Work Party Dates:
June 6th – 6 pm
July 11th – 6 pm
August 9th – 6 pm
September 6th – 6pm
If anyone is interested, Nick Barlow is giving a talk on the Reserve to the West Midlands Bird Club on the 24th May at 7.30 p.m. – Venue 909 Warwick Road, Solihull.
Photographs added to 14th May 2017.
Updated record for 12th May added.
Photograph added to 27th April 2017 and text update to 27th, 27th and 28th April.
Extra text added to 3rd May.
21st May 2017
Warm and sunny throughout the day, light southerly breeze.
Two Mediterranean Gulls, a first summer and a second summer, were present today, one on Railway Pool and the other on Car Park Pool. There were also two Little Ringed Plover, a single Ringed Plover and, on Railway Pool, two each of both Shelduck and Teal. A Lapwing chick was noted in the crop field, the Cetti’s Warbler was again around and there was a Hobby over. Finally, there was no record of the Whooper Swan today so maybe it has at last moved on.
20th May 2017
Sunny with scattered cloud, light S/SW breeze.
The Cetti’s Warbler was again vocal on the causeway with two Reed Warblers seen in the same area. In total, there were at least 95 Black–headed Gull chicks across the site and also 29 Greylag young. A Redshank was present from Oak Hide, the pair of Teal was still around and six House Martins went over during the morning.
Finally, the Twayblades in the area near the Back Gate are having a good season.
19th May 2017
Showers, some heavy, with sunny intervals. Cooler than of late. Light N/NW breeze.
The successful Great Crested Grebe pair was present with two chicks but the other pair seems to have been unsuccessful. A female Gadwall with seven young was in the Marsh, although it was not clear whether some of the brood were actually Mallard offspring!
Three Lapwing chicks were noted from Oak Hide to the far left of the islands. Other Railway Pool records included two Teal and a single Ringed Plover, while there was a Little Ringed Plover on Car Park Pool along with a sitting Lesser Black–backed Gull and a brief appearance from two Yellow Wagtails.
The Cetti’s Warbler was back at the causeway, there was a Lesser Whitethroat behind Railway Hide and, finally, the crop field contained two Red–legged Partridges and 13 Stock Doves.
18th May 2017
Mild with sunny intervals, generally dry but showers late afternoon. Light N/NW breeze.
The Cetti’s Warbler was quite mobile, being first heard in the car park bushes, later moving to the causeway and then finally being relocated in the holly bush along the path to River Hide, from which a Kingfisher was seen.
Other warblers in evidence included Whitethroat (from River, Oak and Railway Hides), Willow Warbler (railway embankment and back gate), Chiffchaff (back gate copse) and Blackcap.
17th May 2017
Persistent rain for most of the day, easing later. Cooler with light N/NW breeze.
There were few records on a thoroughly wet and miserable day, but Whitethroat, Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat were all noted by the underpass. The Whooper Swan continued its stay; the pair of Teal was still present on Railway Pool and, lastly, a Greenfinch was singing by the car park gates.
16th May 2017
Warm, dry and sunny with some cloud, light southerly breeze.
The Cetti’s Warbler was again heard by the Dragonfly Pond and along the Old Road with other warbler records including both Whitethroat and Blackcap on the railway embankment, where Green Woodpecker was also present.
There were four Little Ringed Plovers across the site, two on each pool, with the pair of Teal still present on Railway Pool. Sightings from Car Park Pool were Great Crested Grebe, with two chicks still present, four Greylag broods (15, 12, 9 and 4) and there was also a record of a possible Lesser Black–backed Gull nest on one of the islands.
Finally, Red–legged Partridge was again seen in the crop field and, later in the day, a moulting adult Herring Gull flew south over Railway Pool and around 15 Swifts flew through.
15th May 2017
Mild and mainly overcast with showers, light southerly breeze.
Red-legged Partridge has been a rare sighting in recent years so the record of a pair seen in the crop field was notable, with six Stock Doves also in the same location. The long-staying Whooper Swan was again on Car Park Pool, along with two Little Ringed Plovers. Railway Pool records included a single Ringed Plover and a pair of Teal, with both Whitethroat and Green Woodpecker along the embankment. Yellowhammer and Great Spotted Woodpecker were at the Car Park feeders and the Cetti’s Warbler was heard around the Dragonfly Pond.
14th May 2017
Mostly sunny, south-westerly wind, but occasional showers.
One of the pairs of Great Crested Grebes on Car Park Pool hatched at least three young but sadly left one in the nest which was quickly predated by the Black-headed Gulls. There were four Little Egrets along with a Whooper Swan on Car Park Pool, the pair of Lesser Whitethroats showed well behind Railway Hide and there were both Little Ringed Plover and Ringed Plover on Railway Pool. The predation of the Black-headed Gull chicks continues with two further ones taken by the Lesser Black-backs today.
Chiffchaff – Photograph by Dave Shakespeare
Greylag / Canada Hybrid – Photograph by Dave Shakespeare
13th May 2017
Overcast, cool, drizzly, light southerly wind.
The Whooper Swan was again on Car Park Pool this morning with the Cetti’s Warbler singing along the Old Road and both Raven and Hobby were seen first thing.
Quality improved at 10.15 when a female type Marsh Harrier flew south, low over Railway Pool and away over the lorry park – a typical Marsh Harrier visit where birds generally pass through and do not linger. Subsequently there was an immature Peregrine hunting over Railway Pool and five Little Egrets on Car Park Pool.
The general counts were as follows: six Mute Swans, one Whooper Swan, 52 Greylags with four broods, seven Canadas and one brood, 22 Gadwall, four Mallard, 85 Tufted, a pair of Teal, two Shelduck, six Cormorants, six Great Crested Grebes and a brood of one on Car Park Pool, seven Little Grebes, a Moorhen and one brood, 24 Coot, three Oystercatcher, two Little Ringed Plover, 33 Lapwing on the main Reserve but only 13 with one chick east of the A452 where the cold and dry spring seems to have decimated numbers, 19 Common Terns, six Lesser Black-back Gulls, 850 Black-heads with 69 chicks, two adult Mediterranean Gulls, briefly, three Redshank, one Red-legged Partridge east of the A452 and the first Blue-tailed Damselfly of the year on the Dragonfly Pool. There was also a Red Admiral by the car park.
In the afternoon, two Swifts flew north over Car Park Pool before 7 p.m., a Ruff landed on the Car Park Pool islands but was rapidly chased off by a pair of Redshanks. Two female Goosanders came in to roost and the sitting Common Tern numbers has increased to 17, plus one on the raft. A pair of adult Mediterranean Gulls appeared again, briefly, at 7.45 and a pair of Yellowhammers were at the car park feeder.
12th May 2017
Periodically wet, easterly wind.
The only unusual bird first thing was a Dunlin, briefly on Railway Pool before it sped off north. There are now 12 sitting Common Terns on Car Park Pool with a 13th on the large Tern raft on Railway Pool.
The Lesser Black-backs were again cruising around trying to pick off young birds and at least one young Black-headed Gull was dispatched. A few Swallows were on the move north and there were again a pair of Teal on Railway Pool. Lastly, Magpies have fledged two young by the railway bridge.
The Cetti’s Warbler was again singing north along the Old Road towards the Dragonfly Pond before moving west along the hedge, north of Car Park Pool. A pair of Water Rail also showed well in the Marsh.
11th May 2017
Another cool start, sunny until cloud late afternoon, showers in the evening and overnight rain.
The Whooper Swan remains on Car Park Pool, occasionally subject to half-hearted attempts to move it on from one of the Mute Swans. There was also a Little Ringed Plover on the Car Park Pool islands.
There were two Garden Warblers today, one in the back gate copse and another one at the north end of Siden Hill Wood in the scrub there. Both Common and Lesser Whitethroats showed well on the railway embankment and the Cetti’s Warbler appears to have moved down towards the Dragonfly Pond. In the evening, the light showers produced nothing particularly unusual, although there were at least 30 Common Terns on site and nine Swallows fed over the pools before flocking at dusk and heading off to the south.
Photographs by Max Silverman
Garden Warbler – 11th May 2017
Lesser Whitethroat – 11th May 2017
10th May 2017
Light frost, sunny thereafter, cool easterly wind.
There was a new Whitethroat in this morning singing in the Blackthorn immediate to the rear of Oak Hide, along with a Reed Warbler. The Lesser Whitethroat was again in song along the Old Road and patrolling the pools were three Herring Gulls and at least six Lesser Black-backs. The Whooper Swan remains and there was a Shelduck and a pair of Teal in the evening, along with 40 Common Terns. Both Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers were seen during the day.
Broods of young birds were as follows. Greylag: Car Park Pool: 12,4,3, Canada: Railway Pool: 4, Mallard: Car Park Pool: 2; Railway Pool: 8, Moorhen: Car Park Pool: 5 and Black-headed Gulls: 21 chicks all on Railway Pool.
9th May 2017
Sunny, cold north-easterly wind.
A Peregrine again tormented birds over the Reserve this morning and the Whooper Swan was again on Car Park Pool, though it does occasionally disappear to the north before returning. A Garden Warbler was in song in the back gate copse and on the islands, or the shoreline there was a single Ringed Plover and a Little Egret. A Yellow Wagtail flew over at 7.15 pm and there was another new Whitethroat in today, this one on the causeway.
Eight attended the work party and a variety of summer jobs undertaken including some strimming and further alder and willow removal. Thanks to all those who attended.
8th May 2017
Sunny intervals, cool, north-westerly wind.
Lesser Whitethroats sang and showed well on both the railway embankment by the Dragonfly Pond today and presumably the latter is the bird heard regularly by the car park gates wandering up and down the Old Road. it is still not clear whether this individual is the same as one that has been heard by the cottages.
Eight Swifts went north between 9.30 and 11 and there were four Little Egrets on site. Five House Martins fed over the flood plain and pairs of Yellowhammers and Greenfinches were again at the car park feeder. A Jay, on the central streamline, spooked a Tawny Owl into voice there.
A new Whitethroat was in song near the top gate where there was also a Sedge Warbler. There was a family party of Long-tailed Tits by the car park gate, two young Blackbirds by the Dragonfly Pond and a freshly hatched brood of three Moorhens on the Car Park Pool islands where there are at least seven sitting Common Terns. The Whooper Swan remains.
7th May 2017
Fine, warm and sunny.
The first and very belated Garden Warbler of the year sang in the back gate copse this morning and there were two Lesser Whitethroats, one along the Old Road and a new one by the back gate copse, on the railway embankment.
Other birds of note included Cuckoo, two Common Sandpipers, one Ringed Plover, the Whooper Swan still, a Common Snipe on Railway Pool, seven Little Egrets, two Little Ringed Plovers and four Shelduck. The first Small Copper of the year was also seen. A pair of Yellowhammers came in to feed at the car park feeder, mid afternoon.
6th May 2017
Overcast, drizzly, generally cold, north-easterly wind.
Today was the all day bird count, which finished with 86 species, with the full list to follow.
The undoubted highlight was a calling Corncrake in front of Car Park Hide at 7 am which was not heard again and was never seen. A full walk around from 5.45 am until nearly 10 pm yielded 77 species and included two Grasshopper Warblers, one behind Oak Hide and another one south of the old feeding table along the edge of the crop field. There was a steady passage of Swifts and hirundines with at least 40 Swifts by 10 am, and 12 House Martins fed with Swallows by Patrick Farm at 7 am (other House Martins and a few Swallows were also on the move throughout the day), and a Yellow Wagtail went north over the flood plain at 8.30 am, there were three Common Sandpipers on Car Park Pool, a pair of Grey Wagtails were feeding young by Patrick Bridge (where there was also a Kingfisher), a singing Coal Tit in Siden Hill Wood, Lesser Whitethroats by the car park and the underpass and at least five Little Egrets. Other birds that were added later in the day included Hobby, Snipe, Water Rail and concluded with Tawny Owl and Goosander at dusk.
Notable omissions included Sparrowhawk, Raven, Peregrine, Cuckoo and Garden Warbler (still to arrive!). The full list was as follows:
Mute Swan (6), Whooper Swan, Greylag (24 plus a brood of eight), Canada Goose (five), Shelduck, Gadwall (24), Teal (five), Mallard (3), Tufted Duck (an increase to 94), Goosander (two females at dusk), Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe (seven), Little Grebe (four plus a half grown chick in the causeway bay), Cormorant (three), Heron (one), Little Egret (five), Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby, Water Rail, Moorhen (seven), Coot (33), Oystercatcher (seven), Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Common Sandpiper (three), Redshank, Black-headed Gull (there were 1000), Lesser Black-backed Gull (11), Herring Gull (one), Common Tern (14), Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Tawny Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.
5th May 2017
Cool, north-easterly wind, mostly sunny.
The Whooper Swan remained on Car Park Pool today and a Weasel showed well in the morning by Oak Hide. Other birds today included the Lesser Whitethroat patrolling up and down the Old Road, two Whitethroats in song, one along the concrete road and the other on the railway embankment, two Shelducks, six Little Egrets, a Yellowhammer on the feeders, two Water Rails in the Marsh and six Swifts, over, the first of the year.
4th May 2017
High cloud clearing to sunny intervals, brisk north-easterly wind.
The adult Whooper Swan remains on Car Park Pool and there was at least one singing Lesser Whitethroat on the Old Road initially north of the car park and then it or another down towards the cottages. The Grasshopper Warbler reeled occasionally behind Oak Hide.
3rd May 2017
Mostly overcast with occasional sunny intervals, blustery north-easterly wind.
A nice little collection of birds this morning included a first-summer Mediterranean Gull amongst the Black-heads on Railway Pool and fantastic views of a sub-adult Peregrine which spent at least half an hour prior to 9 am flying in and out of Siden Hill Wood chasing Wood Pigeons and Jackdaws and then, after apparently being unsuccessful, fruitlessly chasing Black-headed Gulls and waders on Railway Pool.
The Grasshopper Warbler reeled occasionally behind Oak Hide and the Whooper Swan remains on Car Park Pool. The current estimate of singing Sedge Warblers is ten to 11 birds and new Whitethroats are appearing daily with one singing west of River Hide this morning.
Other birds today were nine Little Egrets, the Cetti’s Warbler, one Lesser Whitethroat, five Common Whitethroats, two Yellowhammers at the feeders and on the islands, two Ringed and four Little Ringed Plovers.
An un-singing Cuckoo was again patrolling the pools, presumably a female looking for nests.
In the afternoon and evening, a Treecreeper was in song by the south-west pond, 56 Common Terns came in to roost along with a pair of Goosanders. There is also a brood of freshly hatched Greylag goslings, eight in number.
2nd May 2017
The Whooper Swan remains on Car Park Pool and the Grasshopper Warbler was reeling again to the rear of Oak Hide.
The female Cuckoo was again along the streamline and a Lesser Whitethroat on the Old Road.
1st May 2017
Overnight rain and periodic showers all morning, sunshine and showers p.m., easterly wind.
The day started well and got better, and was one of those exceptional days occasionally recorded at Marsh Lane in the spring.
In the early morning, the Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling again briefly behind Oak Hide between 8 and 9 a.m., and there was clearly a small arrival of Whitethroats during the evening with additional birds along the causeway, Old Road and concrete road. Two Dunlin were present on Car Park Pool and a female Cuckoo ranged widely around the Reserve. There was also a steady trickle of hirundines all day, mostly Swallows and Sand Martins.
The day then unfolded as follows:
9 am – A Black Tern appeared briefly over Car Park Pool, circled a few times and then headed off, north.
10.15 am – An Arctic Tern and a second Black Tern were seen flying north high over the Old Road.
11 am – The second Arctic Tern of the day appeared briefly on Railway Pool, followed shortly thereafter by a male in full summer plumage and two female winter plumaged Bar-tailed Godwits. An additional Dunlin came in on Railway Pool and two Yellow Wagtails were heard flying over.
Mid-day – A first-summer Mediterranean Gull flew through to the north and either the two previous Yellow Wagtails or two further birds fed on the grassland in front of River Hide.
Then, as the weather improved and the cumulus cloud got going, it was time to look for birds of prey.
2.45 pm – An Osprey circled Car Park Pool before drifting south-west towards Bradnocks Marsh.
3 pm – A Peregrine went through.
3.20 pm – A Red Kite came over high from the west and carried on to the east.
4 pm – Two Arctic Terns dropped in and stayed for at least an hour, showing well at the northern end of Car Park Pool.
4.20 pm – A mystery Falcon appeared over Siden Hill Wood which started off as a Kestrel, became a Hobby and then rose to some height where it was seen to catch insects on the wing before hovering repeatedly and then diving for prey north of the Reserve. No colour was seen on it as the bird appeared all dark but shortly after the bird went out of sight, north of the Reserve, a Kestrel appeared in a not dissimilar place and started hovering just over the trees. Maybe it was just a Kestrel, who knows.
4.23 pm – A Yellow Wagtail went over.
Other birds of note included a new Lesser Whitethroat along the streamline, whilst waders included four Little Ringed Plovers and two Ringed Plovers, six Redshank and seven Oystercatchers. There were two drake Goosander with the Whooper Swan on Car Park Pool and at least five Little Egrets. At least two male and one female Yellowhammer continue to visit the feeding station along with a male Greenfinch. There were also plenty of Starlings about with at least 20 to 30 seen from time to time.
All in all, a good day!
At 8 pm, a flock of 20 Common Terns arrived on the pools which were not thought to be part of the breeding colony. There have been significant numbers roosting and obviously birds are coming in from elsewhere to do that. Lastly, a Kingfisher was seen along the Blythe.