31st May 2011 Mostly sunny, cool north-westerly
There were still at least six Ringed Plovers on Railway Pool at lunchtime and a Hobby "powered through" just after 1pm. The Dragonfly Pool was sheltered from the north westerly wind and plenty of Odonata were visible including Four Spotted and Broad-bodied Chasers and Red-eyed Damselflies.
The first-summer Mediterranean Gull reappeared in the evening at around 7pm. It favours the east side of turn island, regularly roosting on the bank above the channel. It flew off about 7.30pm presumably to feed elsewhere. There are now 20 Black-headed Gull chicks and the slow build up of Herons has commenced with eight this evening.
30th May 2011 - Overnight rain persisted throughout the day on a cool north westerly
The rain was the first decent downfall probably since March and was sufficient to down quite a few migrant waders and other birds across the Midlands. Fortunately, Marsh Lane did not miss out with ten Ringed Plovers (nine migrants plus a local bird), an Arctic Tern through in the morning and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull on two occasions in the afternoon. The latter was colour ringed but did not show the ring sufficiently well for details to be taken. The colour ringing scheme from which this could have originated is France, Belgium or Germany. We have had Dutch birds in the past.
29th May 2011 - Overcast, cool and windy initially, some sunny periods later
Not a great deal to report. The Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing intermittently along the Old Road with at least two Garden Warblers there and one on the Railway Embankment.
28th May 2011 - Overcast, light rain, strong south westerly
Blackbirds noisily mobbing something in the early morning revealed a Tawny Owl along the central streamline. In the drizzly conditions there were at least 100 Swifts, 30 House Martins and 30 Sand Martins.
The weekend's counts included two Great-crested Grebes, five Dabchicks. a Heron, two Cormorants, four Mute Swans and six cygnets, a Black Swan and two cygnets, 36 Greylags and six goslings, ten Canadas, two Shelducks, 31 Gadwall, 68 Mallard, a drake Shoveler, 56 Tufted Ducks, 46 Coot and seven young in four broods, four Moorhens with five chicks at the Causeway, 22 Common Terns, four Lesser Black-backs, 74 Black-headed Gulls with seven young in four broods, four Oystercatchers plus two chicks, seven Little Ringed Plovers, one Ringed Plover, eight Redshanks plus one young, 49 Lapwing plus six young, adult and juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker by the entrance gate cottages and Green Woodpecker on the Railway Pool.
As the day improved, Dragonflies included Emperor, Broad-bodied Chaser, Four Spotted Chaser and Red-eyed Damselfly.
27th May 2011 - Cool north westerly, occasional sunny intervals
There were two Dunlin today and both worryingly and bizarrely, the Black Swan has two cygnets! Both Beautiful and Banded Demoiselles were present along the Concrete Road.
26th May 2011 - Cool, north westerly, periodic showers
The Dunlin lingers on as does the drake Pochard. At least 50 Swifts and 15 House Martins were present in the morning over the pools, obviously forced down by the inclement conditions. At least two Garden Warblers were in song on the Old Road, one by the car park and the other between the car park and the cottages.
Regrettably, there is only one Redshank chick now remaining on the Car Park Pool islands and there are now also only two Oystercatcher chicks.
Other records of note included a Hobby briefly, at least eighteen sitting Common Terns and a count of 122 Southern Marsh Orchidsand 32 Common Spotted Orchids to the rear of Oak Hide. If people wish to view these, by all means do so but please take extra special care as the stems are smaller than normal and easily trodden on.
Two male Beautiful Demoiselles and three Banded Demoiselles were showing along the Concrete Road.
25th May 2011 - Sunny, a warm southerly
The Dunlin remained, a Tree Sparrow visited the Oak Hide feeder and the Mute Swans have six cygnets now on Railway Pool. The rest of the action was mammalian with both Badger, Fox and adult and juvenile Muntjac being seen in or around Siden Hill Wood.
24th May 2011 - Sunny, less (but still) windy from the west.
A walk through Siden Hill Wood yielded at least six singing Blackcaps (including the railway embankment area by the car park) and one of the birds was feeding three recently fledged young at the bottom of the hill to Tower Hide. Two further birds were in song, one at the south end of the Ammunition Dump and the other on the hedge lines in the flood plain.
Most of the improvement works have now been done to the two hides in the wood (the seat in the single storey hide has been raised and a weather bar fitted to the flaps in the Tower Hide to hinder rain penetration).
On the east side a fledged juvenile Grey Wagtail flew from the Old Road to the car park on the crop field and then south over Railway Pool. A Cuckoo also flew across the car park. There was no sign of Lapwings on the gravel bar, but it is conceivable the birds have swum to the shore. Two part grown Lapwing chicks were a new discovery in the crop field. The birds have been present for some time but this was the first occasion when juveniles were seen.
Yesterday's Dunlin was also present but was often elusive. Two Water Rails were seen from the causeway screen.
The other half of the crop field was being sown this morning.
23rd May 2011 - Very windy from west, showery, occasional sunny intervals.
A Dunlin was the only migrant noted today but there were nine Lapwing chicks still (eight Railway Pool island and one on Car Park Pool island). Unfortunately, one of the Redshank chicks on Car Park Pool was taken by a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
22nd May 2011 - Light overnight rain, sunny intervals and very windy from the west.
Relatively little to report. A female Pochard joined the drake on Car Park Pool and the male Shoveler still remains. All three Redshank chicks were still present on Car Park Pool and in the windy conditions, at least 40 Swifts and 60 Sand Martins rode the wind.
A young Tawny Owl and up to three Fox cubs were visible in Siden Hill Wood.
21st May 2011 - Sunny, breezy from the west.
The westerly wind has rather stopped migration in its tracks as far as the Reserve is concerned and other than a pair of Yellow Wagtails on Car Park Pool in the early morning, there was not a great deal of bird news to report.
The weekend’s counts were as follows: four Dabchicks, two Herons, one Coromorant, six Mute Swans, one Black Swan, 11 Canadas, two Shelduck, 29 Greylags and ten goslings, 16 Gadwall, a male Shoveler, 41 Mallard and ten ducklings, a male Pochard, 54 Tufted Ducks, 37 Coots, four Moorhens, one Ringed Plover, five Little Ringed Plovers, four adult Oystercatchers and three part grown juveniles, 24 Lapwings and eight juveniles of various ages, seven adult Redshanks and three chicks on Car Park Pool, 70 Black-headed Gulls, seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 24 Common Terns.
Other birds of note included a Cuckoo around the Dragonfly Pond, at least 50 Swifts, 20 Sand Martins and a House Martin, one Buzzard, two Garden Warblers and a Water Rail by the causeway. Perhaps the best of the breeding news was a juvenile Tree Sparrow by the Oak Hide and Chiffchaffs along the Old Road, Willow Warblers by the back gate and Skylarks on the tip field were all seen to be carrying food to nestlings.
A wider variety of insects today included four Broad-bodied Chasers (three males around the Dragonfly Pool and a female by River Hide), two Four-spotted Chaser (causeway and concrete road), three Black-tailed Skimmers (Dragonfly Pool), a large Red Damselfly (causeway), Common Blue, Azure and Blue-tailed Damselflies (wide spread), Large Skipper (Car Park Pool), Red Admiral and Peacock (both concrete road) and Common Blue (approach to Car Park Pool).
20th May 2011 - Sunny intervals, cool westerly wind.
There was unfortunately no sign of the young Redshanks on Railway Pool again this morning and with both adults roosting in an unconcerned way, I fear the young have already been predated. The Lapwing chicks were, however, still present but unfortunately little else of note on the east side.
On the west side, the Lesser Whitethroat was still in song by the Ammunition Dump and a second one sang by the car park nearest the railway. Having been unable to “beg” a Treecreeper on the day of the bird count, there was one in song this morning, also an active Nuthatch at the northern end of the wood. At least one Green Woodpecker was calling frequently and a Tawny Owl, flushed from a tree by the path to Tower Hide.
This afternoon, three Redshank chicks were visible on Car Park Pool and the first Black-tailed Skimmer of the year was also on the wing.
A Canon camera battery pack has been found by Glenn Giles and the person who thinks they lost it can contact Glenn on 07968 054707.
Some repair work is being undertaken to the two hides over the next few days so apologies for any disturbance there.
19th May 2011 - Mostly sunny, westerly wind.
A Hobby was over Car Park Pool in the morning and a Yellow Wagtail flew in from the Berkswell direction. There was still six Lapwing chicks but no sign of the Redshank chicks on Railway Pool but a new brood of at least one was on Car Park Pool. The three Oystercatcher chicks seem to be fairing well on Railway Pool, and a Water Rail called from the causeway.
Three Fox cubs showed well in Siden Hill Wood on the embankment above Tower Hide and a Lesser Whitethroat sang from the southern end of the Ammunition Dump.
18th May 2011 - Overcast, south-westerly wind, showery afternoon, clearing in the evening.
Little of note on the pools and even the Dunlin appears to have moved on. The drake Pochard was again on Car Park Pool and Lapwings and Redshanks appeared to be as yesterday.
With four singing Garden Warblers along the Old Road and two more between Oak and Railway Hide, a total of six is encouraging news. The Lesser Whitethroat on the Old Road and the one on the railway embankment were both in song this morning as well.
17th May 2011 - Overcast, westerly wind.
The lingering Dunlin continues to feed around the increasingly dry spit from Tern Island and, in the evening, the first Redshank brood was discovered with two young and parents on the island in front of Oak Hide. One part grown Lapwing remains in the same place with two on Car Park Pool and three on the gravel bar.
16th May 2011 - Mostly overcast, cool north-westerly wind.
The single Dunlin remained on site and Swifts and hirundines were again present in reasonable numbers due to the blustery wind. A Yellow Wagtail flew over calling at 9 p.m., as the Work Party dispersed. Ten attended and achieved useful tasks such as controlling willow and creeping thistle, opening up the view onto the Reedbed from the causeway screen and watering the new elders and hollies. Thanks to all that attended.
15th May 2011 - Overcast for most of the day, showery, westerly wind.
The cooler weather continued and there was relatively little of note. Yesterday’s single Dunlin remained and there were at least 60 Swifts and five to ten each of Swallows and House Martin. Lesser Whitethroats have now reached four, with three on the east side of the Reserve and one near the sewage works on the west side.
A female Peregrine was also present during the morning when it put up everything on Railway Pool and then flew over Siden Hill Wood before departing.
Along the Old Road a new insect for the Reserve was discovered in the shape of a Golden-bloomed Grey Longhorn Beetle (Agapanthia villosoviridescens). It is worth checking out the web site noted below as it is quite a good looking insect (if you are into that sort of thing!)
14th May 2011 - Sunshine and showers, cool north-westerly wind.
The wind moved around firstly to the west and then to the north-west over the evening of the previous day and made it cool out of the sun.
Yesterday’s Dunlin remained and a third Lesser Whitethroat, this time from the causeway and central stream area, joined those on the Old Road and the railway embankment.
None of the showers dropped anything in, unfortunately, and Graham’s usual counts were as follows: two Great Crested Grebes, seven Dabchicks, two Cormorants, three Herons, six Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 50 Greylags and two broods of six and four respectively, four Canadas, a Farmyard Goose, two Shelducks, 27 Gadwall, a drake Shoveler, a drake Pochard, 57 Tufted Ducks, 28 Mallard and three broods totalling 24 ducklings, 45 Coot, four Moorhen, a Water Rail on the causeway, six Oystercatchers plus three juveniles, three Little Ringed Plover, a Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, five Redshanks, 18 Lapwing and three broods of three on the gravel bar, one by Oak Hide and at least two on Car Park Pool, 71 Black-headed Gulls with at least 26 sitting, eight Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 21 Common Terns.
Dragonflies and Damselflies included two male Broad-bodied Chasers (pretty well all the previous records have been of females), and one Small Copper and two Red Admirals. All of the insects recorded were on the concrete road, sheltered by the east-west hedge.
The wind meant that there were a few more hirundines and Swifts present with at least 50 Swifts on and off for most of the day, at least two Swallows, two House Martins and 20 to 30 Sand Martins, although the numbers fluctuated throughout the day.
13th May 2011 - Cool, south-westerly wind, sunny intervals.
Only one Dunlin remained on Railway Pool this morning, but there were three Ringed Plovers present, one on Railway Pool and two on Car Park Pool. At least ten Swifts drifted through and 20 plus Sand Martins were feeding across the pools in the blustery conditions.
At least four Garden Warblers are in song, one by the car park, one on the causeway, one by the south-west pond and one with the Lesser Whitethroat behind Railway Hide. There may be a fifth by the top gate, but that was not singing this morning.
Aside from the male Pochard, a male Shoveler was also on site which appears to be the first record since the end of April.
A female Goosander was somewhat of a surprise on Car Park Pool at 11 a.m. It departed to the north a few minutes later
12th May 2011 - Sunshine and showers, blustery south-westerly wind.
Dunlin numbers had increased to three but there was otherwise nothing else of note.
11th May 2011 - Mostly overcast, south-westerly wind.
A bit more to report today. Two Dunlin were new arrivals along with a Common Sandpiper. 44 Common Terns was the highest count so far and there were two Yellow Wagtails around the Car Park. Lesser Whitethroats sang on the Old Road and on the railway embankment.
10th May 2011 - Blustery south-easterly wind, sunny intervals.
There is little new to report today. The Lesser Whitethroat continues to sing from the rear of Railway Hide and at least three Garden Warblers were in song, one around the causeway central stream area, one by the south-west pond and one by the small pond in the car park. I did not hear the one by top gate but it may still be present.
The drake Pochard was again on Car Park Pool and later in the day a Yellow Wagtail appeared briefly around Car Park Hide. Eight Lapwing chicks were still present on site, two on the Car Park Pool, four on the gravel bar and two singles left on Railway Pool.
9th May 2011 - Sunny but heavy showers at lunch-time.
A Redstart sang by the south-west pond at lunchtime but seemed to move off towards the lorry park and then stopped singing, and was not seen at all. New Garden Warblers included one by the top gate and one initially on the causeway whilst it or another sang a little later at the south end of the orchid field. The bird by the south-west pond continues to sing.
A new Lesser Whitethroat sang behind Railway Hide and Whitethroat numbers appeared to have increased to 15.
A single Lapwing chick has hatched out on the gravel bar and the Oystercatchers have two or three young on the big island on Railway Pool.
8th May 2011 - More overnight rain lingered briefly into the morning before clearing to form a sunny day. Strong south-easterly wind.
Little bird news other than at least 80 Sand Martins and a few Swifts in the blustery wind and Broad-bodied Chaser and Red Admiral in the sheltered spots.
7th May 2011 - Overnight rain persisted throughout the morning, clearing slightly in the afternoon. Warm sunny periods with a south-easterly wind.
A hastily arranged full day bird count yielded the impressive total of 84 species. This compared to Middleton / Drayton Bassett which had 85, as did Upton Warren and Belvide had 91. A 4.30 a.m start yielded 70 species by 8.30 a.m. and the final 14 took pretty well all the rest of the day to get.
Two Greenshanks dropped in briefly at 6 a.m. for about 15 minutes and the only other passage waders were Common Sandpiper and Snipe. A number of birds that proved particularly difficult to get were Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush with Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush eventually found in Siden Hill Wood and a Treecreeper “dug out” along the central stream.
The Lesser Whitethroat along the Old Road stubbornly refused to show or call throughout the day but, fortunately, one sang along the railway embankment by Siden Hill Wood. A couple of Ravens were seen distantly during the day but, unfortunately, no Hobbies showed at all. A passage or locally resident Yellow Wagtail finally gave itself up along the Old Road in the mid afternoon and the 84th species was a Water Rail in the evening. This total includes feral Pigeon.
Some of the day counts included: two Great Crested Grebes, seven Dabchicks, two Herons, three Cormorants, six Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 20 Greylags and nine goslings, five Canadas, 22 Gadwall, 11 Mallard, three Teal, a drake Pochard, 29 Tufted, 36 Coot, four Moorhen, four Oystercatchers, three Little Ringed Plovers, one Ringed Plover, 21 Lapwing and eight young, five Redshanks, 71 Black-headed Gulls, six Lesser Black-backed Gulls, only eight Common Terns, a Tree Sparrow at the Oak Hide feeder, four Buzzards and two Sparrowhawks.
Thanks to all those who took part.
6th May 2011 - Sunny and dry.
Grasshopper Warbler was reeling early this morning in the same place as yesterday.
Some small live mammal trapping yielded Bank Vole and Wood Mouse by Car Park Pool.
Other birds of note during the day included a regular calling Cuckoo along the causeway, Common Sandpiper on Car Park Pool and a calling Water Rail on the causeway.
5th May 2011 - Sunny intervals, some cloud, winds swung around to south-easterly and more humid.
The best bird for a few days was a stunning male Blue-headed type Wagtail which showed for most of the morning on Railway Pool and lingered all day and did not move from Tern Island and was viewable from Oak Hide. Despite the intensity of the blue in the head pattern with, in some lights, a hint of grey, the consensus seems to be that it was a pure Blue-headed Wagtail and not one of the other varieties.
A Hobby was seen briefly over the crop field and a Lapwing brood of four was newly hatched on Car Park Pool.
Today’s singing Whitethroats on or immediately adjacent to the site numbered 14.
The Grasshopper Warbler reeled in evening from opposite Oak Hide.
4th May 2011 - Sunny, cool, easterly wind.
The less usual birds were limited to a single Yellow Wagtail, a single Common Sandpiper and a Hobby which flew over high to the north. There was also the first significant Swift count, 35. A drake Pochard and a drake Teal were also present along with two Sparrowhawks and a Kingfisher.
3rd May 2011 - Sunny, cool easterly wind.
A Cuckoo sang around Car Park Pool in the morning and there was a Yellow Wagtail, firstly on Railway Pool and then later in the day, presumably the same bird, around Car Park Pool. A Grey Wagtail was again at Patrick Farm and, in addition to the Greylag family with six goslings, there are now three Lapwing broods totalling eight chicks.
Odonata during the day included at least for Broad-bodied Chasers between the car park and Dragonfly pond, two pairs of Red-eyed Damselflies one on Car Park Pool and one on Dragonfly Pond (this species was also seen yesterday as well).
In the evening, 36 Common Terns roosted and two Small Coppers and a female Blue showed well near the south-west pond.
2nd May 2011 - Sunny, strong and cool easterly wind.
Further wader passage today included a Whimbrel from dawn until 7.05 a.m. before it flew off to the north, two Dunlin and three Common Sandpipers. At about 10.30 a.m. two Greenshanks flew in and lingered for most of the morning, although they were frequently being chased by the resident Lapwings.
A small trickle of Swifts moved through all morning with between 15 and 20 by mid-day. The Grasshopper Warbler reeled at dawn on the west side of Railway Pool, but not thereafter. A few Sand Martins came and went and were probably local birds and three Swallows and a single House Martin also moved through. A Garden Warbler continues to sing from time to time by the south-west pond, but I am not aware that the one on the Old Road sang again.
Broad-bodied Chaser and Large Red Damselfy were seen along the Old Road, along with Azure Damselfly and Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies were in the pond around the car park.
Other records of note included a Grey Wagtail at Patrick Farm, a Hobby over Railway Pool and a Hornet and Small Copper along the concrete road.
1st May 2011 - Sunny, cool and blustery easterly wind.
There was a single Dunlin and three Common Sandpipers, and a Yellow Wagtail went over but nothing else was reported in the log.