Sunday was spent in the Wyre Forest, in the company of my Dad, Dave 'Leapy' Lyons and birding chums Kay and Max. We had a very enjoyable few hours and saw most of the birds we expected to, plus a little bonus along the way.
First up, my Dad, Leapy and I went to see the Little Owl not too far from my house. This was a year tick for both my Dad and Leapy. Mission accomplished, we headed for the Wyre Forest, arriving during a heavy shower. The forecast wasn't great, but we managed to survive the day with only a couple of soakings.
Kay and Max arrived shortly afterwards, just as the rain began to ease. A walk along the disused railway line got us several Garden Warblers, a Yellowhammer and a Cuckoo. Once past Lodge Hill Farm, things picked up a bit.
First of all, we homed in on a calling Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and got pretty good views of it high in a silver birch. This was a lifer for my Dad and a welcome year tick for Kay, Max and Leapy. Then Kay and I bagged a Wood Warbler [year tick 178!], a lifer for her and a year tick for me, but as we were doing so, the rest of the party had latched onto a Redstart. Sadly, I didn't see it, but shortly afterwards my Dad and I had a pair of Tree Pipits whilst the others were gorging themselves on the Wood Warbler. Frantic stuff!
We took a walk down to Dowles Brook, noting Grey Wagtail fairly easily, but we were unable to find the Mandarins or Dippers on this occasion. Walking back through Knowles Coppice we had a listen for Pied Flycatchers without success. With a bit of time to spare, we decided to head back to Lodge Hill Farm as it had been so productive earlier on. This time I got lucky with the Redstart [year tick 179!], but sadly we couldn't track down anymore Tree Pipits.
May I say thanks to Kay and Max for being such good company. It was nice to spend some time with you and I hope we can do it again soon.
Earlswood Lakes, Bittell & Upton Warren
Noting an influx of Black Terns on Sunday, I headed to Earlswood Lakes this morning at 7:00am and was joined by my Dad a bit later on. An hour's scoping brought me no more than a few Common Terns and a Grey Wagtail. We decided to head for Bittell, but that too was fairly quiet, though we did note Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Swift and more Common Terns.
My Dad had to head home at this point, but heavy rainfall last night made me think it might be worth a trip to Upton Warren. After all, it was nearly a year to the day that I had a Wood Sandpiper there.
Sadly, it was pretty quiet there today. I had some brilliant views of Reed Warbler and enjoyed watching the Avocets and Little Ringed Plovers for a time. A singing Lesser Whitethroat was also nice to hear, but I couldn't locate it on this occasion.
It turns out that quite a few goodies did drop into the Midlands during the night, but it seems I just picked the wrong sites. Not to worry, you can't win them all!