Saturday, 28 November 2015

The early birder catches the grebes 

28th November 15         morning              mid section

cloudy,  3-6°c,  1011 mb,  SW-S 13 mph

Whilst I was lazily making my way to site Ian was clocking up the highest little grebe total this winter. Five in all including a new bird still showing much summery plumage. We met on the Barleyfield which apart from distance small flocks of finches and tits was pretty dead. We walked the canal together but could only find four of the grebes, unfortunately the brightly coloured new bird was the one we missed.

Little Grebe 4 S&W Canal
Moorhen 5+ imm S&W Canal
Robin 1 singing Newbridge boats
Redwing 2 mid section
Goldcrest 1 1  in tit flock Hanging Grds,
Long Tailed Tit few few in tit flock Hanging Grds,
Coal Tit 3+ Newbridge boats feeder
finch flock c10 over Hanging Grds but too distence to separate,
Chaffinch 1♂ 1♀ Newbridge boats feeder
Greenfinch few Newbridge boats feeder
Goldfinch finch flock Hanging Grds must be mostly Goldfinch,
Bullfinch 1♂ 1♀ Newbridge boats feeder

Friday, 27 November 2015

Redpoll at last

27th November 15            morning               mid section

mostly cloudy,   10°c       1010 mb,     SW 14

Only visit this week turns up some redpoll with a small finch flock in the alders bordering the wetland site. Flock consisted mainly goldfinch of cause but also some siskin, redpoll and bullfinch ( which wasn't associating with flock) very scattered so judging numbers was difficult but they flew around together a couple of times when possible to count. Apart from a lone fieldfare it was very quiet elsewhere.  
 For anyone who may be interested a HOOPOE was found on tuesday at Hickford near Wall Heath and is performing well giving excellent views down to 30m. for directions.

Little Grebe 3 S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull 29 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Wren 3 singing mid section
Dunnock 1 singing Meadow View
Fieldfare 1 Graiseley Culvert
finch flock c20 ( gold c12)(siskin c4)(redpoll c4)   Lower Alders
Chaffinch 1♀ Hanging Grds
Goldfinch c12 Lower Alders
Siskin c4 Lower Alders
Redpoll c4 Lower Alders
Bullfinch 2 Lower Alders

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Winter birds star on a very wintery day

21st November 15       morning              mid section

sunny but very cold wind,  2°c,   1010 mb,   NW 19 mph,

Another by and large slow and quiet day was saved by a fieldfare in the Barleyfield Annex and a count of 6 siskin and about 8 goldfinch in the alders by the wetland pool which when they lifted off as usual proved to almost double that number.

Little Grebe 1 just N of Meadow View,   1 (dark ) Compton Lock,
Buzzard 1 over Wetlands
Moorhen 1 Wetlands
Robin 1 singing Meadow View
Fieldfare 1 Annex Barleyfield
Song Thrush 1 Hanging Grds X
Redwing 10+ Annex Barleyfield
Long Tailed Tit few mid section
Greenfinch 5 Annex Barleyfield
Goldfinch 2 over Wetlands,  8+ Eddies Alders,  ( mixed flock c20 (GO+SK) flew off,
Siskin 6+ Eddies Alders, ( mixed flock c20 (SK+GO) flew off,
Bullfinch 5 mid section

Friday, 20 November 2015

Are you ready for winter

20th November 15            morning               mid section

partly sunny,  6-7°c,   1008 mb,  SW 5-9 mph.

It was lovely and sunny today if a little chilly in the cold south west wind, but tomorrow the wind is switching to a more northerly direction and it will feel much,much colder. Later in the year ( jan/feb ) when we get a cold snap it often stirs up the bird population and brings us unusual species like goosander and other wild duck ( this is because our canal stays mostly unfrozen due to the warmish water pumped in from the sewage works up steam ).
Anyway back to today. The kingfisher was perched up 70m north of the bridge on the Smestow at Prefabs ( looked to have an all black bill but couldn't be 100% sure due to distance )( if so its a male ) it eventually flew north along the brook. Later seen again from the bridge over Smestow near Meccano flying south. Two little grebe between Compton Lock and the weir ( dark bird and the summery one ) also one near the Tennis Club, seen from Meadow View old bridge, I must have walked past it 10 minutes earlier ( what am I ).

Little Grebe 2 ( dark + s/p ) Prefabs,   1 Tennis Courts,
Moorhen 1 imm Prefab weir,   1 imm Tennis Courts,
Kingfisher 1♂ ? Prefabs  smestow brook flew N,  later 1 flying S along smestow at Smestow bridge, prob same bird,
Robin 1 singing Graiseley Culvert
Song Thrush 3 ( 1 singing ) Barleyfield
Redwing 5+ Barleyfield

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Failed to retrieve a saved draft hiliting 3 groups of fieldfare flying south on Wednesday, not much else happening so will append sitings to a weekend post.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Anything about?  just another kingfisher

16th November 15              morning                  mid section

cloudy,  9-10°c,  1007 mb,  SW 9-10 mph

Same time, same place, same bird, Yes Meadow View Bridge, my first glance down the canal and a kingfisher flying towards me, it carried on under the bridge north to the moored boats and disappeared behind them. Same time, same place, same birds, Yes the same two little grebe by Meccano bridge, later the summer plumaged grebe was again just south of  the weir, that's where the similarities ended. Two nuthatch together in the Barleyfield Annex along with about 20 redwing and a few finches was the best of the rest. That is unless Angus knows better? I met him arriving as I was leaving.

Little Grebe 3 2 (dark) Meccano Br,  1 (s/p) Prefabs,
Moorhen 1 imm ♂ S&W Compton
Black Headed Gull 30 Compton Field
Kingfisher 1 flew N under Meadow View bridge,
Robin 1 singing Compton Rough
Redwing c20 Annex Barleyfield
Nuthatch 2 2 together Annex Barleyfield
Chaffinch 2♀ Annex Barleyfield
Greenfinch few Annex Barleyfield
Bullfinch 4♂ 1♀ mid section

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Kingfisher,   Grey Wagtail,   Little Grebe

14th November 15           morning             mid section

o/cast,dull,  7-8°c,  1023mb,  SW 9-S 8 mph

Forecast rain held off long enough to get some birding done. I seemed to have flushed a kingfisher from just below the old bridge on Meadow View as I arrived on site, which flew off towards the brook in Station Paddock , also seen from here a little grebe to the north by the boats, probably the pale bird, two more seen by Meccano Br both darkish birds and another the now fast fading summer plumaged bird at the weir.  A grey wagtail on brook by Smestow Bridge makes a full pack of our water birds. 

Little Grebe 4 1 (s/p)+2 (dark w/p)+ 1 (pale poss 1cy)
Moorhen 3 imm S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull 13 Compton Field
Kingfisher 1 flushed from below bridge-flew off twds Smestow Station Paddock,
Great Spotted Woodpecker calls Railway walk Annex Barleyfield
Grey Wagtail 1 Smestow Bridge
Wren 1 singing The Paddock
Dunnock 1 singing The Paddock
Robin 4 singing mid section
Redwing c25 mid section
Long Tailed Tit calls Meadow View
Coal Tit 2 Newbridge boats feeders
Nuthatch 2 calling Newbridge Wood
Jackdaw odds over mid section
Chaffinch c5 mid section
Greenfinch c15 mid section
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield

Monday, 9 November 2015

Winter visitors out of the gloom

9th November 15           morning              mid section

gloomy,  11-12°c,  1017mb,   SSW 17 mph

A little grebe north of Tettenhall Rd to start the day and probably the same one had moved south later on return. Met Ian in the Paddocks. The Barleyfield produced ten or so fieldfare and a few redwing and a small group of finches in alders above Meccano Br proved to be goldfinch,chaffinch,bullfinch and three or four siskin. Otherwise very quiet in very gloomy and breezy conditions.

Little Grebe 1 (dark w/p ) Meadow View
Fieldfare c10 Barleyfield
Redwing 9+ Barleyfield
Chaffinch 1♀ Meccano Br
Goldfinch 1 Meccano Br
Siskin 3+ Meccano Br
Bullfinch 1♂ Meccano Br

Sunday, 8 November 2015

weekend review

We have said many times that timing is critical to what we see and yesterday was another example.  Fortunately I went over at midday just as it was brightening up and the birds seemed to be having a late morning first feed of the day after the rain.
So although nothing unusual many birds were around the old bridge mainly the four members of the tit family in quite a tight flock but also several blackbirds robin and dunnock.
as I moved towards the top of the paddock a looser flock included goldcrest, nuthatch, great spotted woodpecker and more tits.
The field was less busy presumably due to the windy conditions and only 1 redwing. Back into the valley and a different grey wagtail at the water bridge (not the smestow one which has been absent on last 2 visits) female sparrowhawk and a kingfisher going thru the tunnel on the old road.
Today was very different although there were plenty of redwing scattered about and the gull flock on the sports field included 4 herring and 7 lesser black backs.
Finally 2 bits of unusual behaviour a great tit doing a goldcrest like hover flight and a bullfinch feeding upside down ala crossbill on rowan berries.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Didn't see Ian but we seem to have had a similar day

3rd November 15            morning              mid section

O/cast & gloomy,  8-9°c,  1016mb,  SSE 5-S 2 mph

As Ian found, most of the action was up the top of Barleyfield. Redwing, more blackbirds than usual, more song thrush than usual, plus 9 greenfinch. Elsewhere I had 3 fleeting glimpses of the kingfisher on the Smestow off the Prefab bridge and the feeders by the boats at Newbridge wharf produced coal tit x3 plus more greenfinch and three bullfinch. Two little grebe off Meadow View early and probably the same two north of Meccano on the homeward journey. ( none of which was the summer plumage bird ). So if Ian had the s/p individual that's three today.

Little Grebe 2 ( 1 just N + 1 S ) Meadow View,  later same 2 Meccano Br,
Moorhen 5 imm S&W Canal
Kingfisher 1 1 fleeting views Prefabs smestow,
Wren 1 singing Compton Rough
Robin 10 singing mid section
Blackbird 6\8 Annex Barleyfield
Song Thrush 4\6 Annex Barleyfield
Redwing c20 Barleyfield
Coal Tit 3+ Newbride boats feeders
Chaffinch 1♂+ Newbride boats feeders
Greenfinch 15+ 9 Top Roses,   few NBb feeder,
Bullfinch 2♂ 1♀ Newbride boats feeders

Out of the gloom

Geoff and I were completely unaware of each others presence on sunday, but he did better than me.
All I can add is a flock of about 15 siskin on the eastern side of the field and a probable redpoll in the hole which with lack of visibility couldn't be nailed. fortunately the siskins were quite vocal.
Undeterred, or some might sat foolishly I ventured into the fog on Monday but only picked up the 3 little grebe and 2 grey wagtail squabbling at the prefab weir. Also a jay squabbling with the female sparrowhawk.
Today was a little brighter but the overall light was gloomy and not conducive to identification.
Two of the little grebe had been sticking to each other like glue but I could only find one, the third bird which had retained more summer plumage was still there. The brighter grey wagtail flew north from Compton lock.
Otherwise it was about thrushes, even a few bars from both song thrush and blackbird but it was a scattering of Redwing which seem to have taken up residence and particularly favour the top of the field. Two goldcrest showed briefly in the paddock and green woodpecker and nuthatch called.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Fog fog fog then kingfisher kingfisher

1st November 15     morning            mid section

foggy, sun appearing 10:15 ish,  10-11°c, 1028mb, N 3-SE 2 

A late start due to fog was the right decision. Apart from a few robin's singing the first hour was a right off, Visibility down to 100m, birding visibility 30m.  Paddock and Barleyfield nothing seen or heard. The sun appeared as I reached Compton Lock and as if by magic a loud and continuous call alerted me to two kingfishers flying north past me towards Prefab weir where they disappeared. One of them was seen later on the Smestow. All three little grebe were together here and at the Prefab bridge a nuthatch and bullfinch in the bushes and two parties of canada geese flew over heading for West Park. A grey wagtail on the Smestow behind the station cafe rounded off an unusual day.

Little Grebe 3 ( 1 s/p + 1 dark w/p + 1 light w/p ) Prefabs,
Canada Goose c50 ( in 2 groups ) flew NE over PF,
Kingfisher 2 flying N Compton Lock-Prefabs weir,  1 Prefabs  (Smestow)
Grey Wagtail 1 1 Smestow Station Paddock,
Robin 9 singing mid section
Nuthatch 1 Prefabs
Bullfinch 1 Prefabs