Monday, 7 January 2013

5th Janvier

It was back into the old work thing a bit sharpish this year and Day 5 of 2013 was only Day 2 of birding. Sadly, no Waxwings around North Solihull and the only thing I had was a year tick of a Sparrowhawk to keep me going. Harsh times.

Saturday was mainly spent around Cannock way with Martyn & Ian and we began at Coven Heath. Coven Heath may sound like the setting of a Thomas Hardy novel, but it is actually an area with a small sewage works and some nice stubble fields, lined with hawthorn scrub etc. It is a place that warrants further exploration. On this occasion we noted c200 Chaffinch, 9 Yellowhammer, Skylark, Grey Wagtail, Stock Dove, Lesser Redpoll and Buzzard.

Next on to Gailey, where the regular adult Med Gull was on the water with the Black-headed Gull flock, which numbered over 300 birds. Bit of a stunner the Med.

Med Gull - Image courtesy Martyn Yapp

Sadly it soon flew and all the other birds were flushed when boating activities began on the water, so like them we decided to move along.

Our next stop was the area around Kingswood Tip, where we had a feeling that the Glaucous Gull might be poking about. The second-winter Glauc that had come into Chasewater on recent evenings was as yet unaccounted for in the day times. Immense numbers of gulls using this area to feed; it was odds on it would be here somewhere, but with the main part of the tip not viewable and 1000's of highly mobile gulls, finding it might be a different matter.

Of the thousands of gulls in the air, we could pick out no white-wingers, so we relocated slightly down the road to the area opposite Kingswood Pool. No gulls at all on the water, but quite a gathering on the corrugated roof of the factory opposite.

How lucky can you get? The second-winter Glaucous Gull was sat on the roof, right at the front! Gullmazing! Now if you don't get excited by a big, fat, dirty, smelly white-winger, why are you in birding? I was and it proper made my day.

Glauc! Image courtesy Martyn Yapp

This certainly didn't appear to be the largest Glauc I'd ever seen, but still a brute in appearance we watched it for a while until it wandered into the melee of gulls.

2 Goosander were on the small pool.

Next to the Chase, where the Great Grey Shrike was eezy peasy at Upper Longdon. This bird is currently quite reliable in the usual clearfell spot.

Great Grey Shrike at Upper Longdon - Image courtesy Dave Hutton

The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around various areas of Cannock Chase. Highlights included a fine pair of Stonechat atop the heather, 2 Green Woodpecker, 1 Great-Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Raven and  a Treecreeper.

Only two days spent in the field so far and there's been some outstanding birds to see locally. Let's hope it continues for a good birding year in  the West Midlands region....

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