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Sunday, 4 September 2016

2017 - The year so far

January: A visit on the seventh started the year list with a number of birds including; Greylag Goose (1) - Canada Goose - Wigeon (77) - Teal (6) - Mallard - Shoveler (3M) - Pochard (12) - Tufted Duck - Goosander (2M 1F) - Grey Heron - Moorhen - Water Rail - Coot - Jacksnipe (1) - Snipe (2) - Lesser Black Backed Gull - Herring Gull - Great Black-Backed Gull - Wood Pigeon - Great Spotted Woodpecker - Magpie - Jay - Jackdaw - Carrion Crow - Goldcrest - Blue Tit - Great Tit - Long Tailed Tit - Wren - Starling - Blackbird - Mistle Thrush - Robin - Grey Wagtail - Pied Wagtail - Chaffinch - Goldfinch - Bullfinch - Yellowhammer - Reed Bunting.

Off the site eleven Waxwing were at Silvercourt Brownhills on the 11th with some of the birds having apparently been there for four days. At least five birds were still present on 13/01/2017but by the following day numbers had increased to around sixty. Also on the 13th, a Little Egret on the eastern island of Ryders Mere was an unexpected surprise and the first significant species for the site this year.On the 24th a Chiffchaff was seen on the Mineral Line (R.F.). A period of alternating wet and frosty weather ended the month with very little activity and comparatively low duck numbers.

February: On the third a brief  burst of Chiffchaff song was heard and duck numbers had started to rise. There was also a resurgence of Redwing with a flock of over sixty birds seen. the Oystercatchers were back on the afternoon of the 5th (R.F.). A calling Nuthatch and Treecreeper were in Grange Farm Woods on 07/02 and the same day saw a Little Egret and the two Oystercatcher on Ryders Mere (K.C.). Two Linnet were confirmed amongst the Goldfinch flock on 13/02 and a single Redwing remained on the same day. The Barn Owl was heard on the night of the 17th and several Redpoll were seen on Ryders Mere the following day. On the 19th a Raven was seen on the set-aside before flying off north west. A Chiffchaff was calling regularly on the Mineral Line on the 20th. Several Redwing were still present on the 26th and Gadwall and Shoveler numbers also increased toward the months end. A Little Egret and two Grey Wagtails were present on the 28th.

March: Three Oystercatcher were present on the 7th and the same day saw the Cetti's Warbler relocated (K.C.). The first spring migrants arrived on the 12th with four singing Chiffchaff along the main railway line. The same day also saw  a good show of 23 Goosander although the Pochard and Wigeon had apparently departed. A Little Egret flew into the Marsh and both Treecreeper and Nuthatch were active in the Woods. The Little Egret was again present on the 16th and there were four singing Chiffchaff that day. The first Blackcap arrived on the 25th and the same day saw five Greylag Geese on Ryders Mere and two Little Egret on the Ford Brook (J.A.S.) with one still being present the following day. Fog on the 28th forced down at least seventeen Sand Martin and there was also still a Goosander and three Shoveler on the Mere. On the 29th a Red Kite flew across Clayhanger Common and high over the village before heading toward Walsall Wood.

April: A Little Egret was present on the 2nd and there were two active Snipe present the same day. the only significant migrants being Chiffchaff and a couple of Sand Martin. The fifth saw the first Swallow, a singing Blackcap and by contrast, two Goosander and a male Wigeon on Ryders Mere. The Little Egret was also still present with possibly two birds seen on the 6th. Two Shelduck also flew over on the 6th. The first fall of Willow Warblers was on the 08/04 with at least four singing Blackcap the same day. The 10th produced the first House Martins of the year and also a singing male Redstart. A Juvenile  Peregrine was also seen flying through (K.C.). The 15th produced a count of c900 Black headed Gull (K.C.) and the following day there were two swallow around the Mere along with a couple of Greylag Geese. On the 21st there was a fall of at least four Common Whitethroat and a singing Grasshopper Warbler. The Grasshopper Warbler was still present on the 22nd and the first Lesser Whitethroat arrived the same day. On the evening of the 22nd the Grasshopper Warbler showed well and it becam apparent that there were two singing males on site.
The following morning (23rd) a male Wheatear was present on the paddocks and a fall of Acrocephalus Warblers included a minimum of Three Reed Warbler and one Sedge Warbler on the main swag pool (C.M.) and a Common Sandpiper was on the Mere during the afternoon (R.F.). On the 24th the run of migrants continued with a very flighty drake Garganey that was keeping company with two lingering Common Teal and at least one of the Grasshopper Warblers was briefly heard (R.F.). Five Snipe, a Jacksnipe and all three hirundine were present on 25/04 (K.C.). the first Common Tern and another Common Sandpiper were present on the 28th and Grasshopper Warbler were still present. A Common Sandpiper was present on the 29th and 30th and a Black Tern was showing well on the afternoon of the 30th.

May: Two male Gadwall on the 2nd were unusual for the time of year. A passage Whimbrel was heard on the 6th (K.C.) and a Hobby was found on the 10th (K.C.). The first week of may also saw several interesting ducks includin two lingering Teal and up to three Gadwall present on the Marsh. Two Black Tern were present on the 12th (R.F.) along with a movement of Common Ten culminating with seven birds by the evening (R.F. - K.C.). The 13th featured a fly-through by a Common redshank (C.M.) and the two Greylag were once again on the Mere. The first confirmed breeding by Greylag Geese was confirmed on the 22nd with the pair  and six chicks being seen. Two pair of Common Tern were also at the nest but succesful breeding could not be confirmed.