Worcestershire Record No. 19 November 2005 p. 12


by Gavin Peplow

After rather a cool spring, temperatures increased from mid-June and there followed several hot spells interspersed with more unsettled weather lasting through well into the autumn. In addition to many of the expected visitors, there has been a good scattering of less usual species, mainly concentrated during the spring and autumn passage periods.

May began with a late Redwing at Castlemorton Common and Little and Sandwich Terns at Upton Warren and Ryall respectively. Tern passage was otherwise fairly unspectacular though 15 Black Terns at Kinsham mid month were notable. Unfortunately the best bird of the month – an adult Rose-coloured Starling - was only to be enjoyed by its finder whilst it remained in a private back garden at Callow End over a four day period.

Wader passage was generally very poor but a Temminck’s Stint at Grimley proved to be the first of four found during the middle part of the month – two also being discovered at Lower Moor, with another singleton at Ryall Gravel Pits – a very notable passage for this species in the County.

A Little Egret was along the River Avon by Pershore Bridge, and an un-ringed White Stork which was seen in the Evesham area, eventually settled down at Middle Littleton where it’s extremely confiding nature indicated a captive origin. One or more Red Kites were seen on Bredon Hill and the surrounding area during the month and an Osprey passed over Bittell in the first week. Other May highlights included a Black-necked Grebe at Westwood, a Quail at Throckmorton Tip, with drake Garganeys at Grimley and Upton Warren. This last site also hosted a first summer Little Gull from the end of the month and it remained on site until well into July.

June as usual was much quieter for birding but the surprise of the month arrived in the form of a Marsh Warbler which sang briefly one evening at Upton Warren. Amazingly, the same or perhaps another was heard a couple of weeks later at Grimley, but again only stayed the one day. This is the first time since 1998 that this species has been recorded in Worcestershire following its sad demise as a breeding species in the mid 1990’s. Three Quail were found at Tanwood and continued to call there regularly into July.

Crossbill numbers meanwhile increased during July with birds noted from several sites although the highest count of 45 came from traditional areas of the Wyre Forest. Perhaps the Tanwood Quail relocated to Chaddesley Corbett where two birds were calling late in the month and the first of three autumn Black-necked Grebes – a juvenile, was found at Westwood. It is pleasing to report that a pair of Avocets were again successful at Upton Warren with two young fledged this year. A party of 36 Goosander at Grimley at the end of July comprised mainly juveniles and could have been indicative of local breeding; it certainly was unusual for this time of year. Now to be expected, Little Egrets were seen regularly from mid month with up to four birds favouring the Gwen Finch Reserve at Nafford and two at both Grimley and Upton Warren. A different White Stork, this time wearing a colour ring, took up residence at Throckmorton Tip and was believed to be a bird seen a few days earlier at Flamborough in Yorkshire. Its origins have however yet to be determined either way!

Several juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were found from the end of July and through August along with a few passage waders such as single Spotted Redshank that were seen briefly at Kinsham and Bittell. A juvenile Marsh Harrier over Clifton Pit in mid-August proved to be the only one of this species seen during the autumn whilst unsettled weather mid month yielded 14 Black Terns and three Little Gulls at Bittell.

September produced yet another Temminck’s Stint, this time at Kinsham, though other passage waders were in rather short supply with those that were found, including Knot and Turnstone at Bittell, only staying a short while. A Wryneck was seen briefly near Stourport whilst a party of 16 Pink-footed Geese over Hollybed Common mid-month were perhaps a little earlier than might be expected for genuine wild birds ? The Throckmorton White Stork remained until the second week of September whilst the highlight for many was an extremely confiding juvenile Dotterel on the North Malverns towards the end of the month.

Upton Warren enjoyed a good spell in early to mid October with a Curlew Sandpiper closely followed by a Great Grey Shrike, which unfortunately didn’t linger. Presumably a returning Bittern was then seen regularly on the Moors Pool from the middle of the month. Several Rock Pipits were found whilst consistent coverage of the northernmost Malvern Hills reaped good rewards with notable transient species including Woodlark, Hawfinch, Short-eared Owl and an excellent passage of Ring Ouzels with up to 20 birds being seen on one date. This last species was recorded in good numbers throughout the Country mid month and a further 11 birds were also seen on Bredon Hill at this time. A Black Redstart provided a first record for Westwood whilst a Red-breasted Merganser there was more typical at the month’s end. A Snow Bunting seen over Lower Moor in late October was a reminder that winter was on its way, but perhaps the milder than average conditions at this time encouraged a late Little Egret to linger at Nafford and more exceptionally, an Osprey to continue frequenting a well stocked fish pond just outside Bewdley as November approached!

Records compiled from reports received by Birdline Midlands. Please phone through details of all your interesting sightings to the 24-hour Hotline on 01905-754154 (free on application to regular callers). For all the latest information on birds currently within Worcestershire and the Midlands Region, call 09068-700247 (calls charged at 60p per minute).

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