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 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 can be found by visiting the Stafford Branch page of this website. All of those who have volunteered to take part in this survey can find an on-line bird and habitat recording form on the same page. Further to this you can contact the WMBC Stafford Branch using: stafford@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk if you would like to find out more.

Goldcrest Bob Normand

West Midland Bird Club

Studying Birds in Staffordshire, Warwickshire

Worcestershire and the West Midlands since 1929

Goldcrest - Bardsey Island - Bob Normand

Autumn Birding and an Island paradise

With favourable weather conditions so far throughout this period, autumn 2016 is rapidly becoming a memorable birding season as rarities and mega rarities continue to arrive in the British Isles. Intense weather conditions in the west Atlantic have thrown birds in our direction during this first autumn period. Likewise, with a stationary weather system located over scandinavian countries that is generating an easterly air flow, our north and east coasts are the places to be for birders seeking rarities. Weather forecasters are predicting these conditions to continue toward mid October with moderate to brisk easterly and north-easterly winds pushing in from the continent. Many additions will be made to personal birding lists during this period and these will involve some very impressive headline-making birds: Yellow-billed Cuckoo - Eastern Kingbird - Swainson's Thrush - Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Western Swamphen - Black-browed Albatross - White's Thrush - Siberian Thrush - Black-throated Thrush - Eastern Crowned Warbler - Brown Shrike - Black-faced Bunting and the super-mega Siberian Accentor..........to mention just some.

Whether our avian autumn arrivals happen to be vagrant mega rarities or simply regular migratory winter visitors, there is a fascinating aspect to this whole saga as the spectacle of bird migration is being played out right now and right here. The migratory birds are heading for the British Isles to spend most of their non-breeding activities in what will hopefully be a favourable climate with a plentiful food supply and they are moving en masse from continental coast lines of the North Sea and English Channel. This movement gathers pace as autumn progresses

Bardsey 1 Bob Normand

with a wide variety of species making their final and most hazardous movement of their migratory journey. For many the sea crossing from continent to our island and islands has to be made in one arduous movement before reaching the coastline but sea going vessels and oil rigs can come to the rescue of many birds seeking a resting place.

One species making this journey is the Goldcrest, our stunning home page autumn heading image by Bob Normand portrays this species typically skulking in autumn foliage. Huge numbers of continental Goldcrests will join the resident British population for the winter period. This is truely a remarkable feat by any standard but given that this tiny bird, measuring 9cm in length, has a wing span of just 14cm and a total body weight a mere 6g, a tad less than a 10p coin, makes this journey all the more spectacular. You will soon become aware of the growing number of Goldcrest here in our region as their calls become more common place and heard over a much wider area than you might normally expect. The number of birds will continue to increase and eventually peak around late October.

At this time of year coastal bird watching can be spectacular, none more so than on coastal islands where birds will gather and linger before making their next move. Bardsey Island, located just off the western tip of the Lleyn Peninsular in the region of Gwynedd NW Wales is one such birder and nature lovers paradise. A bird observatory was founded and set-up on the island in 1952 by the then West Midland Bird Club Secretary Tony Norris together with the West Wales Field Society.      

From then until the present day, the West Midland Bird Club have continued to play an important role in the general administration of the observatory with members serving in key roles in the committee structure. Visiting Bardsey Island Lodge and Bird Observatory is an experience that can be enjoyed at any time of year during the operational season of late March to the end of October. Visiting during times of bird migration can provide you with an unforgettable experience that will make you intent on making a follow-up booking. Scenes such as the accompanying photograph by Bob of the evening view of the lighthouse light reflecting accross Henllwyn, happen frequently on this spiritual island haven.

For further information and details about staying at Bardsey Island Lodge and Bird Observatory, please use the following link:  www.bbfo.org.uk

Bardsey Island light reflecting across Henllwyn

photograph Bob Normand

If you can't make it to the coast then do your best to make it to one of our reserves. These wildlife sanctuaries will play host to many wintering bird species. As Common Snipe numbers build through the autumn and winter period, good numbers can accumulate in wetland areas. Searching shorelines and in particular, shoreline vegetation, can make for some spectacular viewing when these birds are found in good numbers.  

Common Snipe - Belvide - Steve Nuttall

Common Snipe at Belvide Reserve - Photograph Steve Nuttall