Monday, March 30, 2009

Love Is In The Air

On Sunday morning, I had the pleasure of watching a pair of lapwings getting jiggy with it in the magic field that I mentioned last time, thus confirming that they are indeed breeding here. I spotted five birds in the area this week, and it'll be interesting to follow their progress over the next few months.

The patch was extremely productive and I connected with the two species that I had hoped to see, chiffchaff and yellowhammer. I think I have been unfortunate not to have spotted yellowhammer already, as they are regular birds in the fields along Watery Lane, just a bit further on from Weatheroak. I saw several on Sunday in this spot, but the first ones I had were a pair just down from the magic field. I've heard them around here before, but never seen them, so this was very pleasing.

I glimpsed my chiffchaff along Watery Lane too. First I heard the familiar call, then spotted a small bird fly to a group of trees behind me. It was too distant to ID with the bins, but I didn't have to wait long for it to sing again and reveal its identity.

At least three or four more chiffchaffs were heard during my walk, plus many other decent sightings, such as fieldfare, rook, stock dove, bullfinch, cormorant, great spotted woodpecker, jay and little owl. A green woodpecker and a skylark were heard not far from the magic field, the latter being a bird that I have not yet seen on the patch this year. My next target, perhaps?

I took a series of photographs this morning, though without the aid of the scope, most of the subjects were somewhat distant. I have therefore decided to omit them. It's always difficult to take the scope with me on the patch, so I might try my hand at taking photos through the binoculars next time.

Birds Seen On Foot 2009: 61

Distance travelled: 51.9 miles

I need 14 more species in order to hit my target of 75 for the year. By my calculations, this could be a pretty close run thing. I'm planning to visit Earlswood Lakes again next week and I'm hopeful that this will net me a few goodies.


Last Thursday we had our final Islay meeting, where we planned our itinerary for the week that we will be spending on the island. We will arrive on Friday 22 May and depart on Sunday 31 May. Whilst we are planning to visit at least four or five distilleries, we have also lined up some quality birding during our stay.

As you'd expect, we will be having another try for the elusive corncrake. I really wouldn't like to say whether we'll be fortunate enough to see this bird, but it would be great just to hear it again. Of the others, I really hope that we get to see golden eagle, chough, pure rock doves, black guillemot and a few divers. There is also a good chance of Arctic skua, a species that I have yet to see.

One thing's for sure - it's going to be an amazing trip, and with less than eight weeks to go, I can't wait!

Wood You Believe It?

I'll be back in the Wyre Forest come May, looking for more new arrivals. With this in mind, I was glancing back through my records to see when I saw my first ever wood warbler, at Shenstone in 2007. It turns out it was on 15 April. There's an article in this month's Bird Watching magazine that says you won't get a sniff of a wood warbler until late April, which made me appreciate how lucky I was to uncover that one so early on in the month.

One of my goals this year is to see pied flycatcher in the Wyre. I reckon the window of opportunity for seeing these birds is pretty small, based on the number of times I dipped on it in 2008, both in the Wyre and in Wales.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, though. I'm sure April will bring its own crop of good birds and I'll be keen to see as many as I can. If one or two of them turn up on the patch, then don't be surprised to see me doing cartwheels down the streets of Wythall!


midlands birder said...

like you said shenstone is great

Matthew Griffiths said...

I reckon you'll get your 75 species.
Especially if you go to Earlswood a few more times ;)