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 BR Sub adult male

2016 - Regional Black Redstart Survey

This is a joint survey that has been organised through the combined efforts of the West Midland Bird Club and regional network of the British Trust for Ornithology. Throughout 2015 announcements of this survey have been placed on this website and in the Clubs Newsletter to provide an awareness of the project in preparation for the survey commencement date on January 1st 2016. This survey will benefit from your involvement and everyone is welcome and encouraged to take part. Please use the link below to visit the dedicated survey pages in order to find out more about the survey and how you can become involved.

2016 - Regional Black Redstart Survey

Undeveloped plumage male Black Redstart

Coleshill, Warwickshire - September 22nd 2011

ageing the bird at approximately 15 months

Photo - Dave Hutton

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.

Worcestershire County Recorder

After taking up the position of Worcestershire County Recorder in 2009, Steven Payne has decided to retire from the post upon the appointment of his successor. Steven has dedicated himself to the work involved and I am certain that everyone who has submitted records to him or simply been in contact with him would agree that he has not only done a first class job but conducted himself impeccably at all times, making the recording of birds in this county a pleasureable experience. When the time arrives for his departure he will be remembered with great respect.

Anyone who is interested in becoming Stevens successor to the position of Worcestershire County Recorder and who feel that they can carry out what is a demanding, important and satisfying role, should contact - Steven Payne at: - worcs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk where Steven will provide all the information that you require about the work involved and the role itself. Alternative contacts are: - chair@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk and: - secretary@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk where in both instances you will receive full assistance.

The West Midland Bird Club welcomes all those who wish to seek information about this position.

West Midland Bird Club 2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey

Frank Gribble MBE 1929 - 2016

After consulting with the family of Frank Gribble and gaining their consent, West Midland Bird Club Stafford Branch management have made a decision to dedicate the 2017 Cannock Chase Breeding Bird Survey in memory of Frank.

It is a given fact that had Frank still been with us his name would have appeared at the top of the volunteer list. His enthusiasm for such projects was unbounded, indeed, Franks involvement in previous studies of this tract of land have been immense.

Further information about this survey will be posted here and on the Stafford Branch page of this website as the project develops. All of those who have volunteered to take part in this survey will have the facility of an on-line bird and habitat recording form also on this website. Further to this you can contact the WMBC Stafford Branch using: stafford@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk if you would like to find out more.

WMBC Blithfield Reserve

A meeting, chaired by the WMBC Chairman kevin Clements, will take place to discuss the future management of our reserve at Blithfield Reservoir.


Tuesday 13th December 2016


The Haling Dene Centre, Cannock Road, Penkridge, Stafford ST19 5DT

in Room 24

Commencing at 19.30hrs


On taking up his appointment as WMBC Deputy Chairman Roger Broadbent resigned his post as leader of the

Blithfield Birding Group (BBG)


All WMBC members who bird at Blithfield are encouraged to attend this meeting to discuss future management

of the reserve


Coffee/Tea and biscuits will be served on arrival

SE Owl Steve Seal

Short-eared Owl

Kempsey, Worcestershire

Steve Seal

Winter Birding

The autumn of 2016 will always be remembered as an extremely eventful period in terms of the occurrence of rare birds in the British Isles, both in the variety of species and number of birds involved. A lull in activity is then to be expected as mass movement becomes less intense, weather patterns change and the winter period takes over.


Coming across a wintering owl is always a memorable experience. Short-eared Owls may well show up in numbers at some locations where the grassland rodent population is high, hunting is good and a communal roost site is also available. The excellent image by Steve Seal of the bird in our home page feature photograph was one of five birds present on this occasion at Kempsey in Worcestershire, a truly wonderful winter birding spectacle.

The annual question 'Will there be any Waxwings this winter' is already being asked and, the answer to this is quite possibly yes. Already, Waxwing numbers in the British Isles have reached a level that will offer most regions a fair chance of seeing them. Well known for their occurrence in built up areas where winter berries can be found, don't rule out your supermarket or retail park shopping trip as a potential opportunity in seeing them.

By using the Recent Sightings link in our menu you can access the regions daily bird happenings as provided by Birding Today. This includes excellent county and site reports together with personal Tweets and informative notes. For further birding and Club information you can also access the Clubs own Twitter account @WestMidBirdClub. All of this provides the opportunity to keep in touch and enjoy the winter birding scene as it happens.  

Yellowhammer - Enville, Staffs - Andy Thomas

Winter male Yellowhammer - Enville, Staffordshire - Andy Thomas  

Our three resident bunting species, Yellowhammer, Reed and Corn are sadly all associated with one word when describing their regional status - decline (Cirl Bunting was last recorded in our region as a possible breeding bird in Worcestershire 1977). The UK conservation status colour code for these three birds is: Yellowhammer Red - Reed Bunting Amber - Corn Bunting Red. There are a variety of reasons attributed to these declines and these are based on the merits of reliable research information. None of the reasons, however, stand out more so than the effects of modern day farming practise and habitat loss. In many cases these two reasons can be linked together. Gone are the days when the gathering of cereal crops left behind stubble fields with a plentiful supply of waste grain that would sustain many birds species for a lenghty spell during the autumn and early winter period. Thankfully from everyone's perspective, the efficiency of today's farming machinery ensures that what we sow we are able to gather without too much waste. No-one can argue against this being a necessary and progressive approach to farming efficiency. The down side of this efficiency however, translates to the loss of what was an extremeley valuable food source to the wild birds that winter on arable farmland. This loss of food may well have contributed to the winter survival rate of these birds being severely reduced. In order to increase the yield from arable land still further, the practise of removing hedgerows, one of Britains most valuable wildlife habitats, has again proved detremental to the survival and reproduction of these birds. When the annual mortality rate is greater than successful reproduction on a continuing year-on-year theme, we face the realisation of a species decline that is so obvious today.

This is not just applicable to the British Isles, farmland bird communities throughout the modern world are now experiencing a similar fate, particularly so in grain eating birds such as buntings.

On a positive note, then the reality of climate change and global warming that has triggered a dramatic change to winter weather conditions in some regions of the British Isles could also play an influencial role in the fortunes of our buntings. Over recent decades there has been a distinct lack of prolonged severe winter weather with frost hardened ground and lasting snow cover being a scarce event. These benign winter conditions may well assist a greater survival rate in the afore mentioned species and others who winter on arable land. This in turn could aid a recovery in their abundance and therefore offset their otherwise decline.

Any information concerning the distribution and abundance of our resident bunting species will be well received by our County Recorders, particularly so if reported regularly. This form of study and reporting obviously applies to all species and is of great assistance in our understanding of bird population trends.


We can make a difference.

It is heart warming news to learn of the turn-around in fortunes for the Cirl Bunting in the south-west of England. In excess of 1000 breeding pairs have been recorded this year, bringing them well and truly back from the brink. This however, has not been achieved without a massive effort by the RSPB and local farming communities in a dedicated and inspirational effort to support these birds throughout each calendar year and spanning a 25 year period. Needless to say, this is an on-going project and it works.

Could the same grand scale operation be carried out here in our region to assist the ailing bunting population by making that difference?