Sunday, 30 August 2015

Warblers passing through again

30th August 15            morning                mid section

cloudy,  12-16°c,  1019mb,   NW 2- NE 4 mph

The Barleyfield was quiet again apart from a small group of blackcap in the Hanging Grds. One male and probably about 3 female plus a chiffchaff, there's so much cover now it's difficult to obtain good numbers. Two young bullfinch also Hanging Grds and a ♀ great spot up the hill in the western border. The Paddocks, quiet early morning but on return journey Ian and myself picked up a small group of mixed warblers including at least 3 willow ( 2 imm ) probably 2 chiffchaff and another 2+ blackcap along with a goldcrest,coal tit and a few long-tail tit. A nuthatch calling from trees by the old bridge on Meadow View and another singing coal tit rounded off a better day.

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1♀ Barleyfield Annex,
House Martin 4 over Meadow View
Pied Wagtail 13 Compton Field
Robin 6 singing mid section
Blackcap 5 (1♂) 1♂ 3♀ Hanging Grds,   2♀ Paddocks,
Chiffchaff 4 mid section
Willow Warbler 3+ ( 2 imm ) The Paddock
Goldcrest 1 The Paddock
Long Tailed Tit c6 The Paddock
Coal Tit 1 singing Meadow View + 1 Paddocks
Nuthatch 1 calling Meadow View
Greenfinch 3 over The Paddock
Bullfinch 3 ( 2 imm ) Barleyfield

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Where have all our warblers gone

29th August 15             morning                mid section

mostly sunny,  13-16°c,  1019mb,  S 6-WSW 8 mph

I haven't seen a warbler this morning, just 2 chiffchaff calling on the Barleyfield. On the positive side what looked good for a young buzzard was over Tettenhall Ridge with a moulting adult for a few minutes, if so it proves a successful breeding season. A female grey wagtail was on the Graiseley brook by the Prefabs and the moorhen chick still nearby on the weir.

Buzzard 2 over 1 ad + 1 imm over Tettenhall Ridge
Moorhen 1 brood pr + 1 chk Prefab weir,
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Grey Wagtail 1♀ 1 ♀ Prefabs ( Graiseley brook ),
Pied Wagtail 15 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing Meccano Grds
Robin 8 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 2 calling Barleyfield
Jay calls Hanging Grds X
Jackdaw odds over Barleyfield
Chaffinch 1♂ 1♀ The Paddock
Goldfinch 2 imm Compton Field
Bullfinch 3 Barleyfield

Friday, 28 August 2015

Wow a mega and a scarce on Barleyfield

28th August 15            morning              mid section

mostly warm & sunny,  11-14°c,  1013mb, S 6-SSW 10,

Met Ian on the Compton playing fields just after I had picked up his mixed flock of recent days. It contained 15 or so long tail tits, 3 willow warbler inc 2 imm, 1 chiffchaff and a blackcap. Ian had just seen a house sparrow in the Shrike Bushes so we went to find it, sure enough it was still sat in the bush and was soon joined by another, both female. This believe it or not is a mega bird here on the Barleyfield, I don't remember the last one I had.
    Ian left and I continued around the field, I ended up back at the Shrike Bushes so another go for the sparrow seemed a good idea, no sign but a bird sat in hawthorn bushes by the Graiseley brook cutvert 100+ yds away looked interesting? so I approached carefully and sure enough it turned out to be a spotted flycatcher. Lost it trying to photograph it with my phone through the bins. Relocated in the Meccano Gardens ( the bushes bordering Compton playing fields south of the bridge with the railway walk the other side ).

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> S over The Paddock
House Martin 5 over Barleyfield
Pied Wagtail 3 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing Hanging Grds X
Robin 4 singing mid section
Mistle Thrush 1 >> S over Hanging Grds
Whitethroat 2 Barleyfield
Blackcap 3 mid section
Chiffchaff 4 ( 1 singing ) mid section
Willow Warbler 4 ( 3 imm) 3 (2 imm) Meccano Grds,  1 imm Shrike Bushes,
Spotted Flycatcher 1 Graiseley Cnr s/well then lost whilst trying photograph it. Later relocated Meccano Grds,
Long Tailed Tit c18 3+ Station Paddock,  c15 Meccano Grds,
House Sparrow 2♀    ( MEGA ) Shrike Bushes
Chaffinch 1♂ >> E over Shrike Bushes
Greenfinch 2+ Top Roses
Goldfinch few Shrike Bushes
Bullfinch 2 mid section
Small Skipper 1 Barleyfield
Common Blue 2 Barleyfield
Meadow Brown few Barleyfield
Small White few Barleyfield

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Slightly better

More signs of migration today with a meadow pipit in fresh autumn plumage in the bushes on the western border.  Frustratingly a probable lesser whitethroat disappeared but 2 common whitethroat and several blackcap were seen in the same area.
The mixed flock by the meccano included a willow warbler, female blackcap and goldcrest whilst several chiffies were dotted around.
Insect wise meadow browns are very much the dominant butterfly but odonta are quite mixed with southern hawker, and migrant hawker being added to the year list. A damselfly with a blue tail on the canal at wildside would not oblige with good enough views to see if it was a red-eyed which I have seen on local canals.  the british dragonfly society has an excellent website with  informative pictures for anyone who is interested.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

More unfulfilled expectations 

26th August 15           morning               mid section

cloudy after o/ night rain,  14-15°c, 998mb,  S 12-SSW 11 mph

Once again overnight rain alerts birders to possible good finds in the form of migrating birds having to seek shelter, and once again our hopes are dashed. The promises of autumn last monday faded somewhat yesterday and have disappeared altogether this morning. There seems to have been a clearout of passage birds instead of the hoped for abundance due to difficult flying and navigational conditions for birds making their way to europe and africa.

Black Headed Gull 28 all adult Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Kingfisher 1 probably came from a perch on off side of canal (CR) and flew S twds Compton Lock,
House Martin 6 over Wetlands
Wren 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Robin 2 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 calling nr Annex oak Barleyfield
Chiffchaff 1 calling Compton Rough
Nuthatch 1 1 seen calling from Meccano Firs,
Goldfinch 5 over Compton Rough
Bullfinch 3+ Hanging Grds

Monday, 24 August 2015

An autumn selection 

24th August 15             morning                  mid section

cloudy,  13-16°c,  1000mb,   NW 4- N 6 mph 

Nothing special  but a reasonable selection of common birds with warblers, finches and birds of prey.

Sparrowhawk 2♀ circling over Valley,  1♀ mobbing Buzzard to the S of Barleyfield,
Buzzard 1 fully winged bird circling S of Barleyfield mobbed by Sparrowhawk, drifted N over Barleyfield then back S and away W,
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
House Martin 5 >> N over Compton Field
Pied Wagtail 10 Compton Field
Robin 3 singing Paddocks
Whitethroat 3 Barleyfield
Blackcap 4 mid section
Chiffchaff 7 mid section
Willow Warbler 2 ( 1 singing ) 1 imm + 1 singing The Paddock
Long Tailed Tit few The Paddock
Chaffinch 2 Shrike Bushes
Greenfinch 3 Top Roses
Goldfinch few Graiseley Culvert
Bullfinch 4 inc imms The Paddock


20th produced a raven over the barleyfield which called a few times and headed for wightwick.
21st produced an adult little grebe on the canal by the water bridge but dont think this was a wintering bird-too early- much more likely to be off the racecourse lake due to falling water levels.
22nd again at waterbridge 4 grey wagtail 2 immature and 2 adult all on the tiny bit of mud at the outfall from the racecourse.
23rd definite signs of movement with a spotted flycatcher and 3 willow warbler (1 singing) in the paddock and 5 whitethroat on the field.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

A run of the mill autumn day

22nd August 15               morning                mid section

muggy,some sun,  16-22°c,  1017mb,   SE 5-7 mph,

The warblers are on the move as can be seen by the wildly fluctuating numbers,with blackcap predominating today but whitethroat yesterday and chiffchaff up and down, willow warbler one day but not the next. Also an increase in sightings of kingfisher,nuthatch and woodpeckers which are local breeding birds but always reappear as autumn takes hold.
Butterflies put in a good show  today, small copper probably the star.

Mallard few S&W Canal
Buzzard 2 1 moulting ad over Valley,   1 moulting ad >> N to the W of Meadow View
Moorhen few S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull 1 over Barleyfield
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Kingfisher 1 flew N along Smestow, Station Paddock,  10 mins later prob same flying N under Meadow View bridges,
Green Woodpecker calls Tettenhall Ridge
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 >> E to Central Scrub
Pied Wagtail 4 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing The Paddock
Robin 3 singing mid section
Whitethroat 1 Hanging Grds
Blackcap 5 mid section
Chiffchaff 1 Hanging Grds 
Long Tailed Tit few The Paddock
Coal Tit 2 The Paddock
Nuthatch 1 The Paddock
Jay calls Hanging Grds
Greenfinch 2 Hanging Grds
Goldfinch 1 The Paddock
Bullfinch pair Hanging Grds
Peacock 2 Barleyfield
Essex Skipper 1 Barleyfield
Common Blue 3 Barleyfield
Meadow Brown plenty Barleyfield
Gatekeeper 1+ Barleyfield
Holly Blue 2 Barleyfield  & Wetlands
Small White few Barleyfield
Small Copper 1 Barleyfield

Friday, 21 August 2015

A brief flurry of warblers, then bit and pieces

21st August 15          morning             mid section

Thick low cloud, 17-19°c, 1018mb, S 9 mph

A quiet start, the Paddocks were dead, a few more pied wags (7) than recently on Compton playing field.  Then I bumped into Ian ( haven't seen him for a while ) and we had 30 minutes of fairly intense warbler activity ( nothing funny about that ) whitethroats,chiffchaffs and a willow popping up all over the place, almost certainly the same few birds doing what they've been doing all week, but no blackcaps today which seem to have gone through. A pair of bullfinch and a greenfinch were at the top of Barleyfield and the moorhen with one small chick was still on the Prefab spill weir. Calling goldcrest and long-tailed tit were also noted.

Mallard few S&W Canal
Buzzard calls Valley
Moorhen 1 brood Prefab Weir
Black Headed Gull 18 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Pied Wagtail 7 Compton Field
Wren 1 singing meccano Grds
Whitethroat 3 Hanging Grds
Chiffchaff 3 Barleyfield
Willow Warbler 1 Hanging Grds X
Goldcrest calls Smestow Br
Long Tailed Tit calls The Paddock
Greenfinch 1 Central Scrub
Bullfinch pair Top Roses
Meadow Brown few Barleyfield

Thursday, 20 August 2015

A tale of two seasons

20th August 15              morning                 mid section

mostly cloudy,mild,  15-17°c,  1018mb,  SSE 4-S 8 mph.

A family of chiffchaff in the Shrike Bushes is possibly the last sign of summer and the breeding season for our migrants and a lonely swift heading south west over the Barleyfield is definitely on its way to Africa. A frustrating time of year for us birders when many of our breeding birds have left us but we are still anticipating the arrival of birds travelling south and stopping over in the valley to rest and feed before moving on. 

Buzzard 1 ad  SE over 1 moulting ad flew SE over Barleyfield,
Black Headed Gull 7 Compton Field
Swift 1 >> S over Barleyfield
Green Woodpecker calls Barleyfield
House Martin c10 over feeding high over Barleyfield
Pied Wagtail 2 Compton Field
Robin 1 singing The Paddock
Whitethroat 4 Hanging Grds
Blackcap 3 mid section
Chiffchaff 3 ( 2 juv ) Shrike Bushes
Jay 1 1 flew E across rail tr into Hanging Grds,
Chaffinch 3+ Graiseley Reedbed
Greenfinch 1 Meadow View
Bullfinch 4 ( 2 imm ) Barleyfield
Peacock 1 Barleyfield
Meadow Brown few Barleyfield
White sp few Barleyfield

small signs of change

Although much of yesterdays visit was similar to the weekend visits there were some differences.
Firstly,albeit feebly, a chiffchaff sang in the paddock. This is probably a young bird.
Secondly 3 pied wagtail, 2 adults and a presumed bird of the year were on the cricket pitch suggesting possible autumn passage.
Thirdly a calling nuthatch flew over Compton rough, first bird for 3 months.
Fourthly the moorhens by the spill weir finally have a single baby; same scenario as the other 2 pairs on the staffs canal with 2nd broods at wildside and towards wightwick i.e. a single youngster.
Otherwise very much same 4-7 blackcaps, whitethroat and chiffies and the willow warbler with the mixed flock.  Presume these are local birds but what about the willow??
Insectwise a brown hawker again on the rough and slightly surprisingly 2 gatekeeper still and an unidentified skipper.

Monday, 17 August 2015

More of the same.

Yesterday I suspect I got there just after Geoff left and had a similar experience with warblers.
All I can add is a willow in the paddocks along with 2 blackcaps and a chiffy.
I did get to 4 whitethroat at one point and had same this morning.  Oddly several chiffchaff this morning but no blackcap.
Kingfisher reported from pond both Saturday and sunday.
Green woodpecker very mobile today (or 2 birds).
2 separate mixed flocks around paddock the one at the top by the metal bridge had 2 treecreepers and a goldcrest.
Far fewer butterflies with only a single skipper which turned out to be an Essex.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Three hours on the Barleyfield

 16th August 15         sunrise till early          Barleyfield

sunny,chilly,misty,  6-11°c,  1017mb,   calm

A beautiful sunny start with blue sky at the top of the Barleyfield but thick mist down the hill. The early start just about paid off with a little more action on the warbler front but it's still very quiet. Blackcap and whitethroat were seen regularly in the western border but counting was difficult due to them moving up and down the hedges (  counting same bird numerous times  ) , most whitethroats together = 3, most blackcaps together = 3 but blackcaps covered a longer stretch of the hedgerow, no chiffchaff was a surprise. No early morning movement overhead to speak of ( pigeons, corvids or gulls ) was also a surprise.

Canada Goose 23 >> E over Barleyfield
Mallard 4 Wetlands
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over Barleyfield
House Martin 1 feeding 1 briefly feeding over Barleyfield,
Wren 1 singing Wetlands
Dunnock few Barleyfield
Robin 1 singing Annex Barleyfield
Song Thrush 2 Barleyfield
Whitethroat 3+ Hanging Grds
Blackcap 5+ Western Border
Jay 2 1 >> S along Valley,  1 >> N over Barleyfield Annex,
Jackdaw odds over 5 SW over Barleyfield,  then  odds over,
Chaffinch 1♀ Top Roses
Greenfinch 4 Barleyfield
Bullfinch 1 Hanging Grds

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Oh dear, one of those days

15th August 15               morning                mid section

Warm & sunny,  13-15°c,   1012mb,   WNW 7-W 9 mph

I have a stinking cold which is affecting my stamina and I wonder if it's also affecting my mental alertness  ( doesn't take much ). Heard a call which I didn't recognize, spent 10 minutes looking for the culprit, a small bird flew from the area, then a finch sized bird, nether of which I could identify. Later a glimpse of what looked like a treecreeper and then it was gone. A nondescript bird briefly in the shadows could have been a garden warbler? None of which I could claim. grrr.
The only highlight today was kingfisher which flew from the Smestow brook just south of Meadow View canal bridge to alight on an overhanging branch to fish, it only flew off when a jogger ran past, it went back to the Smestow.

Mallard few S&W Canal
Buzzard 1 ad over Barleyfield
Moorhen few S&W Canal
Black Headed Gull 4 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Kingfisher 1 1 fishing canal from Meadow View,
Green Woodpecker 1 Top of Barleyfield
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Compton Field
Pied Wagtail 2 Compton Field
Wren 2 singing mid section
Chiffchaff 1 calling Hanging Grds
Jay 1 Hanging Grds
Bullfinch calls Barleyfield

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Another quiet day

13th August 15           morning                 mid section

O/cast,   15-17°c,   1018mb,   ENE 10-NE 11 mph

12 mistle thrush on Wetlands field which were unwittingly flushed twice by people going about their enjoyment of the valley, relocated to the nearby Compton playing field. This will not be much of a problem for them at this time of year when there's plenty of food and plenty of daylight hours to find it,but in the middle of a cold spell in the depths of winter it could be the difference between life and death, or the birds or any other wildlife would have to move on.
Anyways there's not much going on today no butterflies or dragonflies and not many birds, the flowers are mostly going over to seed,so home for a cuppa.

Mallard 1 brood ♀ + 2      4 to 6 wk old juv  below Compton Lock,
Buzzard 1 over Barleyfield
Moorhen few Staffs & Wocs
Black Headed Gull 19 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Wren 1 singing Station Paddock
Robin 1 singing Station Paddock
Mistle Thrush 12 Wetlands Field flushed to Compton playing field
Blackcap 3+ 3-4 birds?  moving S along Western Border ( at least 1 a BC ),  2♀ type SB e,
Chiffchaff calls Lower Alders
Goldfinch calls Compton Roost ( roost bushes )
Bullfinch 2 Barleyfield

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Still no change after a week off

8th August 15          morning                 mid section

warm & sunny,    14-20°c,  1023mb,    variable 4-6 mph.

A good day for butterflies but not birds.All the bird song has now dwindled to nothing and still waiting for the robins to begin their autumn song, ( Ian had a couple of robins singing in the week.) Autumn passage should begin in earnest soon, the few summer visitors were seeing now could be passing through ( the willow warblers I had last week were almost certainly passage birds ) or could be local breeding birds with their young, we just don't know.
Local birds like tits and goldfinches are beginning to form flocks.

Black Headed Gull 50+ Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
Ring Necked Parakeet calls Barleyfield
Green Woodpecker calls Barleyfield, the Paddock
Whitethroat 2 Shrike Bushes
Blackcap 3 mid section
Chiffchaff 6 mid section
Goldfinch c10 Shrike Bushes


mid section

Peacock 1 Barleyfield
Small Skipper plenty Barleyfield
Essex Skipper 2+ Barleyfield
Comma 1 Barleyfield
Meadow Brown plenty Barleyfield
Gatekeeper 2 Barleyfield
Ringlet 2 Barleyfield
Small White few Barleyfield

Friday, 7 August 2015

More Thoughts on breeding season

Parakeet:  About the only point of interest yesterday was the sudden appearance of 2 parakeets aggressively chasing off a grey heron as it flew past the meccano bridge.  This suggests they have something to defend could it be a nest??  It would be late in terms of nesting but given young take 40-50days to fledge it is plausible.
Other reports of them are 2 in codsall this morning on staffs bird news and a credible report of up to 4 pairs in west park apparently now favouring the lake closer to town.

Moorhen:  Parakeets are thought to be single brooded in Uk but Moorhen are certainly not, so it is a little disappointing that we don't seem to have had any 2nd broods in the mid section.  However at least 11 birds have succeeded in surviving to full grown.  This is better than northern section where competition with coots may be an issue.  In the southern section there is a 2nd brood of one which was being looked after by a fully grown juvenile.  Interestingly there were also 2 half grown young  nearby and I could only see 2 adults.

Woodpeckers/Nuthatch;  Oddly lacking in breeding evidence for all 3 species with only a juv green woodie being regularly seen wonder if parakeets took over a w,pecker hole??

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

very quiet apart from parakeet

Have walked the length of the valley in last few days in a desperate search for some action.
Unsurprisingly birdwise little to report but plenty of butterflies including 2 holly blues and a brown hawker dragonfly.
So some reflections on the breeding season as it draws to a close.

Mute Swan: a report of a pair on the canal with 3 young at the south end was intriguing. I don't know if birds have bred at pool hall this year haven't seen any sign on occasional visits but there was a lonely 70% grown bird there on Saturday.

Sparrowhawk: fledged young from the regular site in the northern half.

Kingfisher: no repeat of last years nesting as far as we know although July sightings have included a dark bird which may well have been a juvenile. (regular at pool hall)

Swift: Local birds seem to have left with birds drifting south towards the end of last month e,g, 23 on the 26th but odd birds still passing thru inc 6 today.

Mistle thrush: flock of 11 on meccano field on 3rd Aug suggests good year as have song thrush and Blackbird.

Greenfinch flock of 14 at top of field again on 3rd also plenty of young goldfinch and Bullfinch.

Goldcrest:  seem to have done well with perhaps 6 successful pairs birds now joining the roving but elusive tit flock

House Sparrow:  not a bird we often mention but an adult female in the northwest corner of barleyfield could be the obvious answer to the persistent sparrow like cheeping we heard during June.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Tettenhall Ridge buzzards may have juvenile on the wing

1st August 15          morning          mid section

sunny spells,  11-16°c,  1014mb,   S 6- SW 9 mph

Three buzzards seen briefly a couple of time, flying between the trees on the steeply sloping edge of Tettenhall Ridge below a possible nest site, after possible calls to entice young into the air were heard.Otherwise its been very quiet today.

Mallard few S&W Canal
Sparrowhawk 1♀ flew north over  Tettenhall Ridge,
Buzzard 3,   poss 1 or 2 juv  seen briefly flying between trees of Tettenhall Ridge,
Moorhen 2 imm Wetlands
Black Headed Gull 22 Compton Field
Lesser Black Backed Gull odds over mid section
House Martin few over Newbridge
Wren 2 singing The Paddock
Whitethroat 2 ( 1 imm ) Hanging Grds 
Blackcap calls Hanging Grds
Chiffchaff 2 Barleyfield
Long Tailed Tit c6 Station Paddock
Greenfinch 2 Top Roses
Goldfinch 2 Shrike Bushes
Bullfinch 3+ mid section
Meadow Brown few Barleyfield