Thursday, 28 May 2015

Heres what to look for...

Keith Whitehouse read about my bogey bird in the last posting and decided to share his Little Bittern with me - Bless! That really makes me feel better about dipping them all over Europe!

Never mind its the thought that counts, so if you ever see one of these over the marsh, let me know or i'll never forgive you! - Chaz

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Springwatch surprise!

I have been very good this year, I haven't made one comment about Iolo Williams and his boring voice - "oh look here's a sparrow, there's lovely!" I didn't want to risk the wrath of the usual blog followers with Welsh heritage who normally give me ear-ache.

Look, I'm not being anti-welsh and I'm sure Mr Williams is a nice bloke, its just every time he opens his mouth I just think of the bloke in 'Porridge' who goes on and on (about the mating habits of frogs) in a bloody monotone.

Anyway - he wasn't the star attraction tonight - did you clock him, our own Phil Ward and his young lady on 'Unsprung' ? He's a bugger for the telly is Phil, hes been on more programmes than Bruce Forsythe over the years and there he was tonight with Jim Moire and that strange bloke the Urban Birder who seems to think its possible to make people like shite-hawks (sorry - Feral Pigeons). And as for squabs, the most distorted and ugly creatures in the world of birds in my opinion....and the urban birder had never seen one? (I wish I hadn't)!

Anyway, nothing too exciting going on locally. Kev Clements contacted me yesterday but I didn't get the chance to do an update. The Oystercatchers and chicks are still present, 41 Tufted Duck, 56 Canada Geese with 22 chicks, and the Lesser Whitethroat still performing by the Pelsall Road.

I had been over myself on Bank Holiday Monday and had seen 21 chicks creching with the Canada Geese and also the Oystercatchers (even Mrs Chaz saw the chicks too).

Waiting for the big rary (if we are going to get one) - Roseate Tern Perhaps or how about my Bogey bird, Little Bittern, I could just see one of those on the marsh (dreaming again see - my Dotterel stunt the other day got me a telling off from Tony Stackhouse, Dotterel is one of his bucket list birds and my musings the other day put his blood pressure up a bit)!

Anyway, if owt turns up, you will be the first to know. Have a good Thursday - Chaz

Monday, 25 May 2015

Not much happening

Two Common Tern on the Mere, both Oystercatchers with both chicks today.

Springwatch is back - finally they actually mention Cetties Warbler it sings in nearly every shot they take but it never gets mentioned and wouldn't have tonight if one of the guests hadn't photographed it! - Chaz

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Bank Holiday? Somewhere recommended

A young lady with a voice to die for! Go and listen to Ruby Saunders now for free at 'The Railway' 

Well, me and Mrs Chaz had a long walk over to 'The Railway' at Pelsall today. I was gutted, as this is their third Beer Festival and the first that I got to know about (I didn't hear about this one until yesterday - thanks Beryl).

Twenty guest beers on and almost non-stop entertainment. A great bunch of locals and some good food too. what more can you want? Amongst the acts performing is the young lady called Ruby Saunders (above) she has a wonderful talent and is one of those people you look at and think - if there is any justice she will be a huge success (Joan Baez - move over now)!

I will be there again on Monday afternoon (autographs available - half a pint each)! In the meantime, show your face and support an event that is trying to raise some well deserved funds for charity. Go and see Dave in the Bar in the yard and say a big hairy bloke called Chaz sent you. That might be enough to get you  barred but if it doesn't, it might get me a free pint on Monday - Chaz

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Unbelievable !!!

This morning I awoke to a glorious may day, one of the best for a while, and I thought to myself; "What a great day for finding the first passage Dotterel for the Marsh".

I was going over to do 'the duty' anyway, but something made me slip my camera into my pocket, something I very rarely do these days (lets face it the marsh and Mere are lovely, but it aint Minsmere).

The set-aside vegetation has grown hugely through the last few days and I was taking it in as I walked toward the tin bridge with that feeling that something good was there. I got to the tin bridge, crossed the stile and started scanning the paddocks. Male Oystercatcher, Mistle Thrush, three Starling and... not even a hint of a bloody Dotterel!

So much for psychic eh - still it doesn't hurt to dream does it?

Ryders Mere

I managed to get my first views of this years Oystercatcher chicks, both still alive and being closely guarded by their mother, two Common Tern and three lesser Black Backed Gull were the only other birds of note.

Clayhanger Marsh

Two Little Grebe today (and going by the size difference) I would say male and female, one Common Tern and three Lesser Black Backed Gull which included the very handsome bird (Above and Below) which seemed to have quite dark plumage, was long-winged and 'interesting'. Two Reed Warbler were singing at each other today and there were probably more singing Willow Warbler than I have heard at any other time this year.

There we are then, the usual suspects and an interesting gull for the time of year. Never mind, 102 days until the official start of autumn. - Chaz

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Midweek Update

Kev paid a brief visit today and found a Common Sandpiper on the Mere along with the pair of Oystercatcher and their two chicks but more interesting was the presence of a pair of Gadwall on the marsh. Gadwall are one of our regular winter visitors but for a pair to be present this far into the breeding season is certainly interesting.

The Gadwall story itself is quite an interesting one. When I started birding they were a regular winter visitor in comparatively small numbers but at some point the wild specimens began to be  supplemented by escaped Gadwall from collections which began to breed in Britain (with Cotswold Water Park being something of a stronghold during the 1980s).

Eventually they became such an established breeding species that the feral birds were allocated legitimate status on the British List and these days Gadwall are classified as a category A/C species with feral and wild birds effectively indistinguishable.

Fortunately they don't seem to compete at any level with other native species so we can regard the presence of a Gadwall at any time, as something that we can enjoy with a clear conscience. - Chaz

Sunday, 17 May 2015


Kev Clements sent me a report yesterday and if I have read it correctly, our Oystercatcher have two chicks (although I only saw an adult bird today). He also found one of the Garden Warbler still down by the sewage works.

Two weeks to go until the official end of Spring then at least another six weeks until I can realistically look for early autumn migrants - bugger-all happening worth talking about already - I'm bored!

Clayhanger Marsh today, all the usual suspects singing, one Common Tern and a Little Grebe, Ryders Mere; Cuckoo, two Common Tern and an Oystercatcher.

Of course, if like Gareth Clements I had been over there from 04.30 until 06.00 (When does he sleep?) I would have seen a late passage Arctic Tern, 17 Common Tern and at least one if not two Cuckoo.

First local Speckled Wood and Green Veined White butterflies this morning and that's it.

Thanks to Kev and Gareth for their reports this is a dejected Chaz wishing you all a good week (stroll-on Autumn) - Chaz