"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Local Birding, Rare Victorian Pillar Box and Autumn in the Garden

Marsh Lane NR

I returned to Marsh Lane NR on Thursday last week. There hadn't been any further sightings of the Dusky Warbler for a few days. I like to think its feeding undetected somewhere on the reserve or nearby rather than it having met an untimely end.

The Reedbed Pool can be seen from a viewing screen as you walk along the path to Oak Hide

I walked further into the Reserve on this visit towards Railway Copse and the Railway Hide. A Sparrowhawk was hunting birds along the hedgerow in the crop field.

View over Railway Pool from Railway Hide - you can see Oak Hide in the distance. The usual species were on the pool Coot, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Shoveler, Swans, Black-headed Gulls, Mallard, Canada and Greylage Geese and Moorhens.

The Black Swan was a lot closer to the hide this time.

Whenever I've seen it, its been in the company of a pair of Mute Swans.

There's a good crop of berries in the hedgerows around the reserve.

I've added a few new species to the list I've recently started for this reserve - Sparrowhawk, Reed Bunting (flying into reeds in the small pool by the car park), Greenfinch and Robin on the feeders and Gadwall on Car Park Pool which brings the list up to 40 bird species.

Victorian Pillar Box

This morning I had to go to Dickens Heath and I stopped off in Dog Kennel Lane to take some photos of a rare Victorian fluted Pillar Box. This type of post box has a a flattened conical top and initially had a vertical slit. In 1857 the posting aperture was changed from vertical to horizontal. Only four of these fluted pillar boxes are still in use today. Three in Malvern and this one in Shirley.

Huge thanks to Rose - who first alerted me to this rare post box. I've driven past it dozens of times without spotting it!


I've not had chance (mainly due to overnight rain still) to put out the moth trap for a few weeks although it now looks dry (though colder) for the rest of the week so hopefully I'll be putting it out and hoping for a December moth :)

Autumn colours are now showing in the garden.

I'm really pleased with how well this acer is doing - now planted behind the rockery. It languished for years in a pot and last year I really did think I had lost it as I forgot to water it during a period of drought in the summer but its thriving now :)

Clematis Seedhead

There are still a few flowers - Cosmos, Cornflower, Primulas,Michaelmas Daisy, Verbena bonariensis and this dahlia.

Although up to a dozen Blackbirds descended on the garden during the last week to scoff Rowan, Whitebeam and Pyracantha berries, there are still plenty left.

I've seen Fieldfares in trees near to our garden but they rarely visit the garden to feed until the weather gets really cold - still hoping there will be a few berries left when they do eventually visit and I will always live in hope of a Waxwing visit :)


Countryside Tales said...

Gorgeous post box. I have a bit of a thing for old post boxes, lord knows why but I do love them.
Your reserve is looking beautiful- how lovely to have a new place to start a list for and it sounds like it's already coming along nicely.
No moth box out here for a week or more either. I might see if tonight would work. Keeping fingers crossed for your December moth for you. The Herald is still asleep on the wall behind the bed here!:-)

Chris Rohrer said...

Nice finds! The swans are lovely as are many of the birds you've discovered on that outing. We could use some of that rain here. Hopefully this weekend we'll actually get some. As for the Warbler, he's out there:) I've had those same thoughts about rare birds....some make it and others don't...but Warblers are resourceful:)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales Many thanks. Yes, I love old post-boxes too - was just saying to my son that I used to work with someone who was mad keen and used to "tick" them as he travelled round the country :) There is a Shire Publications book on them too :)

Yes, it's nice to have somewhere new to explore :)

So pleased re: your Herald. Have put the trap out tonight but nothing so far and its already down to about 3 degrees C :(

Chris Rohrer Hi again Chris :) Many thanks. Fingers crossed that you get that much needed rain this weekend - would happily send you some of ours :)

Feel hopeful about the warbler as (up until tonight) its been fairly mild and he/she was certainly finding plenty of food last week :)

Lou Mary said...

Your local reserve really does look a real gem! Got quite a list so far! It is nice to see how your garden is looking in the lovely autumn!

Anonymous said...

The reserve list is coming along nicely and I liked the pic of the Black Swan :-) Funnily enough a regular Black Swan at our local nature reserve always seems to be hanging around with a pair of Mutes too.

I love all the other pics of your garden and whatnot and fingers crossed you get some Waxwings in your garden this winter :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Lou Mary Many thanks :) Well pleased with the reserve :)

Wold Ranger Many thanks :) It was interesting that there didn't seem to appear to be any aggression between the swans species. I assume they could possibly interbreed though???

Waxwings anywhere would be a treat but in the garden icing on the cake :) Have seen them a few hundred yards from the garden so always possible :)

Wendy said...

It's great to see that there are so many birds to look out for on the reserve.
The pillar box looks very smart. I hope it doesn't get replaced.
I also hope you get that visit from the Waxwings this winter!

Pete Duxon said...

love the post box!

Ragged Robin said...

Wendy Many thanks. I too hope the pillar box will remain but we do seem to look after heritage better these days :) Thanks for good wishes re: waxwings!

Pete Duxon - Many thanks Pete :)

SeagullSuzie said...

Lovely post on nature and garden topics. The pillar box is beautiful. Great to see the black swan close up, I think they have black swans at Dawlish here in Devon. I have noticed how the birds are more vocal now, and it's lovely to hear the robins, wrens, sparrows and tits calling almost every time I'm outside. Plenty of goldfinches here-although sadly not too many visiting my garden.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie Thanks so much :) Glad you liked the pillar box and Black Swan. I think the swan has been around the reserve for some years.

We are lucky with goldfinches - once they finally found the nyger seeds (and then sunflower hearts) they became regular garden visitors and we now get more goldfinches than any other species :)