Birdwatchers: Blithfield Report 26 October 2016

Eighteen of us met our guide Peter Betts of the West Midlands Bird Club at the car park at the western end of the causeway. We quickly latched on to the Meadow Pipits nearby, including those on the causeway wall. However it was a brief stop and we were soon on our way to the Education Centre within the boundary of the Severn Trent property.

Our first stop was at the feeders behind the Education Centre where we quickly racked up three Tit species, Nuthatch (there were at least two), and a couple of Wrens disputing the ownership of a bramble bush. The ground under the feeders was not easy to view, but Louise found a female Brambling hoovering up the spill from the feeders above. It had the good manners to hang around long enough for most of us to see it.

We walked down through the woodland to the Tad Bay Hide, where we found ourselves cramped for space. Nevertheless we were soon noting down Greylag, Teal, a small flock of Tufted and with them a solitary Pochard. Lapwing and Golden Plover swirled over the muddy margins, along with a couple of Shelduck, and quite a few moulting Shoveler. The group split into two to go down to the forward Tad Bay hide, which was smaller. Here a single Ruff and over a dozen Dunlin were picked out, while a couple of Goldeneye were spotted on the far side between dives, and Little Grebe too. The parties swapped over and Andrew picked out a couple of Barnacle Geese, inconspicuous among the Greylags. Just as we were about to rejoin the others in the main hide, a small wader was seen in the corner of the lagoon closest to the hide. We worked our way through the identification features – not a Redshank, the legs weren’t red, bill not quite long enough for a Dunlin, plumage on the back somewhat spangled certainly unlike Green or Common Sandpiper, but it did bob up and down like a sandpiper. We got there in the end, identifying the bird as a Wood Sandpiper, one of which had been hanging around the reservoir for a couple of weeks.

As we arrived back at the main hide, Dave H alerted us to the fact that there might be a stranger, perhaps a Grey Plover, among the Golden. Unfortunately we could not pick it out in the time remaining to us, and we had to move on. We crossed the peninsula to the Blith Bay side, where trees held numerous Blackbirds and Redwings, and a single Fieldfare. As we approached the first hide, a Green Woodpecker’s bounding flight was noted as it followed the boundary fence. We packed out this hide to eat our lunch, and moved to a second, even smaller, later. New species were not there, although we picked out just one Golden Plover, and the dozen Dunlin and the Wood Sandpiper as they dropped in from their preferred roost in Tad Bay.

We arrived back at the car park, and a quick check of the feeders produced a Great Spotted Woodpecker for the list, which amounted to 46 species for the day.

Blithfield Bird List 26 October 2016 

Greylag Goose Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Canada Goose Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Barnacle Goose 2 among Greylag in Tad Bay
Shelduck 2 Tad Bay
Wigeon Flocks in both Tad and Blith Bays
Teal Several in both Tad and Blith Bays
Mallard Ubiquitous
Shoveler Good numbers in Tad Bay
Pochard Single with Tufted Tad Bay
Tufted Duck Small flock in Tad Bay
Goldeneye 2 in Tad Bay
Pheasant 1 under feeders, 3 Blith Bay
Little Grebe 1 Tad Bay
Great Crested Grebe In several places across the reservoir
Cormorant In several places across the reservoir
Buzzard 1 seen from Tad Bay, 3 from Blith Bay
Moorhen Tad Bay
Coot Tad & Blith Bays
Golden Plover Single Blith Bay, flock in Tad Bay
Lapwing Good numbers in Tad Bay, some in Blith Bay
Dunlin approx 12 seen in Tad & Blith Bays
Ruff Single Tad Bay
Wood Sandpiper Seen both Tad & Blith Bays
Black-headed Gull Ubiquitous
Lesser Black-backed Gull Flocks in both bays.
Wood-Pigeon Seen Tad Bay
Green Woodpecker Seen Blith Bay, flew up fence line
Great Spotted Woodpecker Feeders.
Meadow Pipit Seen from Causeway car park
Pied Wagtail Tad Bay
Wren Feeders
Dunnock Feeders
Robin Feeders
Blackbird Blith Bay
Fieldfare Blith Bay
Redwing Blith Bay
Blue Tit Feeders.
Great Tit Feeders
Coal Tit Feeders
Nuthatch Feeders
Jay Seen on the approach
Jackdaw Tad Bay
Crow Ubiquitous
Starling Tad Bay
Chaffinch Feeders
Brambling Female under feeders