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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

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 management have made a decision to dedicate the 2017 Cannock Chase 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.

It is an extremely fitting gesture that this survey should be dedicated in memory of a person who was without doubt a leader in this field of ornithological studies and a person whose legacy sets a fine example to all who are, or wish, to get involved in such projects. This dedication is certainly further incentive to take part in an effort to produce a true and difinitive study of this vitally important area of land that comprises mostly of lowland heath that in itself is of national importance.

More information about this survey will be posted here on this site and in the WMBC Newsletter as appropriate and in conjuntion with Roger Broadbent the project organiser.

The present position regarding this survey is that all sectors have now been allocated to those who volunteered. This being the case, please don't be put off from submitting records gained from making casual visits to the Chase during 2017. All observations involving supplementary records should be placed on BirdTrack the BTO online bird recording facility, giving precise detail of location and where possible, the habitat type. These records will then be picked up in the usual way. Use the Record Submission link in the menu for this site to learn more about submitting your records.

 

If you would like more information about this survey please contact: stafford@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk 

HS2 An Opportunity to Help Birds?

The West Midland Bird Club Deputy Chairman Roger Broadbent is also the Clubs front man in all things HS2. Roger has put together a paper with some important and interesting information on how we can help the birds and habitat that could be affected by the construction and ultimate operation of this project. You may very well be able to help with supplying valuable data that will in turn assist all those concerned in making important decisions, while at the same time supplying equally valuable information on under recorded areas and habitat that may hold key species of both fauna and flora. The image of a Curlew in lowland grassland habitat may soon become a vision of the past.

Eurasian Curlew - Ashley Grove

The breeding population of this bird has declined dramatically in recent years, so much so that it is now afforded Red Data status in the UK on the list of species that offer the greatest concern, It is also the subject of a BTO appeal to try and understand the reason behind this dramatic decline. Taking on board the suggestion put forward by our Deputy Chair in his paper may well contribute toward some important findings for the Curlew and other species that are under threat by having a rather frail foothold in the British countryside. To read what Roger has to say , use the link below.  

Eurasian Curlew in a lowland meadow - Photograph Ashley Grove

HS2 An Opportunity to Help Birds greenshank 00

West Midland Bird Club

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

Greenshank at our Belvide Reserve - Nigel Talbot

Birding late summer into autumn

Migration continues to gain pace with a wide diversity of bird species moving into and through our region as August comes to a close and September heralds the approach of autumn. The shear volume of birds moving at this time of year can be a spectacle in itself, irrespective of the variety of species involved. Shorelines, open water, hedgerows,  woodland edge, fences and fence posts will all be scrutinised by birders as they search for passage migrants. Wading birds such as the autumn/winter plumage Greenshank in our heading image will attract attention from birders visiting the regions water bodies while warblers and chats following natural passage corridors through the region will also be sought after target species. Our reserves will feature strongly in hosting a wide variety of birds, visiting any of these will certainly be worthwhile and, searching the regions high ground and prominent landmark features can be equally rewarding.

The weather will play an important role in the decision on when birds choose to move. Rain and poor visibility created by thick cloud, fog or prolonged mist that hinders their ability to navigate and, as a consequence of this, prompt them to suspend their journey and stay put while such conditions persist, enhances your chances of coming across them while they remain grounded; mild cloudy benign mornings after overnight rain are ideal conditions for birding at this time of year. Early morning 'stake-out' watches at prominent landmark positions that offer a panoramic sky view provides the opportunity to look and listen for birds moving overhead, this is a fascinating and exciting form of searching for migrating birds.

Our reserves provide the perfect migration stop-over for rest and refueling and a wide variety of species can turn up to take advantage of these special places. The imm Whinchat pictured here in typical fence-line pose - photo by Steve Edwards at our Blithfield Reserve, moves through the region in late summer and early autumn while raptors

Whinchat - Steve Edwards - Blithfield

such as the Juvenile Marsh Harrier - pictured below and photographed by Martyn Pitt at our Belvide Reserve, are birds engaged in post breeding dispersal that sees such species attracted to the expanse of water and extensive open reedbed and wetland habitat that our reserves at Blithfield, Belvide and Ladywalk offer.

Juv Marsh Harrier - Belvide - Martyn Pitt

Confirming the identity, sex and age of many birds, both uncommon and commom, can prove to be a test at this time of year. Both juvenile plumage and summer/breeding plumage that is being replaced with winter plumage, either in a transitional stage or in its completed form, can bring about a likeness between different species and between male, female and juvenile of the same species. Study your sightings carefully in an effort to be sure of true identity. Refer to your field guide or, if possible, share your records with other birders and enjoy and learn from such discussion; identification problems are often resolved in our reserve hides. Record photographs can also be invaluable when making such decisions.

The Club Annual Report is an essential aid when searching for migrant birds within the region. All first arrival and last departure dates are included with all appropriate species together with the whereabouts that these birds arrived at or departed from. Enjoy your birding at this fascinating time of year.

Frank Gribble MBE 1929 - 2016

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Frank Gribble on September 5th 2016.

A full obituary will be posted in the next issue of the West Midland Bird Club Newsletter. On announcing this news it would be highly innapropriate not to say a few words about Frank here.

 

After just a brief time spent in his company you became very aware of the mans dynamic and dedicated attitude to all that he was involved in. His huge presence and involvement in the West Midland Bird Club, Shropshire Ornithological Society and the British Trust for Ornithology has seen him honoured by all three organisations. These honours are coupled with the prestigious MBE award, bestowed upon him by Queen and Country for outstanding service to the communities he respectfully served. His expert knowledge of wildlife and his achievements in this field will remain a great legacy for all who follow. All of these fine attributes were contained in a gentlemanly and dignified person that gained him the greatest respect by all who have had pleasure in knowing him. RIP Frank Gribble MBE.

 

As he would of wished, Franks funeral and gathering thereafter at SWT HQ on September 22nd 2016 was a very pleasant affair where family and many friends gathered to pay their last respects.