Thursday, 26 May 2011

Warwickshire Flora Group field meeting

Note the following Warwickshire Flora Group field meeting is being held at Earlswood this Saturday:

Saturday 28 May - Clowes Wood and Earlswood Lakes

The reserve is about 5 miles south of Solihull. Please park in small reserve car park at SP101743 in Wood Lane or carefully outside in the road. Ron Hill, the warden, will lead us around the site.

Targets: rare sedges, Wood Horsetail, Heath Spotted Orchid, Lily of the Valley, Bitter Vetch, Marsh Violet, Northern Yellow-cress.

Meeting will start at 10 a.m. and finish at about 3.30 p.m. or when everybody has had enough.

Please bring sandwiches and drinks. Walking will be limited to a couple of miles.

Weekday meetings will start at 10 a.m. and finish at about 1 p.m.

You do not need to be a member of the BSBI or anything else to come along. You can be a beginner or an expert, or just interested in identifying and finding plants. Please bring field guides and a lens if you have one.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Night Heron present for ninth day

The Night Heron put in a very late appearance yesterday at 9:15 pm, flying over Windmill Pool towards the canal. I was therefore pleased to see it fly over the lakes from that direction at 7:00 am this morning, hopefully having just had a good night's feeding. There's a chance it may leave Earlswood tonight or tomorrow night, as the next two nights are forecast to be clear according to

A Garden Warbler appears to be holding territory along the west side of Windmill Pool at the moment.


Saturday, 21 May 2011

Night Heron present for a week

The Night Heron was seen flying over the lakes this morning at 6:40 am and this evening at 8:30 pm, both times viewed from the causeway by patient birders. How long will it stay? Here's Dave Hutton's excellent photos of the little stunner:

Adult Night Heron, Terry's Green, 18/05/2011 (all © Dave Hutton)

Note that one of the head plume feathers is visible in photo 3.

Not much else of note was around today, though a Garden Warbler singing along the railway in Clowes Wood was my first in those woods. Nearby, saw a Cinnabar moth at the Railway Scrubland (my first for a couple of years).


Thursday, 19 May 2011

Night Heron still in area

Arrived at the lakes this afternoon after a long rest, and was directed to a rather confiding Ringed Plover at Windmill Pool by Jim Winsper - another wader patch tick! Pete Walkden took some excellent shots of it which I'll try to put on here soon. It was also great to see that the Engine Pool island has just started to appear today, so it could be a brilliant year for waders at Earlswood - 10 species recorded so far! With five tern species and perhaps Earlswood's rarest bird ever found, 2011 looks set to be a smashing year for the patch.

The Night Heron was seen again this afternoon, and twice flew over Springbrook Lane, lastly at 8:55 pm which was the only time I saw it. So far the bird has been flushed just a few times, but I'm concerned that it could be excessively disturbed, so please search areas where it might be flushed after 5 pm to a) let the bird rest and b) allow more birders a better chance of seeing it. Around another 20-30 birders saw it today, and I think most of the people who've made more than one attempt have now seen it.


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Night Heron makes a third showing

Great afternoon! Night Heron was refound late afternoon by Mike Doughty in roughly the same area of the Spring Brook Scrubland where it was last seen perched yesterday late evening. After visiting Windmill Pool it flew off, where by an amazing stroke of luck it was seen flying over Springbrook Lane by Richard Harbird as he was driving along there! He located it in a tree at a large pond, where I finally managed to get a brilliant view of it perched, and Dave Hutton got some smashing shots (now on web). The bird then relocated to around a wooded marlpit at Springbrook Farm (Terry's Green), where patient birders waiting at the gate near the junction of Malthouse Lane and Small Lane eventually were rewarded with a couple of decent flight views, last seen flushed by a crow and seemed to fly down to the area near the two bridges along Springbrook Lane (near where Mike first had it), sometime around 8 pm. This is the last definite sighting I know of.

Many of the birders who've put the hours in have been rewarded now. Over 30 people have seen it so far. I hope more see it, but please keep disturbance at the scrubland to a minimum (breeding birds) - try scanning trees next to water. I still think the causeway is worth staking out too, though the bird is covering a large area (at least 1 x 2 km).

Everyone who's thought about the age of the bird agrees it's an adult.

Another highlight for me today was a Redshank over Engine Pool this morning, which John Sirrett put me on to (another patch tick).


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Night Heron reappears!

After no sign yesterday, I saw the Night Heron fly over from the northeast (probably from the canal), over the Malthouse Lane causeway then fly down to Terry's Pool at 10:05 am today. This is the 3rd time I've located it from the white railings at that causeway, so clearly the place to go if anyone's interested. Maybe best to get there 7:00 pm or earlier, as on Sunday evening the bird appeared at 7:20 pm. Fingers crossed...

Also finally saw a Hobby over Engine Pool, and the Mandarin Duck and a Common Sandpiper were at Windmill Pool.


Sunday, 15 May 2011


I found a Night Heron at the lakes c. 9:00 am this morning briefly from Malthouse Lane causeway, when last seen flying towards Terry's Pool. Bird was also seen by Jon Chidwick (who ID'ed it) and Kevin Bates - a lifer for me and Kevin, and a first for Earlswood!!!

The bird reappeared this evening, when I confirmed age as adult, first seen over Engine Pool before disappearing along Valley Road. It then rose and was back over Engine Pool, where it perched for a few minutes in a tree along the northwest side, and although distant the head plumes could be made out. It moved to Terry's Pool, where it was seen once or twice, lastly around 8:15 pm. Unfortunately when I refound it I was only able to text Mike Inskip before my mobile's batteries went dead (really sorry), after all the texts/calls I made this morning! Mike tried to contact some birders but none could make it. He was able to see the bird, making just four birders who've done so.

There's a good chance it'll still be there tomorrow if anyone's interested. Terry's Pool is the smaller, western one. Closest car park is at Malthouse Lane. Long overdue path maintenance work along the north side of Terry's Pool is due to start tomorrow, but not sure if this will mean less or more disturbance there.

M.P. Griffiths

Sunday, 1 May 2011

93+ arctic terns through, and an adult-summer little gull at the lakes today!!!