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West Midland Bird Club

Studying Birds in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands since 1929

Attend Local Branches and Field Trips  -  Visit our Reserves  -  Record your Bird Sightings

Supporting the West Midland Bird Club is a positive step in conserving important habitat for birds and other wildlife. You will also be contributing to the ornithological knowledge of the region. Get the most from your birding activities by becoming a member today. Using this website will provide you with all the information that is required in making you aware of how this Club functions, how to become involved in Club activities and to encourage you to further your birding interests by developing your knowledge of the birds of the region.

There is plenty of information at hand within these pages, however, please do not hesitate in using the contact us page via the menu or the info@westmidlandbirdclub link at the foot of all pages if you would like to take a personal approach to gathering information; the Club Secretary will be pleased to deal with any enquiry. There is great scope to become involved in a wide range of Club activities, likewise you can go about your birding activities on a personal level and simply enjoy what the West Midland Bird Club has to offer in assisting your interests.

Recent Sightings

Local Branch Indoor Meetings and Field Trips

Make the most of your membership by visiting your local branches and enjoy the excellent talks that are taking place throughout the WMBC branch network. Likewise, book a seat on one of the Clubs Field Trips, visiting some of the UKs top birding sites. Detailes for all Branch and Field Meetings can be found on this website by visiting the appropriate location via the menu. The WMBC Newsletter also carries the same information.

Not a member, not a problem! please go along and enjoy the evening or trip, you will be made most welcome.

Tree Pipit 1 Dave Hutton C Chase

West Midland Bird Club

2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey

In memory of Frank Gribble MBE

Cannock Chase is a site of regional and national importance and 2017 will see the continuation of bird survey work at this site that has been carried out at five yearly intervals since 1992. The links below provide information concerning the 2017 survey that has been organised by the Stafford Branch of the West Midland Bird Club under the guidance of project manager Roger Broadbent

 

The Tree Pipit is one of a number of iconic bird species that breed at this site. Photographed here by Dave Hutton on the chase in May 2016.

Targeting certain species is an integral and important feature of this survey.

Aims of the Survey Methodology and Survey Commitment Survey Recording Requirements Cannock Chase Target Species

West Midland Bird Club

2014 Annual Report

This annual production provides a historic record of the wild birds that have been recorded in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands in a specific calendar year. This report is a culmination of two years work involving over 300,000 records of 229 species at around 1000 sites and recorded by over 1,300 contributors. Our Report is the only authentic source of information on the avifauna of our four counties.

Once again the Club is indebted to the Report Editor, the four County Recorders, the photographers who submit their work for inclusion in the report, all of those who are associated with the content and production of this publication and, by no means least, to all those observers who have submitted their records.

All members of the Club receive a copy of the report as part of their annual subscription. Anyone wishing to join the Club can find details of membership plus information on other membership benefits by visiting the Join page of this website.

The current 2014 report is now available for purchase at a cost of £12.00 plus £2.00 p&p from the WMBC Secretary, Mark Rickus:

secretary@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Tree Pipit - Cannock Chase - photo Dave Hutton

Survey Visit Requirements

Potential disruption to our Ladywalk Reserve

The West Midland Bird Club have received notification from HS2, the proposed new London - West Midlands high speed rail link, that after receiving parliamentary approval, site survey work will commence in 2017. In order to carry out their survey work they have informed the Club that they need to gain access to our Ladywalk Reserve in order to carry out a variety of investigations. This will involve work over a two-month period commencing 24th April to 30th June 2017. For further details please open the link below that outlines the HS2 notification that has been presented to the WMBC.

HS2 Investigative work to be carried out at Ladywalk Reserve Ladywalk Reserve - Peter Lichfield Female Cuckoo - Ladywalk - Peter Lichfield - note

Ladywalk Reserve and female Cuckoo nest prospecting at the reserve in the spring of 2016. Photographs by Peter Lichfield

The Annual Report - moving forward

For 80 years, the Annual Report has remained largely unchanged. The size has been A5 and the contents fairly constant. What has changed is the use of full colour and the amount of information available such that we are now close to 300 pages. Welcome though this is, it does present problems. The physical size of the Report has reached its limits without moving to a more expensive binding. Also, the dimensions are constraining the size of images that I can embed and the tables of data require quite a small font to get all the information in. Looking round at some of the leading bird reports one finds that many are moving to a larger format and I am doing the same.

"Hang on, what about my bookcase" I hear you cry and I have some sympathy with that reaction having said pretty much the same when British Birds changed. My misgivings with that soon evaporated and I hope yours will with regards to our Report. I am looking at moving to B5 which is almost the size of British Birds namely 16.5cm x 24.5cm. This will allow a slightly larger font size, larger images and better laid out tables for a start.

I want to introduce something new though. As Editor I probably read the Report more times than most; and all the way through. I am constantly aware that I know little if anything about many of the sites outside my own county (Staffs) and I assume the same is true for members living in the far south when it comes to sites "up north". So, what I intend is to sprinkle banner-type images of our birding sites through the Report. These will be approx. 17cm x 5cm and sit at the top of the page ie full page width. So I need your help. Send me good quality images of your favourite sites and I will do my best to include them. Maybe not all in one Report but, over a period, we will build up a portfolio of our best birding spots. I would prefer "out of the camera" images so that I get the largest pixel size and I can then crop to suit.

Over to you!

Dave Emley

report@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Front Cover 2014 Annual Report 2 Black Redstart 1 Worcs Cathedral area Craig Reed

Female Black Redstart - Worcester Cathedral and surrounding area - December 2016 - Photograph Craig Reed

 

The joint West Midland Bird Club and Regional BTO 2016/17 Regional Black Redstart Survey has now been completed. A full report on the findings of this project can be found by accessing the link below

West Midland Bird Club and Regional BTO 2016/17 Regional Black Redstart Survey April Summary Corn Bunting - Elford - Steve Seal

Corn Bunting - Elford

Steve Seal

Summer Birding - The Breeding Season and Breeding Birds

Throughout our Club region and across the northern hemisphere, breeding has been in full motion during the spring period and will continue through the summer. Residents and Summer Residents are going about the business of reproducing their kind. In the case of migratory birds, they have travelled huge distances, some measured in many thousands of miles to return to their favoured breeding grounds. In the main, reproduction is an annual occurrence, an essential task that in the animal world sits close on the heels of self preservation in terms of being their greatest instinct.

Our knowledge of breeding success, the whereabouts that different species choose to breed and the timing of their breeding, is a study that greatly benefits birds by using our knowledge to preserve and protect their favoured habitat. While the gathering of information is essential to achieving our aims and furthering our understanding of their requirements, it is an offence to disturb birds at their nests or in close proximity to their nests. Any kind of disturbance can result in disaster. Adult birds fleeing a nest because they have been disturbed by thoughtless and reckless behaviour on our part can result in exposure of the nest that in turn may lead to predation of the eggs or young. Exposure to bad weather is also a very real threat to eggs and nestlings if the adults have been forced to move away in the need to protect themselves from intruders into their space. It is vital that our studies are  always

Mallard Ducklings Earlswood John Oates

undertaken with the greatest respect to those creatures that are studied and in making certain that the birds are allowed to carry out this task of reproducing without being disturbed. Above photograph - Mallard ducklings taken at Earlswood by John Oates.

We are constantly made aware of loss of important habitat and population declines in certain species. For whatever reasons there may be for these losses, whether natural or man made, let us be absolutely certain that we do not contribute to such disasters as a result of our own behaviour. We must take it upon ourselves as being protectors of wildlife, please make sure that your investigations and efforts do not compromise our aim.

 

One such well documented population decline is that of the Corn Bunting, theme photograph by Steve Seal. Since 1970 there has been A 90% decline in the breeding population of Corn Buntings in Britain and in consequence this has been accompanied by a contraction of their winter range (BTO Bird Atlas 2007-11). An estimate of around 90 to 100,000 breeding pairs being present at the time of the 1968/72 BTO Breeding Bird Atlas seems a realistic value. In basing our findings on this figure, a very best case scenario is the decline of 90%. A realistic population assessment today of around 11,000 breeding pairs/territories being present in Britain equates to a reduction over this period of time 1970 - 2017 to a total of some 80,000 breeding pairs. Modern agricultural practice and the subsequent changes to arable habitat that this has brought about is attributed to much of this decline. Under such dramatic circumstances we must ensure that every existing pair of British breeding Corn Buntings, together with every other bird species, are afforded the best possible chance to successfully raise their young and, to do so without further interference that may arise as a result of our careless or overzealous behaviour in the birds chosen territory.

 

The eggs of the Hobby are highly sought after by collectors, do not reveal your findings to the eyes and ears of those with ill intent, and so the same applies to all bird species. Their protection is integral to our studies and enjoyment in finding and watching them and we must not go beyond what is considered responsible behaviour in an attempt to  

Hobby Marsh Lane John Oates

supposedly enhance our findings or results. Creatures and places are under enormous threat worldwide and their future is in our hands.

"They called it paradise, I don't know why, you call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye" Frey and Henley 1976

We must not let this happen.                  Hobby - Marsh Lane NR - Photograph John Oates.

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BTO Publications - LIFECYCLE Magazine.

The BTO LIFECYCLE magazine is a twice yearly publication dedicated to ringers and nest recorders. In issue 5, Spring 2017, there is reference to our regional involvement through Brewood Ringers and the WMBC in connection with these activities. The latest magazine, including the article by Brewood Ringers on Thermal Birding is available to read or download via the link below.  

LIFECYCLE Magazine