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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 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

Intermediate 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.

2013 Report Cover image 2013 Report Cover image

The West Midland Bird Club

80th Annual Report is now available.

 

For further information about obtaining this Report or becoming a member of this Club please visit the Join or Our Publications pages of this site. All members of both membership categories of the West Midland Bird Club will receive a copy of the Annual Report.

Rainbow over Belvide - Nigel Talbot

West Midland Bird Club

Studying Birds in Staffordshire,

Warwickshire, Worcestershire

and the West Midlands

since 1929

Spring rainbow over Belvide - Nigel Talbot

cetti's-warbler

Not surprisingly, the Meteorological Office early assessment of the 2015 - 2016 winter period is warm and wet! The first half of this winter was exceptionally mild and it is highly likely that many long-standing high winter temperature records will be broken. Likewise, rainfall too was at an alarming level in many areas, resulting in flooding. Another feature of this winter was the strong and sometimes gale-force winds that arrived regularly throughout. These storms were the aftermath of the numerous hurricanes that affected the north-west Atlantic seaboard of North America and the Caribbean, thankfully they were much reduced in ferocity as they reached the UK but nonetheless disruptive and sometimes damaging. As you would expect in a warm winter, snow fall was minimal and standing snow almost non-existent in our region. While prolonged severe winter weather is an obvious threat to the survival of our winter birds, benign winters can result in a high survival rate for many species, boosting the number of breeding birds in the following periods. One such bird that is affected by winter weather is the Cetti's Warbler and this birds continued colonisation of our region is very much dependant upon the severity or otherwise of winter conditions. After another winter lacking in prolonged ice and snow, it is worth searching for the Cetti's in suitable habitat where they have not previously been recorded, for this species its a case of ears at the ready as they are more often heard than seen but patience can be rewarded as demonstrated in the photograph below.

Cetti's Warbler photographed at Belvide Reservoir by Nigel Talbot

Use this link to familiarise yourself with Cetti's Warbler song and call

Arrow black small Cetti's Warbler Song and Call

An Analysis of Staffordshire Bird Records 2005 - 2014

Take a look at the papers submitted by Nick Pomiankowski concerning his analysis of records for resident and migrant bird species in Staffordshire. Nick, the County Recorder for Staffordshire, has put together a first class presentation that reveals some very interesting trends. To view these papers choose the Research page in the menu and enjoy the documents via their links; it stimulates thoughts on how we can extend the use of accumulated data in an informative manner. This information also provides a simple research access tool via this site.

North Warwickshire Barn Owl Scheme

Following on from previous Club activities concerning the well-being and status of the Barn Owl in Warwickshire, Steve Haynes the Warwickshire County Recorder, has taken up the role of projecting the scheme forward. Barn Owl continues to be a Warwickshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species and while their conservation is at the forefront of this project, other bird species will benefit, probably involving the south of the county too. The forward thinking by Steve on this conservation scheme is vital to its all round success and it is hoped that Little Owl, Turtle Dove, Willow Tit and other fast-declining species will also become beneficiaries.

Any action taken in providing assistance with the breeding and wintering status of these threatened bird species is welcomed and to this end the West Midland Bird Club have also stepped up-to-the-mark by backing Steve's initiative in financially supporting the project.

The Club's Executive Committee thoroughly encourage this type of initiative and looks forward to being able to "make a difference" at a time when so many changes are affecting the fortunes of some of our iconic species.

Preparation work is already on-going and from here on, as appropriate, the progress of this scheme can be viewed via a link on the Research page of this website.

A Tern with a Twist

On 9th April 2016 on a pleasant autumn day in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the MV Avalon IV set out from Rose Bay on a pelagic birding trip with 21 passengers on board. Their destination, some 22.5 nautical miles east by south east of Sydney. It became apparent as the journey progressed that an abundance or great diversity of birds was not to be, however, quality of species in the form of an adult Campbell Albatross and a rare April record for Black Petrel set the theme for the day. A small white Tern was then located and with the bird providing good close-up views with added supporting photographic evidence of true identity, this bird became the highlight of the trip. The Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea (photo below) is a rare encounter in this stretch of ocean with perhaps birds being more plentiful in times of passage off Australia's western seaboard. What might occur beyond the MV Avalon IV destination in respect to Arctic Tern movement remains somewhat unexplored. This particular bird could easily be a misplaced traveler or perhaps, a straggler from a movement of birds beyond this location, cause for thought that is prompted by the trip organisers given this species widespread circumnavigation of the world.

Almost 11,000 miles away from this encounter, in central England, the West Midland Bird Club region, also on 9th April 2016 on a pleasant spring day, Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea were putting in an appearance on their northbound journey to their breeding grounds along this established route. Nonetheless, their appearance was equally enoyed by their UK observers. We are aware of the incredible journeys that this bird undertakes from the Antarctic to the north of the northern hemisphere and beyond into the Arctic circle in order to complete their breeding cycle. This sighting in the south seas off Sydney Australia highlights the world occurrence of this bird and the ornithological value placed upon it by world-wide birders, having great significance on both sides of the globe. This is surely one of the birding worlds most incredible traveler's.

Arctic Tern Sydney

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea, 9th April 2016, 22.5 nautical miles ESE of Rose Bay, Sydney Australia.

Photograph - Jodi Osgood

 

A special thank you to Roger McGovern of Sydney Australia for providing this fascinating information. Amongst his many world-wide birding exploits, Roger is involved in the organisation of pelagic trips out of Sydney and writes the trip reports for these too. Many thanks also to Jodi Osgood who has kindly granted permission for her stunning photographs to be used here on our website. As well as the Arctic Tern, Jodi has captured more superb images of some of the other ocean-going species recorded on the 9th April 2016 trip.

At the West Midland Bird Club Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday 18th May at the Haling Dene Centre in Penkridge, Staffordshire, all business as detailed in the agenda was carried out successfully and as required by the governing rules of the Club.

 

Main agenda items included: -

Re-election of Trustees wishing to stand again, unanimously carried by all attending.

Re-election of officers wishing to stand again, unanimously carried by all attending.

A rule change as fully detailed in the agenda, unanimously carried by all attending.

The election of Roger Broadbent to the position of Deputy Chairman, unanimously carried by all attending.

All other business was accepted as being in order and correct by all attending.

 

The meeting concluded with an enjoyable and informative talk by Chris Edwards concerning a selection of familiar garden birds.

 

The Club Management Committee would like to express their thanks to the Chairman of the meeting, Vice President Graham Harrison and to all those members who attended offering their support.

 

The West Midland Bird Club Annual General Meeting for the year 2017 will be held at the Solihull Branch, details to be announced.