Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Further to geoffs post yesterday I saw 2 little grebe yesterday afternoon just north of meccano but could not see any this morning. Had grey wagtail at weir this morning and 1 over tettenhall rd yesterday pm.
Glad he saw dark kingfisher because Monday morning I had a normal one between water bridge and aldersley junction.
An early visit yesterday found 2 adult herring and one lesser black back with c35 black headed gulls on cricket pitch.
Green and gold finches are now in flocks rather than family parties the latter still around the field but not the former which often frequent the stadium at this time of year.
So very much we are moving towards winter with no blackcaps today for the 1st time altho single chiffie at pond and one yday in regular bush as you go onto the field.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

All the water birds present 

29th September 15             morning                mid section

high cloud,becoming sunny,  10-14°c,  1036mb,  E 4-6 mph

The first little grebe on the canal this autumn. 3 were just north of Meccano Br on the outward journey but on return two had moved near Meadow View Br. Two grey wagtail on Smestow at Prefabs and a kingfisher ( dark bird ) was fishing from overhanging bush by the Newbridge Squash Club.
Blackcap again played the numbers game, with 2♂ and 3♀ at Hanging Grds and later 2♂ plus 2♀ 300mtrs up the hill in the Annex but are they the same individuals as earlier, I returned to Hanging Grds to try to resolve the matter and in a 15 minute stint there was just one female?? so to play safe I can only claim two male and 3 female.

Little Grebe 3 just N Meccano Br (return) 1 Mb,  2 MV, ( 1st of winter)
Moorhen 2 imm S&W Canal
Kingfisher 1 fishing Squash Club  flew N twds Newbridge grds,
Grey Wagtail 2 Prefab Weir
Wren 1 singing Meadow View
Dunnock 1 singing The Paddock
Robin 10 singing mid section
Blackcap 2+♂ 3+♀ Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 3+ The Paddock
Goldcrest 1 Hanging Grds
Long Tailed Tit 4+ The Paddock
Nuthatch calls The Paddock
Jay 3+ Barleyfield
Bullfinch 1 imm Wetlands

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Reflections on the week

What a difference an hour makes let alone a day.
It has been a reasonable week for warblers but each day has been different with the only consistently present birds being chiffchaff and blackcap (every day to Saturday).
However I suspect that birds are passing thru with new ones each day as per the one day whitethroat and garden warbler. This is very different to the start of the month when warblers associated with the regular mixed flock most often seen in the paddocks.
Now they are completely separate, witness our experiences when comparing notes one day this week when I went thru the paddocks an hour before Geoff and had the mixed flock including 2 each of coal tit and goldcrest and nuthatch and he had nothing but several chiffies.
Saturday morning I seemed to get to the top of the field ahead of the dog walkers and flushed a reed bunting and meadow pipit from opposite sides of field (sw and se).
Hirundines seem to have gone altho did have flock of house martins on tues but west of the valley swallows were heading south.
The dark plumaged kingfisher seems to have gone but plenty of nuthatch and goldcrest are being seen as well as raven but no wintering birds like little grebe yet.
Grey wagtail seem to have deserted the water bridge probably due to the work on the access rd but had female at spill weir on weds.
Finally a singing blackcap in the paddocks yesterday was a reminder of seasons past.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Migration continues 

24th September 15              morning                 mid section

mostly sunny,  10-11°c,   1010mb,      SW 6-11 mph

Plenty of migrating warblers today with at least four chiffchaff in the Paddocks, at least 8 blackcap ( 1♂ Shrike Bushes, at least  3♂ + 3♀ in elder bushes near the Barleyfield crossing plus another female blackcap in the elder bushes further north towards the north west corner )
 and an unexpected whitethroat near the said crossings.Two raven flew over to the north east not long after Ian left ( hope he got them ). Top of Barleyfield from Squirrels Grave were two coal tit, maybe the forerunners of the predicted huge invasion from Scandinavia which also includes siskin.

Buzzard 1 over Hanging Grds
Moorhen 1 juv Prefab Weir
Black Headed Gull odds over mid section
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> S over The Paddock
Robin 13 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 Hanging Grds
Blackcap 4♂ 4♀ Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 4+ The Paddock
Long Tailed Tit c6 The Paddock
Coal Tit 2 Barleyfield Annex
Jay 3 Barleyfield
Jackdaw odds over Barleyfield
Raven 2 >> NE over 2 flew NE calling over north-west BF,
Goldfinch 2 >> N over Hanging Grds
Bullfinch calls Hanging Grds

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Signs of the goldfinch flock increasing 

22nd September 15        morning               mid section

low cloud occ drizzle,  10-11°c,  1001mb,   NW 7-10 mph

Firstly the squirrel has disappeared probably taken by a fox or badger.
My best flock of goldfinch this winter was over the Barleyfield top south west corner briefly before flying off towards the top eastern side. Otherwise very quiet with two male and two female blackcap popping up regularly throughout the Hanging Gardens. Four jay heading to the alder wood ( Lower Alders ) alongside the Wetlands and two calling chiffchaff the only other interest on the Barleyfield. Elsewhere 3 separate 1st winter moorhen along the canal.

Moorhen 3 1st wt S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull odds over Barleyfield
Robin 14 singing mid section
Blackcap 2♂ 2♀ Hanging Grds
Chiffchaff 2 calling Barleyfield
Jay 4 Barleyfield
Jackdaw odds over Barleyfield
Goldfinch c40 suddenly appeared over top SW cnr Barleyfield  before flying twds the SE of Barleyfield,

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Homage to a squirrel ??

20th September 15           morning                  mid section

thick fog again,lifted 09:40 to partly cloudy,

8-13°c,   1024 mb,  S-SW 5 mph

Came across this dead squirrel at an out of the way spot that Ian and myself cleared last winter. It's a well known area that the local birders find some interesting birds but has become completely overgrown over the years. A short track that threads its way to a patch of brambles and bushes and nowhere else! ie a dead end ( forgive the pun )  we didn't think anyone would notice or knew about. 
 I now have a problem? It's been placed by someone ( pretty sure it's a women that walked past me carrying a box a few minutes earlier ) who obviously cared for this squirrel and wanted to help it on it's way to the afterlife. So do I leave it and then spend the next few months trying not to stand on it while it gently decomposes ( there's not room to swing a cat there )? or shall I bury it? or redirect our viewing spot? 
Answers on postcard please.

Not much going on birdwise, here's the highlights of the day.

Canada Goose c40 >> NE over Valley
Mallard few S&W Canal
Moorhen 1 juv still Prefab Weir
Green Woodpecker calls Barleyfield
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> S over Hanging Grds
Wren 1 singing Hanging Grds
Robin 11 singing mid section
Blackcap 2♂2♀+1 calling Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 1 singing Shrike Bushes
Long Tailed Tit 2 Hanging Grds
Bullfinch 2 imm Hanging Grds

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Barleyfield ready for stock dove,so where are they?

19th September 15         morning              mid section

thick fog early,clearing 10:00,  8-15°c, 1024mb, S-SW 4 mph

The Barleyfield was mown almost two weeks ago, normally a whole host of species take advantage of the seeds that become available, but so far this year all i've had is a few wood pigeon and corvids, so where are all the stock dove ( normally upto 20 ), jackdaw,crow and magpie ( usually plenty ). 
            The contractor has left the cuttings covering the ground, maybe that has something to do with it. It's suppose to be a flower meadow and leaving the cuttings will enrich the soil, which will encourage the growth of ranker vegetation which is not what a flower meadow needs.A phone call to the ranger Mark Game will hopefully get the job finished.
         Birdwise.   Chiffchaff and blackcap put in a good show, two nuthatch together in the Paddock along with a goldcrest and four chiffchaff was notable. A few late butterflies on the wing with a comma and speckled wood found.

Moorhen 2 young 1 nr full ad  Wetlands,   1 juv Prefab weir,
Wren 1 singing Graiseley Culvert
Robin 21 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 Barleyfield Annex
Blackcap 4 mid section
Chiffchaff 4 The Paddock
Goldcrest 1 The Paddock
Long Tailed Tit c6 The Paddock
Nuthatch 2 The Paddock
Bullfinch 3 imm Barleyfield Annex
Comma 1 Wetlands
Speckled Wood 1 Annex Barleyfield

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Buzzards and warblers

17th September 15           morning              mid section

sunny, increasingly cloudy,  8-13°c,  996mb,  W 4-7 mph

An immature buzzard over the north west Barleyfield is proof of successful breeding this year, the other two seen today were both adults still in various stages of moult. A good show of chiffchaff for this time of year with  whitethroat and blackcap in smaller numbers. We may not have them for much longer.

Buzzard 1 imm over Barleyfield Annex,   1 ad over Barleyfield,   1 tatty adult over Compton Rough,
Moorhen 1 imm Wetlands
Herring Gull 1 St Edmonds Sch
Swallow 10 >> SW over Barleyfield
Wren 1 singing Graiseley Cnr
Robin 12 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 Hanging Grds
Blackcap 2 Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 6 4 together Paddocks
Long Tailed Tit few mid section
Nuthatch calls Meccano Br
Jay calls Top Roses
Greenfinch 3 Top Roses
Goldfinch 6 Meccano Grds
Bullfinch 2 Annex Barleyfield

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

10 mistle thrush but 10 x as many swallows

15th September 15            morning                 mid section

cloudy becoming partly sunny, 10-15°c, 994mb, W 6-W 9 mph

As well as grilling trees and bushes us birders always have our eyes skyward for the odd bird of prey or anything else that flies over, well this morning standing on the walkway over the Wetland I noticed a couple of swallows going over, the bins focused on them to make sure of the ID and there were more, 5 no 10 even more, now need to make sure they're all swallows ( could be house martins too ). No white rumps and flight characteristics are all swallow but there are many more a good distance away over towards Paget Rd, Must be at least 100 a good number in one group for the Valley. They had all disappeared with in 10 minutes. Back down to earth and 10 mistle thrush with 11 starling on the field, a further 10 or so starling joined them before being flushed by a dog walker.

Stock Dove 1 >> S over Valley
Swallow 100+ 100+ mostly to the E of Wetlands,
Pied Wagtail 4 Compton Field
Wren 2 singing mid section
Robin 12 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 The Paddock
Mistle Thrush 10 wetlands Field
Blackcap 2+ Hanging Grds
Jay 2 Barleyfield
Jackdaw odds over Barleyfield
Starling c20 11 Wetlands field  joined by about another 10,
Goldfinch 5 over Wetlands
Bullfinch 1 imm Annex Barleyfield

Monday, 14 September 2015

What a difference a day makes 

14th September 15         morning              mid section

O/cast cold,  9°c,  994mb,  NE 9 mph.

Warm & sunny yesterday --- overcast & cold today, plenty of action yesterday--- pretty dead today, that's autumn and that's birding for you. That is birding here in our valley, it's not necessarily so at other sites, like inland reservoirs or coast and estuary's with different species ( waders,gulls ) involved, Blue sky and sunshine do it for us but the worse the weather the better the birding elsewhere.
Four blackcap together in the Barleyfield Annex producing a little sub-song was about as good as it got this morning.

Pied Wagtail 3 Compton Field
Robin 13 singing mid section
Song Thrush 1 Hanging Grds
Mistle Thrush 15 Compton Field
Blackcap 4+ (inc subsong) Barleyfield Annex
Chiffchaff calls mid section
Long Tailed Tit 1+ Barleyfield Annex
Coal Tit 2 Barleyfield Annex
Jay 2 calling Compton Rough
Starling 11 Compton Field
Goldfinch 3 Compton Field
Bullfinch 2 calling mid section

Sunday, 13 September 2015

A raven kronk's west and a kingfisher flashes east over the Barleyfield

13th September 15          morning                 mid section

sunny & warm,  10-15°c,  1008mb,  SE 6-S 7 mph

A much more interesting day with highlights being raven,kingfisher and garden warbler. The garden warbler came early, as I stepped through the gate between Station Paddock and the main Paddock it flew into an elder bush on the bank of the brook, flying off before Ian arrived, also in the paddock were at least 4 chiffchaff. The Barleyfield was quiet at first but gradually picked up with more chiffs,blackcap and whitethroat, we found ourselves at the bottom north-east corner when a kingfisher flashed across the Shrike Bushes and disappeared behind the alders which form the northern boundary of the Wetland site, but on checking there was no sign in there. Later Ian heard a raven calling in the distance which gradually came closer and eventually we picked up arching high over Compton playing fields and turning to head south-west along the valley.

Buzzard 1 over Barleyfield
Kingfisher 1 flew E past or through Wetlands seen from NE crn Barleyfield, not found at Wetlands,
Great Spotted Woodpecker calls Barleyfield Annex
House Martin 3 over Barleyfield
Pied Wagtail 3 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing Hanging Grds
Robin 12 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 Hanging Grds
Garden Warbler 1 The Paddock
Blackcap 2 Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 6 ( 1 singing ) mid section
Long Tailed Tit few The Paddock
Nuthatch 2 Barleyfield Annex
Jay 2 calling mid section
Raven 1 flew W high over Compton Field   turning  to head SW along Valley,
Goldfinch c15 Barleyfield
Bullfinch few Barleyfield

Saturday, 12 September 2015

A mixed bag

12th September 15          morning               mid section

O/cast after o/night rain,brighter later, 13-15°c, 1004mb, SE 10-SW 10 mph,

More migrants this morning after rain overnight, at least 4 blackcap and the immature male bullfinch I had on thursday in the hedge separating the Wetland area from the Barleyfield proper also a small flock of goldfinch flew over, 2 swallow flew over to the south and four small finches flew silently  around and disappeared behind the tall alder tree in the corner (possible redpoll). Elsewhere a whitethroat flew to the broken hedge in the lower Barleyfield, two chiffchaff were in the main Paddock and a grey wagtail was by the canal bridge on Meadow View

Mallard pair Wetlands
Moorhen 2 imm 1 either side bridge Meadow View,
Swallow 2 over Wetlands
Grey Wagtail 1 Meadow View
Robin 6 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 Broken Hedge   Barleyfield
Blackcap 2♂ 2+ ♀  Wetlands
Chiffchaff 2 1 + 1 fresh ad  Paddock,
Long Tailed Tit calls The Paddock
Jay calls Station Paddock
Chaffinch 1 imm Hanging Grds
Goldfinch 20+ Wetlands
Bullfinch 2 imm mid section

Friday, 11 September 2015

The sun's shining so the birds go on holiday

11th September 15          morning                mid section

sunny & warm,  12-17°c,  1016mb,  ESE 8-13 mph

Just one calling chiffchaff ( not even seen ) , that's the only warbler today. The only other migrant was a trickle of swallows all heading south west over the Barleyfield. The high pressure system giving us this warm sunshine also makes for excellent traveling conditions for migrating birds.
Nothing else of note amongst the resident birds either.

Buzzard 1 flew N along V then off S of Barleyfield, not a local bird,
Moorhen 1 juv 1 ad with 1 juv  Prefab weir,
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Swallow 6 >> S over Barleyfield
Robin 6 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 1 calling Eddies Alders
Goldfinch 3 Compton Rough
Bullfinch 4 Barleyfield

Thursday, 10 September 2015

A motley collection

10th September 15            morning               mid section

foggy early lifting 10 ish,  11-15°c, 1022mb, E 9 mph

The Paddocks was quiet early in the chilly conditions and so was the Barleyfield, but as it gradually warmed up a party of blackcaps appeared in the Hanging Grds with a whitethroat near by. More blackcap deep in the Annex at the top west Barleyfield and even more in the Wetland hedge with goldfinch,bullfinch and 2 house martins overhead. A grey wagtail was flushed from near Compton Lock and flew north along the canal. 5 swallow flew north ( yes north? )  over Barleyfield, 7 mistle thrush on Compton Field and a great spotted woodpecker sat atop the fir tree by the Meadow View entrance were noted.

Mallard 3♂ 2♀  Wetlands
Moorhen 1 imm Wetlands,  1 juv Prefab weir,
Black Headed Gull odds over Barleyfield
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1♀ Meadow View
Swallow 5 >> N over Barleyfield
House Martin 2 over Wetlands
Grey Wagtail 1 flushed Compton Lock
Wren 1 singing Wetlands
Robin 11 singing mid section
Mistle Thrush 7 Compton Field
Whitethroat 1 Hanging Grds
Blackcap 10 Barleyfield
Greenfinch 3 over Barleyfield Annex
Goldfinch c15 Wetlands
Bullfinch 3 1 imm ♂ + 1 imm ♀ + 1♀  Wetlands,

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Barleyfield meadow cut

8th September 15           morning            mid section

o/cast & cold,  8-10°c,  1030mb,  E 3.

Surprised to find the Barleyfield mown as there was no sign of any action when I left late yesterday morning. Pleased to note that with only one exception ( the eastern border 20 metre woodland edge should have been left uncut ) the contractor has done a good job. We still have enough vegetation left for insects and late butterflies to finish their life cycles and consequently food for birds. The stock doves,jackdaws,corvids and wood pigeons are usually very quick to pick through the debri.

Moorhen few,  no sign of Prefab weir juv but 2 Severn Trent worker cleaning out weir,
Pied Wagtail 1 Compton Field
Robin 9 singing mid section
Blackcap 1 calling Birches top of Barleyfield,
Chiffchaff 3 mid section
Greenfinch 1 calling Barleyfield

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sunshine but no magic

7th September 15            morning               mid section

sunny & warm,  9-13°c,  1030mb,   N 3-4 mph,

Severn chiffchaff but most other migrants seem to have cleared out, just 2 calling blackcap no whitethroat and no sign of yesterday's  spotted flycatcher or lesser whitethroat.

Mallard pair Wetlands
Buzzard 2 over 2 ( 1 displaying )  over Valley, 
Moorhen 1+1 juv PFw,  1 nr f/grown imm Meccano Br,  1 f/grown imm Tennis Courts,
Pied Wagtail 1 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing Graiseley Culvert,
Robin 12 singing mid section
Blackcap 2 calling Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 6 ( 1 singing ) mid section
Goldcrest 1 The Paddock with mix flock,
Long Tailed Tit c6 c6 Paddocks,  prob same Hanging Grds,
Jay 1 >> N over Hanging Grds
Jackdaw odds over mid section
Starling 16 Compton Field
Chaffinch 1♀ Meccano Grds
Greenfinch calls Central Scrub
Goldfinch 14 Meccano Grds
Meadow Brown few Barleyfield

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sunshine performs it's magic again

6th September 15         morning               mid section

sunny & warm,  10-15°c,  1029mb,  W 3-NW 12 mph

A text from Ian informs me that there's a spotted flycatcher and a lesser whitethroat on the Barleyfield. ( trust me to be having a leisurely start )  When I eventually arrived we quickly relocated the spot fly but the lesser throat had disappeared. The supporting cast was more warblers with common whitethroat,blackcap ( strangely all male ) and chiffchaff.
A complete turn around from yesterday when with cloudy sky's the whole of the valley was dead quiet.

Buzzard calls Barleyfield
Swallow 2 over Hanging Grds
House Martin 1 over Hanging Grds
Robin 6 singing mid section
Whitethroat 4 Barleyfield
Blackcap 5 Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 2+ calling Barleyfield
Spotted Flycatcher 1 Hanging Grds
Long Tailed Tit 10+ mid section
Jay 1 Station Paddock
Goldfinch c15 Barleyfield
Bullfinch 4 Barleyfield

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The chilly autumn is here

3rd September 15           morning                mid section

cloudy,  10-13°c,   1016mb,     NW 4-9 mph

All birders love autumn for many it's the favourite season ( not me spring is my favourite ) . There's a chance that anything can turn up under favourable conditions ( favourable for us not birds ) and more likely to stay around. It can also be very frustrating, our summer migrants and breeding birds are leaving, mostly going unseen overhead it's only when for one reason or another, usually weather related they make landfall that we can check them out. So birding trips become lottery. Today was a flyover day, still a few warblers around but not many and not much else.

Canada Goose c40 >> NE over Barleyfield
Buzzard 1 moulting ad over Barleyfield,  flew south to the Cedars firs,
Moorhen 1 brood 1 ad + 1 juv Prefab Weir
Black Headed Gull 25+ over Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull c15 over Compton Field
Wren 1 singing Hanging Grds
Robin 3 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 calling Hanging Grds
Blackcap 4 mid section
Chiffchaff 2 calling Barleyfield
Nuthatch 1 calling The Paddock
Jay 1+ Barleyfield
Goldfinch 6 Meccano Grds
Bullfinch 3 Hanging Grds

Into September

Tuesday started promisingly in the paddocks with nuthatch, goldcrest, blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler accompanying the loose tit flock.  However the barleyfield did not live up to expectations with only an unseen calling whitethroat worth mentioning.
Wednesday was the reverse with little to report from the paddocks bar 2 nuthatch but the was quite lively.  For once the loose flock was by the wetland which made observation easier with other birds on the western border.
Chiffchaff 8+
Willow warbler 2+
Blackcap 4 (all female)
Otherwise the dark kingfisher flew out of the wetland as I arrived and the goldfinch flock of about 20 were prominent.