Thursday, 19 February 2009

19th February 2009

I cycled to Earlswood again today, during the morning and early afternoon. In the field surrounding the Hungry Horse, I managed to count 121 Golden Plovers, 122 Lapwings, 5 Stock Doves and 15 Carrion Crows; and 1 Buzzard nearby. 3 more Lapwings were seen in a meadow further away. At the lakes, I didn't visit Terry's Pool but did see 20+ Great Crested Grebes on the other two pools, as well as 4 Jays along Valley Road. Rooks were seen in fields at Waring's Green again, though this time I counted 10+ (I would be interested to know if there's a rookery near here). My best sighting today though was a Skylark (first definite sighting of one!) performing its song-flight over a field in the area; there were possibly two other Skylarks with it but I couldn't be certain. I also saw a female Indian Peafowl (!) in front gardens along Rumbush Lane, though she eventually jumped onto someone's garage and moved towards their back garden so I assume this was not a feral bird.

Surrounding areas
From now on, I hope to report on here anything notable that I see at areas near Earlswood, because the full title of this blog has always been "Birds of Earlswood ...and surrounding areas", yet I've hardly ever reported the birds that I see in areas adjacent to Earlswood. I live in Tidbury Green, one such area, and quite often see bird species that would get a mention on this blog. In the last 4-5 months, off the top of my head these would include Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Common Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Raven and Brambling; today during the morning, 2 Goldcrests and 1 Coal Tit visited my garden, whilst 1 Stock Dove, 1 Collared Dove, 3 Dunnocks, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Starlings (usually just one or two seen), 4-5 Greenfinches, 3 Siskins (my first definite sighting of this species here this winter!) and 2 Bullfinches were seen or heard in surrounding gardens.
I occasionally visit nearby Dickens Heath "village", which was once mainly greenbelt farmland but has now been redeveloped, to look at the "nature reserve" and a few ponds there, but Siskins and Bullfinches are about the most notable birds I've seen there; however, in the 1990s Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and a Hoopoe were reported seen there, and as a young boy I believe I saw a Lapwing with 2 chicks in an area now lost to houses.
Reg The Birder (other main contributor of this blog) also lives near Earlswood at Wythall and often reports on his blog what he sees in that part of Worcestershire. Wythall is most notable for being the only place in the West Midland Bird Club recording area where a Lesser Grey Shrike has occurred, in 1987.
Anyway, these settlements aside, one area that's good for birdwatching is Blythe Valley Park, situated less than 1.5 miles ENE of Earlswood Lakes at Junction 4 of the M42. Apart from the buildings and roads, the park consists of small pools, reedbeds, grassland and woodland, and has a bird feeding station and a hide that overlooks one of the larger pools. Quail and Wood Lark are two particularly notable bird species that have been seen at this wildlife haven in recent years, and some wildlife sightings up to 2007 can be viewed here. Today, after Earlswood, I visited this park for only the second time (my first time this year) though 2 Little Grebes, 2 Mute Swans, 22+ Goldfinches and 1 Reed Bunting were my best sightings there.
M.P. Griffiths

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