Saturday, 31 October 2015

A winter fare

31st October 15          morning               mid section

murky,   11-13°c,  1019mb,  SSE 9-7 mph

A good start with grey wagtail and 3 little grebe off Meadow View bridge and a few redwing over the Paddocks. Barleyfield was quiet until we got to the top where we had more redwing, greenfinch, goldfinch and a ♂ sparrowhawk, the sparrowhawk reappeared over the Wetlands  and we had a ♀ over the valley later. The Wetlands also held more goldfinch and chaffinch. A great spotted woodpecker (probably ♀) perched high in trees between Hanging Grds and the railway walk and the Barleyfield was done. The canal produced six immature moorhen, more than we have seen for a long time but 3 of them were just north of the Tettenhall Rd so not officially the mid section. Also at the feeders here by the moored boats we had a coal tit, loads of greenfinch and another great spotted woodpecker a male this time. A smart grey wagtail on the Smestow at the Prefab bridge brings at least 3 different individuals on the patch. Two here ( prefabs ) and another well marked bird on the Smestow by St Michael's school.

Little Grebe 3 ( 1 S + 2 N ) MV, later  2 Tennis Courts,  
Canada Goose c50 over Barleyfield in 3 groups
Sparrowhawk 1♂ over Top Roses,  again Wetlands,  1♀ over Valley,
Moorhen 6 imm (1 imm Prefab weir,  1 imm Meccano Br, 1 imm Meadow View, 3 imm Newbridge boats,).
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1♀ Hanging Grds,  1♂ Newbridge boats feeders,
Grey Wagtail 1 Meadow View,  1 v/bright Prefabs Smestow,
Wren 1 singing Lower Alders
Robin 7 singing mid section
Song Thrush 5+ mid section
Redwing c45 mid section
Coal Tit 1 Newbridge boats feeders
Chaffinch 2+ Wetlands, 2+ Newbridge boats feeders,
Greenfinch c10 Top Roses,  c10 Newbridge boats feeders,
Goldfinch 10+ Barleyfield
Bullfinch 2 Shrike Bushes

Monday, 26 October 2015

What a difference a few minutes make 

25th October 15         morning                 mid section

partly sunny,  5-8°c,  1024mb,   S 3-6 mph

 The Paddocks was quiet and the Barleyfield seemed the same but I met Ian and was surprised to find he had had some decent stuff at the top of the Barleyfield. We headed back up top but all was quiet now. We had two of the grebes on canal by the Prefabs and both green and great spotted woodpeckers back towards Meadow View.  A stroll along the Smestow by St Michael.s sch produced a very smart winter plumaged grey wagtail.

Little Grebe 2 ( 1 s/p + 1 w/p )  Prefabs,
Green Woodpecker calls Station Paddock
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1♂ Meadow View
Grey Wagtail 1 Smestow Meadow
Wren 1 singing Graiseley Cnr
Robin 5 singing mid section
Long Tailed Tit few mid section
Greenfinch 3 Top Roses
Goldfinch 3 over Meccano Grds
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield

Sunday, 25 October 2015

right place right time

I was about half an hour in front of Geoff this morning and had quite a decent mornings birding.
best spot was top of barleyfield at 8.30 but it quietened down after we joined forces.
To be fair my walk through the paddock was quiet but things got better at the wetland where I flushed a reed bunting and a flock of 25 goldfinch.  Up to the top of the field and reasonable numbers of thrushes. small groups of redwing 2 mistle thrush, plenty of blackbirds (numbers supplemented ny Scandinavian birds) and a flock of 15 which may have been fieldfare.
On to the path from top of field to railway and a male blackcap feeding on the last of the elderberries, a possible chiffchaff flew but could not ne relocated to confirm and a single siskin showed well at top of a hawthorn bush, (later saw a small flock I suspect were this species of 5 birds).
otherwise usual 2 little grebe but by spill weir, a well marked grey wagtail on the smestow, calling green woodpecker and feeding male great spotted and 5 bullfinches seen with several more calling.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The one that got away

22nd October 15              morning                mid section

cloudy start, sunny later,  11-12°c,   1013mb,  WNW 14 mph

 Walking through the Paddocks a calling nuthatch caused me to look up to find a bird just dropping onto the top of a fir tree on the other side of the canal where it joined another bird ( ahh two nuthatch thought I, but no, the light was poor so only grey  silhouettes were visible but they were surely not nuthatch. The stubby bill put pay to that, so what were they? They looked quite big and acrobatic feeding on the small cones. I then found another lower down the tree where viewing conditions were a little better and this one was mostly green and eventually shown two light wing bars. After a few minutes all three flew a short distance to another tree and disappeared. I didn't relocate them again. So what were they??  Probably finches, but not green, not chaffinch, not common crossbill and too small for siskin.

Little Grebe 1 w/p Squash Club + 2 ( 1 s/p + 1 dark w/p )  Wolves Firs,
Sparrowhawk 1♀/imm The Paddock
Buzzard 1 over Barleyfield
Moorhen 2 imm S&W Canal
Robin 2 singing mid section
Nuthatch calls The Paddock
Chaffinch 1 Meccano Grds
Goldfinch c20 Meccano Grds
Bullfinch pair Meccano Grds
finch sp 3 Wolves Firs, looks big & bulky,mostly green,stubby bill,with 2 light wing bars (ie Chaffinch) feeding on small cones at top of fir tree,

Monday, 19 October 2015

What ever happened to the redwing flocks

19th October 15           early morning             mid section

dull & o/cast,  8-11°c,  1025mb,  N 4 mph

Under very similar weather conditions as the last few days, when good numbers of migrating thrushes have been piling through the country, this morning just 13 redwing flew east over the Barleyfield. Yesterday 169 were logged? There's no logic in birding.
Generally quiet again. Kingfisher,grey heron,nuthatch and the two usual little grebe the only species of interest.

Little Grebe 2 2 ( 1 s/p + 1 dark w/p ) MS centre,
Grey Heron 1 came in from E went down into Newbridge grds , later left W over Station Paddock,
Mallard few S&W Canal
Moorhen 2 imm 1 imm  Prefab weir,  1 imm just N Meccano Br,
Wood Pigeon 68 Compton Field
Kingfisher 1 flew from canal to Paddocks (Smestow), later same flew under Tettenhall Brs,
Wren 3 singing mid section
Robin 12 singing mid section
Redwing 13 > E over Barleyfield
Nuthatch calls Station Paddock
Greenfinch 1+ Top Roses
Bullfinch calls Meccano Grds

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Hour vizmig produces 169 redwing

18th October 15          morning                 mid section

dull & o/cast  10-11°c,   1021mb,   N 5-NNE 8 mph

Changed my routine today and started at the top of Barleyfield to catch the last hour of redwing migration. 169 redwing in flocks of between 4-5 up to c50. ( 5 heading N + 30 SW + 4 local + 20 NW + c50 NW most of which dived into the cover of the Barleyfield Annex + 16 N + 9 into Annex + another 4 into Annex + 11 W + 10 W + at least 10 in and around the area of top Barleyfield ). Strange thing is when I later went to find the birds that had dropped into the Annex area there was no sight or sound. Where had they gone? All was very quiet later when I did the rounds.
Always check Chaz Masons excellent blog and today he's encouraging aspiring birders to get out there because its teeming with winter visitors like redwing,fieldfare,siskin,redpoll and others, just wish he would sent some of them over here.

Little Grebe 2 ( 1 s/p + 1 darkish w/p )  Squash Club,
Sparrowhawk sat in Eastern Border ash tree, Barleyfield
Moorhen few 1 imm Meccano Br,  1 imm Prefab weir, 
Stock Dove 1 1 Barleyfield,  prob same Wetlands,
Robin 9 singing mid section
Redwing 169 Barleyfield
Greenfinch 3+ Top Roses

Saturday, 17 October 2015

A late start, but turned out fine

17th October 15          late morning            mid section

cloudy,  10-11°c,  1024mb,  NW 4-N 8 mph

You've heard of the early bird catches the worm, well the late birder didn't do too bad today. As expected it was generally quiet in the trees and bushes but the canal waterbirds saved the day. Good to get the dark winged kingfisher perched up reasonably close, enough to see the bill which looked all black, making it a male. So we have two individuals because I had a female in the same place not long ago. Still two little grebe again in the area of the MS centre and flying over the MS building, a grey wagtail calling.

Little Grebe                                         2 (1 s/p + 1 w/p )  MS centre
Buzzard 1 adult over Barleyfield
Kingfisher 1 by tennis club flew twds Smestow at Paddocks,  later same around boats MS centre when seen to be ♂ dark bird,
Grey Wagtail 1 1 calling over MS centre,
Wren 2 singing Wetlands
Robin 3 singing mid section
Redwing 7 5 flying S along V,   2 over Top Roses Barleyfield,
Nuthatch calls Tennis Courts
Jay 1 Barleyfield

Friday, 16 October 2015

A hard slog for little reward

16th October 15            morning               mid section

dull & o/cast,   10-11 °c,   1024mb,   N 7-9 mph

Just one grebe, a summer plumaged bird with the mallards by the MS centre on arrival at the old Tettenhall Br, On the way back probably the same s/p bird was by Meccano bridge and another bird in winter plumage was just south of said bridge, A flock of about 40 redwing headed over Barleyfield to the northwest again, shortly after another 12 followed. Two calling nuthatch in the trees alongside the Smestow and behind the prefabs and a grey wagtail on the brook farther north by small Prefab bridge.

Little Grebe 2 (1s/p 1 w/p) S&W Canal
Mallard 21♂   10♀ S&W Canal
Moorhen 2 imm S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull 19 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Grey Wagtail 1 prefabs
Wren 2 singing mid section
Robin 13 singing mid section
Redwing c52 c40 + 12 flew NW over Barleyfield,
Mistle Thrush 1 Wolves Firs
Nuthatch 2 Prefabs
Jay 1 Hanging Grds
Goldfinch 2+ Barleyfield
Bullfinch calls Graiseley Cnr

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Redwings have arrived 

15th October 15          morning               mid section

o/cast & cold,   6-10°c,  1023mb,   N 6 mph,

After just five minutes on site a small flock of c25 redwing flew northwest over Meadow View. The first for this autumn in the valley ( as far as I know ). The bushes and trees were quiet again, so instead of spending time bush bashing the lower Barleyfield I made my way up top to view the sky ( birders call this  "vismig" or visible migration ) in only half an hour two redwing  flocks of around 60 each went over again heading northwest, also seven were found in the dogwood and roses and blackthorn of the southwest corner.
Two parakeets flew west over the Wetlands, Two mute swan entered the Barleyfield airspace from the north arched around just once and immediately returned back north ( what's wrong with Barleyfield ).  The kingfisher put in another of appearance, this time by the tennis club.

Little Grebe 1 N of Meadow View,  later  2 ( 1 s/p+1 wt) N of Meccano Br,
Mute Swan 2 looped over Barleyfield
Canada Goose c30 > NE over Barleyfield
Ring Necked Parakeet 2 flew W over Wetlands
Kingfisher 1 flushed Tennis Courts flew twds Smestow,
Wren 3 singing mid section
Robin 10 singing mid section
Redwing c 150 over mid section
Chiffchaff calls Wetlands
Jay 2 Shrike Bushes
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

200th species????

According to lord angus the valley total is 199 including exotica my prediction for number 200 had been firecrest. (you could send yours via comments)
 A quick visit to the paddocks mid morning on way back from shop.  First/station paddock half way up 2nd large oak was a harris' hawk complete with falconers jesses on each foot.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Reed Bunting  valley year tick for me

13th October 15            morning                mid section

mostly cloudy,  5-11°c,   1025mb,  N 6-11 mph

Up until 2010 reed bunting was a regular breeding bird on the Barleyfield, indeed that year i'm sure  the pair had two successful broods. I still miss the repetitive song every spring when sitting on the seat at the top of the meadow. From there I could hear many singing birds in april including reed bunts and willow warbler, another species which didn't breed this summer for the first time.
A calling parakeet above the Paddocks, two chiffchaff still hanging on and still two little grebe by Meccano Br were other highlights.

Little Grebe 2 2 Meccano Br
Moorhen 1 Wetlands,  17 counted Compton Rd - Tettenhall Rd,
Ring Necked Parakeet calls The Paddock
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> E over Barleyfield
Wren 2 singing mid section
Robin 10 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 2 c Paddock,  1 in bullrushes  Wetlands,
Coal Tit 1 The Paddock
Jay 2 mid section
Greenfinch calls Annex Barleyfield
Goldfinch 4 Barleyfield
Bullfinch calls graiseley Cnr
Reed Bunting 1 Central Scrub
Speckled Wood 1 Prefabs

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meccano Gardens saw all the action today

12th October 15          morning               mid section

sunny,   4-11°c,   1021mb,   N 3-4 mph

A better day, with three quarters of the species seen today being at or near Meccano Grds. Chiffchaff and great spotted woodpecker the highlights but jay,goldfinch,chaffinch and bullfinch also. Two little grebe by the MS centre, a kingfisher ( dark one) below Compton Lock and another chiffchaff at the Wetland sallows.
A couple of late butterfly species in the warming sunshine rounded the day off.

Little Grebe 2 2 ( 1 s/p + 1 dark ) off  Meadow View
Buzzard 1 over Prefabs
Moorhen 2 ad Wetlands
Black Headed Gull 15 Compton Field
Kingfisher 1 (dark) below Compton Lock
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1♀ Meccano Grds
Robin 15 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 2 1 Meccano Grds,  1 Wetlands
Long Tailed Tit 10+ Meccano Grds
Jay 3 mid section
Chaffinch 5 Meccano Grds
Goldfinch 4 Meccano Grds
Bullfinch 5 Barleyfield
Red Admiral 1 Meadow View
Speckled Wood 1 Prefabs

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Kingfisher the only highlight

11th October 15            morning                 mid section

mostly cloudy,  9-11°c,   1018mb,   ESE 7-E 9 mph

Met Ian at Meadow View just after I'd had a coal tit impersonating a yellow browed warbler. Nothing of real interest in overcast conditions until we came across a tit flock half way between Compton Lock and the weir. It was mostly long tail and blue tits with at least one coal tit and a poss goldcrest. Then all went quiet again until we found another flock around Meccano bridge containing a goldcrest, we went on the bridge for better views. After these had dispersed a kingfisher flashed by at tree top height. The sun was just appearing so a revisit to the Barleyfield was in order, but to no avail.

Black Headed Gull 60+ Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Kingfisher 1 flashed N by Meccano Br at treetop height  
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Graiseley Reed Bed
Wren 1 singing Meadow View
Robin song mid section
Song Thrush 1 Station Paddock
Goldcrest 1 Meccano Br
Long Tailed Tit few Prefabs
Coal Tit 2 1 Meadow View,  1 Prefabs
Jay 2 Barleyfield
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Teal on the cut and parakeets over Ridge

10th October 15             morning                mid section

low cloud,chilly,  7-10°c,  1022mb,   E 5-NE 6 mph

Very quiet today, next to nothing in the trees and bushes, a chiffchaff at Hanging Grds the only bird of note. The stars were four parakeet seen briefly flying north over Tettenhall Ridge and a very obliging female teal swam alongside me as I walked the towpath towards Meadow View. It joined the mallards around the MS centre.

Teal 1♀ swam alongside me from Meccano  - Meadow View were joined Mallards,
Buzzard 2 flew N over Tettenhall Ridge
Black Headed Gull 20 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull 1 1 Compton Field, odds over,
Ring Necked Parakeet 4 flew N over 4 flying N over Tettenhall Ridge,
Robin 15 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 1 Hanging Grds
Long Tailed Tit 7 Shrike Bushes
Bullfinch calls Hanging Grds

Friday, 9 October 2015

A flock of parakeets and Barleyfield lifted

9th October 15          morning            mid section

sunny,  7-13°c,    1022mb,  S 1-6 mph

A cracking start with a kingfisher dashing south along the canal. The Paddocks were quiet, no chiffchaff today, but arriving at Meccano Br I heard the calls of a parakeet, it didn't take long to locate. As I watched it another appeared and after a while they both flew into back gardens of houses in Henwood Rd. Now I had one yesterday and we've been seeing one or two since January, so I wasn't surprised, but another flew to join them in the garden ( brill ) feeding together on sunflower heads and sitting on an ornamental arch. Imagine my surprise when two more flew in!! ( brilliant ) and then another !!!, making six ( double brill ), all performing on and around this arch, plus i'm sure I could still hear another calling above me. They must have bred somewhere near over the summer, possibly up on Tettenhall Ridge?
Contractors were collecting and lifting the grass cuttings off the Barleyfield this morning, so that's good news for our flower meadow next year.

Little Grebe 1 s/p 1 by boats MS centre,
Moorhen 1 imm 1 imm Prefab weir,
Ring Necked Parakeet 6+ 6 Henwood Rd grd + 1 c Meccano Br,
Kingfisher 1 1 >> S along canal past SqC,
Grey Wagtail 1 Prefabs, Smestow
Wren 1 singing The Paddock
Robin 22 singing mid section
Long Tailed Tit 11 mid section
Coal Tit 1 The Paddock
Jay 1 Wetlands
Bullfinch 5 (2♂) Hanging Grds

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Summer migrants almost gone

still waiting for winter migrants

8th October 15           morning              mid section

sunny,  7-12°c,  1020mb,  SSE 1-SW 4 mph

One chiffchaff and two blackcap linger on from summer, soon to disappear completely, to be replaced by siskin,redpoll,redwing and fieldfare plus perhaps scarce visitors like brambling, waxwing and possibly a rarer gull ( iceland, mediterranean or yellow-legged )?
A ring necked parakeet was the first for two months, they are reported regularly around the Wolverhampton area now. six seen last week to the south of us on the West Mids border.

Little Grebe 2 (1 nr s/p) 2 ( sculking ) ( 1 nr s/p ) GRb,
Buzzard 1  >> W over The Paddock
Moorhen 2 imm S&W Canal
Ring Necked Parakeet 1 >> W over Barleyfield
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> S over The Paddock
Wren 3 singing mid section
Robin 22 singing mid section
Blackcap 1♂ 1♀ Hanging Grds
Chiffchaff 1 The Paddock
Goldcrest 2 The Paddock
Coal Tit 1 Canal Grds Newbridge
Nuthatch 2 c Wolves Firs,   1 feeding Canal Grds Newbridge,
Jay 1 Barleyfield
Bullfinch 3 Barleyfield

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


6th October 15              morning                   mid section

mostly cloudy,   13-16°c,   996mb,    E-SE 6 mph

Three sightings of chiffchaff in the Paddocks this morning was probably the same bird but two together in Meccano Grds makes three, then another in the Hanging Grds and later, it or another was found feeding and heading towards the Barleyfield crossings. So at least 4 and possibly more chiffchaff today, but no other warbler species present. 

Buzzard 1 over Tettenhall Ridge
Moorhen 1 imm Prefab weir,   1 imm Meccano Br,   1 imm Wolves Firs,
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> N over The Paddock
Grey Wagtail 1 flew W over top BF,  1 on Smestow Prefabs,
Wren 2 singing Barleyfield
Robin 17 singing mid section
Song Thrush 2 Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 3 sighting, poss same bird Paddocks,  2 Meccano Grds,  1+ Hanging Grds,  later 1 HG moving twds crossings,
Long Tailed Tit c10 mid section
Nuthatch 1 The Paddock
Jay 6 sightings mid section
Goldfinch 1 Shrike Bushes

Sunday, 4 October 2015

A mixed bag

4th October 15              morning                  mid section

sunny,  8-13°c,  1014mb,  SE 6 mph

Two warbler species, chiffchaff  one in bushes near Meccano Br and blackcap 1♀ in Hanging Grds northern end and a male by the Barleyfield crossings in elder bushes. Again numerous sightings of jay around the Barleyfield probably involving 2-3 birds and one calling by the station. Two green woodpecker flying and calling in the Hanging Grds, one flew across field to Wetland Alders. A nuthatch calling from the eastern border of Barleyfield was unusual. A grey wagtail foraging in the brook by the bridge at Prefabs and a little grebe by the Meccano bridge.

Little Grebe 1 1 nr s/p  Meccano Br,
Moorhen 2 imm 1 imm Prefab weir,   1 imm Meccano Br,
Green Woodpecker 2 Barleyfield
Grey Wagtail 1 1 ad wt  Prefabs on smestow,
Wren 2 singing mid section
Robin 15 singing mid section
Blackcap 1♂ 1♀ 1♀ Hanging Grds,  1♂ Hanging Grds X,
Chiffchaff 1 Meccano Grds
Nuthatch calls Barleyfield Eastern Border 
Jay 4+ mid section
Chaffinch 2 >> E over Barleyfield
Bullfinch 5 Barleyfield
Red Admiral 1 Meadow View
Speckled Wood 2 1 Barleyfield,  1 Prefab Weir

an oversight from yesterday

A confrontation with the Barleyfield fox

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Steady as you go

3rd October 15            morning             mid section

low cloud,chilly,  7-8°c,   1017mb   SW 3-N 4 mph

A chiffchaff with the tit flock in the Paddocks was the only warbler of the day. Another kingfisher sighting again the same general area eventually flew north under the two Tettenhall Rd bridges and disappeared behind the moored boats at Newbridge boat yard. This was a female, it would be interesting to know the sex of the dark bird? The Barleyfield wasn't exactly jumping with birds but a steady stream gradually filled my notebook. Only one little grebe seen today and I saw it from Meadow View bridge, having just walked the towpath, I obviously missed it, Wonder how many more were hiding in the canal side vegetation.

Little Grebe 1 S&W Canal  near tennis club
Moorhen 2 imm 1 imm Prefab weir,  1 imm Meccano Br,
Stock Dove 4 >> SW over Wetlands
Kingfisher 1 S&W Canal near Squash Club
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> E over Barleyfield
Wren 1 Compton Rough
Robin 20 singing mid section
Song Thrush 2 Annex Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 1 The Paddock
Long Tailed Tit c6 The Paddock
Nuthatch calls Tennis Courts
Jay c4 Barleyfield
Goldfinch 9 Barleyfield
Bullfinch 2 mid section

Friday, 2 October 2015

Two seasons clash again

2nd October 15         morning              mid section

foggy start but sunny later,  6-13°c,  1028mb,  NW 3-NE 7 mph

Two singing chiffchaff a reminder of summer and autumn and two little grebe very much winter visitors. The chiffchaff, one at either end of the mid section, the grebe, first one near Meccano Br and later two together near Meadow View Br ( can't be sure whether  2 or 3 birds involved ? )  Three buzzards together over the valley suggests the local pair with a female immature. The kingfisher seen again by Dave and Jesseney ( of Wolves Wild fame ) in exactly the same area that I had it on tuesday and I later had it today.
I met our two readers this morning. Two lovely ladies who asked if I was Mr Russon ( after looking around for some posh bloke, I realized they were referring to me ) they reported seeing a treecreeper at the end of the Paddocks. Thanks Sue & Helen.

Little Grebe 2 S&W Canal
Buzzard 1♂  2♀ Valley
Moorhen calls Wetlands,  1 imm Prefabs, Smestow brook
Black Headed Gull odds over Barleyfield
Kingfisher 1 flew N along S&W Canal past Tennis Club
Robin 14 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 2 singing 1 Station Paddock, 1 Barleyfield Annex,
Long Tailed Tit 4 Barleyfield Annex
Jay 3+ mid section
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield