Monday, 16 January 2012

Sandwell Valley 14/1 & Middleton/Kingsbury 15/1

Had a busy weekend with one thing and another but managed to fit in a couple of hours at Sandwell RSPB on Saturday afternoon. After avoiding the traffic around the Hawthorns, I forgot the Albion were at home when we set out about half two.

Anyway we were hoping to see the snipe if they were still about, but no luck, we saw them last on the island opposite the hide but no sign this time. We walked around the lake from the forge mill car park, nothing out of the ordinary, but here's what we did see:

Canada Goose (great views of a couple of flocks coming in at dusk the noise of geese coming in is always worth hanging around for), Tufted Duck, Black Headed Gull, Pochard, Teal, Goosander (Quite a few about both on the lake and river), Lesser Black Backed Gull, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Crow, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Bullfinch, Great Tit, Grey Heron, Blue Tit, Redwing, Coot, Moorhen, Dunnock, Lapwing, Magpie, Mallard and Blackbird.

We were also delighted to see a fox trying to catch the Lapwings unaware (not that he succeeded, thankfully) as they quickly moved from the shore to the scrapes.

On Sunday after the gym we headed upto Middleton, this will probably be our last visit for a while, probably until spring, unless something out of the ordinary turns up! We decided to park up at the RSPB car park, go over the canal and have a walk down to Cliff Pool at Kingsbury, then back up the canal and through the Meadow trail hoping to see the Short Eared Owls by the river later in the afternoon.

The feeders near the Heronry produced:
Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting and Great Spotted Woodpecker
Followed by Long Tailed Tits in the reeds opposite the Rookery.

Had a quick look at Fishers Pool, before heading down the canal, again usual culprits about:
Coot, Mute Swan, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, BHG, Gadwall, Wigeon and a Buzzard flying along the back by the river.

We set off down the canal, but as it was such a lovely day there were lots of walkers, children, dogs etc. about and the hedgerows were empty, which was a bit disappointing. So we just enjoyed the sun instead.
This was our first visit to Cliff Pool, so we did all the hides. Not too much to see from the first hide as most of the pool was frozen near the hides and all the birds were over the far side of the pool in the sun. So we went the second hide, this was much better, so we settled down and got the flasks out.
The haul for cliff pool:
Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Greylag (just one!), Coot, Moorhen, BHG, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Buzzard, Crow, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Robin, Buzzard
Just a note that the male Goldeneye were displaying, throwing their heads back, didnt see any females though.

We then headed back up the canal, which thankfully was now deserted and we had the good fortune to get a grand display by a Kingfisher looking for gaps in the ice, he gave us some great views,

We left the canal and went back through the Meadow Trail, on the way to the bench by the river, where were told the S.E Owls have been hunting, we added Redwing and  a Fieldfare to the tally. (The fieldfare was on his own fighting off a Blackbird who was after the berries in the same bush)
We arrived at the bench and again got a flask out (3 in my backpack, and 1 in Tina's!!)
Of course no Owls, but did add a pair of Goosander flying along the river and a Little Grebe diving in front of us. So as we didn't want to do the woods in the dark, we headed back, pausing briefly by the screen at Fishers, to add Lapwings which had now arrived to settle down for the night.

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