West Midland Bird Club

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

Recent Sightings

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.

Welcome to the

West Midland Bird Club Website

Springtime arrival in our region on a bright but frosty morning - Barn Swallow - Steve Seal

Willow Tit Survey 2019/2020

The endemic race of Willow Tit (Poecile montanus kleinschmidti) is the second-fastest declining species in the UK,

after Turtle Dove, and is Red-listed. This resident subspecies has been lost from large areas of England in recent



In 2019 and 2020 the RSPB are organising a National Willow Tit survey which WMBC have been asked to support.

Steven Payne the Worcestershire County Recorder is already actively enlisting members to carry out surveys in that

County and needs more volunteers. Volunteers are also required to assist with surveying and recording in

Staffordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.


As well as on reserves Willow Tits may just be hanging on in an odd corner of wet woodland in your County. A new

playback protocol can be used in this survey which has been proven to locate Willow Tits in woods where they had

been thought extinct. It is worth having a concerted look at the last few places with definite or probable records just

to be absolutely sure.


This will be an early spring survey with two visits between mid-February and mid-April using playback every few

hundred metres to attract the birds. We have been assured that a mobile phone is all the equipment needed for the

playback and a set of standard calls is available for download which you can find at the end of this post. There will be no need for a licence to use playback for this survey. You will of course need to know how to download calls onto your mobile and how to make it play them which may be a challenge for some of us! If phone technology is a challenge we will gladly receive your visual and heard records.


If you would like to help with the survey or know of a likely site that should be surveyed please contact

Nick Pomiankowski, Staffordshire County Recorder. e-mail: staffs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

or Chris Hill, Warwickshire County Recorder. e-mail: warks-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

or in the West Midlands please contact Kevin Clements e-mail: west-mids-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

and for Worcestershire Steven Payne: e-mail: worcs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Dave Jackson

WMBC Conservation Officer

2 min Willow Tit Call

Social Media- The Risk of Disturbance to Rare Breeding Birds


In this age of high interest in Birds and Birding, the social aspect can be a pleasurable part of the scene, in respect to informing your fellow birders of your sightings and experiences.


One of the most ever more popular ways of doing this, is through various Social Media outlets, including Twitter. Generally this is favourably received and reciprocated. However,  there are times when restraint should be shown, in regard to rare and locally rare Birds, especially during the breeding season. With all good intentions meant, the news put out, could be visible & available to the ‘wrong hands’, be it an egg collector, bird persecutor, irresponsible photographer or….an irresponsible twitcher! A careless tweet or other social media post could lead to undesirable attention or disturbance to breeding birds, a nesting area or site!


The West Midland Bird Club supports and encourages sensible use of Social Media by users, in regard to the rare and locally rare birds that could be encountered in the Club’s region. Being a responsible Birder, includes having a duty to protect the very birds we have pleasure in watching. Below is a list which includes ‘Schedule 1 Birds’ (Species fully protected by law and it’s a criminal offence to disturb during the breeding season) + other species of particular interest. Be very cautious when considering to Tweet out, etc, sightings of these species during the breeding season, in fact the best policy is, ‘íf in doubt -don’t put it out’.



What Steps can you take to Protect Breeding or Suspected of Breeding, Rare and locally Sensitive Species?


*     Consider that the breeding season runs from the beginning of March to late


*     Singing birds on territory, in suitable habitat, displaying birds, birds seen in

      pairs etc should all be considered as potentially breeding.

*     Familiarize yourself with the lists of birds below.

*     Try and curb the need to socially put out sightings of sensitive species, even

      if the site information is vague.

*     If unsure, seek advice of a more experienced birder friend.

*     Don’t consider some sites as ‘save’ e.g.Managed Nature Reserves, to socially

      Report out rare birds, that might be breeding.



Schedule 1 Species


Schedule 1 species are protected by law and it is a criminal offence to disturb these birds during their breeding season.

Below is a list of Schedule 1 species, and a few additional species that due to their rarity should be treated the same as Schedule 1 birds.


Avocet                            Chough                Green Sandpiper              Merlin                                     Barn Owl              

Cirl Bunting                   Greenshank        Montagu's Harrier            Shore Lark                             Bearded Tit  

Common Crane            Greylag Goose   Osprey                                Short-toed Treecreeper      Bee-eater

Common Crossbill       Gyr Falcon           Parrot Crossbill                 Slavonian Grebe                   Bewick's Swan

Common Rosefinch     Hen Harrier        Penduline Tit                      Snow Bunting                       Bittern

Common Scoter           Hobby                  Peregrine                            Snowy Owl                            Baillon's Crake

Corncrake                      Honey-buzzard  Purple Heron                     Spoonbill                               Black Grouse

Crested Tit                     Hoopoe               Purple Sandpiper              Spotted Crake                      Black Kite

Dartford Warbler         Kentish Plover    Quail                                    Stone-curlew                        Black Redstart

Dotterel                         Kingfisher            Red Kite                              Temminck's Stint                 Black Tern

Eurasian Eagle-Owl     Lapland Bunting Red-backed Shrike            Velvet Scoter                    Black-necked Grebe

Fieldfare                        Leach's Petrel      Red-necked Grebe           Whimbrel                           Black-tailed Godwit

Firecrest                        Little Bittern     Red-necked Phalarope       White-tailed Eagle           Black-throated Diver

Garganey                      Little Gull              Red-throated Diver          Whooper Swan                     Black-winged Stilt

Golden Eagle         Little Ringed Plover   Redwing                             Wood Sandpiper                  Bluethroat

Golden Oriole              Little Tern             Roseate Tern                     Woodlark                               Brambling

Goshawk                   Long-tailed Duck     Ruff                                     Wryneck                                 Cattle Egret

Great Bustard               Marsh Harrier     Savi's Warbler                   Spotted Flycatcher               Capercaillie

Great Northern Diver  Marsh Warbler   Scaup                                  Cetti's Warbler                     Great White Egret

Mediterranean Gull    Scottish Crossbill                                              Serin



Other Rare Breeding Birds that should be considered as above.


Arctic Skua                     Golden Pheasant                Long-eared Owl         Red-crested Pochard          Turtle Dove

Common Goldeneye    Goosander                          Nightingale                 Redstart                                 Twite

Common Pochard        Hawfinch                              Nightjar                       Wheatear                              Water Rail

Corn Bunting                 Golden Plover                     Pied Flycatcher           Ring Ouzel                            Willow Tit

Eurasian Wigeon   Lesser Spotted Woodpecker    Pintail                           Short-eared Owl                 Wood Warbler

Gadwall                           Little Egret                           Ptarmigan                   Shoveler                            Yellow-legged Gull



How to Submit Records of Rare Breeding Birds.


It goes without saying, that records of rare breeding birds are important to submit, to contribute to the full Avifauna of the West Midland Bird Club Area. The safest way of doing this, is through the BTO Birdtrack Website   All records of rare breeding birds are filtered out of the public viewing, relevant parts of the website.


Another appropriate way of submitting information, is direct to your relevant county recorders. Contact information can be found on our county recorders page.


Thank you for reading this information, tell your fellow Birders about the details and enjoy your Birding!

Swallow - Steve Seal

For Springtime Birding please go to our new page on the menu Springtime Birding