WMBC_blackredstart_logo2014

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.

Tree Pipit 1 Dave Hutton C Chase

West Midland Bird Club

2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey

In memory of Frank Gribble MBE

Cannock Chase is a site of regional and national importance and 2017 will see the continuation of bird survey work at this site that has been carried out at five yearly intervals since 1992. The links below provide information concerning the 2017 survey that has been organised by the Stafford Branch of the West Midland Bird Club under the guidance of project manager Roger Broadbent

 

The Tree Pipit is one of a number of iconic bird species that breed at this site. Photographed here by Dave Hutton on the chase in May 2016.

Targeting certain species is an integral and important feature of this survey.

Aims of the Survey Methodology and Survey Commitment Survey Recording Requirements Cannock Chase Target Species

West Midland Bird Club

2014 Annual Report

This annual production provides a historic record of the wild birds that have been recorded in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands in a specific calendar year. This report is a culmination of two years work involving over 300,000 records of 229 species at around 1000 sites and recorded by over 1,300 contributors. Our Report is the only authentic source of information on the avifauna of our four counties.

Once again the Club is indebted to the Report Editor, the four County Recorders, the photographers who submit their work for inclusion in the report, all of those who are associated with the content and production of this publication and, by no means least, to all those observers who have submitted their records.

All members of the Club receive a copy of the report as part of their annual subscription. Anyone wishing to join the Club can find details of membership plus information on other membership benefits by visiting the Join page of this website.

The current 2014 report is now available for purchase at a cost of £12.00 plus £2.00 p&p from the WMBC Secretary, Mark Rickus:

secretary@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Tree Pipit - Cannock Chase - photo Dave Hutton

Survey Visit Requirements

Potential disruption at our Ladywalk Reserve - 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 2017. 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 July 1st to September 30th 2017. For further details use the link below that outlines the latest HS2 notification. This latest notice from HS2 was issued on June 20th, received by WMBC June 29th - our apologies for any inconvenience that arises from this change.

HS2 Investigative work to be carried out at Ladywalk Reserve

The Annual Report - moving forward

For 80 years, the Annual Report has remained largely unchanged. The size has been A5 and the contents fairly constant. What has changed is the use of full colour and the amount of information available such that we are now close to 300 pages. Welcome though this is, it does present problems. The physical size of the Report has reached its limits without moving to a more expensive binding. Also, the dimensions are constraining the size of images that I can embed and the tables of data require quite a small font to get all the information in. Looking round at some of the leading bird reports one finds that many are moving to a larger format and I am doing the same.

"Hang on, what about my bookcase" I hear you cry and I have some sympathy with that reaction having said pretty much the same when British Birds changed. My misgivings with that soon evaporated and I hope yours will with regards to our Report. I am looking at moving to B5 which is almost the size of British Birds namely 16.5cm x 24.5cm. This will allow a slightly larger font size, larger images and better laid out tables for a start.

I want to introduce something new though. As Editor I probably read the Report more times than most; and all the way through. I am constantly aware that I know little if anything about many of the sites outside my own county (Staffs) and I assume the same is true for members living in the far south when it comes to sites "up north". So, what I intend is to sprinkle banner-type images of our birding sites through the Report. These will be approx. 17cm x 5cm and sit at the top of the page ie full page width. So I need your help. Send me good quality images of your favourite sites and I will do my best to include them. Maybe not all in one Report but, over a period, we will build up a portfolio of our best birding spots. I would prefer "out of the camera" images so that I get the largest pixel size and I can then crop to suit.

Over to you!

Dave Emley

report@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk

Front Cover 2014 Annual Report 2 April Summary Tree Sparrow - Nigel Talbot - Belvide Common Tern - Steve Edwards - Blithfield Male Sparrowhawk - John Oates

Visit our Reserves

                        Tree Sparrow - Nigel Talbot                                                       Common Terns - Steve Edwards  

                 Eurasian Sparrowhawk - John Oates                                               Eurasian Bittern - Peter Lichfield

Eurasian Bittern - Peter Lichfield - Ladywalk

Visiting our Reserves

Irrespective of size or location, nature reserves are special places that provide opportunities to engage with the wildlife that inhabits them. Inclusive membership of the West Midland Bird Club entitles you to visit our reserves at Belvide and Blithfield in Staffordshire, Ladywalk in Warwickshire and Harborne in the West Midlands. Visits can be made as often as you wish and this membership category also provides access to our reserves for the members partner and immediate family aged 16 years and under, inclusive membership is tailored to benefit the family.

Belvide new 2 - Nigel Talbot

All of our reserves offer a wealth of diverse wildlife in both fauna and flora and provide an attractive destination for the all-round naturalist or general nature lover. Birdlife is of course a major attraction to members visiting these places and the facilities provided for observers are of the highest standard. As for the birds that are resident or visitors to our reserves then there is always something interesting to watch at any time of year and, always expect the unexpected, this happens frequently enough to make every visit an exciting prospect. For birding beginners and budding naturalists I can think of no better places than these to improve and progress your interests and learning. You will find that visiting our reserves is an extremely rewarding experience. If you so wish, there is the opportunity to get involved with reserve upkeep and development.  

Blithfield Reserve exposed shoreline - Jerry Ray

                Shallow scrapes at Belvide - Nigel Talbot                          Exposed shoreline and spits at Blithfield - Jerry Ray

Ladywalk new Hide 1 Peter Lichfield Harborne Reserve PB

          One of the hides at Ladywalk - Peter Lichfield                        Woodland footpath at Harborne - Douglas Field

As summer progresses and water levels recede at our wetland reserves, so shorelines, gravel spits and mudflats become exposed. This will hopefully attract some special bird species to the reserves during return passage, it will certainly prompt enthusiasm and excitement amongst the visiting members. Our woodland and any well vegetated areas will also provide food and sanctuary for a wide variety of species, resident and passage birds alike. The whole prospect of birding at our reserves is one that any birder at any level of expertise or experience should make an effort to be involved in. Make the most of what is available, where else can you gain such pleasure and learning for £30.00 per year.  

Blithfield Res from ballon Chris Blackburn Belvide sunset Chris Blackburn

   An arial view of Blithfield Reservoir - Chris Blackburn                       Sunset over Belvide - Chris Blackburn

All of the information required to join this Club and gain access to our reserves is available to you on this website. Contact details for reserve management representatives is also available here and these people will be pleased to assist with any enquiry regarding your visits.

Day permits for bona fide groups are available through request and can be arranged by contacting  the reserve management or Club Secretary, please see reserve and contact details or use info@ at the foot of each page on this site.

Otherwise, access is strictly by Inclusive Membership only - individual day permits are not issued.  

 

After much hard work and deliberation in erecting and positioning a new tern raft at our Blithfield reserve, news has recently broken that Common Terns have bred successfully on the raft. At the time of writing there are currently 6 chicks and 8 unhatched eggs, hopefully resulting in an even larger colony. This represents the first breeding for this species at this site. This is truly a memorable record and a great achievement by those WMBC members involved in site volunteer work and this also involves staff from the South Staffs Water Company, owners of the reservoir. By prompting the thought and providing the effort to include this feature at the reseve, all is thoroughly justified. More details on this on the Blithfield Reserve page of this site.

Common Tern chick Blithfield 1 Common Tern eggs Close up Blithfield Jerry Ray Common Tern Chick Blithfield 3

Some record shots of the new 2017 Common Tern colony at Blithfield - Jerry Ray

As previously mentioned, keep an eye out for the unexpected.

If you think that midsummer birding can be a tad on the dull side in terms of event birds turning up at your local patch, try telling this to the guys at our Belvide reserve who watched three Sabine's Gulls arrive at the reserve on the morning of June 24th and obligingly linger for a while before moving off. Summer Sabine's Gulls in the landlocked Midlands in fairly benign local weather conditions is some record, what the conditions may have been like in far off north-western seas encompassed by the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean was probably a different story for these 1st summer wanderers. Local reserve birding at its best.    

Sab Gulls Belvide June Steve Nuttall Sab Gull Belvide June Nigel Talbot Sab Gull Belvide June Steve Nuttall 2 Sab Gulls Belvide June Nigel Talbot

Record shots of the Belvide Sabine's Gulls June 2017. Top two - Steve Nuttall           Bottom two - Nigel Talbot

West Midland Bird Club Thermal Imaging Camera

After the successful trial of a thermal imaging camera in November 2016, Brewood Ringers recommended the use of this equipment to the WMBC as being a positive step forward in the monitoring of birds. As ever, in our progressive approach to being at the forefront of bird study in our region, we accepted this recommendation and purchased our own camera.

Since this purchase the equipment has been loaned out to Brewood Ringers and the results of its use have been outstanding. For further details on their findings, visit: brewoodringers.com   

 

The West Midland Bird Club would wish to make it perfectly clear that contrary to any misleading information that was announced by Brewood Ringers with regard to ownership of this equipment, this camera is undisputedly the sole property of the WMBC and the terms of its use by others are governed by the conditions set out by the Club.

(Brewood Ringers have now retracted their origional inaccurate statements other than as published in the BTO Lifestyle magazine, hopefully this too will be set straight in the next issue).

 

While this equipment is currently on loan to the Brewood Ringing Group in order that they further their studies, it is also available for use by other organisations upon request. Our purpose behind the purchase of this equipment and making provisions for its availability on loan, is to advance the study of wild birds in the Clubs operating region. This not only succeeds in achieving our aims and objectives but also provides the opportunity for others from within our region to enhance their own studies, thereby benefiting regional bird study through its wider use.

For futher information on the loan of this equipment, subject to conditions and agreement, please contact:

secretary@westmidlandbirdclub.org.uk