap 9 (8 singing) mid section
Chiffchaff 9 singing mid section
Long Tailed Tit 2 pair mid section
Coal Tit pair Meccano Br
Great Tit 3 singing mid section
Jay 1 >> SW over Station Paddock
Chaffinch 4 singing mid section

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A change of weather but not birds

25th April 15                mid section              mid morning

partly cloudy,mild 10°c 12°c,  1003mb,  SW11-14mph.

Hard work birding today, only intermittent song so patience needed. The pareteet seen again in the same tree as yesterday but still only 1 whitethroat and the willow warblers gone missing again. Otherwise a re-run  of yesterday.

Mallard 2♂ Wetlands
Moorhen 1 Wetlands
Ring Necked Parrakeet 1 1 again feeding on conker tree buds  at the bottom
 of Hoopoe grd  Mb, ( Ian will know where I mean)
Grey Wagtail 1 Smestow Bridge
Wren 13 singing mid section
Dunnock 5 singing mid section
Robin 10 singing mid section
Blackbird 5 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Whitethroat 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Blackcap 10 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 8 singing mid section
Goldcrest 1 singing Smestow Bridge
Long Tailed Tit 1 pr + 1 mid section
Coal Tit 1 Meccano Br
Great Tit song mid section
Chaffinch 3 singing mid section
Greenfinch 1 singing Barleyfield Central Scrub
Goldfinch 2 Meadow View
Bullfinch 3 Annex Barleyfield

Friday, 24 April 2015

 09:00 -mid section       24th April 15      12:00

The end of a quieter week with most of our migrants now settling down to breeding duty's, coupled with the trees and bushes beginning to leaf up giving them plenty of cover.
                The willow warbler near the Wetland pool was singing again but no sign of yesterdays garden warbler. Good to have the parrakeet after an absence of a few weeks and the grey wag continues to be found on the brook by Meccano bridge.

Mallard 1♂ Wetlands. (think the female is on a nest)
Sparrowhawk 1♀ circling & drifting NE from Compton playing field to Newbridge area,
Buzzard 1 quartering Barleyfield,    prob same flew to Tettenhall Ridge  from Compton area,
Moorhen 1 Compton Wetlands
Ring Necked Parrakeet 1 Meccano Br
Green Woodpecker calls Tettenhall Ridge
Grey Wagtail 1♀ Smestow Bridge
Wren 12 singing mid section
Dunnock 7 singing mid section
Robin 10 singing mid section
Blackbird 7 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 singing Meccano Br
Mistle Thrush 1 singing Top Birches
Whitethroat 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Blackcap 12(11 singing) mid section
Chiffchaff 7 singing mid section
Willow Warbler 1 singing Eddies Alders
Long Tailed Tit 2 pr + 1 mid section
Great Tit 4 singing mid section
Chaffinch 4 ( 3 singing) mid section
Greenfinch 2 singing mid section

mid section                23rd April

Mallard 1♂ Wetlands
Buzzard 3 Valley

Stock Dove 1 singing Lower Alders
Green Woodpecker calls Tettenhall Ridge
Grey Wagtail 1 imm ♂ Smestow Bridge
Wren 12 singing Valley
Dunnock 5 singing Valley
Robin 7 singing Valley
Blackbird 5 singing Valley
Song Thrush 1 singing Meccano Br
Mistle Thrush 1 singing Top Birches
Whitethroat 1 singing Shrike Bushes
Garden Warbler 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Blackcap 11 (10 singing) Valley
Chiffchaff 7 singing Valley
Long Tailed Tit 2 pair Barleyfield
Great Tit song Valley
Chaffinch 3 singing Valley
Greenfinch 2 singing Valley


mid section               22nd April

Kestrel 1♂ over Tettenhall Ridge
Moorhen 1 Wetlands

Green Woodpecker calls Tettenhall Ridge
Swallow 1 >> N over Meccano Br
Grey Wagtail 1 Smestow Bridge
Wren 10 singing Valley
Dunnock 4 singing Valley
Robin 10 singing Valley
Blackbird 9 singing Valley
Song Thrush 4 singing Valley
Whitethroat 1 singing Top Roses
Blackcap 9 singing Valley
Chiffchaff 9 singing Valley
Goldcrest 1 singing Smestow Bridge
Long Tailed Tit 2 pr + 1 Valley
Great Tit song Valley
Treecreeper 2 singing Valley
Chaffinch 4 singing Valley
Greenfinch 2 singing Valley
Goldfinch 3 Valley
Bullfinch 1♂ Annex Barleyfield

Thursday, 23 April 2015

northern section

a wander to town along the canals this morning produced my first house martin (+2 awallows over the lupin field/
Prospects for grasshopper warbler and breeding whitethroat look bleak this year because of the adjacent building work at site of carriage depot.
so only blackcap 8 and chiffchaff 5 all singers.
lots of thrush activity as in food carrying to nest where young may well have hatched plus some song.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

post script

Ian had no luck with sedge this morning by the pool-tempted to call it a puddle.
I also had singing whitethroat and the male grey wag.
But no willow warblers after a week where they were present at station/pond/meccano
5/6 birds in total??
also had two presumed male grey wag on Saturday on smestow at wightwick both had white eye stripes but no black bibs // passage birds.??
also a swallow early today on the same track as ydays

At last the Compton Wetlands produce.

The first Whitethroats of the year.

And a first for the Valley.

A fleeting glimps of a bird at the wetlands yesterday morning by Ian and myself was eventually confirmed later that evening as a sedge warbler, probably a female as it was not singing. Also present in the area was singing blackcaps,chiffchaffs and willow warbler. A swallow passed over the Barleyfield and a female grey wagtail was back by the bridge over the Smestow after being absent for the previous 3 days.
                                  Also of note yesterday
8 singing       chiffchaff
9 singing       blackcap
1                    treecreeper
2 singing       goldcrest

                                 Today   21 April
I was surprised to find a female whitethroat feeding on the blossom of a tree behind the station cafe, can't recall ever having one in this area before. However 1 singing on the Barleyfield was a welcome sight. I think these are the first whitethroat in the Valley this year.
                                  No sign of the sedge warbler this morning, unless Ian had it earlier.

                               Also of note today
10 singing      chiffchaff
12 singing      blackcap
17 singing      wren
5   singing      dunnock
6   singing      robin  only?
3   singing      chaffinch
5   singing      song thrush
6   singing      blackbird
1   singing      coal tit
1   singing      goldcrest
1 female         sparrowhawk
1                     buzzard
1                     jay
pair mallard the female sat on nest at the wetland site.

The Wolves legend Steve Bull seen and heard walking his dog over the Barleyfield was a Valley tick for me. He was in full summer plumage but left the area to the east before I had chance to put the word out.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Newbridge,   April 12th  2015

Catch it as it fades, the

true sound of summer

The end of Easter week, the trees round the playingfield buffeted by an afternoon squall as rain sweeps in from the south west.  Grey, wet and cool, yet only hours ago the morning sun was lighting up the underwings of Common Buzzards as they twisted and turned against the wind above the sloped grass bank overlooking the Birmingham Canal locks south of Aldersley junction.  The birds, the northernmost of three pairs nesting in the Smestow Valley and its immediate surroundings, were most probably responding to the appearance earlier of a dark ragged-winged interloper seen recently over the Compton barleyfield and elsewhere.  Today’s freshening wind was in stark contrast to the recent run of calm, warm days, when spring was well and truly sprung . . .


Across the field and into the wood, where the ground is turning from brown to green.  It’s relatively quiet, the high-pressure calm interrupted intermittently by the calls of Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker (a male was excavating a nest hole on March 24th).  A Treecreeper inches its way up a flaking trunk, in the distance a Mistle Thrush starts its short laboured song, and the repetitive notes of at least two Chiffchaff are a reminder that migrants have been arriving for some weeks now.  Then, caught momentarily on the thin spring air and fading almost as soon as it has begun, comes the true sound of summer, a short run of gently descending notes hinting at warmer days ahead, the valley’s first recorded Willow Warbler for 2015.  This fleeting, wistful song seems always to be edging away, leading further along a woodland edge path or through stands of heathland birch, in gentle contrast to the explosive notes of some other migrant warblers.  Willow Warbler breeding numbers locally have declined in recent years, with pairs under increased human pressure, particularly along edge-of-habitat areas such as the Compton barleyfield where thoughtless dog-walkers have ignored or destroyed signs asking for their pets to be put on leads during the nesting season. 

Other recent Newbridge records include Goldcrest, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Jay, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Coal Tit and singing Goldfinch, with Long-tailed Tit and House Sparrow collecting nest material, Blackbird and Woodpigeon pairs seen mating , and subdued Blackcap song on April 4th (males are now singing all along the valley).  Four Greylag flew south westwards on April 4th, a Buzzard pair displayed on April 6th, and two Sparrowhawk displayed on April 12th. 

DUNSTALL PARK  has witnessed the disappearance of wintering gull flocks, leaving just a few city-nesting Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull visiting the lake daily for a wash and brush-up.  The Gadwall pair departed c.March26th, the last Teal were seen on April 8th, and a lone male was the only Shoveler present on April 12th.  A single Snipe flew from lakeside grass on March 30th, (at least 10 were present five days earlier), the lake’s second Green Sandpiper for the year flew from the open Smestow brook culvert on March 25th before leaving north westwards, and a lone Lapwing was by the lake on April 3rd raising the faintest of hopes that the species might once again nest at the racecourse.  Lapwings first appeared at the lake only months after its creation late in 1993, and autumn and wintering flocks have visited the racecourse annually ever since. Numbers have fluctuated, but totals of c.500 and c.600 birds were noted in February of 2000 and 2002, and display-flying in April and May was seen as early as 1998. It seemed only a matter of time before breeding was attempted, and in 2002 two pairs nested, with one set of youngsters successfully fledging. For the next few years at least one pair bred annually, but the last success was in 2007.  The racecourse operators are still leaving a 20-metre strip unmown near the lake to encourage the birds to nest, so once again it's fingers crossed.  More positive news on another former breeding species, as the Mute Swan pair, first seen at the lake in late December last year, are now nesting, the female sitting since the end of March.  At least one pair of Coot are nesting, territorial aggro from Little Grebe suggests that at least one pair are breeding following success in 2014, but a wrecked nest and scattered broken eggs indicate that Canada Geese are again victim of last year’s mystery predator that wiped out all nests on the island and shoreline.  A male Reed Bunting has been singing intermittently in lakeside sallows, Nuthatch are calling from nest tress in the north western corner, at least 17 Rook nests have been built in the nearby oak copse bordering the Staff & Worcs Canal, more than 30 Crow were on grass near the lake on March 25th, and there was the intriguing report from Gareth of at least 600 Jackdaw in a pre-roost gathering at the racecourse on March 30th. 

A phone call from a friend at 7pm on Monday (13th) resulted in a trip to Wightwick where, as he had described, a male Common Redstart hawked from bushes and fed on his lawn.  We watched this beautiful and obviously hungry bird for around 15 minutes before the resident Robin gave it its flying orders as the light began to fade.  Some garden record!!
As the temperature rose this morning (Wednesday 15th) two male Wheatear ran and dipped in the heat, feeding in the middle of the central mown grass area at Dunstall Park.  The racecourse ground staff report that a Barn Swallow was flying round the stables nest site on Monday 6th.  There were two birds there today.  The world turns . . .

NB.    Dunstall Park is a restricted commercial site.  Access is strictly controlled.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Follow on from geoff's post

Friday afternoon was noteable for about 50 butterflies in the paddocks (just south tett station) all seemed to be small tortoiseshell or peacock.
Into the weekend still plenty of blackcap and chiffchaff with an additional 4 of each between Compton and wightwick. additiona;;y 5 chiffchaff and 6 blackcap in the north section this morning.
pair of buzzards circling Oxley bank this morning and calling green woodpecker from there-both regular nesting places.
talking of nesting pair of grey wagtails being seen daily between Compton and tettenhal raising hopes.
coot on nest just up from lock 17 suggesting movement down from town centre where several pairs raised young last year.  Will it affect the moorhens???
amazingly a young mistle thrush in the road at viaduct drive with an anxious parent above in silver birch-yes Geoff they do nest early!!!
one possibly 2 treecreeper at tettenhall station yesterday and three diff goldcrests thru the paddocks which given previous sightins suspect indicates three pairs
Finally yesterday brought what we think was first willow warbler of the year by the station, a rather dumpy bird but the orange legs gave its identity which was confirmed when it sang. A different bird was singing today on the canal at back of rifle range.

Friday, 10 April 2015

All of a sudden our Blackcaps sing ( properly )

thur & fri         mid section

Looks like all the singing blackcaps are in the mid  section Ian. I had 7
yesterday and 9 today. Also 9 singing chiffchaff yesterday and 12 today, Grey
again on Smestow by the bridge,local buzzards displaying and plenty
goldcrest yesterday and today,
                         Also of interest
Green Woodpecker - calls - Tettenhall Ridge,
Mistle Thrush - 1 singing - Graisley Culvert,
Coal Tit - 1 singing @ Compton Lock,
Nuthatch - calling - Tennis Courts,
Jay - 4 - Barleyfield,
Wren - 11 singing,
Dunnock - 6 singing,
Robin - 12 singing,
Green Woodpecker - pair investigating holes in a tree behind the station,
Mistle Thrush - 2 singing,
wren - 16 singing,
Dunnock - 9 singing,
Robin - 17 singing,

very quick update

Suspect this will already have been overtaken|
Wednesday mid section 4 singing blackcap but surprisingly none in north section on Thursday
Also weds 3 meadow pipit on barleyfield and parakeet calling again.
5 chiffchaff northern on thurs but lupin field and allotments very quiet.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Some you win Some you lose

tue 7th april 15                         early morning                               mid section

Due to a physio appointment at lunch time I was was not intending to visit this 
morning,but noting an unprecedented  passage of Meadow Pipits across the UK over 
the last two days,including some huge numbers in the midlands and at Belvide Res 
in particular where Steve Nuttall smashed the Belvide record with 1881 yesterday 
and several hundred on sunday,I also had a flock of 20+ feeding on the Barleyfield late yesterday afternoon. I thought it worth a quick look this morning.
    A 20 minute vizmig off the playing field at the northern border of 
Barleyfield (Chris's old stamping ground)  produced absolutely nothing.(where's Chris when u need him).
            I just had time to cover the western border now, and happened to be in 
the right place at the right time to catch the brief and very intermittent notes 
of the second Blackcap of the spring at the old level crossing on the 
Barleyfield.Chiffchaff are now strongly present with 5 singing along this border 
and another 3 in the Paddocks. A R N Parakeet was calling from the south end of the 
Paddocks( the same area Ian had one on sunday).

Monday, 6 April 2015

weekend round up

Still very thin on the migrant front but as ever could we be being over optimistic.
The only bird which is here in force (or indeed at all ) is the chiffchaff with 6 singers on both Saturday and Thursday in the northern portion (north of tettenhal road) 6 in the middle on Saturday and 4 in the southern(beyond Compton.
Compensation has been the amount of song from resident birds. Saturday morning in the paddocks was pretty impressive. blackbirds have come to the party in the last few days and they supplemented the thrushs robins dunnock wren etc. Geoff picked out a full singing blackcap but I am wondering if it was just inspired by the chorus as no others seem to be present.
Standing on the metal bridge over the smestow brought kingfisher, goldcrest and mistle thrush as well as another parakeet sighting, this time flying towards the ridge.
Representing winter were a small group of siskin in the birchs at the  new houses by viaduct and 3 fieldfare today at castlecroft.  Also at the latter a single cormorant pair of yellowhammer singing skylark and a lonely lapwing.
Breeding is moving apace as witnessed by a pillaged egg on the railway, much more encouraging was a pair of treecreepers by the school grounds just north of tettenhall rd on Thursday.  Treecreepers seem to be doing well as we saw another 300 yds south of meccano.The rooks now have 17 constuctions (up 2 from thurs) and are surely sitting on eggs.  A pair of  grey wagtail today at wightwick finally featured a breeding male and looked very promising as a breeding pair with the female collecting stuff for a potential nest.
Also seen on Saturday were 4 greylags flying south east and a pair of goldcrest in the paddock to go with the pair by the meccano.
We will get a swallow soon.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

(D'ont get) fooled again.

Previous day wet and windy.
Nice bright sunny day.
Surely worth a trip to the barleyfield for migrant birds.
Not a bit of it 7 singing chiffchaff was as good as it got-all in the same places as weekend with the extra one in the north-east corner.
There were however 2 pairs of jays and 2 grey wagtail on the spillweir although they both seemed female one brighter than the other with no trace of black throat or white eyeline which even on a last years bird would surely be apparent by now if male??. There was however a pair yesterday at Oxley.
Plenty of song with the most prominent species this morning being dunnock. This does seem to change day by day and probably in relation to time and conditions.  On last visit it was Robins and the one before Wrens.
Till the next day of unfulfilled expectations adieu.