30th November 2010 - Increasingly cold, some sun, strong north-easterly wind.
Mink tracks this morning near Oak Hide suggest that the animal seen earlier in the month has taken up residence nearby. The only patches of open water now remaining are in the Marsh and a small section by the gravel bar near to River Hide. There were only three Moorhens in the Marsh but on the open water by the gravel bar there were 49 Coot, three Moorhen, a male Shoveler, two Mute Swans and the Black Swan, 30 Lapwing and 70 Black-headed Gulls were either on the water or roosting on the ice. At least 200 Wigeon are still present along the river just north of the Reserve and the Greylag flock were feeding on the flood meadows.
In the crop field there were at least 90 Linnets, 20 Chaffinches and four Yellowhammers
29th November 2010 - Foggy for most of the day, cold north-easterly wind, occasional appearance of the sun in the late afternoon.
28th November 2010 - Further heavy frost, sunny, cold north-easterly wind, with some cloud later.
The best bird of the weekend was a male Merlin that Stuart Hares found in the late morning. It had obviously just caught a passerine from the crop field which it dispatched from a perch in one of the crop field oaks. It lingered from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm before harassed off by Jackdaws, and it flew off at some pace towards Berkswell. Views from the car park were hampered by the low sunlight, but much better views of the bird were obtained along the Old Road where, until the Jackdaws appeared, it seemed unperturbed, preened and showed well.
The Linnet flock in the crop field extended to at least 90 birds and a House Sparrow called and showed by the hedge by the entrance gates.
The spinner feeder was put down by the edge of the now completely frozen Car Park Pool and some ice smashed up in the hope that some waterfowl might take advantage of it. The ice was some 2½ inches thick and with this cold weather forecast to last all week, will presumably get thicker.
27th November 2010 - Another sharp frost, cold and sunny, light but cold north-easterly wind.
Little open water now remains as is obvious from the wildfowl counts listed below. The Greylags and Wigeon are continuing to feed just north of the Reserve along the river banks. A small amount of open water on Railway Pool held a few wildfowl, but the Cormorants are now restricted almost exclusively to the river and are roosting in the riverside trees.
The waterfowl counts were as follows: 26 Cormorants, one Heron, nine Mute Swans, one Whooper mute hybrid, 156 Greylags and nine Farmyard Geese, over 200 Wigeon, 19 Teal, eight Gadwall, 39 Mallard, 13 Shoveler, one Pochard, 58 Coot, seven Moorhens, 111 Lapwing, three Snipe, 170 Black-headed Gulls, one Common Gull and one Lesser Black-backed Gull.
The cold weather has at last seen more Yellowhammers with 17 in the main crop field along with about 50 Reed Buntings. 60 Chaffinches and 150 Linnets were spread between the two game crops, 15 Siskins were mostly along the top stream; 20 Fieldfares and 40 Redwings were feeding on the haws along the Old Road, and two Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel were all on the prowl.
Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder had increased to 5.
26th November 2010 - Cold and sunny.
Another sharp frost, much of each pool is now frozen over. A handful of wildfowl were present on both the main pools, but the Reedbed is now completely iced over. 100 Black-headed Gulls with two Common Gulls and 100 Lapwing were on the ice or the gravel bar on Railway Pool. A redhead Goosander flew over at 8.55 a.m., going towards Bradnocks Marsh. There were at least 20 Redwings in the hedges just around the car park.
25th November 2010 - Cold northerly wind, sunny.
Probably as a result of cold weather movements, the Wigeon flock has now swelled to 320 birds which is certainly the best count of this year so far, and exceeds any count over last winter. 20 Common Gulls is also the best count of the year. Other wildfowl noted were 23 Gadwall, 27 Shoveler, 16 Teal, 21 Pochard, two Tufted Ducks and 280+ Greylags. Two Water Rails were calling in front of River Hide.
There were at least 65 Linnets in the crop field and two Tree Sparrows, a Nuthatch and Coal Tit visited the Oak Hide feeders.
24th November 2010 - Sharp frost, sunny, light north-easterly wind.
120 Linnets were split approximately half and half between the two game crops this morning. In the one by the car park, there were also two Yellowhammers, a few Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Greenfinches and a single Redpoll. In the other one, up by the aeromodellers, there was no sign of the Brambling from Monday, but there were at least 20 Chaffinches.
Other birds on the Old Road included the male and two female Bullfinches by the top gates (as usual), Treecreeper and Goldcrest associating with a small Tit flock, and approximately 20 Redwings.
The male Shelduck flew in from the Berkswell direction at 8.30 am onto Car Park Pool and at 8.40 am two flocks of Wood Pigeons, each containing approximately 125 birds, flew over to the east.
Later in the day a count of 14 Common Gulls was one of the best of the autumn, 20 Reed Buntings were in the crop field and three Tree Sparrows were at the Oak Hide feeder.
23rd November 2010 - Sunny, light north-easterly wind.
Not a great deal of change. A Water Rail showed briefly from the north causeway screen again and 15 Snipe were principally in front of Car Park Hide. The male Shelduck was present again, and of five Bullfinches, a pair were in the set-aside on the Old Road and the regular male and two females were by the top gate.
22nd November 2010 - Mostly cloudy, cool north-easterly wind.
A male Brambling showed with about 20 Chaffinches and 30 Linnets in the Old Road game crop. 20 Stock Doves fed in the winter wheat field east of the A452.
Water Rails were seen in the north causeway screen and along the edge of the orchid field.
21st November 2010 - Cool northerly wind. Occasionally sunny intervals, clouding over in the afternoon.
The Starling roost attracted a number of admirers this evening, between 2000 to 3000 birds dropping in to roost. At least one flock of over 1000 put on a good display. A couple of Sparrowhawks were again in attendance.
The late afternoon and evening work party flushed at least 35 Snipe from the Marsh and another ten from in front of Oak Hide. Redpoll and Siskin flew over, the male Shelduck was again present, whilst in the morning an adult Yellow-legged Gull lingered on the islands in front of Car Park Hide with four Lesser Black-backs and four Commons.
20th November 2010 - Misty, overcast and cool.
The attentions of the Sparrowhawks from last night continued in the morning, with one large female by the Reedbed at least an hour after dawn. An estimated 2000 Starlings left the roost, Tree Sparrows at the Oak Hide feeder increased to seven and two Golden Plovers were with the Lapwing flock in the early morning but could not be found later.
The Linnet flock increased substantially with at least 130 commuting backwards and forwards between the two game crops. Lapwings increased again to 630, the best count of the autumn and 32 Snipe and at least 40 Redwings (20 over north and 20 on the railway embankment) were other decent counts. Graham’s weekend wildfowl and other counts were as follows: ten Cormorants, two Herons, 14 Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 312 Greylags, six Farmyard Geese, two Canadas, a male Shelduck, 164 Wigeon, 26 Gadwall, 70 Teal, 88 Mallard, 18 Shoveller, 27 Pochard, ten Tufted Duck, 11 Moorhen, 80 Coot, 215 Black-headed Gulls, ten Common Gulls and one Lesser Black-back.
At the north end of Siden Hill Wood in the arable field, a flock of at least 70 mixed Greenfinches and Chaffinches fed on the edge of the newly sown crop. Two Redpolls fed around the scrubby area just south of the ammunition dump and at least 25 Long-tailed Tits were in a mixed flock within the wood.
19th November 2010 - Foggy start, sunny later on.
56 Linnets were perched up in the trees on the Old Road and at least 20 Snipe were feeding on the grass in front of Car Park Hide but, otherwise, the fog again hampered early morning visibility.
The fog eased as the day progressed, the Snipe count increased to 37 and the Linnets to 80 with many of them feeding in the Old Road game crop. The Tree Sparrow count has started to increase with six during the late afternoon at the Oak Hide feeder. 20 Redwings and a few Fieldfares were mostly confined to the railway embankment.
In the late afternoon, Cetti’s Warbler was heard calling around the Oak Hide and well over 1000 Starlings performed well before dropping into the Reedbed, harried by at least two Sparrowhawks.
18th November 2010 - Light rain all day.
The records noted in the log were 23 Snipe, 4 Common Gulls, a male Shelduck, 20 Redwings on the railway embankment and a Coal Tit at the Oak Hide feeder.
17th November 2010 - Wet and windy.
Two unseasonal Curlew flew low, south over the pools at 8.15 am, just as the rain set in. The Gulls and Lapwings were up in the air and it is not clear whether the birds had roosted or were already on the move. 20 Redwings also flew south. Counts made included: 28 Pochard, 64 Coot, 24 Cormorant, 34 Linnets and two Common Gulls.
16th November 2010 - Remaining anti-cyclonic, foggy early on, very slowly clearing.
The battle between the sun and the fog remained unresolved early on, and most of the birds on the pools were invisible. The Old Road, however, was quite productive. In the stretch between the cottages and the car park, there was a showy and vocal female Brambling with four Yellowhammers, ten Chaffinches, 20 Reed Buntings and 60 Linnets. By the bale store, 20 each of Chaffinch and Greenfinch fed with a few Goldfinches on the ground and 15 Redwings and 30 Fieldfares were in the hedges. Two or three Song Thrushes and three Bullfinches showed in the hedges, and two Meadow Pipits went over.
Two Tree Sparrows visited the Oak Hide feeder again, but were as elusive as usual. Another significant Starling roost was estimated at a very precise 1920 birds.
15th November 2010 - sunny anti-cyclonic conditions, after overnight frost
There was “cat ice” around the margins of the Reedbed Pool which lingered for most of the day despite the sunny weather.
A reasonable number of species, but nothing unusual and in no great numbers. In the morning, 200 Greylags and 30 Snipe were on or around the margins of Car Park Pool and, on Railway Pool, there was a Grey Wagtail around the islands and the Marsh, and a probable Mink appeared from the pipe under Oak Hide.
Two Tree Sparrows were at the Oak Hide feeder. Approximately 20 Fieldfares, three Siskins and a pair of Bullfinches were the most noteworthy birds along the Old Road, with a further two Siskins and a Treecreeper on the central stream. Within a flock of 170 Black-headed Gulls there were at least seven Common Gulls.
14th November 2010 - Misty start. High cloud, watery sun, light south-westerly wind.
A Little Egret which put in a brief appearance during the morning was probably the most noteworthy bird of the day. Linnets increased again to 50, and 24 Goldfinches dropped into the car park hedge in the late afternoon, prior to roosting. The Niger seed has hardly been eaten of late, so one assumes there is plenty of natural food about.
Approximately 100 Starlings were circling the Reedbed at 3.45 pm, and small parties subsequently came in from various directions until dusk but, at 4.10, a substantial flock of at least 500 birds came in, low, over Railway Hide, gave a fantastic swirling display before dropping quickly into the reeds. A guestimate put the roosting total at c.750.
Also in the late afternoon, about 20 Redwings appeared to go to roost in the large hawthorns on the railway embankment where at least 30 had fed earlier in the day.
Other birds of note included a calling Water Rail opposite Oak Hide, a Kingfisher on the Reedbed Pool (seen to catch a small fish), three Green Woodpeckers and 15 Snipe.
13th November 2010 - Sunny, variable light winds.
Early on, thrushes were very much in evidence along the Old Road, feeding on the flood plain and perching up in the trees in various places. Conservative estimates suggest 150 Fieldfares and 50 Redwings, and two Song Thrushes also flew over. A Mistle Thrush sang by the aero-club.
90 Golden Plovers flew around the pools and fields and four Tree Sparrows flew low down the Old Road and three of those, or three others later fed at the Oak Hide feeder. Three pairs of House Sparrows at the cottages was two more than normal. 10-15 Siskin fed in the alders by the top gate; nearby three Bullfinches flitted about the hedges, 25 Linnets were in the crop field with a few Buntings and Finches, ten Skylarks fed in the fields and a single Meadow Pipit went over.
Mid-morning, a Cetti’s showed in the Marsh. Whether a coincidence or not, but new Cetti’s have appeared at Barnes Wetland in November. The lack of song and occasional call suggest this bird and the one last weekend is a female.
Amongst the wildfowl, the female Goldeneye was present for its fourth day and the drake Shelduck likewise. The count included: 28 Cormorant, four Heron, 20 Mute Swans, one Black Swan, 303 Greylags, 10 Farmyard Geese, 220 Wigeon, 39 Gadwall, 61 Teal, 63 Mallard, 40 Shoveler, 32 Pochard, six Tufted, eight Moorhen, 61 Coot, 358 Lapwing, 29 Snipe, 316 Black-headed Gulls, four Common Gulls, two Lesser Black-backed and one Herring Gull.
Two very late Common Darters were still present along the concrete road.
12th November 2010 - Sunny periods, blustery westerly winds, slowly decreasing.
There was a turnover of Gulls this morning with only 90 Black-headed Gulls at about 8.15 am, but at least 200 by 9 am, and at 8.50 am an adult Kittiwake drifted over low, having come in from the north and departing to the south over the lorry park. There were no Common Gulls early on, but four were on site by 9 a.m.
20 Linnets and a Yellowhammer were the more noteworthy birds in the crop field and the usual Kingfisher on the Reedbed Pool became very agitated by a male Sparrowhawk, which showed on and off for half an hour.
A Mistle Thrush in song by the cottages was the first I have heard this autumn and the pair of House Sparrows were again calling from the hedgerows by the gates. A few Redwings went over, but numbers barely got into double figures. Other counts of note were 34 Pochard, 23 Cormorants and 14 Snipe.
11th November 2010 - Heavy overnight rain, strong westerly wind and then sunshine and heavy showers during the day.
Birds noted in the log included a female Goldeneye for a second day, over 100 Fieldfares, 15 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and five Herring Gulls.
10th November 2010 - Sunny all day, but cold northerly wind.
Despite a number of people looking, so far there has been no further sighting of yesterday’s Rough-legged Buzzard. News conveyed to me for today included the first returning Shelduck of the autumn, a Raven and a female Goldeneye.
9th November 2010 - Blustery north-easterly wind, cold and overcast.
Yesterday’s heavy rain meant that the River Blythe was flooded by Patrick Bridge and a lot of the usual Reserve birds were feeding on the margins there, particularly the Greylags, Wigeon, Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls. 43 Pochard on the pool was the most noteworthy count there, with a few birds on the move or around the hedgerows included ten Redwings over and five along the Old Road, two Fieldfares over and two more on the Old Road, ten Linnets and at least one Yellowhammer in the crop field, two single Siskins also went south and a Redpoll was buzzing around the top gate. A Buzzard flew backwards and forwards across the pools being harassed by a number of Crows, and at least 250 Starlings were around the pools or going backwards and forwards from the flood meadows.
At 2 pm today John Oates, Paul Casey and Peter and Don Crump, had a Rough-legged Buzzard fly over from the direction of Siden Hill Wood and perch in the dead tree at the northern end of Car Park Pool. Unfortunately it lingered for only a minute or two before flying off low to the north-east and by 3.30 p.m there had been no further sightings. Another incredible record for the Reserve! John has photographs of the bird in enough detail to confirm its identity and to age it as a juvenile.
8th November 2010 - Cool, easterly wind, wet all day.
Two Dunlin flew south at 08.45 a.m. today but this was the only record as the miserable conditions obviously discouraged both birders and birds!
7th November 2010 - Sunny, cold northerly wind.
Colder, still and more birds of note. A drake Goldeneye on Car Park Pool from first light was new in and later moved to Railway Pool. The patchy colouring on the flanks suggested a first-winter male. At 9 a.m., a Dunlin flew over Railway Hide, a Brambling called from the embankment (and possibly later by Oak Hide), two Lesser Redpolls paused there briefly and two Goldcrests moved through with 16 Long-tailed Tits and a pair of Bullfinches.
The Linnet flock had increased to 40, with the flock calling from the trees by the car park early on. A Peregrine put in a brief appearance around mid-day, two Ravens again prospected Siden Hill Wood and a male Brambling joined the small Chaffinch flock in the Old Road game crop. A female Cetti’s Warbler called and showed in the willow on Railway Pool, opposite the end of the causeway. This is the fist record for this species since August 8th.
In the early afternoon, a Jack Snipe showed well in the Marsh but quickly vanished, though a handful of Snipe and Teal showed well all afternoon and 18 Snipe were counted on Car Park Pool.
Other records of note were 40 Redwings in the Old Road hedges, 21 Skylarks and 12 Siskin over to the south-east, 12 Golden Plovers over the pools, 37 Pochard on Car Park Pool and in spite of the cold, four late Common Darters around the willows on the concrete road, by the Dragonfly Pond.
6th November 2010 - Sunny, wind turning to the north. Becoming noticeably cooler.
The cooler weather meant there was a wider variety of birds, though generally in no great numbers.
At or just after dawn between 300 and 400 Starlings left the Reedbed roost and Wood Pigeons were again on the move, with an estimated 600 through by 8.30 am when, again, the passage largely dried up. 33 Skylarks flew over in small groups up to 9.30 a.m.
The game crop south of the car park had a few more birds in it, including the first substantial Linnet flock of the autumn - at least 15 birds. 20 Reed Buntings, four Yellowhammer, a dozen each of Chaffinches and Greenfinches made up the rest there, along with 18 Pheasants, though a handful of Chaffinches were the only birds in the Old Road game cover.
A mixed flock of 30 Goldfinches and 30 Siskins fed in the alders at the Old Road / concrete road junction, though they dispersed fairly quickly. The Old Road hedges held about 30 Redwings, a few Song Thrushes and three Bullfinches.
32 Golden Plovers circled the pools at 8.30 a.m., but did not alight and were not seen again during the day. 413 Lapwing and 31 Snipe made up the other wader counts and Graham’s usual Saturday counts were as follows: One Great Crested Grebe, one Dabchick, 22 Cormorants, three Herons, 21 Mute Swans, 85 Greylags, three Farmyard Geese, 110 Canadas, 147 Wigeon (well down and presumably feeding elsewhere), 32 Gadwall, 46 Teal, 11 Mallard, 26 Shoveler, 24 Pochard, nine Tufted Ducks, nine Moorhen, 42 Coot, 204 Black-headed Gulls and a notable 14 Common Gulls.
Two people having a picnic under Railway Hide in the late afternoon had apparently borrowed the key from their father! All pretty poor and you would have thought the existence of a bird hide might give the game away!
5th November 2010 - High cloud, early on, south-westerly wind.
Rain slowly moving in and becoming increasingly wet. 35 Snipe, 20 Fieldfares and six Siskin, were the main birds of note.
4th November 2010 - Sunny intervals, mild, strong south-westerly wide.
The wind conditions suited the Gulls early on, when three Herring Gulls joined two Lesser Black-backs and two Common circling the pools just after dawn, as four Golden Plovers also flew over from the east. At least 20 Snipe hunkered down in the vegetation on the shoreline below Car Park Hide.
29 Mute Swans was a noteworthy count whilst later in the day the female Pintail returned to show on Railway Pool. A Kingfisher showed again on the Reedbed and Coal Tit and Nuthatch visited the Oak Hide feeder.
3rd November 2010 - Sunny intervals, mild, south-westerly wind.
A Kingfisher on the Reedbed from the causeway was the only news.
2nd November 2010 - Increasing south-westerly wind, dry, bright and mild to begin with, increasing cloud as the day wore on.
A limited inspection this morning revealed 27 Snipe on Car Park Pool alone, Cormorants totalled 18 but with much coming and going.
On the Old Road more thrushes than of late with 50 to 60 Redwings, eight Fieldfares, four Song Thrushes and a Mistle Thrush. Other birds included two pairs of Bullfinches, three Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Treecreepers and two Goldcrests. The old road game crop yielded a paltry six Chaffinches, little was on the move overhead, with a single Meadow Pipit and Siskin about the only birds of note.
1st November 2010 - Mostly grey and overcast with occasional sunny periods and showers, light south-westerly wind and remaining mild.
Yesterday’s Pintail was again on Railway Pool and a Grey Wagtail frequented the Marsh again. 16 Skylarks flew over to the north-east and 54 Gadwall was the best count since the 9th October.
The usual singles of Tree Sparrow, Nuthatch and Coal Tit visited the Oak Hide feeder.
A late Migrant Hawker showed well on the causeway.