Work Party Dates:
15th April 2017 – 2 p.m.
9th May 2017 – 6 p.m.
6th June 2017 – 6 p.m.
See new photographs added under the 4th March 2017.
22nd March 2017
Wet all day, dry, sunny, but cold evening.
There were no records in the log during the wet and windy weather of the day but, in the evening, as the rain cleared, at least two Jack Snipe showed in the Marsh flying out to feed on the edge of the islands. Common Snipe were also flying out of the Marsh to feed elsewhere on the fields. Five Goosanders came in to roost on Car Park Pool.
Sunset at Marsh Lane – 22nd March 2017 – Photograph by Nick Barlow
Further Black-headed Gull sightings have come in courtesy of Ben Dolan of Brewood Ringers. 2AXC and 2ATK have been seen together at Merchants Quay, Cork, Ireland recently, 290 miles from Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, with 2ATH in Lydney Harbour, Gloucestershire. The fact that these first year birds are still there, suggest that they might not be hurrying back and it would be equally interesting to see where they do end up.
21st March 2017
Sunny morning, slowly clouding over, cold west, south-westerly wind.
A Jack Snipe showed well in the Marsh prior to 8 a.m. before it slowly moved into cover and the Cetti’s Warbler was very vocal around the causeway. There were four Shelduck and two Pochard on Car Park Pool, a Little Egret on Railway Pool, five Yellowhammers in the crop field and a pair of Linnets were prospecting the causeway area.
Later in the day a Little Ringed Plover put in a brief appearance, there were nine Goosanders, two Mediterranean Gulls and four Great Crested Grebe.
20 March 2017
Mostly wet, westerly wind.
The first-winter Greater Black-backed Gull appeared briefly in the morning along with two male Goosanders. The Starling flock was back on site comprising 45 birds, there were 20 Snipe, a Little Egret, 37 Cormorants, two Shelduck, a Yellowhammer, a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the car park feeders and at least three Chiffchaffs, two along the concrete road and one on the causeway.
19th March 2017
Occasional sunny intervals, mostly overcast, blustery west, north-westerly wind.
In the early morning there were five Herring Gulls on the pools with a further bird flying over in the company of at least four Lesser Black-backs. The Wigeon count was back up to at least 140 and there were seven Great Crested Grebes on site along with seven Pochards.
In the Old Road game cover and the adjoining Rape crop, there were at least 40 Redwings and a singing Skylark. A single Meadow Pipit went over along with a Siskin and there was a singing Treecreeper by the top gate.
In the afternoon and evening, a pair of Mediterranean Gulls returned to Railway Pool, there was a single Little Egret, a Jack Snipe in the Marsh, four Common Gulls, a Ringed Plover, a male Sparrowhawk and eight Goosanders (one male and seven females).
18th March 2017
Mostly overcast, cool west, north-westerly wind, occasional showers
The Cetti’s Warbler was again vocal, wandering widely between the Reedbed and River Hide. We are still assuming that it is one bird ranging over a wide area to try and find a female.
There were at least seven singing Chiffchaffs on site, five along the Old Road, one on the central stream and one at the back gate. Six Goosanders appeared during the morning of which two were male and four were female, and there was a Jack Snipe flushed from the side of Dragonfly Pond. Also there were at least 30 Toads, including pairs in amplexus with strings of spawn also visible.
Other counts today comprised four Mute Swans, ten Greylags, four Canadas, 94 Wigeon, 22 Gadwall, 18 Teal, nine Mallard, 16 Shoveler, eight Pochard, 49 Tufteds, 29 Cormorants, six Little Grebes, five Great Crested Grebes, three Herons, a single Little Egret, 11 Moorhen, 39 Coots, ten Oystercatchers, 92 Lapwings on the pools and 31 east of the A452, seven Snipe, two Redshank, 900 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, one Herring Gull, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls; and, in the afternoon, during the work party, a Peregrine came over, again chasing the 40 strong Starling flock.
Nine attended the Work Party with a useful array of jobs concluded, including further cutting down of the regenerating Willows on the west side of the north causeway bay, clearance of a blockage on the central stream, clearance of brambles around the entrance to Lower Siden and Tower hides in the wood, drainage repairs around the car park, the removal of the collars on the sluices to lower the water levels on the pools for spring wader passage and a sweep of some of the hides. Many thanks to all those who attended and also to Heather Bird for bringing the cakes!
17th March 2017
Sunny intervals a.m. clouding over p.m., cold north westerly wind.
In typical early Sand Martin fashion, two birds moved through rapidly this morning at 10.15 a.m. with a further three at 10.30 a.m. There were four singing Chiffchaffs with one by the car park, another on the causeway, a third by the back gate and a fourth by Dragonfly Pond. There was a single Redwing on the Old Road by the cottages and, in the recently mown crop field, five Yellowhammers, two Reed Buntings, three Pied Wagtails and a Snipe were all feeding close together.
At 12.30 pm a Peregrine came powering in from the south and caused mass panic amongst all the birds as it targeted a 40 strong flock of Starlings but with no apparent success. A few Meadow Pipits were on the move in surroundings fields but there was only one noted on the flood plain.
At least eight Goosanders appeared in the 4 to 5.30 p.m. period of which six were female and two were male. There were also two Little Egrets and a minimum of 400 Jackdaws flew into Siden Hill Wood, prior to roosting.
16th March 2017
Cool, overcast, westerly wind.
A reasonable selection of birds though nothing particularly unusual. A Sand Martin flew through, mid-morning and the first-winter Greater Black-backed Gull was again on Car Park Pool along with five Herring Gulls and two Common Gulls.
On the Old Road from the car park to Patrick Farm, there were five singing Chiffchaffs and a mixed flock of 25 Fieldfares and 12 Redwings.
A Little Ringed Plover put in a brief appearance again, a Jack Snipe showed in the Marsh, the Cetti’s sang from the Reedbed and today’s count of Black-headed Gulls totalled a staggering 1325. Other birds included two Little Egrets, two Shelduck and a pair of Goosanders and at least 170 Wigeon.
15 March 2017
Light frost and early mist, clearing to mild sunny day. Light south-westerly wind.
The pair of Mediterranean Gulls flew in from the west today at 7.50, calling and spent part of the morning on Railway Pool again. At dawn there were 30 Snipe in the Marsh but by 8 am only 12 were still visible, although there were still ten around Car Park Hide.
Singing Chiffchaffs were heard from the back gate, causeway and Dragonfly Pond area with a fourth un-singing bird in the hawthorns along the river, just north of Car Park Pool.
A single Meadow Pipit went over, calling, a first winter Greater Black-backed Gull rested briefly on the Car Park Pool islands, the Cetti’s Warbler was in good song around the causeway and Reedbed area and, finally, one Siskin went over and two Redwings were in the Old Road game crop.
Later in the day, a Little Ringed Plover appeared briefly in front of Oak Hide and Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies were also seen in addition to a Comma.
A brief ringing session by the Brewood Ringers, in the Reedbed, brought about the re-trapping of the male Cetti’s Warbler along with two Chiffchaffs and a re-trapped Wren. There was also a Water Rail calling there.
There were two pairs of Goosanders on Car Park Pool, a Peregrine flew over and there were three Little Egrets on Car Park Pool. At 4.50 pm a Jack Snipe showed well in the Marsh.
14 March 2017
Sunny intervals, mild, light westerly wind.
The adult Mediterranean Gull from yesterday was joined by a second bird and they were present, on and off, for much of the morning. There was also a reasonably showy Jack Snipe in the Marsh.
The mild weather was good enough to produce the first butterfly of the year, a Comma.
Other birds today included four female and one male Goosander, six Oystercatchers, two Little Egrets, two Shelducks and two Herring Gulls whilst, along the concrete road, there were Siskin, Chiffchaff and a Stoat.
13th March 2017
Sunny intervals, light westerly wind.
The evening proved to be the most productive part of the day. An adult summer Mediterranean Gull joined the Black-heads at 4.45 pm and remained until dusk. Earlier in the day there had been up to 19 Snipe across the Reserve with the majority in the Marsh but, at 5 pm, there was not a single Snipe visible. As the light fell and at 6 pm, Snipe began to materialise from cover and by 6.30 pm there were at least three Jack Snipe and six Common Snipe on view.
There was also an increase in Chiffchaff numbers, with at least five on site, three along the Old Road, one on the causeway and one up by River Hide.
13 Goosanders were present on the pools at one stage during the morning, comprising seven males and six females including a pair mating. There were two Little Egrets, eight Oystercatchers, five Redshank, nine Little Grebes, five Great Crested Grebe, a Raven over the flood plain, the Cetti’s Warbler singing to the right of Oak Hide, a pair of Yellowhammers at the car park feeder, a female Kestrel over the tip field and a Green Woodpecker around Railway Hide.
12th March 2017
Overnight rain, mostly overcast with the wind turning to the north, becoming cooler in the evening.
A single Sand Martin flew high to the north over the causeway at 10.20, with two further birds north at 5 pm.
In the evening, there were at least 11 Goosanders, still two singing Chiffchaffs, one on the Old Road and one by the causeway.
The Cetti’s Warbler initially in song from the Reedbed Pool, and what was presumably the same bird (?), was later heard from the River Hide area.
In the late afternoon there were 680 Black-headed Gulls counted at 4 pm and at least 300 Wood Pigeons, which had been feeding in the Rape crop by the Aeromodellers, flew to Siden Hill Wood to roost. A Raven flew over the lorry park and, at dusk, eight Redwings dropped into Siden Hill Wood to roost.
Miscellaneous counts included 40 Gadwall, two Little Egrets, 28 Shoveler, eight Oystercatchers, six Redshank, six Pochard, four Great Crested Grebes and eight Little Grebes. A Water Rail was heard in the north causeway bay and a Sparrowhawk was seen along the Old Road.
Shortly before dusk, a Peregrine appeared to hunt Wood Pigeons over Siden Hill Wood but was unsuccessful.
11th March 2017
Mostly overcast, mild, with a light south-easterly wind.
The less usual birds today included a Jack Snipe in the Marsh, an increase in Redshank numbers to eight, seven Goosanders (three males and four females), whilst three Siskins flew low south down the Old Road and there were six each of Yellowhammers and Goldfinches around the car park feeders. There were still two Chiffchaffs in song.
Other counts today comprised three Mute Swans, two Greylags, eight Canadas, two Shelduck, 322 Wigeon, 30 Gadwall, 69 Teal, four Mallard, 21 Shoveler, nine Pochard, 40 Tufted, a single Little Egret, two Herons, 38 Cormorants, four Great Crested Grebes, five Little Grebes, seven Moorhen, 37 Coot, 52 Lapwing (with a further 51 east of the A452), eight Oystercatchers, eight Redshank, five Snipe, 444 Black-headed Gulls, a single Common Gull, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Herring Gulls and the singing Cetti’s Warbler, along the causeway area.
10th March 2017
Overcast, light drizzle, light south-easterly wind.
21 Waxwings made a brief appearance this morning at 9.30 a.m but flew off east over the Kenilworth Road. Ten Goosanders appeared on Car Park Pool at about 8.30 am and a further pair flew over. There were four Redshanks, four Oystercatchers and six Great Crested Grebes and two first-winter Herring Gulls roosted briefly on the Railway Pool islands. There were at least 11 Snipe in the Marsh and finally a flock of 60 Starlings flew east at 8.45 am.
Later in the morning three Ringed Plovers made a brief appearance on Railway Pool whilst there were two Chiffchaffs in song, one on the central streamline by the causeway and the second along the Old Road by the game crop. There was a single Little Egret and both Curlew and Peregrine flew over later in the morning. The Wigeon count reached 320.
9th March 2017
Warm and sunny.
A Curlew was a new arrival today lingering briefly in the afternoon on the islands, and there were 13 Goosanders on Car Park Pool. Yesterdays Chiffchaff was still in song along the Old Road and a Cetti’s Warbler sang briefly from the south causeway area and, later, by River Hide. There was a single Little Egret, two Redshanks and at least one Yellowhammer around the car park feeder.
8th March 2017
Mostly overcast, mild, light westerly wind.
The Waxwing flock was showing particularly well around the car park this morning with at least 21 birds present. Both Chiffchaff and Cetti’s Warbler were singing in the causeway area and on the islands there were a sub-adult and first-winter Greater Black-backed on Car Park Pool and nine Herring Gulls on Railway Pool. A second Chiffchaff was in song north of the car park along the Old Road. Plenty of Cormorants are still roosting on the islands with at least 45 this morning.
Later in the morning a Peregrine went over the Old Road at 11.30 and along the Old Road itself there was a small flock of seven Redwings, one of which was in song. Two Little Egrets appeared and also three Goosanders.
7th March 2017
Sunny intervals, light westerly wind.
The Waxwing flock had increased to 23 today with 21 birds initially by Railway Hide at 7.45 am and then subsequently relocating to the car park at about 8.45 am when the number had increased to 23. The colour-ringed bird was still amongst them.
There was a single Little Egret in front of Railway Hide this morning at about 8 am and still plenty of Oystercatcher activity from paired up and single birds. At least one Siskin and two Bullfinches were in the back gate copse and a Water Rail was calling from the north causeway screen.
Waxwing – Photograph by Dave Hutton
Later in the day the Wigeon flock reached a very impressive 382, a good count for this relatively late date in the season. There were eight Goosanders on Car Park Pool, four of each sex, up to seven Buzzards and three Ravens with a pair of the latter displaying over the flood plain. The Ringed Plover put in a brief appearance and both Chiffchaffs in song (stream line) and a Water Rail were heard.
6th March 2017
Sunny start after frost, north-westerly wind.
Initially today there were 19 Waxwings around the Car Park which by early afternoon had increased to 21 when they had relocated to feed on the Guelder berry bushes by Railway Hide. It turns out that one of the birds is colour ringed, having been previously ringed by the Grampian Ringing Group near Aberdeen on the 3rd December 2016.
Waxwings early pm on 6th March 2017
Photograph by Jeff Rankin
Other birds of note were a pair of Egyptian Geese on Railway Pool, a fly-catching Chiffchaff on the causeway, 21 Fieldfares north-west of the flood plain, a near adult Greater Black-backed Gull on Car Park Pool along with three female Goosanders and at least ten Oystercatchers spread between the islands on both pools.
5th March 2017
Heavy showers during morning & from mid-afternoon. Some brighter intervals. Light W breeze
Waxwings were again in evidence and in greater numbers, with 20 recorded feeding on the Guelder Rose bushes around the Car Park and along the Old Road by the main gate.
The day’s other highlight was a very early first record for the year of returning Sand Martins: two were seen over Railway Pool from 10:00-11:15 at least. One of these, or another bird, was then seen later over Car Park Pool around midday. From a quick scan of the annual reports, this is possibly the earliest date ever for the Reserve by a couple of days. The previous record appears to have been March 7th (2003).
Other records included Ringed Plover briefly on Railway Pool, a total of 51 Snipe between the two pools, Cetti’s Warbler & Water Rail heard from the Causeway, Raven over Siden Hill Wood, a sub-adult Great Black–backed Gull on one of the Car Park Pool islands and Kestrel around the Crop Field. There were still nine Oystercatchers across the site, Great Crested Grebe numbers were up to six and a Kingfisher was seen briefly from River Hide.
4th March 2017
Cloudy start followed by sunny intervals, showers p.m. some heavy. Light S/SW breeze
The highlight of the day was the five Waxwings, first seen shortly after midday along the Old Road between the gate and the Car Park entrance and subsequently by other observers before they flew NW around 2.20pm. This was the first site record since New Year’s Day 2013.
Waxwing (one of five) seen in the Car Park – 4th March 2017
Photograph by Dave Shakespeare
A combination of the usual Saturday count and other records yielded the following: four Mute Swans, five Greylag Geese, three Canada Geese, four Shelduck, 207 Wigeon, 13 Gadwall, 96 Teal, four Mallard, 36 Shoveler, 12 Pochard, nine Goosander (5m+4f), 36 Tufted Duck, two Little Egrets, two Grey Herons, 42 Cormorants, four each of Little and Great Crested Grebe, 15 Moorhen, 47 Coot, at least nine Oystercatchers, 275 Lapwing (inc. 26 East of A452), nine Snipe, a single Jack Snipe (Marsh), 620 Black–headed Gulls, six Common Gulls, two Herring Gulls, a single Lesser Black–backed Gull, Kingfisher (Railway Pool), Redshank, six Buzzards and, from the Causeway/Reedbed, Cetti’s Warbler.
Greater Spotted Woodpecker seen from the Concrete Road – 4th March 2017 – Photograph by Dave Shakespeare
In addition, the first frog spawn of the year was noted in the Dragonfly Pond.
Dunnock on the Old Road – 4th March 2017 – Photograph by Dave Shakespeare
3rd March 2017
Dull with persistent rain on & off throughout the day, sometimes heavy. Light S/SE breeze
There were few reports given the inclement weather, but seven Goosanders (3m+4f) were on Car Park Pool mid-afternoon and a Raven flew over. Other records included Water Rail from the north Causeway hide and a Song Thrush along the Old Road.
2nd March 2017
Bright start, sunny intervals. Light westerly breeze moving round to southerly later
There was a posting on Twitter this afternoon that the first Sand Martins of the year have been seen at the WMBC Ladywalk reserve, a little further north up the Tame valley – a very early date for Warwickshire if confirmed.
The Redshank was again reported along with a Common Sandpiper, presumably a bird overwintering somewhere in the locality. Goosander numbers have increased, with eight noted, and other records from the pools included two Oystercatchers, four Shelduck and two Great Crested Grebes.
1st March 2017
Bright start, patchy light rain from late afternoon. Light SW breeze
There was plenty of Oystercatcher activity, with up to eight across the Reserve, and Cetti’s Warbler was again present, being noted from both sides of the Causeway.
Also on the Pools were a single Redshank, possibly Tuesday’s bird, male & female Goosander, male Shelduck, two Little Egrets and six Common Gulls. There was a Jack Snipe in the Marsh mid-morning and Cormorants were much in evidence, a count of 41 certainly notable at this time of year.
Other records included Green Woodpecker, four Buzzards overhead and five Yellowhammers.
Jack Snipe in the Marsh – 1st March 2017
Photograph by Jeff Rankin