30th November 2012 - Frosty, still, mostly sunny.
The crop field was the most productive part of the Reserve this morning with at least 70 Linnets, three Yellowhammers and three female Bramblings, although the latter were elusive. There was also a single Lesser Redpoll.
A Grey Wagtail went over, there were a few scattered Thrushes about after the remaining berries and, of note, a Mistle Thrush by Oak Hide.
The sharp frost last night led to most of the Reedbed pool icing over, together with the margins of the islands on Car Park Pool and the edges of Railway Pool.
29th November 2012 - Mostly sunny, light north-westerly wind.
Little of note. The feral Pink-footed Goose was with the other Geese on Car Park Pool and there were two Siskins on the central streamline.
28th November 2012 - Mostly dry, occasional sunny intervals, north-westerly wind.
Aside from the feral Pink-footed Goose, there was nothing else in the log.
27th November 2012 - Dry a.m., showers p.m., northerly wind.
Remaining quiet with a Yellowhammer in the crop field amongst about 40 Linnets and two Redpolls went over.
26th November 2012 - Foggy start, slowly clearing, drizzle later, northerly wind.
The floods had substantially subsided by lunchtime, with the river almost contained within its banks. The Blythe, with a small catchment, tends to go up and down very quickly.
Wildfowl, which had substantially spread out yesterday, had returned with, for example, at least 68 Shoveler on Car Park Pool. 50 Snipe were counted, of which 40 today were on Railway Pool. Ten Pied Wagtails and a Grey Wagtail were feeding around the flood edges at Patrick Farm and there were ten Lesser Redpolls at Packhorse Bridge. A female Kestrel, a single Meadow Pipit, at least 30 Linnets, ten Chaffinches and ten Reed Buntings were around the car park crop field edge.
25th November 2012 - Sunny, mild, breezy morning, progressively clouding over in the afternoon and more rain.
I have never seen the Blythe so extensively flooded as this morning, with the floods reaching not only to Siden Hill Wood but into the wood and preventing access to Tower Hide (unless you wanted it into your wellies). The central stream through the Reserve has broken its banks and was cascading into Car Park Pool where just the tops of the islands were viewable. Likewise on Railway Pool, Oak Hide had flooded with up to 7" inside it and again, just the tops of Big and Tern Island were visible. As a result the wildfowl were extensively spread out and there was nothing like the numbers of yesterday.
Probably the highlight of the day was the regular sparring between a Peregrine and a pair of Buzzards over Siden Hill Wood. In the field west of the wood, about 40 Linnets and 20 Chaffinches were feeding on the ground and in the hedgerows, and there were about 40 mixed Fieldfares and Redwings along the railway embankment, taking advantage of the few remaining berries. In the wood, five to six Goldcrests and a Treecreeper were the highlights.
The feral Pink-footed Goose was again with the Greylags and a displaced Kingfisher flashed up and down the floods in the morning.
50 Snipe were feeding to the right of Car Park Hide in the wet, rough grass.
It was bizarre to see five feeding Cormorants in the shallow water on the edge of the scrape field, presumably chasing fish in amongst the feet of the wading Geese. Last, but not least, a Song Thrush was in song by the railway viaduct and another had been signing in brief snatches on the east side on Thursday.
24th November 2012 - Overcast morning, yet more rain later afternoon and overnight.
A Woodcock was flushed at first light from the back gate enclosure and 60 Linnets and three Yellowhammers were in the crop field.
In the extensive flood waters up and down the Blythe, good counts of wildfowl included the bonus of a female / immature Goosander, a drake Pintail and 98 Snipe, of which 71 were on Car Park Pool and the balance on Railway Pool, on the remaining islands.
A significant increase in ducks saw the Wigeon total reach 261, Teal 168 and Mallard 140. Six Great Crested Grebes was of note and other counts included five Herons, 12 Cormorants, eight Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 221 Greylag, 78 Canada, 72 Gadwall, the feral Pink-footed Goose, 50 Shoveler, 11 Pochard, 16 Tufted, eight Moorhen, 46 Coot, a Water Rail in front of Oak Hide, 178 Lapwing, 115 Black-headed Gulls, 13 Common Gulls, ten Herring Gulls, 11 Lesser Black-backs and a Raven over, north, at 10.40. About 40 Redwing and two Fieldfares were mostly concentrated on the Old Road hedges.
23rd November 2012 - Sunny, south-westerly wind.
In the lulls between the deluge of yesterday and the further rain forecast for tomorrow, two drake and a single duck Pintail were on Car Park Pool in the late morning / early afternoon, though could not be seen in failing light later in the afternoon.
The whole of the Blythe Valley is flooded and even a number of the islands on Car Park Pool were submerged. The field below the new hides under Siden Hill Wood was well flooded and well populated with wildfowl, mostly Wigeon, but Geese and Swans as well.
The feral Pink-footed Goose was again amongst the Greylags and the three Shelduck were also present.
22nd November 2012 - Sunny intervals, increasingly blustery south-westerly wind, torrential overnight rain.
Remaining rather quiet with just four Herring Gulls on the extensive floods at Patrick Farm and two Great Crested Grebes on Car Park Pool being about the only records of note.
21st November 2012 - Wet, periodic showers, south-westerly wind.
Aside from the feral Pink-footed Goose, the three Shelducks and a mobile flock of 50 Linnet, with an accompanying Lesser Redpoll, there was little of note.
20th November 2012 - Wet.
A Tree Sparrow was seen and heard at the Oak Hide feeder briefly this morning, and there was also a Lesser Redpoll there along with 12 Greenfinches.
At least 48 Snipe were counted on the margins of Car Park Pool, although mostly on the islands opposite the hide. The feral Pink-footed Goose was present briefly with the Greylags on Car Park Pool before departing, and there were 54 Canada Geese on Railway Pool. A single Meadow Pipit was around Oak Hide and a pair of Bullfinches on the Old Road.
19th November 2012 - Mostly overcast increasing south-westerly wind.
A scattering of birds with no great numbers. The three Shelduck (two females and a drake) were again on Car Park Pool and about 50 Fieldfares were along the Old Road with up to ten Redwings. The Thrushes were all spooked by a Sparrowhawk chasing a Blackbird.
There was a Treecreeper and a Goldcrest in the copse by the back gate, a Kingfisher over the Dragonfly Pool, 28 Cormorants on Car Park Pool and four Common Gulls and two Herring Gulls on Railway Pool.
18th November 2012 - Overnight frost, sunny and reasonably mild and still all day.
Yesterday’s three Shelduck remained and the feral Pink-footed Goose was with the Greylags early on. Wigeon were up 196 and amongst the Gulls, mostly on Railway Pool, were five Commons, ten Lesser Black-backs and a Herring Gull. A Raven went over early afternoon and in the later afternoon, a Jack Snipe showed well in the Marsh.
The Linnet flock were up to 140 and there was clearly a small arrival of Blackbirds with at least 20 spread across the Reserve but the vast majority feeding on the railway embankment.
Four Goldcrest were with a Tit flock by the back gate with four Lesser Redpolls nearby showing very well in the hedge by Oak Hide. Two Nuthatches were chasing each other around the willows by the south-west pond and at least 20 Skylark were visible from the underpass.
17th November 2012 - after overnight rain, slowly clearing, sunny periods.
Three Shelduck, which were the first of the year, spent most of the day on Car Park Pool. A Woodcock was seen at dawn as it crossed the road between Stonebridge and Cornets End Lane, no doubt heading back from the fields to roost up during the day. A possible Mealy Redpoll was seen briefly with Goldfinches feeding on Mugwort on the Old Road but unfortunately a jogger came past at the wrong moment and it flushed. A single Golden Plover went over and there were approximately 30 Fieldfares on the Old Road.
Later in the day a male Brambling showed well in the crop field hedge and there were at least 80 Linnets there. 26 Pied Wagtails were mostly concentrated around the cattle feeder on the flood plain.
Other counts today were: two Dabchicks, four Herons, 21 Cormorants, eight Mute Swans, a Black Swan, 209 Greylags, three Farmyard Geese, 98 Canadas, 160 Wigeon, 58 Gadwall, 51 Teal, 59 Mallard, 50 Shoveler, four Pochard, ten Tufted, 14 Moorhen, 45 Coot, 197 Lapwing, 11 Snipe, 76 Black-headed Gulls, seven Common Gulls and six Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
16th November 2012 - Mild, overcast and still.
A Peregrine showed well in the dead tree just north of Car Park Pool on the river side at 8.30, but a pair of Magpies drove it off. A scattering of Thrushes were evident along the Old Road but no more than single figures.
Of five Redpolls, which perched up in the Blackthorn by the car park, only one was visible. This bird was a brown and white individual with a pinky breast, white relatively unstreaked flanks, off white wing bar, warm white boa (white mark up the side of the neck), light pink lower rump and browney / white upper rump and red poll. It lacked any grey / black and white tram lines on the back, which was a uniform brown, thus it was neither a typical Lesser Redpoll, nor did it have the colder tones of Mealy. Presumably it was some sort of Fenno-Scandinavian bird, which goes to show how clinal this species can be. It is a shame that the others were invisible in the Blackthorn before flying off.
There were again 30 Linnets roving around the Old Road, along with a pair of Bullfinches and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. 30 Snipe were enjoying the wet poached ground by Car Park Hide.
15th November 2012 - Foggy and cold.
14th November 2012 - Cloud, slowly clearing, light south-westerly wind, mild.
A high flying Swan going south-west at 9.55 was probably a Whooper, but the hybrid Whooper Mutes could not be eliminated on the view obtained. The bird was heading south-west, diverted briefly to look at Railway Pool before turning again and heading south high over Bradnocks Marsh. What was presumably the same bird was later seen high over Earlswood Lakes at 10.15.
A flock of over 30 Linnets were feeding in the alders by the south-west pond. I do not recall ever seeing Linnets acting like Redpolls before. There were, separately, a flock of eight Redpolls which flew over going to the north.
A roving Tit flock in the back gate copse had at least one Goldcrest in it, and there was a vocal and showy Nuthatch in the hedge by the south-west pond.
13th November 2012 - Mostly overcast, mild, light south-westerly wind.
After the passing of yesterdays cold front it was noticeably warmer today and a few birds were on the move first thing. Between 8.45 and 9.30 am., the following went through: 126 Fieldfare, four Redwings, two Pied Wagtails (with three further birds on the pools), six Starlings (with at least 50 feeding on the islands on Railway Pool), four Chaffinches together with a single Brambling, one Skylark, one Siskin and one Yellowhammer. Only 12 Linnets were in the crop field but birds were commuting between there and the game crop on the Old Road, by the Aeromodellers.
The female Kestrel was again by the car park and hovering over the crop field. A sub-adult Herring Gull flew over and there were four Common Gulls with a small number of Black-heads on Railway Pool.
The feral Pink-footed Goose was on the flood plain amongst the Greylags, later in the morning, along with at least 25 Pied Wagtails around the cattle feeders. 14 Common Gulls on the pools was the best count for a few days.
12th November 2012 - Drizzly and cold.
A flock of about 100 Fieldfare flew south over the reserve at 10 am., along with 25 Golden Plover. Smaller flocks of Fieldfare passed through later in the morning with the total in the region of 50 birds. Six Common Gulls were amongst the Black-headed Gulls on Railway Pool.
11th November 2012 - Mild and sunny after an overnight frost.
A few birds of interest today with another late Chiffchaff amongst them. This was opposite the gate to the concrete road in the vegetation on the top stream. There were also six Siskin nearby. A Peregrine was seen from Oak hide at about 4 pm., when there were seven Common Gulls on Railway Pool. A Kingfisher was fishing Car Park Pool near the causeway where there were also two Water Rails.
10th November 2012 - Overnight rain. Sunny, light westerly wind, mild.
A Green Sandpiper was heard and seen on a number of occasions throughout the day, with the bird appearing to feed along the river. Two Grey Wagtails flew over going south and a Jack Snipe was flushed by the work party on the shore in front of Car Park Hide.
There were still 80 Linnets today, initially in the Old Road game crop and then subsequently in the game crop south of the car park. Winter Thrushes extended to, initially, 40 Fieldfare and a few Redwings along the Old Road, with a few more of each scattered around the Reserve throughout the day. A flock of 28 Snipe flew over, with a further two on the Dragonfly Pool, and other counts included five Little Grebes, 16 Cormorant, two Herons, eight Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 111 Greylags, 186 Wigeon, 58 Teal, 51 Gadwall, 74 Mallard, 77 Shoveler, 11 Pochard, 23 Tufted, 13 Moorhen, 50 Coot, 178 Lapwing, 100 Black-headed Gulls, one Lesser Black-backed, 13 Common Gulls, two Lesser Redpolls, five Reed Buntings in the crop field along with six Chaffinches and at least four Bullfinch.
Six attended the work party and achieved some useful aims, including the strimming of one of the islands on Car Park Pool and spraying of the vegetation on the islands, the continuing clearance of Alders around the Reedbed and the strimming of the path through the copse at the back gate. Many thanks to those who attended.
9th November 2012 - Sunny, with westerly wind.
8th November 2012 - Mild, north-westerly wind, sunny intervals.
A scattering of winter birds included a flock of at least 30 Siskins and eight Redpolls by the back gate, groups of Redwings and Fieldfares, 35 and 26 respectively, and at least 70 Linnets in the crop field. A Water Rail was calling in agitation by the causeway and three Dabchicks that were feeding there moved rapidly away from the edge of the reeds - and the cause of concern was a Heron which subsequently flew off. A second Water Rail that was calling flew across the north causeway channel and into the reeds on the right.
There were again a number of Reed Buntings and Tits on the causeway with at least ten of the former there, along with a pair of Bullfinches.
The female Kestrel was again around the car park area and there were at least two Meadow Pipits in the car park and two Skylark on the tip field.
7th November 2012 - Mild, sunny intervals, westerly wind.
6th November 2012 - Frosty, sunny start, clouding over from the north-west, light rain from mid-day.
A mobile and noisy Linnet flock commuted between the tops of the trees on the Old Road and the game crop south of the car park with numbers in excess of 100 this morning. Small numbers of birds were joining and leaving the flock during the first hour of the day, not helped by the attentions of a male Sparrowhawk.
There was an abietinus Chiffchaff calling and showing in the sycamore and privet in the small copse just north of the entrance gate cottages. It was a rather drab olive bird with the call noticeably different from the normal “houet” and more of a “cheep”.
Small numbers of Redwings were scattered along the Old Road with probably 15 to 20 birds and a few Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and Fieldfares as well.
5th November 2012 - Sunny, light northerly wind.
No records in the log.
4th November 2012 - Heavy morning rain, slowly clearing as the day progressed. North-easterly wind.
The best bird of the day was a Woodcock, which was flushed by the main path to the back gate in the early afternoon. It appeared to drop into the adjacent copse. There was also a significant increase in Wigeon with a flock reaching 180 today, whilst Shoveler numbers remained high at 111 and Pochard increased slightly to 14. The feral Pink-footed Goose was again with Greylags on the flood plain.
29 Snipe (25 of which were around Car Park Hide) were counted in the afternoon and at least 30 Common Gulls were on Railway Pool although birds were coming and going all the time, with 15 Lesser Black-backs and at least 250 Black-headed Gulls, testament to that. 92 Linnets were counted in the crop field and 50 mixed Finches, mostly Chaffinches, were seen in the field behind Siden Hill Wood. There was also a Roe Deer there.
On the Old Road both Grey Wagtail and Kestrel showed well with a scattering of winter Thrushes.
3rd November 2012 - Wet start, heavy showers, clearing to sunny intervals on a westerly wind.
There was no obvious Starling roost this morning but there had obviously been one nearby as an estimated flock of 7000 flew south over Siden Hill Wood at dawn. More Thrushes than of late were present today as well, with an estimated 120 Fieldfares and 30 Redwings spread across the Reserve with most of the former on the flood plain. 15 to 20 Blackbirds and a similar number of Reed Buntings congregated along the causeway where a few Song Thrushes and Redwings were also taking advantage of the good berry crop in the young thorns. On the nearby central stream a Tit flock held a calling bird which was probably one of the eastern race Chiffchaffs. Unfortunately the bird refused to show and along with the Tit flock, vanished before it revealed itself.
At least 80 Siskins feeding in the alders along the concrete road and 50 Linnets were in the crop field. A Peregrine was disturbed from its perch along the central streamline and flew over to Siden, where it landed in the tall poplar. A Raven flew south over the tip field.
Other counts later in the day, courtesy of Graham Rowling, were as follows: 19 Cormorants, four Herons, six Mute Swans, the Black Swan, 270 Greylags, 11 Farmyard Geese, 96 Canadas, 113 Wigeon, 67 Gadwall, 116 Teal, 54 Mallard, 122 Shoveler (a new Reserve record), ten Pochard, 18 Tufted, 10 Moorhen, 53 Coot, 200 Lapwing, six Snipe, 90 Black-headed Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, one Common Gull, a calling Water Rail from the causeway, one Grey Wagtail, three Lesser Redpolls and two Common Darters along the concrete road.
2nd November 2012 - Sunny, westerly wind.
Relatively quiet today with eight Common Gulls and 15 Lesser Black-backs on Railway Pool and a Kestrel around the car park; a flock of 35 Fieldfares were feeding in the Old Road hedges before moving west and there were small numbers of Redwing, Song Thrush and Blackbird all the way along the Old Road.
A flock of over 100 noisy Jackdaws moved around the flood plain, at one stage spiralling up in a flock before many of the individuals dived out of the thermal and dropped back down to the flood plain; they were obviously having fun!
In the Old Road game crop there were few birds but in the shelter from the wind the slightly warmer conditions were still enough for a Common Darter and Red Admiral to be on the wing.
1st November 2012 - Wet morning, mostly sunny in the afternoon.
A Redshank was an unseasonal bird today spending the morning of Car Park Pool along with 20 Snipe. 30 Linnets were feeding around the causeway area and a few Redwing and Fieldfare were recorded in various places around the Reserve.