Marsh Lane News - August 09
31st August 2009 - Mostly cloudy, light south westerly
Two Hobbies were seen on and off during the day and Snipe had risen to nine. 23 Black-headed Gulls and five Common Terns roosted in the late evening and two Swifts flew south west at 7.45pm. There were also 35 House Martins and ten Swallows through in the afternoon. Warbler counts included at least nine Reed Warblers and nine Chiffchaffs with singles of Whitethroat and Blackcap. 30 Goldfinches was the best count of the Autumn.
30th August 2009 - Sunny start followed by light rain. South westerly
Little to report. 50 Swallows were counted in the late afternoon but otherwise quiet.
29 August 2009 - Sunny
The game crop by the horse paddock along the Old Road was lively this morning with at least 40 Chaffinches, ten Chiffchaffs, a single Willow Warbler and a Nuthatch present in or by it. 60 Swallows were feeding over Car Park Pool prior to moving south and the regular waterfowl counts included 12 Cormorants, ten Herons, five Mute Swans, five Canada Geese, 192 Greylags, 12 Gadwall, nine Teal, 96 Mallard, 14 Shoveler, five Pochard, 91 Tufted Ducks, 16 Moorhens and 94 Coots.
The count of 530 Lapwings was the best of the Autumn period so far. Only five Snipe were counted and no other waders were recorded.
The usual Hobby was seen during the day.
28 August 2009 - Sunny spells with periodic heavy showers. Strong south westerly
27th August 2009 - A cool, windy day and mainly dry
Shoveler increased to 15 and two Pochard arrived. Three Hobby were seen, two south over and the usual bird hunting the pools. Hirundines continued to pass through with small numbers throughout the day. a Kingfisher flew over Railway Pool in the evening and 11 Common Terns roosted.
26th August 2009 - Sunny with intervals of heavy showers
The Hobby was again present. A trickle of Hirundines passed through with at least 30 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins and three House Martins. A Common Sandpiper was present and 15 Common Terns roosted.
25th August 2009 - Dull and overcast morning. Heavy showers in the afternoon
Green and Common Sandpipers were seen and the Hobby was again present. Eight Snipe were present on Car Park Pool. 30 Common Terns roosted in the reed bed as did 400 Starlings.
24th August 2009 - A warm, humid day
A single Black-tailed Godwit dropped in and a single Hobby hawked the pools. Along the Old Road Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaffs were seen.
23rd August 2009 - Sunny intervals, brisk south-westerly wind.
The best place to watch this afternoon’s hirundine passage was Railway Hide as steady pulses of predominantly Swallows were silhouetted against the numerous clouds to the north. Precisely 100 Swallows, seven Sand Martins and three House Martins flew south in the timed hour between 4 and 5 p.m., most hawking for insects high over the pools as they made steady progress south but, at one stage, four dropped down to drink from the pools on the wing before carrying on.
The movement of hirundines was on a broad front as birds could be seen distantly to both east (towards Berkswell) and west (over Hampton in Arden).
In the same hour, both Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper dropped in and in the full passage that also occurred, a third summer Yellow-legged Gull moved south with six Lesser Black-backs. 21 of the latter roosted with five Herring and 161 Black-headed Gulls this morning, but there was a steady passage all day.
The Old Road was not marked thoroughly today, though scattered Chiffchaffs were calling across the Reserve and Reed Warblers were again playing “hid and seek” in the Guelder Rose bushes behind Railway Hide and calling from Car Park Pool.
400 plus Starlings and a Hobby were also present.
22nd August 2009 - Sunny, light south-westerly wind, cool start.
With birds on the pools remaining somewhat samey, the best action was again along the Old Road with good numbers of warblers from the cottages to the bale store area. There were at least 13 Chiffchaffs, eight Blackcaps, two Lesser Whitethroats and singles of Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. Only the third Wheatear of the year was perched on the top of the dead Whitebeam opposite the car park gate and other birds included a pair of Bullfinches, at least six Reed Buntings, double figure numbers of Chaffinches, whilst a flock of 21 Linnets fed on the stubble east of the A452.
Hirundines were again on the move with a steady passage until at least 9.30 a.m., which included 20 House Martins, 17 Sand Martins and seven Swallows.
A Hobby was perched in one of the oaks in the field at dawn, with two together at 12.30. Graham Rowling’s wildfowl counts included two Great Crested Grebes, 11 Dabchicks, seven Herons, five Cormorants, nine Mute Swans, 28 Greylags, 35 Mallard, nine Shovelers, nine Gadwalls, nine Teals, 78 Tufted, 103 Coot, nine Moorhens and a Water Rail by the south-west pond.
21st August 2009 - Cool south, south-westerly wind, mostly sunny.
13 Sand Martins, two House Martins and a Swallow were feeding up over the top stream first thing this morning and, on the Old Road, there were at least three Blackcaps and singles of Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. Two to three Bullfinches were present by the top gate and at least one Yellowhammer between the car park and the cottages. A Sedge Warbler showed well below Oak Hide.
26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Herring Gulls and 75 Black-headed Gulls were roosting on Railway Pool at 8 a.m., but otherwise birds on the pools were much the same as over the last few days.
Later in the day, a Garden Warbler was added to the list of warblers seen on the Old Road and a Hobby lingered by Oak Hide.
20th August 2009 - Sunny initially but quickly clouding over with a strong blustery south-westerly wind. Heavy showers in the morning, sunny and warm in the afternoon.
Hirundines were clearly on the move with at least 15 Sand Martins, 26 House Martins and five Swallows through in an hour until 8.45 a.m.
Perhaps on the back of the strong wind, there seems to be some movement of Gulls too with 66 Black-headed Gulls roosting on Railway Pool, but a steady turnover in the first hour this morning of at least another 20 birds. Five Lesser Black-backs moved through during the same period.
On the water fowl front, there are still plenty of Tufted Ducks but Gadwall numbers have dropped off, as have Mallard. There were 11 Teal and eight Shoveler and of 105 Coots, all but four were on Railway Pool.
A family party of Reed Warblers was vocal but elusive in the Guelder Rose bushes behind Railway Hide, and there was also a juvenile Green Woodpecker on the railway embankment.
A Raven flew south over Siden Hill Wood mid-afternoon and there was some disturbance on car park pool as the first part of the stock fencing was erected and this will be finished on Friday.
19th August 2009 - Mostly sunny, light south-westerly.
A Grey Plover flew over calling at 8 a.m. but refused to show, despite being heard on four separate occasions. Otherwise the Reserve was quiet with birds of note limited to six Sand Martins at the top end of Car Park Pool, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs and a Yellowhammer on the Old Road, a Kingfisher by the Dragonfly Pond and five Teal and seven Shoveler on Railway Pool.
During the day a Yellow Wagtail went through, and there was Hobby and ten Snipe and in the evening, 26 Common Terns roosted and a Green Sandpiper was present.
18th August 2009 - A grey start, slowly brightening. Still.
A juvenile Little Egret was feeding right in front of Oak Hide this morning at 8.15 a.m., and was still present on Railway Pool at 10 a.m.
Overhead ten Swallows and two House Martins went south at 8 a.m., with a further 18 House Martins lingering over the top stream but no Sand Martins were present early on.
The Old Road seemed noticeably quieter than over the last few days, with Warblers limited to singles of Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Single Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler were seen in the Marsh and at least one Reed Warbler was calling regularly on the causeway.
Of the seven Common Terns on site, five were juveniles, most of which appeared still to be begging for food. Six Snipe were feeding on the shore line in front of Car Park Hide, and a seventh bird flew over. At least 13 Teal fed on Railway Pool and 100 Starlings were flushed with 250 Lapwing from the east side of the A452 and made their way back over to the Reserve.
Also at 8 a.m., a Yellow Wagtail flew over low to the north-west, calling. The Little Egret finally departed at 11.30 a.m.
An excellent attendance at the work party (11 people) achieved a reasonable amount with the strimming of the islands on Car Park Pool (leaving odd patches of cover) and some of the islands on Railway Pool. The views from Oak Hide were improved and also from the southern causeway screen. Thanks to all those who attended.
Despite the disturbance, 30 Common Terns congregated in the late evening whilst at least 60 Starlings and five Swallows went to roost in the Reedbed.
17th August 2009 - Grey morning, occasional drizzle, sunny afternoon and light north-westerly.
A Tit flock and estimated to be 100 strong, worked its way along the railway embankment in the afternoon and included among its contingent a Willow Tit and at least two Willow Warblers.
Two Hobbies were seen over or around the Reserve, and 20 Sand Martins and three Swallows lingered in the afternoon as well. Water Rail showed from Oak Hide, six Snipe, two Oystercatchers and a Green Sandpiper were around the pools.
16th August 2009 - Westerly wind, sunny intervals.
Less windy today with quality if the shape of an Osprey which quartered each pool at 2 p.m., before flying off low towards Bradnocks Marsh. It made an attempt at a fish on the Reedbed Pool (a great view for those present) and was apparently low enough over the Railway Pool hides to be photographed. This was the second record for the year.
In the morning, five Goosander flew through. I understand that a pair raised six young along the River Tame at Ladywalk and therefore these birds were probably part of that family party. A single Swift flew south over Siden Hill Wood, at least 25 Sand Martins congregated over Car Park Hide at 9 a.m., and single Swallows totalling at least ten flew south during the day.
A juvenile Common Tern somehow managed to get its wing caught in a Plover cage, but was released and flew off apparently unharmed. The cage has been brought to shore.
A Hobby was seen again. Warmer weather encouraged a good showing of butterflies which included five Painted Ladies, three Peacocks, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Small Copper and at least one Esssex Skipper, the latter along the concrete road by the Dragonfly Pond.
15th August 2009 - Strong westerly wind, sunny intervals
The strong wind made it harder to monitor the small birds today, though after a seeming absence yesterday, Willow Warblers were again seen on the Old Road (five) along with two Whitethroats, seven Chiffchaffs and a single Lesser Whitethroat. Three further Whitethroats showed on the railway embankment but other Warblers in the Guelder Rose refused to reveal themselves (probably Reed).
An estimated 400 Starlings left the Reedbed roost at dawn and Green Sandpiper and Hobby were other birds of note.
The water fowl counts included one Great-Crested Grebe, seven adult and two juvenile Dabchicks, 258 Greylags, 50 Mallard, 20 Teal, 13 Gadwall, five Shoveler, 84 Tufted, 105 Coot and nine Moorhen.
14th August 2009 - Sunny intervals, light westerly wind.
On the pools, the best bird was a very vocal Greenshank which flew from Railway Pool and appeared to land on the new field being created between the river and Siden Hill Wood. There was at least one Oystercatcher and four Snipe, and at least 300 Lapwings were flushed by an over-flying Peregrine.
The Old Road contingent of warblers continues to change, with no Willow Warblers this morning but at least seven Chiffchaffs, five Lesser Whitethroats, four Whitethroats, three Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler in the stretch between the cottages and the top gate.
At least seven Common Terns remain. Three Sand Martins hawked the hedge-line at the north end of Car Park Pool.
13th August 2009 - Sunny, warm and light west north-westerly wind.
Plenty of birds but nothing out of the ordinary. The Old Road remained busy, at least as far as the car park gates, with at least two juvenile Blackcaps, six Greenfinches, five Goldfinches, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting in the Elders mid way between the car park and the cottages. Chiffchaff and Whitethroat were still present around the car park gates, and Willow Warbler and Whitethroat on the railway embankment.
Two Snipe were roosting with the increasing Lapwing flock on Car Park Pool, and a further 14 Rooks flew east from the far side of Siden Hill Wood, over the flood meadows and beyond.
Two House Martins and a single Swallow lingered briefly on site, and there were at least six Terns, including one adult still carrying fish. Only ten Teal and a single Shoveler were immediately obvious in amongst the large numbers of Mallard and Greylag.
12th August 2009 - Wet again!
Three Little Terns were found on Car Park Pool at 7.20 a.m. but flew over towards Bradnocks Marsh at 8 a.m. and despite searching, have not been relocated. This excellent record was the fourth for the Reserve of a total of seven birds.
Waders during the day included Green and Common Sandpiper and ten Snipe, and a female Pochard was the first of the month.
Over the last three days a trickle of Rooks have passed over the Reserve going to the east, with eight on the 10th, six yesterday and at least three today. Whether they are migrants or just locally dispersing birds is not clear.
11th August 2009- Cloudy morning, sunny and warm in the afternoon, north-westerly wind changing to south-westerly as the day progressed.
The Old Road was again lively, with at least three Lesser Whitethroats, five Whitethroats, ten Chiffchaffs, five Willow Warblers and a Treecreeper. Waders included three Oystercatchers and two Snipe. Two Painted Ladies and an Essex Skipper were noted around the Dragonfly Pond.
Blackheaded Gulls frequently come in to roost during the day, but the 200 that decided to roost on Car Park Pool in the evening was, I think, the first or certainly one of the first occasions when they have actually roosted over night. 25 Common Terns also roosted and the Starling roost in the Reedbed now amounts to approximately 600 birds. Both Hobby and Kingfisher were seen in the evening.
10th August 2009 - Overcast with periodic showers and north-westerly wind.
The first Greenshank of the autumn was found roosting on Railway Pool just after 1 p.m., was disturbed by a Common Tern, fed for a short while and then flew off towards Bradnocks Marsh. Other waders included four Oystercatchers, two Redshanks and single Green and Common Sandpipers. About eight Common Terns were still on site in the middle of the day and at least two Swifts flew through to the south-west.
In the evening, approximately 200 Mallard were noted.
9th August 2009 - Sunny, light south-westerly wind.
Little change. A pair of Garden Warblers fed just north of the cottages, with one in sub-song and a third bird showed on the railway embankment.
Six Snipe flew into Car Park Pool about 9 a.m., and occasional Swallows went through to the south whilst approximately 20 gathered over the farm.
The Rowan berries on the Old Road have already been stripped by the Blackbirds.
8th August 2009 - Sunny, light south-westerly wind.
The better weather produced a good showing of butterflies, the highlight being a Clouded Yellow in front of Car Park Hide. Others included two Small Coppers, lots of Small Whites, at least 15 Peacocks, 11 male and two female Common Blues around the car park, and a total of seven Painted Ladies. Many Common Darters were also scattered across the site, with the greatest concentration around the Dragonfly Pond.
The only migrant wader was a Green Sandpiper. Tufted Duck broods are up to 20 (113 ducklings), approximately eight more broods than last year. Other wildfowl counts included 365 Greylags, 20 Teal, 74 Mallard, 21 Gadwall and two Shoveler.
The Old Road remains lively with at least seven Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs, one Lesser Whitethroat, three Whitethroats and three Garden Warblers.
Finally, a Stoat was seen around the car park.
7th August 2009 - Sunny intervals, light northerly wind
The water levels were up again after all the rain and the liveliest area was around the Car Park with the following birds recorded there: A family party of five Yellowhammers, nine Goldfinches, a pair of Bullfinches, at least three Whitethroats, singles of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler with a number of other birds remaining elusive.
6th August 2009 - Mostly wet, moderate northerly wind
Still 20 Common Terns remained around the site and Hobby, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper and 281 Greylags were the other birds of note.
5th August 2009 - Wet morning, dry afternoon
More variety today. An immature male Peregrine took a Starling and carried it off and two Hobbies showed together in the early afternoon as the weather improved.
The Lapwing flock has now grown to 450 birds, five juvenile Redshanks continued to linger along with five Oystercatchers and migrant waders included two Common and a single Green Sandpiper.
Tufted Duck broods were up to an incredible 18 (12 on Car Park Pool alone), Teal numbers stood at 15 and Shoveler at five. At least 100 Swifts lingered over the site or wandered over to Bradnocks Marsh. The warblers around the top gate included five Willow Warblers (with another on the Causeway) and two Lesser Whitethroats. Of 20 Common Terns, 8-10 were juveniles.
Finally, Grey Wagtail and Spotted Flycatcher were seen at the Farm and "Water in the Garden" respectively.
4th August 2009 - Blustery southerly wind, regular showers
In the overcast and damp conditions all the birds were keeping their heads down and the only apparently new bird first thing was an adult Ringed Plover on Car Park Pool. Later in the day a Snipe and a Common Sandpiper put in brief appearances.
3rd August 2009 - Mostly sunny, light southerly
The Old Road was again lively this morning. Counts included three Yellowhammers, six Reed Buntings, nine Whitethroats, at least four each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, Blackcap, two Reed Warblers, Treecreeper I think the first record since March) and Goldcrest.
Swifts were again on the move, though numbers were difficult to gauge accurately as groups seemed to form and then disperse, not helped by a Hobby flashing through them. Two groups of 75 and over 200 went through before 9.30am but numbers were probably greater.
Other birds of note included Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, 310 Greylags and one female Tufted with 16 ducklings.
At midday the Swift flock of at least 200 was still present. Teal numbers had risen to an impressive 19 and a Raven flew over.
2nd August 2009 - Sunny intervals, Light westerly. Dry all day.
The Old Road was still lively with similar birds to yesterday but only four Willow Warblers were found today. Swifts were on the move with at least 20 through in the morning and 50 in the afternoon.
28 Common Terns included a noisy mixture of adults and young, with other counts including at least 50 Black-headed Gulls and 250 Lapwings. A minimum of six Oystercatchers were on Railway Pool, with two pairs in vocal display flight. Four Redshanks and a single Common Sandpiper were the only other waders.
A pair of Water Rails and two young showed again from the north causeway screen. The sunny weather brought out the insects; an estimated 40 Painted Ladies were around the Car Park alone, with a few Blues, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. Half a dozen Brown Hawkers were spread across the Reserve, a single Southern Hawker fed along the ditch line by Railway hide and a male Emerald Damselfly frequented the South-west pond.
1st August 2009 - Wet all day until front eventually cleared early
Despite the poor weather the Old Road was lively in the early morning with at least 7 Willow Warblers, four Chiffchaffs, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler.
Six Snipe (five flew over and one was visible from Oak hide) were a good count early in the month. Other waders included three Common Sandpipers, five Oystercatchers and 250 Lapwings.
Graham Rowling’s waterfowl counts included a remarkable 14 Tufted Duck broods (82 ducklings and 25 adults), seven Mute Swans, 133 Greylags, 112 Mallard, 31 Gadwall, six Shovelers, one duckling and eight Teal. There was a single Great Crested Grebe and nine adult and four young Dabchicks.
Other noteworthy birds included a Hobby, and a Raven perched in the dead top of the Larch in Siden Hill Wood.