Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Quick Catch Up

In the two weeks since I returned from Majorca I have done a fair bit of birding – all local(ish).

Shustoke this year has been poor, in recent years the quality of birds has dropped but this year has seen a real slump in fortunes. Normally I see 105 to 120 species this years despite numerous visits I am stuck on 92 species! I can only hope it improves as I have purchased a parking pass.

Since I moved Joy and I have had to lower our expectations for our garden birds. The previous house had a tremendous garden and outlook, this house however, is nowhere near as grand. The garden is about 5% of what we had before. We join a horse paddock to the rear and on Saturday there was a Spotted Flycatcher on show which bodes well for the future. Sitting writing this there are still a few House Martins around.

In the four visit there have been no highlights at Shustoke, the Lapwing flock stands c.50 but there have been no other waders at all. There were good numbers of hirundines towards the end of last week but these have largely moved on. There were still a few Chiffs and the odd Blackcap and 18 Greylag (god I’m scraping the barrel).

Middleton RSPB has been a little better, although there is not much habitat for waders at the moment there have been two Great White Egrets and a Cattle Egret (which I missed). Last evening (Tuesday) Joy and I had a Bittern fly into Fisher Mill pool. There have also been Barn Owl on show and a scattering of warblers which are slowly petering out.

Today I travelled up the M6 to the Sandwell Valley, mainly to see Rose-ringed Parakeet for the year, but also to see a lingering Little Egret which is a patch tick (It used to be my patch). The reserve was quite good and I saw my targets straight away, so I decided to venture out. I walked to Swan Pool then over the M5 to Salters Lane and around Ice House Woods and back.

I was surprised how much cover there is, it was difficult to see the sky in places, I have to say there is loads of habitat but few birds. This was probably down to the time of year rather than an actual lack of birds. Although it won’t happen I would like a few more open areas just for variety. All the pools are surrounded by trees, with little in the way of shoreline.

Also I counted c.80 Magpies during my walk, which can’t be good, but don’t expect a cull soon, It will upset a Magpie lover somewhere on Twitter and we can’t have that! (Bloody Social Media – every idiot has an opinion – including me) More CULLS.

Oh and the football pitches my football team used back in the 80s are now a Bloody Caravan Park!

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