RSPB Walsall Local Group
a million voices for nature
6 Jan 2002
Our first trip of the New Year saw us travelling to Ellesmere in Shropshire. Walsall was shrouded in mist, which steadily thickened as we approached Telford. Entering Shropshire, the mist cleared to reveal snow still lying in the fields and no sign of the thaw we had at home. The Mere was our destination, a popular spot, even in midwinter, and the snow had been compacted to a sheet of ice.
Making our way slowly round the lakeside path we picked up the usual species expected in a woodland/ water habitat. The first piece of excitement came when someone glimpsed a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker high up in the trees. The bird proved to be elusive at first, but after several minutes of patience we had very good views as it settled on a dead tree and probed for insects.
As we moved on, a Buzzard appeared over a hill, closely pursued by a Raven, both birds had disappeared from view within seconds. Walking in single file through the woods at the end of The Mere, a Tawny Owl was put up; it paused briefly in a tree long enough to be noticed by a large number of Jackdaws who proceded to mob it as it flew silently through the trees and out of sight.
Following lunch, we walked along the Shropshire Union Canal towards Cole Mere. The smaller Meres on the way were still frozen and the ice on the canal had been broken by boats, it was easily three inches thick, proving how cold the weather had been and a good reminder to make sure the bird feeder in the garden at home is kept well stocked.
The light was fading fast as we came over the hill back to the car park to end the day, and with around 58 different species seen, a very enjoyable one.
Mike Pittaway (Field Trips Organiser)
Other birds seen included:
Great Crested Grebe
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker