Thursday, 21 May 2015

Unbelievable !!!

This morning I awoke to a glorious may day, one of the best for a while, and I thought to myself; "What a great day for finding the first passage Dotterel for the Marsh".

I was going over to do 'the duty' anyway, but something made me slip my camera into my pocket, something I very rarely do these days (lets face it the marsh and Mere are lovely, but it aint Minsmere).

The set-aside vegetation has grown hugely through the last few days and I was taking it in as I walked toward the tin bridge with that feeling that something good was there. I got to the tin bridge, crossed the stile and started scanning the paddocks. Male Oystercatcher, Mistle Thrush, three Starling and... not even a hint of a bloody Dotterel!

So much for psychic eh - still it doesn't hurt to dream does it?

Ryders Mere

I managed to get my first views of this years Oystercatcher chicks, both still alive and being closely guarded by their mother, two Common Tern and three lesser Black Backed Gull were the only other birds of note.

Clayhanger Marsh

Two Little Grebe today (and going by the size difference) I would say male and female, one Common Tern and three Lesser Black Backed Gull which included the very handsome bird (Above and Below) which seemed to have quite dark plumage, was long-winged and 'interesting'. Two Reed Warbler were singing at each other today and there were probably more singing Willow Warbler than I have heard at any other time this year.

There we are then, the usual suspects and an interesting gull for the time of year. Never mind, 102 days until the official start of autumn. - Chaz

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Midweek Update

Kev paid a brief visit today and found a Common Sandpiper on the Mere along with the pair of Oystercatcher and their two chicks but more interesting was the presence of a pair of Gadwall on the marsh. Gadwall are one of our regular winter visitors but for a pair to be present this far into the breeding season is certainly interesting.

The Gadwall story itself is quite an interesting one. When I started birding they were a regular winter visitor in comparatively small numbers but at some point the wild specimens began to be  supplemented by escaped Gadwall from collections which began to breed in Britain (with Cotswold Water Park being something of a stronghold during the 1980s).

Eventually they became such an established breeding species that the feral birds were allocated legitimate status on the British List and these days Gadwall are classified as a category A/C species with feral and wild birds effectively indistinguishable.

Fortunately they don't seem to compete at any level with other native species so we can regard the presence of a Gadwall at any time, as something that we can enjoy with a clear conscience. - Chaz

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Kev Clements sent me a report yesterday and if I have read it correctly, our Oystercatcher have two chicks (although I only saw an adult bird today). He also found one of the Garden Warbler still down by the sewage works.

Two weeks to go until the official end of Spring then at least another six weeks until I can realistically look for early autumn migrants - bugger-all happening worth talking about already - I'm bored!

Clayhanger Marsh today, all the usual suspects singing, one Common Tern and a Little Grebe, Ryders Mere; Cuckoo, two Common Tern and an Oystercatcher.

Of course, if like Gareth Clements I had been over there from 04.30 until 06.00 (When does he sleep?) I would have seen a late passage Arctic Tern, 17 Common Tern and at least one if not two Cuckoo.

First local Speckled Wood and Green Veined White butterflies this morning and that's it.

Thanks to Kev and Gareth for their reports this is a dejected Chaz wishing you all a good week (stroll-on Autumn) - Chaz

Friday, 15 May 2015

Its better birding by bus!

I must really pick the wrong times to go over the Marsh. Every day I get these reports of interesting birds that are present and then I go over and see more or less 'Sod-tout' ! Never connected with the late Teal and despite my hopes, no sign of the tardy Pochard today either.

We do seem to have entered the song-bird renaissance phase if this afternoon was anything to go by. For the time of day there was an awful amount of bird-song going on which could be interpreted as failed or second brooding, despite the earliness of the season? Star bird for me has to be the Ford Brook Garden Warbler which was singing almost constantly and showing quite well in exactly the same bushes where I found it almost a month ago. So perhaps it wasn't a passage bird after all?

Ryders Mere

Common tern (2) - Oystercatcher (1)

Clayhanger Marsh

Stock dove (2) - Reed Warbler (2) - Lesser Whitethroat (1) - Garden Warbler (1)

The irony is that I actually had a year tick today. I had to go from Walsall Wood into town this morning and while I was sitting on the number ten bus at the traffic lights by the Labour Club, I had a dynamic fly-past from my first Hobby of the year!

Hours I spend on that bloody Marsh and Mere, and where do I get my ticks?

Anyway, have a good weekend all - Chaz

Thursday, 14 May 2015

What are they doing here? (Updated)

No not the actual birds but... all the years I have been doing the blog, I suspect that this is the first Pochard photo I have posted?

Talk about unseasonal, there are some winters when we don't get very many Pochard on the Mere so why are there four there in mid-May (2M 2F)? They were found today by Gareth Clements who also connected with 120 Swallow, 30+ Sand Martin and 12 House Martin - see, its amazing what a bit of rain will do.

Like me Gareth was bemoaning the fact that a Sanderling and a Little Stint decided to favour Chasewater rather than the Mere this afternoon. many thanks to Graham Evans though for letting me know though.

This evening Kev paid another visit and had; Hobby, nine Common Tern, Cuckoo, Little Grebe, eight Great Crested Grebe, two Oystercatcher, two Greylag, and  Lapwing,  - Chaz

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Midweek Update

Kev has been out and about again - today he saw fourteen Common Tern on the Mere, the drake Teal, Cuckoo, six Great Crested Grebe, two Oystercatcher and two Greylag Geese.

It looks as if tomorrow will be a day to dodge the rain but I will be over on Friday - Chaz

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Get the cigars out!

Kev Clements saw the first of this years Black Headed Gull chicks today. He also had a Hobby over the Mere, Cuckoo still and Lesser Whitethroat, six Common Tern, Oystercatcher and seven Great Crested Grebe - Chaz