Wednesday, 27 January 2010

No go areas in theTame valley

Blackcap, Ladywalk Nature Reserve


Whose watching who?


Wednesday 27th January 2010

Felt I'd neglected the Tame valley so it was overdue a visit. I started at Kingsbury Water Park. Not because I expected to see any birds but it was somewhere handy to park. Met Chris Cooke and we checked out Richards meadow for a reported Stonechat before going our separate ways. I carried on up to Fisher's Mill, there were alot of Gulls on the next pool north, including a Yellow legged Gull. The walk back proved equally fruitless. I moved on to Coton, at least that was the plan. There was a pick up parked at the entrance to the Car park in an unusual position but I didn't give it alot of thought as I gathered my gear together to give the pool a quick scan. As I approached the pick up a bloke jumped out to bar my path. 'Its closed' he said. 'We're shooting, um culling', should'nt be long now.' I was a bit stunned. 'Not many ducks on there' I said. Bit of an understatement if they'd been blasting away all morning. You sometimes say stupid things when you're taken by surprise. No good argueing, he'd have played the old 'elf and safety card I suppose. I might have got away with it wearing a luminous jacket and a hard hat but orange really isnt my colour.
So my visit to the Cedars cafe was somewhat earlier than I'd planned. Next stop was Ladywalk, as I pulled into the car park the Blackcap was feeding on an apple so I stopped to take a few shots. A phone call from Steve Cawthray had me on the move again. 5 probable White fronted Geese had been seen in flight heading north. So it was a question of searching fields around Bodymoor Heath towards Middleton and Drayton Bassett. After an unsuccessful tour round I met up with Steve at the Drayton Bassett pits. He'd seen some small geese flying this way but there was no sign of them now. There were a good number of other birds to be seen though, including Shelduck 17, Green Sandpiper 4, Redshank 2, Little Egret and two drake Pintail.

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