Monday 9 March 2009

Whitacre & Kingsbury

After Friday's Spring-like sunshine, Saturday was supposed to be gloomy, so it was a pleasant surprise to awaken to sunshine. Reading about siskin and redpoll being seen over at Whitacre Heath tempted me over that way, but not this time into the woods. No, the birds had been seen at the car park feeders, so I could be sat in comfort for once.

Parking alongside the feeders, there were a few birds already around, including blue and great tits, chaffinches, robins, dunnocks and a few reed buntings. It's a good spot for photos actually, as the sun is behind you, and lights up the branches of the tree and the ground. Whilst waiting for something "good" to arrive, I decided it'd be rude not to photo the reed buntings, as they're such well marked birds.

Alas it wasn't to be my day for the target birds, as I saw neither siskin nor redpoll. However, I did get to see several greenfinches, which despite being present in my garden, have managed to avoid the aim of my lens to date.

A couple of hours sat in the car were enough to move on, and over to Kingsbury Water Park. I've not been there for a while, and wanted to have a nose at the Middleton Hall RSPB reserve too, as well as Richard's Meadow. The latter is apparently good for hen harriers and short-eared owls, though only sheep were present when I was wandering through it.

In fact the whole area seemed pretty quiet on the bird front. There were a few gulls on the lakes at the RSPB bomb site - that's what it looks like! And along the canal were a few long-tailed tits, and a great spotted woodpecker, but all at a distance.

What wasn't at a distance, and disturbingly close to the new reserve, were American Mink. Caught sight of one swimming along the edge of the canal, causing the water to froth as the fish leapt out of its way. It surfaced with a huge fish in its mouth, and, as I followed along the other side, made its way along the water's edge to somewhere it could eat in peace. Undeniably cute in their appearance, I hope the RSPB have some traps ready, because they're a real pain the **** for conservation.

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