Saturday 29 May – Oldbury Power Station Leader: Andy Middleton

It was so nice to see a few old and new faces as we gathered in the Visitors Car Park after the strictures of Lockdown. Andy called us to order and about twenty of us (I wasn’t counting) set off in good and somewhat spritely order towards the first lagoon. Sharp-eyed Andy spotted a couple of Peregrines sitting atop the nearest power pylons that I thought I had scanned a moment or two previously. On the weedy surface of the pond below the lagoon were a couple of Canada Geese, a Moorhen family and apparently a Little Grebe which I didn’t see as “I was at the back”. However, being at the back meant that when Mike Jackson spotted a male Bullfinch, I was one of the few to appreciate its glowing rosy magnificence. Other species noted around this time were Chaffinch, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Buzzard and a first but definitely not last hearing of Reed Warbler. Moving on, we climbed above the other side of the lagoon where we could see a Song Thrush performing at the top of a tree and a Grey Heron, Goldfinch and later Linnets provided fly-pasts. There were Whitethroats whizzing around on the brambles and the occasional sighting of a Blackcap or Chiffchaff flitting in and around the trees. Further along the embankment around the higher defunct lagoon (now scrubland) there were sightings of Reed Bunting and more Whitethroats, but none alas of the elusive Cetti’s Warbler which, as usual, seemed to delight in being invisible despite being highly vocal. A Great Spotted Woodpecker made an appearance in the trees off to our left and a couple of Shelduck were flying in toward the Severn ahead of us. Meanwhile on the shoreline it was very quiet as it was high tide; a few more Shelduck and a lone Starling provided the interest until we passed the Power Station where a Pied Wagtail or possibly two put in an appearance. A Little Egret calmly flew past along the river as we were walking north to our coffee bench as did a Kestrel going south on the landward side. More Shelduck were evident along the river to the north and if you had a very good telescope, two very distant Oystercatchers. On the route back to the car park, great delight was taken at the presence of a Lesser Whitethroat, heard but not seen despite valiant efforts. Finally, in the orchard we saw Blue Tits, Chaffinch and a female Reed Bunting to round off the day. Thanks to Andy for leading and all due patience. Alan Craddock