Monday, 26 November 2018


This Blog is no longer in Operation.

Thank you to everyone who has supported it with comments or information during its eleven years of activity.

The species information will remain until 2019 when the blog will be dismantled. Any information on wildlife during the intervening period will be recorded on the following 'year so far' posting.

Monday, 18 September 2017

2018 The Year So Far

April's obliging Whimbrel

January: Strong winds, rain and muddy conditions on the 4th produced a reduction in visible species but the following were still in evidence; Canada Goose - Gadwall  - Teal - Mallard - Goosander  - Wigeon (9) - Shoveler - Pochard - Tufted Duck - Cormorant - Coot - Moorhen - Grey Heron - Sparrowhawk - Buzzard - Black Headed Gull - Herring Gull - Lesser Black-Backed Gull - Wood Pigeon - Collared Dove (2) - Green Woodpecker - Meadow Pipit - Magpie - Jackdaw - Carrion Crow - Starling - Blackbird - Redwing (2) - Robin - House Sparrow - Chaffinch - Goldfinch. A visit on the 9th also added; Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Dunnock, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Treecreeper, Wren, Lapwing (13), Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove and Snipe to the year list.  the 10th added GBB Gull, and Kestrel.

Seventeen Snipe and three Jacksnipe were wintering in the usual area on 10/01 and the same day saw the first record of the Willow Tit. A male Peregrine Falcon was present on the afternoon of the 15th (R.F.). A Raven dropped onto the farm fields on the 17th and a Grey Wagtail was on the Ford Brook the same day. On the 22nd, a male Tawny Owl was calling at around six a.m. Our regular returning Oystercatcher put in his first appearance of the year on the 26th (R.F.) with two birds being on site by 30/01 (C.M.).

February: Wintering birds seem to be dissipating quickly although the presence of the two Oystercatcher continued.Seven Redpoll seen on the 08/02 included the wintering Common Redpoll and ten Pochard were also present that day. A Water Rail was calling on the Marsh on the 11th and there were also five Greylag Geese and twelve Shoveler on the Mere that day. Shoveler numbers reached an impressive 24 birds on the 13th (R.F.) and Greylag numbers increased to six on the 15th (W.H.). The second half of the month showed little change and an exceptional belt of Siberian weather at the end of the month put an end to birding activity.

March: The month began with blizzards and gale force winds with Britain trapped between eastern and south western weather systems. A visit on the first produced 24 Shoveler, 18 Pochard and 8 Goosander. As the Snow began to melt, a Fieldfare was present on the third. the twelfth saw a Goldeneye present and double figures of Pochard as well as a Ring Necked Parakeet at Fordbrook Lane, Pelsall. The first summer migrant arrived on the 15th, as usual a singing Chiffchaff on the mineral line. A Male Common Scoter was discovered by R.F. on the 19th. along with two Chiffchaff. A Little Egret was present on the 20th and the 24th saw two Cormorant including one showing strong sinensis characteristics. On the 26th a Woodcock was flushed (R.F.) but no further migrants were discovered up to the months end.

April: Easter Sunday came early this year but unfortunately with unseasonably bad weather. On the third things had cleared a little and a brief spell of brighter weather produced two singing Chiffchaff although at least one bird appeared to be of the race abietinus. A Willow Tit was also present on the same day. A Little Egret was around the Mere on the 4th (R.F.). Ten Goosander were still present on the 6th with three Sand Martin appearing the same day. The tenth saw two Blackcap and a surprisingly early Reed Warbler on site. A visiting birder on the 11th had three singing Willow Warbler, several Swallows, good numbers of Chiffchaff and Sand Martin as well as a Goldeneye, Snipe, a Jacksnipe and an unidentified Dunlin-sized wader (I.P.). The 19th produced a lot of migrant activity with Wheatear, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, and an obliging Whimbrel on site while a Grasshopper Warbler was heard on the 20th and a Common Sandpiper arrived on the 28th.

May: Two Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler were singing from the main swag on the 4th and two Greylag seem to have taken up territory on the Mere. By the middle of the month nesting had been confirmed and four Greylag Chicks were visible on the 18th. Common Tern and a singing Sedge Warbler were also present and on the same day breeding by the Oystercatchers was confirmed with at least two chicks (R.F.). A surprise on the 24th was the presence of fledged Reed warblers and the first immature Grey Heron of the season.

June: Traditionally a quiet month of breeding young. An adult Little Gull was present on the evening of the 21st.

July: Quite a bit of second brooding at the beginning of the month with Chiffchaff being particularly vocal. On the 12th breeding was confirmed by Great Crested Grebe with an adult seen carrying three young (R.F. - W.H.) and another pair subsequently raised two young making an excellent breeding season for the species locally. The two adult Oystercatcher were present along with at least one young bird until mid month at least. Late afternoon on the 12th a single Sand Martin was seen (uncommon this year).

August: After three Garganey occurred at Stubbers Green at the end of July a single eclipse bird was present on the swag pool on the 2nd along with two Teal and an Eclipse Shoveler.
In the last hour of the 6th a Little Owl was calling and in the early hours of the 7th Barn Owl and at least three Tawny Owl were calling. Mid month was extremely quiet with a Swift on the 15th being late enough to be worth noting. Tawny Owl continued to be vocal most nights and low pressure on the 21st produced the first fall of the year. Lots of Phyloscopus warblers, Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Blackcaps Swallow and a male Whinchat. Also present that day was a very vocal Redshank.

September: Started with a short burst of lingering high pressure but the 2nd was overcast which made for a quiet day with a few summer birds. A Common Sandpiper was present on the Mere and there were a number of Chiffchaff as well as a Blackcap and Whitethroat. On the other side of the equation, a Snipe was perhaps an indicator of the impending change of season? Two juvenile/female Wheatear were present on the farm land on the 6th.Sixteen House Martin over the Marsh on the evening of the 18th were noteworthy.

October: The month began with apparently everything running several weeks behind normal. A male Wheatear was present briefly on the fifth (R.F.) and the same day saw two Chiffchaff present as well as six Pochard, three Snipe and seven Shoveler. Two Cormorant dropped in during the afternoon. The first local Redwing (4) arrived on the 8th and the first Fieldfares on the 28th. The same day also saw the most unusual event of the Autumn with two Dunlin on the Mere following north and north easterly winds. The local Barn Owl was seen quartering on the evening of the 27th.

November: Hobby (!), Snipe and Goosander reported around the Mere on the 7th (R.F.)The second Cetties Warbler for the site was found on 13th (C.M.)

December: The usual duck species were present throughout the month but in lower numbers than usually occur in December, perhaps as a result of the exceptionally warm weather throughout? The highlight of the month was a Short Eared Owl favouring the Mere on the 26th and 27th (R.F.).