Due to a combination of lack of time still and the cost of petrol, I've been considering visiting more local reserves especially those that I regularly drive past on my journeys.
Yesterday I had promised to pick up David from Solihull Town Centre at 1.00 p.m. so I left home 90 minutes early and stopped off at Malvern and Brueton Parks. The area of parkland near the town centre is more formal but further away the park is managed more for wildlife. I must admit although I drive past all the time this is the first time I have ever actually visited.
I was dressed in that many layers that I had problems driving the car let alone walk and I fear I may have resembled the Michelin Man as I waddled rather than walked round! Sorry no photos, for various reasons, I just took a pair of binoculars and left the camera and lenses at home.
Leaving the car park there was a lake which was completely frozen over and it was very amusing watching moorhen, mallard, canada geese, coot and black-headed-gulls "skating" around. I really wished I had brought the camera.
I had only planned to visit the Parkridge Centre - a small Warwickshire Wildlife Trust reserve, but I got side-tracked by Brueton Park LNR which is owned and managed by Solihull Council. The conservation area covers around 75 acres and the River Blythe, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, passes through. The rest of the habitat comprises a lake, small pools, woodland, old hedgerows, grassland, marsh and a small reedbed. As I walked along a boardwalk on the marshy area I managed on several occasions to get really close to a grey heron (again I wished I had the camera) as it stared at small frozen pools fruitlessly looking for food.
There were plenty of magpies, wood pigeons and carrion crows around and a walk through the woodland produced redwings galore, jays, foraging grey suirrels, flocks of long-tailed and great tits, blackbirds, wren and the highlight of the whole walk a nuthatch foraging along tree trunks and logs.
I just had time left for a very quick visit and walk around the WWLT Parkridge Reserve
Its only small but has a nice mix of habitats - a woodland trail, pool , arboretum and a wildlife garden. I shall definitely return as there was also a geology trail which looks fascinating. Lots of commoner species of birds around again - robin, magpie, jay, blackbird, blue and great tits.
Nuthatch and moorhen were new species for the 2012 list.
Earlier in the morning I had stopped off at Millennium Wood - dozens of redwings were searching through leaf litter under trees right next to the car park. This time I had got the camera but with the wrong lens on! I don't think I have ever seen so many redwings around locally as there are this year.
The reason for taking the camera was a few more pics of the "Fairy Door" as there are several new additions. Sorry to any regular visitors who may by now getting totally bored with any mention of this door!
A rather angry, sinister looking gingerbread man!
and what looks like a crystal (or is it a light??) and a solar-powered squirrel light (I think!)
To be honest I think its all a bit over the top now! I much preferred it when there was just a door handle and letterbox. I wonder if its the same person adding the adornments or if someone else is now involved. The recent additions don't seem in keeping with the original decorations.
The cold weather (-7.9 degrees centigrade recorded overnight) is bringing more birds into the garden, the pair of stock dove returned to feed today and long-tailed tits (which only rarely visit the feeders) were eating fat balls this morning. Another irregular garden visitor - a mistle thrush was bathing in the part of the pond which remains unfrozen. As I type the forecasted snow has just arrived!