Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Staffs Birding

This is a bit of a belated entry as I've either had no signal or have been too pooped to blog.

Last Thursday I walked out from Alrewas where Muriel was moored to visit Croxall Lakes, a Staffs Wildlife Trust Reserve. There are 2 lakes formed originally by sand & gravel extraction, some grassland & the River Trent which forms the Northern border. Some work has recently been carried out re-profiling the river to improve the variety of habitats, and the excess soil used to make more shallows & larger reed beds around the lakes. There are also 2 hides, which came in useful when the heavens opened. So much for June! Still, I had a very pleasant wander & saw my first Pochard & Little Egret of the trip. There were a couple of rafts with lots of Black-headed Gulls & a couple of Common Terns, both with young. Very cute! I also saw a couple of nesting Reed Warblers around the edge of the lake, my first Cinnabar moth of the year, and a new plant for me... Biting Stonecrop, which formed a nice yellow mat.
The main lake. The National Memorial Arboretum is on the other side

Cinnabar Moth
A mat of Biting Stonecrop
Biting Stonecrop
On the way back to the boat I walked through the National Memorial Arboretum, where I saw my first Garden Warbler of the trip.

By Sunday we had moved a short way up the canal to Fradley Junction. I then discovered that there was another birding area, Whitemoor Haye, which was actually closer to Alrewas than Fradley Junction, but still withing striking distance. So, I set off to explore, not really knowing much about it. I'd done a bit of searching on Birdguides & a couple of blogs, but wasn't entirely sure where I was going apart form the fact that there was a flooded gravel pit with edges that are still good for waders, and some lanes with a few interesting residents. Well, I found the lanes & was really happy when I found several Tree Sparrows & a Little Owl from the same spot, that was two new birds for my Year List. It appears someone has been feeding the sparrows as there was still some seed at the base of the hedge. I also found Tree Sparrows a bit further up the road where they appeared to be nesting.

Distant Tree Sparrows & a Yellowhammer

A lovely Little Owl
I had less success with the flooded gravel pit. I found one used by an adventure school for water sports, but I don't think that can be the one referred to on the blogs. I could see there was another pit behind a large bank, but couldn't find a way in, well not a legitimate one anyway. There were a few places where the barbed wire had been bent back & one section of fence had been burnt, but there were also lots of 'Keep Out' signs & warnings. I decided I was happy with my lot & headed for home. I'd walked a smidge under 8 miles by the time I made it back to Muriel & was ready for a sit down & a brew!

I'm not impressed with Staffordshire's footpath maintenance, but they do have some pretty poppies!

I think not!

Colourful fields
Year List now on 194 + 2 sub-species

1 comment:

  1. I really like the natural beauty of this place. Really nice to look at.