Saturday, 12 November 2016

More signs of winter

Having previously bemoaned the lack of flocks November has produced a change.
Most notable have been the 40ish goldfinches around the wetland (which continues to deteriorate).
Don't think there were any other finch species involved although have seen a single redpoll at newbridge wharf.
Bullfinches usually stay in small groups so 9 at Compton lock was good. 10plus long tailed tit were at the same location.
A loose mixed flock seems to frequent the metal bridge area and includes nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker as well as the common tit species. 
Winter thrushes are more in evidence with decent numbers of redwing especially at the south end.  " fieldfare were at aldersley junction and a few at castlecroft.  The expected Scandinavian blackbirds have supplemented the local population although I was surprised to see 2 males fighting.
Jackdaws are flighting to their winter roosts with 100plus in a single flock heading for the racecourse.

Individual sightings have included several of kingfishers.  So far we have only managed to confirm males but it is possible we could have up to 4 winterers.  Two sightings yesterday at wightwick lock (closed for major repair until 9th December) and the recently privatised wightwick fields were assumed to be the same bird.  A bird was at Oxley last weekend.  2 were seen within minutes either side of tettenhall road one on canal and the presumed other (based on colouration) on the smestow.
With regular sightings around the prefab weir and others north of the water bridge and a normal lateral territory of a mile to a mile and a half I think 4 is a fair guess.

Grey wagtails follow a very similar pattern of sightings but are more variable and I would suggest we have 4/5 wintering in the valley.
We only seem to have 1 wintering little grebe at the moment favouring the area just below Compton lock, a juvenile seen in October seems to have moved on.
Star bird of the month so far was a woodcock which flew languidly from the canal sdrub onto the racecourse in the vicinity if the feeding station.
Curiosity of last month was what I think was a king quail, an Australian species.  Readily available to buy on the internet it was at a puddle by the old tettenhall bridge and not in the least spooked by my presence.  It was seen the day after the barleyfield was mown which could mirror sightings I had of grey partridge in unusual spots adjacent to recently mowed hay fields.