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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Two days left of summer - but first signs of winter arrive

Had a grand day out again, Dave Glover came down for the afternoon and we did a bit of local birding culminating with half a circuit of the Marsh. What a change a few days can make, everywhere was astonishingly quiet and although we eventually managed to connect with a few phyloscopus warblers (mostly Chiffchaff and several juvenile Willow Warbler), the last few days of fine weather appears to have cleared out many of our lingering summer visitors.

A good show of House Martin were feeding above the site and several Swallows provided a welcome accompaniment to them, but I suppose the star birds would have to be our first returning waterfowl in the form of two female/juvenile Common Teal on the Marsh. Also noted was a Grey Wagtail patrolling the edge of the Mere, again something more evident locally in the winter than during the breeding season (when they confine themselves to the Ford Brook).

A big thank you is appropriate to my old mate John Holian who provided information that really produced results for us. John was generous enough to share some sites where he had obtained good views of Hobby at the weekend and we were rewarded with some excellent views, we also managed to use John's information to locate a party of Spotted Flycatcher at a site in the Black Country although these birds were quite elusive and credit for finding them firmly belongs to the sharp eyes of Dave rather than to me. 
Spot Fly used to be a reasonably easy species to connect with and back in the nineties I used to see them every summer as I walked to work through St James's Church yard in Brownhills, but like many other once common species, Flycatchers have gone through a catastrophic decline in the last twenty years and it is not unusual for me to go a whole year without seeing one so even the brief views I had this afternoon were very welcome.

Anyway, a big thank you to Dave and to John for contributing to a splendid afternoon of local birding! A busy weekend ahead for me but I will attempt to update when I can.

Enjoy the rest of your short week all - Chaz