Pipits, Wagtails and Waxwing (7 species)

Tree Pipit
One or two recorded annually from 1989 to 1995 and 2002 to 2007 in April (earliest date 3/4/1990) and from August to early October (Latest date 12/10/2003). The last record was of a single at Dunstall Park (Private land) on 4/9/2007.

Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis)
A species that may have bred at Dunstall Park in the late 1980's and early 1990's, when pairs were present from early May to June, including song and display flights. Now a passage migrant and Winter visitor. Autumn passage is drawn out from early September to the end of October, and early mornings with light South or South-westerlies, can produce passage numbers exceeding 100 in less than two hours at the Barleyfield, where birds seem to funnel and be lower-flying as they pass through. Spring passage is now virtually absent, compared to the late 1990's when up to 100 were seen around the Smestow Valley School area.

Rock Pipit
There are three valley records, all from Dunstall Park Lake (Private land):
16/10/2003 - one seen and heard calling before heading South.
24/10/2005 - one fed on the island.
9/4/2006 - a bird showing lighter plumage characteristic of the Scandinavian race fed on the shore.

Pied Wagtail (subspecies - Motacilla alba yarellii)
Breeds annually at Dunstall Park (Private land). A species which has suffered a major decline locally A record 700+ were at Dunstall Park in February 1992 and January 1993, prior to the re-development work. Since then there have been significant numbers still, notably c350 there in October 2003, 240 in January 2005 and 286 in October 2006.156 passed over Wightwick in January 2007, but since then the highest count has been 23 at Compton Park in July 2008. Passage flocks of up to 36 ( 3/11/2010) have been noted over Caslecroft Canal Bridge.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba alba)
Passage birds recorded almost annually and mainly in April (earliest date 7/4/2002), with the odd record from August to early October (latest date 2/10/1991 at Crowther Road Playingfields). The last record was a female near the grandstand at Dunstall Park (Private land) on 22/4/2009.

Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)
A passage migrant mainly in April/ May (earliest date 9/4/1995) and August/September (latest date 7/10/1992). Up to 11 birds could be seen together at Dunstall Park, with up to 4 on the valleys playing fields during the late 1980's and early 1990's. Only singles have been recorded since 2007, with just 1 or 2 seen annually at Dunstall Park or over the Barleyfield. The last grounded bird at Compton Park was on 15/9/1996.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
As a breeding bird of the valley, this species has had mixed fortunes since being first recorded successfully raising 2 young in 1990. There can be several years without evidence of success and then up to 3 or more pairs raise young. Valley Censuses in the early 1990's produced up to 10 birds during the October dispersal period. In 2010 breeding was suspected along the North section of Smestow Brook, but a suspected family party of 4 birds at Wightwick Fields on 18/8, were most certainly from the South Staffordshire breeding population.

Bohemian Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
Winter invasions when Scandinavian berry crops fail have led to the following records:
2003 - 5 were first seen on the Farndale Estate on 9/2. Numbers had increased to 17+ by 24/2 and had been encountered at Dunstall Park, Hawthorn Wood, Newbridge Wood and Newbridge playing fields during their visit which ended om 25/2.
2005 - this invasion started with a single bird seen at the former Farndale Primary School on 26/1. 60+ were then seen in trees and bushes by the old railway junction at Aldersley and Aldersley Close on 8/2. 15 were seen heading North over Newbridge playing fields on 12/2
2009 - 3 were first seen near the old railway junction at Aldersley on 25/2. 55 were then present in Poplars on Blackburn Avenue/ Aldersley Road bus stop on 26/2. After 2 were seen in a tree at Aldersley Close on 2/3, the last seen were 9 in Black Poplars there on 4/3.
2010 - 25+ were seen in a Silver Birch by the Castlecroft Lane entrance to Pool Hall track on the morning of 12/12, before flying off NW over canalside gardens. There was a report from the same area of 15+ flying over the canal near Wightwick Fields on 26/12. Elsewhere two flew South from a garden on the Dunstall Park housing estate in the early afternoon of 19/12.

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