Monday, 21 September 2015

Sandwell Valley - September 2015

Yesterday I was back once again for my monthly volunteering jaunt at RSPB Sandwell Valley. It had been a while since I was last there - September has been very busy so far, we went to End of the Road festival, had a week in the Lake District, oh and I FINISHED MY DEGREE! I submitted my final assignment on Saturday so now I have a bit more free time to play with and am looking forward to cracking on with various other fun projects that I've been planning for a while. 

Back to Sandwell Valley though.....Alf was off gallivanting around Portland Bill for the weekend so we didn't have our usual morning stroll, instead I was in the hide all day - I had no complaints about that though. I had my new camera with me and was looking forward to trying it out. Bird-wise it was quiet-ish, a few dregs of summer migrants were still sloshing about - we saw quite a few Swallows from the hide and there were several Chiffchaffs about, I even heard one singing briefly when I first arrived at the reserve. Small numbers of winter visitors have started to arrive - we had nice views of 2 Snipe feeding on the shore of Forge Mill Lake, and small groups of Teal and Shoveler dibbling around. We also enjoyed the antics of a Kingfisher making its way around the lake, stopping to sit on nearly every number-post; later on it was joined by its partner near the sluice gate. A Little Egret was a somewhat unusual visitor too, they only occasionally swing by Sandwell Valley, but this one had apparently been around for a while.

Here are a few photos...........

Little Egret on the move.

Massively cropped so not a good photo, but this gull (perching) is really bugging me! The one on the water is a Lesser Black-backed, the weird gull had similarly-coloured wings but pink legs and the strange bill pattern. Is it just a weird juvenile?
Robin outside the hide.
And here are some drawings! 

Black-headed Gull sketch.
A mixed bag of Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull sketches.
Back up at the centre I bought one of the limited edition Snipe badges to commemorate the opening of the new visitor centre. A lovely design and still some available, pin badge fans!

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