Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Kings Norton Nature Reserve 21/02/16

On Sunday I was very happy to be back at my local patch for the first time in a few weeks - the previous weekend I'd been both ill and not in Birmingham, and the weekend before that the weather had been truly dreadful! I still wasn't feeling 100% recovered from my illness (which I'd decided with the help of Dr Google was probably a chest infection), but I was determined to see what I could find at Kings Norton Nature Reserve. It was a good trip, assuming that none of my sightings were illness-induced hallucinations! I took plenty of (admittedly dreadful) photos of the best one, to be extra sure ;o)

Here are my highlights; I saw 38 species in all, of which one was a new one for me at this site. I've now seen 56 species in total at the reserve. It was a bit of a wildfowl extravaganza this time around....
  • 11 Teal on Wychall Reservoir - as far as I could tell. The marshy nooks and crannies of the reservoir make it a bit difficult to count the Teal, but obviously provide them with some nice habitat!
  • Four Goosanders and seven Tufted Ducks on Merecroft Pool.
  • Also on Merecroft Pool, TWO male Shovelers - I'd only previously had one there.
  • My most unexpected and exciting bird of this trip - a lovely male MANDARIN DUCK on Merecroft Pool! Provenance unknown but it sounds like he'd been doing the rounds of various local sites - I bumped into another birder who said a Mandarin had been seen at Upton Warren in the week, and Adrian (a fellow KNNR patch birder!) spotted a Mandarin in Cannon Hill Park on Monday morning. Most likely all the same bird. We may not ever see the Mandarin at KNNR again but I don't know, there are some very nice overhanging branches and secluded spots around the edge of the pool of the type favoured by Mandarins, I think he should come back ;o)
  • A pair of Grey Herons building a nest in an Alder on the island in Merecroft Pool.
  • A very large flock of Goldfinches in the bushes around the top end of British Waterways Meadow, with a few Siskins interspersed among them. I watched and listened for ages but couldn't find any Redpolls in there.
  • A Sparrowhawk flying over the Paddocks.
  • A Buzzard over Wychall Reservoir.
  • A Treecreeper in trees along the Rea Valley route, not long after I'd entered from Westhill Road.
Sadly I neglected the West Extension once again - I'd pretty much run out of energy by the time I reached Popes Lane, but am looking forward to getting back to KNNR for the guided walk this Saturday, by which time I am sure I'll be 100% recovered.

Here are a couple of scenes of the reserve from my trip:

Path down the side of the paddocks.
Pinehurst Meadow (HDR) - it was a bit windy for HDRs really, some dodgy alignment in there.

Unfortunately I hadn't brought my zoom lens with me, so could only take some truly dreadful record shots of the Mandarin!

View full size to spot the Mandarin!
View full size to spot the Mandarin!
I also took a few photos of the Herons building their nest, again rather far away:

Grey Herons nesting.
Grey Herons nesting.

The reason I'd left my zoom lens behind was to bring my close-up lens instead, to photograph some plants - I've recently started a new course, Identiplant, which will enable me to develop my botanical identification skills to a more advanced level. At the moment I know quite a few common plants, but this course should equip me with the skills to use a floristic key properly and therefore the ability (in theory) to identify any plant! As part of my first assignment I had to find three monocots in flower; not too hard at this time of year, especially with the warm weather we've been having over much of winter. I don't actually have to take photos of the plants I find for my assignments, but I enjoy doing it and it's a good way to keep records. Here's what I found, hopefully my identifications are correct:

Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop).
Crocus vernus (Spring Crocus).
Muscari armeniacum (Garden Grape Hyacinth). OK so I cheated a bit, I actually took this photo in our neighbour's front garden when I got home!


Blackbird Goosander Nuthatch
Black-headed Gull Great Spotted Woodpecker Robin
Blue Tit Great Tit Shoveler
Bullfinch Greenfinch Siskin
Buzzard Grey Heron Sparrowhawk
Carrion Crow Herring Gull Starling
Chaffinch Jackdaw Stock Dove
Coal Tit Lesser Black-backed Gull Teal
Coot Long-tailed Tit Treecreeper
Dunnock Magpie Tufted Duck
Feral Pigeon Mallard Woodpigeon
Goldcrest Mandarin Duck Wren
Goldfinch Moorhen

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