Saturday, 5 December 2009

Exploring the Tame river valley

Pioneers explore the upper reaches of the river Tame river.

Dutch ringed Cormorant - Cliff pool, Kingsbury

Finches over Tamworth, part of a large flock near Fishers Mill.
Saturday 5th December 2009

I didnt think Birders did Christmas shopping but judging my how many folk I saw in the Tame valley I should imagine the shops were doing a roaring trade. After stopping to check the Tree sparrows at Mancetter I spent most of the day in the Tame valley. Geoff Williams was doing the rounds but apart from a few people in the hides at Cliff pool it was very quiet.
There was no sign of any Tree sparrows at Mancetter and the walk around the waterski centre and Dosthill N.R. didn't produce anything unusual. The one thing that did strike me was the numbers of finches around Fishers Mill. One flock of mainly Linnets and Goldfinch must have been close to 100 birds. They had attracted perhaps 3 Sparrowhawks to the hedges and trees on the fringes of the pools and it may not be too long before a Merlin takes up residence in the more open areas. There was no sign of the Smew but the Goldeneye on the Dosthill N.R. reached double figures.
As I wandered round the Waterski pits I pondered on the pros and cons of the development. The bunds did provide good feeding areas for finches and even Short eared Owls, but the high powered motor boats and yells of the adrenaline junkies in tow ensured the water was bird free.
I also wondered about the erosion of the banks in the Fishers Mill area. The river was running high such that the water level in the river was higher than the level in the surrounding area it may not be too long before the banks are breached creating a huge problem for the RSPB reserve.
On Kingsbury Water Park the best bird was a female Goosander on Canal pool, while on Cliff pool the Dutch ringed Cormorant was in its usual spot.

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