9th December 2019
We couldn’t believe our luck when this Black Restart flew across in front of us at Titterstone Clee!
I’ve only made one or two visits to Titterstone Clee when I lived in Salop and non at all since I left nearly 23 years ago to live on Scilly. I’ve seen a photo of a mega bird, anywhere in land, that was taken in 70’s maybe early 80’s. A Guillemot in among a cluster of rocks! It’s an under watched area but in the early 90’s, a visiting birder in March scored with an amazing 16 Ring Ouzel, 5 Black Redstart and a Rough-legged Buzzard!! Since living on Scilly, it’s being visited more often but not enough and birders have been rewarded in finding Shorelark, Wryneck, Woodchat and Great Grey Shrike, Snow Bunting and only a few years ago, a female Desert Wheatear. Over a month ago there were 2 Black Redstart, 2 Snow and a single Laland Bunting .
We first stopped off at Stokesay Castle off the A49 to check the small pool out and a showy Little Egret, not Snowy, was on the bank and proved to be only my third for Salop. I saw my first in the influx of ’94 when there were 25 in the Midlands. Matthew Webb and I found the second Salop record at the time at Chelmarsh. Birders twitching it the following day had two Little Egret! We reached Titterstone Clee just before two and had our dinner in the car, sheltering from the cold blustery wind. We wrapped up and made our ways out not expecting to see anything of interest. We took a few steps from the car and a Black Redstart flew low across our path and disappeared over the bank. We chased after it and immediately found it on a scree slope before flying onto the old quarry disused buildings nearby. Here it proved very mobile and after a few minutes of getting only glimpses of it, it had gone! For the next hour, we split up, searching the whole area but there was no sign of it. The only other birds of note were a single Red Kite and 2 Raven.
This Little Egret at Stokesay Castle was only my third county record
Looking across the fields from the south with Titterstone Clee on the right
If you want to see Black Redstart in Salop, then these disused quarry buildings is the place to be.
This is only my third Black Redstart for Salop. A single spent a few days at Sleap airfield in ’95 and more recently, Ellesmere Church, both in North Shropshire. Top record shot taken by Jo
On our ways home, we stopped off at Stokesay Castle again and were rewarded with 2 Little Egret flying off from the pool! Just before 15.00, we were approaching Baston Hill on the A49, when to my right, I spotted a Barn Owl flying around. We pulled over and observed it for a good ten minutes being mobbed by Magpies and Carrion Crows. Jo was thrilled to see the owl but it’s not a good sign when you see a Barn Owl hunting for food in daylight. We arrived at Prisorlee Lake when it was almost dark and may have had the probable 2nd winter Yellow-leggedxCaspian Gull.
A re-visit at Stokesay Castle produced 2 Little Egret
Not just a good sign observing a Barn Owl during the day but also spending a lot of time along the railway line and the road. being harassed by Magpies and Carrion Crow.
Way to dark at the small roost to make out if this is the probable 2nd winter Yellow-leggedxCaspian Gull at Prisorlee Lake
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