Marsh Lane News - October 08
30 October 2008 – High cloud with a “milky” sun with a cold north easterly wind
Wood Pigeons were again on the move with an estimated 380 through between 8.20am and 8.45am. There seemed to be little else moving with them again with no more than 25 Redwings and a couple of Fieldfares. 16 Siskins flew from the central stream towards the Old Road. Reed Buntings appeared to be arriving from a number of directions and there were at least 30 around the car park feeder together with six Yellowhammers and a handful of Chaffinches. A male Sparrowhawk quickly quietened the feeders down but the cold weather has no doubt pulled in the Buntings.
100 Golden Plover were feeding east of the A452 but the Car Park pool was relatively quiet with just a handful of Ducks, 73 Black-headed Gulls and 3 each of Common and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
29 October 2008 – Sunny in the morning, clouding over in the afternoon. Light but cold northerly wind.
A productive afternoon ringing session in the reed bed and by the car park feeder resulted in the following totals: 65 Reed Buntings of which only 3 were re traps, 9 Blue Tits, 6 Long Tailed Tits, 2 Great Tits, 3 Goldfinches, and singles of Greenfinch, Robin and Wren. Total 88.
I am trying to establish how many Reed Buntings have now been caught since ringing was first started in the reed bed but it is surprising how few birds have previously been caught, suggesting either an influx of migrants or a high proportion of locally bred young birds.
In the evening, 350 Greylags were counted coming into roost with others arriving after it was too dark to count, suggesting a final total of between 400-450 birds.
29 October 2008
There is a ringing session from 2pm this afternoon for anybody who is interested in attending.
28 October 2008 - cold north easterly but sunny after an overnight frost
Another substantial movement of Wood Pigeons took place this morning with an estimated 3000 through just after dawn, although passage again eased afterwards. Little else seemed to be moving with the Wood Pigeons early on aside from 10 Meadow Pipits, 10 Redwings and a Fieldfare. There was a flock of 53 Golden Plover east to the A452.
However, a broader range of species starting moving later and between 8.15am and 8.55am the following counts were made from the car park, all of birds going south west:
Pied Wagtails 3, Reed Buntings 3, Song Thrushes or Redwings (too distant to tell) 2, Wood Pigeons 142, Redpolls 3, Chaffinches 9, Goldfinches 12, Starlings 38, Lesser Black-backed Gulls 12, Jackdaws 5, Siskins 3, Greenfinches 2, Meadow Pipits 2, Fieldfares 5, Skylarks 2
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker also came from the north and carried on in a south westerly direction over Siden Hill Wood so may well have been a migrant.
At least 10 Stock Doves appeared to come from the north but land in Siden Hill Wood where 2 Mistle Thrushes also appeared and it is not clear whether they were part of the movement or not.
Other birds of note were a flock of 20 Siskins on the Concrete road / Old Road junction, the finch flock in the field east of the underpass (but too distant to count and to see if there were other species other than Chaffinches amongst them) and six Goldcrests scattered around the site.
27 October 2008 - mostly sunny, occasional showers, turning cold at night.
The only records from the log were the continuing presence of the Green Sandpiper, a Nuthatch on the oak hide feeders, a flock of 33 Gadwall and 2 Yellowhammers in the crop field.
26 October 2008 - Overnight rain cleared quickly to give a sunny day but with an increasingly strong westerly.
There is clearly a turnover of finches in the flock east of the underpass as today it included a male Brambling (the first of the autumn) and five Linnets but no sign of any Greenfinches. A Raven was seen over Berkswell in the afternoon whilst the finch flock was under observation.
The Old Road was quiet, save for an elusive male presumed Lesser Redpoll. An adult Peregrine was seen for the second day running and the presumed over-wintering Common Sandpiper reappeared after a nine day absence.
25 October 2008 - High cloud, cold south easterly wind
Visible migration was mostly confined to Wood Pigeons with an estimated 700 south-west by 10am. A very late Swallow flew through at about 8.30am. The field east of the underpass provided much of the interest in the morning, with c.100 Golden Plover and a similar number of Lapwings, c.100 Starlings and a mixed finch flock, mostly Chaffinches, but with a few Greenfinches and Linnets, also in the region of 100.
The wildfowl counts were: 130 Wigeon, 27 Gadwall, 36 Teal, 88 Mallard, 21 Shoveler, 10 Pochard but only 7 Tufted.
A few Redwings (25) and Fieldfares (22) flew over and a Song Thrush was in sub-song on the Old Road.
The crop field and adjacent reeds and hedge held 20 Reed Buntings, two Yellowhammers, the first Tree Sparrow of the autumn and six Meadow Pipits.
24 October 2008 - Sunny
120 Golden Plover circled the reserve before heading off north but 23 remained, feeding on the newly sown field east of the underpass. The Green Sandpiper was again present, a Grey Wagtail flew over and some Fieldfare and Redwings passage was underway with an estimated 50 in an hour of the former and a minimum of 28 of the latter.
23 October 2008 - Overcast, strong westerly.
22nd October 2008 - The weather was sunny, with an increasingly westerly wind.
The only records in the log were a Green Sandpiper and ten Snipe.
21st October 2008 - Last night’s cloud had blown away and today has been sunny, but with a continuing brisk westerly wind.
The Jack Snipe was seen again around the Dragonfly Pool, but Snipe on the Reserve did not exceed 11. A very late House Martin was viewable from Railway Hide looking west towards Hampton in Arden, where it appeared to be feeding over the houses there during the afternoon.
Birds seem flighty, suggesting a Peregrine had been in the area, though one was not recorded. Up to five Common Gulls were in amongst a continuing turnover of other Gulls, but there was no sign of visible migration.
20th October 2007 - A deep depression moved south-west across country, producing overcast conditions on a strong south-westerly wind with rain in the afternoon and evening.
There were plenty of birds, but little of note. The Wigeon flock reached over 150, which is the best count this month. The best Snipe count was 20. Two Redwings and a Song Thrush were the only Thrushes seen during the day, and there was little to suggest much movement.
19th October 2008 - Sunny start but clouding over quickly on a cold and increasingly strong south-westerly wind.
The only birds of note relayed to me were the first Jack Snipe of the autumn, on Dragonfly Pool, and seven Common Gulls on Car Park Pool.
18th October 2008 - Sunny with a light to medium westerly wind.
Most of the action in terms of visible migration occurred during the first two hours of the day. The first sizeable movement of Thrushes occurred, with at least 330 Redwings moving through by 10.30 a.m., together with the first Fieldfare of the autumn. An estimated 1000 Wood Pigeons also flew south-west in the morning, and a trickle of other birds was associated with this passage including 11 Skylarks, a single Grey and four Pied Wagtails and some distant and unidentified Finches over Siden Hill Wood. Similar passage occurred at other places throughout the West Midlands.
The first decent Golden Plover flock of the month scouted the Reserve and the fields to the east of the A452 at about 10.30 a.m., and totalled between 70 and 80 birds.
Other birds of note included a flock of at least 60 Chaffinches in the field by the underpass, whilst 17 Reed Buntings and two Yellowhammers were a minimum count in the crop field.
Slightly reduced numbers for the work party nevertheless achieved quite a lot of work including further clearance in the Marsh and tree removal.
17th October 2008 - Sunny, light westerly wind.
A Water Rail was heard from the south-west pond, a less usual location for this species.
The Snipe total remained at at least 20, and the Common Sandpiper was again present. Otherwise there were no significant records of note.
16th October 2008 - Blustery north-westerly wind, noticeably cooler, sunny periods.
Two Swallows flew north along Siden Hill Wood at lunchtime, and singles of Grey Wagtail, Skylark, three Redwings and four Siskins were the only signs of birds on the moving. 24 Snipe and a Green Sandpiper were in amongst the wildfowl on Railway Pool.
Of note, counts today included 120 Starlings, at least 70 Jackdaws and 150 Wood Pigeons.
Later in the afternoon the first Yellowhammer of the autumn was recorded in the crop field along with 21 Reed Buntings and a flock of 20 Siskins flew over.
15th October 2008
14th October 2008 - Occasional sunny spells and odd spots of rain.
The Common Sandpiper has not been seen now for three days, after being present since the 2nd. Two Coal Tits (no location), Green Sandpiper and Water Rail were the only birds of note.
13th October 2008 - Sunny start but clouding over. Remaining dry and mild with a westerly breeze later.
A very late Reed Warbler in the Marsh was the only significant unexpected find of the day, though a Coal Tit on the Oak Hide feeder was also unusual. Today’s Snipe count was 24. The Green Sandpiper was present again and Water Rails were heard or seen in the Marsh and at the causeway screen.
12th October 2008 - Positively summery with still conditions and temperatures of at least 21 degrees Centigrade.
A few small counts of Reed Buntings (eg., 15 plus on the Old Road on the 4th), did not prepare us for a significant jump to at least 50 birds in the crop field today. Undoubtedly the flock included some newly arrived migrants, as well as local birds, attracted in now that most of the crops from the delayed harvest have been brought in. No Yellowhammers yet, though they often arrive up to a month later.
Only one of the redhead Goosanders was present but Snipe were back up to an impressive 42 and the Green Sandpiper remained.
Four Swallows flew south in the morning, two at 8.30 a.m. and another two later in the morning. Dribs and drabs of migrants flew over and 20 each of Pied Wagtail and Chaffinch fed on the newly ploughed field east of the underpass. Three Song Thrushes and a Mistle Thrush were active by the horse paddock and 23 Siskins flew over the Old Road and may have been birds that have been fairly regular along the concrete road.
11th October 2008 - Light mist to start but soon clearing to a warm and sunny day, on a light south-westerly.
The Greylag flock notched up another record count - 501. Hopefully this flock will attract some rarities instead of the seven white farmyard Geese which have been newly attracted to it.
Despite this, the other wildfowl counts were generally down on Graham Rowling’s usual Saturday tot up; they do vary markedly daily, however, and the Wigeon are frequently feeding on the flood plain.
Two separate Sparrowhawks were seen hunting the Reserve, a Water Rail called in the Reedbed, both Sandpipers remained, the Common Gulls joined the Blackheads on Car Park Pool and a trickle of visible migration included single figure counts of Skylark, Meadow Pipits and 27 Redwing whilst 20 plus Siskin bombed about as did two Redpolls
10th October 2008 - Sunny
The three redhead Goosanders were present again from 10 a.m. otherwise there were four Song Thrushes and 13 Goldfinches through at about 9 a.m. Both Green and Common Sandpipers were present around the pool shorelines and later in the morning, seven Swallows flew purposefully south.
9th October 2008 - Sunny, relatively still.
Snipe were up to 28 and new arrivals were in the shape of three redhead Goosanders which were on Car Park Pool for much of the day. The Green Sandpiper reappeared and there were eight Siskin over. A Water Rail showed in front of Oak Hide.
8th October 2008 - Beautiful sunny day, still and a cool start.
The trickle of visible migration this morning between 8 and 8.45 a.m., included six Chaffinches, two Song Thrushes, two Redwings, two Grey and one Pied Wagtail, two Skylarks and four Meadow Pipits. Along the Old Road there were at least four Chiffchaffs, two between the car park and the top gate (one of which was singing) and two by the horse paddocks, together with a Goldcrest and a few Long-tailed Tits.
A count of 21 Snipe was still respectable and the Common Sandpiper was present again. 20 Siskin along the concrete road was a good count.
7th October 2008 - Strong blustery south-easterly wind with periodic driving rain.
Today’s quality came in the shape of a first winter Spoonbill which may have been on the pools as it appeared low from that direction before flying north along the Old Road at 10.45 a.m. This was only the second record for the Reserve.
At least 24 Redwings flew low, south, along the Old Road at roughly the same time, with five Siskins and four Song Thrushes.
Later, a further 11 Redwings flew over low to the south-west at 1 p.m and a Hobby was seen in the afternoon - this is a late date and may well be the last record for the year.
6th October 2008 - Drizzly on a south-easterly wind.
The only records in the log were the Common Sandpiper, at least 12 Snipe and 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
5th October 2008 - Very wet in the morning on a cold northerly wind, drier in the afternoon.
24 Golden Plovers went over and visible migration included nine Siskins, five Song Thrushes, a Redwing, two House Martins, two Swallows, 15 Meadow Pipits, whilst Treecreeper and Chiffchaff were present around the car park hedges. Later in the day a juvenile Common Gull went over and Grey Wagtail and Coal Tit were seen by the farm.
4th October 2008 - Overcast, strong south-westerly wind, with rain in the afternoon.
490 Greylags was a record count for the Reserve. Wigeon reached 118, Teal 63, Mallard 106 whilst other duck included 34 Shoveler, nine Gadwall, 12 Pochard, eight Tufted Duck and a female Ruddy. Waders included 48 Lapwing, eight Snipe and a Common Sandpiper, whilst some visible migration included two House Martins, a Swallow and five Skylark. The first Redwings of the year (five) were seen, together with over 25 Siskins and 15 Reed Buntings. There was a Coal Tit down by the farm.
3rd October 2008 - Mostly sunny all day, but with a cold northerly wind.
There was some late hirundine passage today, with three Swallows, five very late Sand Martins and a House Martin south in the afternoon. The Greylag flock reached 450, spread between the Car Park Pool and the fields to the north. The Common Sandpiper was present again, the Snipe flock reached ten and there was a Common Gull on Car Park Pool.
2nd October 2008 - Sunny, occasional showers, cool north-westerly.
Records of note included Green and Common Sandpiper, 18 Snipe whilst birds of prey included the usual female Peregrine, a female Sparrowhawk, at least ten Buzzards and a lingering Hobby. Birds on the move included two Grey Wagtails and a Siskin.
1st October 2008 - Cool and strong north-westerly, occasional showers, mostly sunny.