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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

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.

Potential disruption at our Ladywalk Reserve - 3rd CHANGE OF NOTICE ISSUED BY HS2

The West Midland Bird Club have received notification from HS2, the proposed London - West Midlands high speed rail link, that after receiving parliamentary approval, site survey work will commence in 2018. In order to carry out their survey work they have informed the Club that they need to gain access to our Ladywalk Reserve in order to carry out a variety of investigations. This will involve work over the period commencing May 1st to July 31st 2018. For further details use the link below that outlines the latest HS2 notification. This latest notice from HS2 was issued on February 5th 2018, received by WMBC February 6th - our apologies for any inconvenience that arises from this change.

HS2 Investigative work to be carried out at Ladywalk Reserve

West Midland Bird Club

Stafford Branch

2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey - In memory of Frank Gribble

The results of this project are now available as PDF below:  

 

Welcome to the

West Midland Bird Club Website

Hams Hall Bridge Maintenance

Please see the letter below in regards to the work:

Letter 2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey

Changes in taxonomic order  

and the effect this will have on our Annual Report.

 

The sequence of species in the Club’s Annual Report No. 82, covering the year 2015, follows that of the Eighth Edition of the British List (BOU. 2016) produced by the British Ornithologists’ Union. Our report includes changes to the list that have been made up to 2016.

There have been recent changes to this list and there are more to

come. When it is considered to be appropriate with the

chronological order of our report in relation to the timing of new

taxonomic findings, the West Midland Bird Club Annual Report,

‘The Birds of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the

West Midlands’, will introduce any new changes. Our report is a

historic review of the birds in our region in a specific year, the entire

content of which is dedicated to that year. We feel that it would be

inaccurate to include changes in our 2016 report, No. 82, that had

not been implemented by BOU until a later date, albeit that the

publication date of the report may reflect the year in which changes

were made.

Our systematic list of bird species follows a taxonomic order that appears in a sequence according to how long they are thought to have evolved. Early lists comprise an order based on observable similarities and differences between birds regarding their assumed genealogy. The approach to the list changed with the introduction of DNA testing, more specifically, by examining and presenting the properties of DNA molecular structures. In layman’s terms, the sequence is now based on new scientific evidence rather than perceived observable traits. There are species that still retain their position in the systematic list based on this latter perception, is it now just a matter of time before their order is re-identified?

When our current Report Editor, Dave Emley, took up his position in 1999 and produced Report No. 66, the taxonomic sequence ‘systematic list’ began with divers. In 2002, report No. 69, new scientific evidence prompted the change to Mute Swan becoming the first species in the list, in other words, as a result of DNA testing and a greater understanding, we now know that Mute Swan evolved before Red-throated Diver. Other changes have occurred in connection with scientific evidence forming a new taxonomic order, Corn Bunting was replaced by Reed Bunting as being the last species in the list, reflected in report No. 81 for the year 2014. Who would have envisaged that falcons would have been separated from other birds of prey, these now appearing much later in the list as an independent group, this has also been introduced into our report No. 81. The latest BOU list, the ninth edition December 2017, sees Mute Swan replaced by Brent Goose as the first in the list. The final sequence of buntings in the current 2018 list has recently changed again and now reads, Reed Bunting, Lapland Bunting and the list ends with Snow Bunting, yet to be included in our report. Other changes in sequence, too numerous to mention and too frequent in occurrence, have also been made since the commencement of the 21st century.

As a result of these changes I am no longer able to open our report or my field guide to within a few pages of where I expected to find the bird of my choice. This, however, is little price to pay in knowing that the evidence that prompts these changes is far more accurate than in times gone by, a comforting thought based on the fact that accuracy is what we are all about. We must not lose sight of the fact that we pursue a hobby that is based on a science, ornithology, the scientific study of birds.

The aim of the BOU is to unify the world list in accordance with the findings of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) World Bird List. As of 1st January 2018, the British List will conform to this sequence. The West Midland Bird Club are fully supportive of this action in unification.

Corn Bunting - Elford - Steve Seal

Corn Bunting by Steve Seal, one of the species involved in taxonomic change

Cetti Warbler - Mick Erwin

Cetti's Warbler - Mick Erwin

The Urban Gulls Survey

 

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are asking volunteer fieldworkers in the Birmingham Metropolitan District to make counts from street level of gull species during the breeding season. The survey area will be a 1km square and will require only one visit in May or early June. We anticipate that each visit will take approximately 2 to 3 hours duration. You will not have to get up early to participate in this as surveys can be carried out at any time of day. It may be possible, in some areas, to cycle around the roadways in order to reduce walking time. All data would be recorded on paper forms then submitted by post. There is no online option due to the small scale of the survey.

 

An additional part of the project involves volunteers making counts of

Apparently Occupied Nests (AON) from vantage points on buildings

(these surveys are being co-ordinated by Natural England). Aircraft will

also be used to take aerial images of the roofs of buildings. The project

aims to account for the limitations of different survey methodologies by

comparing these different methods. The project will provide a formal

assessment of the potential of volunteer ground-based surveys to

deliver robust national population estimates of urban breeding gulls,

and enable correction factors to be calculated to be used with future

surveys.

 

If you would like to help with the ground level surveys, please contact Steve Davies, the BTO Regional Representative for Birmingham (stevedaviesbtorep@hotmail.co.uk). If you would like more information about the survey please contact Ian Woodward, the Urban Gull Survey Organiser (ian.woodward@bto.org).

Information Sheet 31962179881_b2632c369c_o

Lesser Black-backed Gulls by John Oates

Congratulations to Nick Pomiankowski

For being the first UK County Recorder to return his 2017 Rare Breeding Birds Panel  submission.  

SIX MONTHS AHEAD OF THE DEADLINE.