Indoor Meetings:-

As from September 2013, Birmingham RSPB Members Group indoor meetings are to be held at The Nautical Club, Bishopsgate St., Birmingham B15 1ET.
There is parking for around 20 cars at The Nautical Club, also street parking is available nearby. Tea, coffee and other drinks may be purchased from The Nautical Club's bar.
Meetings will continue to be held on the 3rd Thusday of each month excepting December when the meeting is on the 2nd Thursday of the month.
Admission is £3.00 (£1.50 for under-16s)
As an incentive to encourage new people to come to the meetings we are offering newcomers half price admission (£1.50, £0.75 for under-16s) for their first meeting.

Coach Trips:-

Coach trips (organised by Sutton Coldfield Local Group) start at the time stated, each trip will be by coach which will leave Upper Holland Road, Sutton Coldfield (opposite Plantsbrook School) at times shown.
Please book in advance via Paul Hobbs.
Home tel: 0121 382 7154. Mobile: 07796 187399

"Out And About" Trips:-

These trips are informal local birding outings by own transport, usually meeting at 09.30am and ending with lunch at a public house or other eating establishment. Please take suitable footwear and clothing for the weather on the day. Trip venues may be changed at short notice due to adverse weather conditions or other complications. Most trips last until around 2pm but may last longer especially in summer months. (You may of course leave earlier but please let Linda Hobbs know if you do!) For more details contact Linda Hobbs.
Home tel: 0121 382 7154. Mobile: 07966 418301

Other Events:-

Please contact our Local Group Leader Sandra Bourne (by e-mail only please as Sandra is Deaf) on (or Paul Hobbs by telephone on 0121 382 7154 / 07966 187399) for more information on our programme of events. We are always happy to welcome new members and would particularly welcome some "new blood" on our committee! Please contact us if you would like more information on available committee posts. We also need extra volunteers to enable us to arrange more fund-raising events, so please contact us if you feel you would be able to assist in this way - even if you could only help with an event in your own area.

November 2014


Out And About - Ladywalk Nature Reserve (WMBC)

Location: Ladywalk Nature Reserve lies on the site of the old Hams Hall power station, situated in the valley of the River Tame, in the borough of North Warwickshire, England, some ten miles from Birmingham city centre, at grid reference SP212917 (OS sheet 139)
Vehicular access is via Faraday Avenue at the Hams Hall National Distribution Centre, approached using the roundabout on the A446 approximately one mile to the south of junction 9 of the M42. Faraday Avenue leads to the car park via a padlocked security gate (turn right at the final roundabout by Sainsbury's warehouse), which is on the left before the bridge, where permit holders only (*) may park and then enter the reserve on foot using the footbridge onto the site. (*) Linda Hobbs will obtain a group permit for this visit.

Postcode: B46 2AH (Google map)

Linda Hobbs has obtained access for Birmingham Local RSPB Group members to visit this West Midlands Bird Club reserve which is normally only accessible to WMBC members.

Since 1970, over 200 species of bird have been recorded within the area of the reserve including such unusual visitors as Red Kite, Common Crane, Waxwing, Bearded Tit, Night Heron, Little Egret, Spoonbill, American Wigeon, Long tailed Duck, Marsh Harrier, Hoopoe, Great Grey Shrike and Lapland Bunting to mention just a few.

Rarities apart, the reserve offers good birdwatching all the year round.

In the winter months hundreds of wildfowl, mainly Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Mallard, along with smaller numbers of Goldeneye, Goosander, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Gadwall and Pintail and the occasional Smew are more or less guaranteed.

These, coupled with the regular flocks of Lapwings, Geese, Gulls, the Grey Herons and the Cormorants that frequent marsh and lakes, make the reserve a very lively place. Water Rail and Woodcock are both regular winter visitors often in good numbers.

Visitors can also enjoy the opportunity of watching at close quarters birds which come to the feeding stations located at both Sainsbury's and B hides. Flocks of tits and finches can be watched feeding in the company of both Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Green Woodpeckers. Unusual species such as Marsh Tit and Willow Tit, Water Rail and Sparrowhawk also pay regular visits to these feeding stations.

In recent years, up to four over-wintering Bitterns have spent time at the reserve, making Ladywalk one of the best reserves in the country where you are almost guaranteed to see these birds, thus attracting many birders eager for a glimpse of this normally elusive species.

Small flocks of Siskin and Redpoll occur regularly accross the reserve during the day, whilst at dusk flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare can be watched coming to roost in the Phragmites, as Water Rails and Tawny Owl start to call.

The arrival of spring brings the reserve alive with song, as male warblers and other songbirds declare their territories. In the evening the reedbed, that during winter provided a roost for the Thrushes, now plays host to migrating Swallows and Martins, often in their hundreds.

Spring also sees the passage of migrating Sandpipers, Plovers, Greenshanks and Godwits, a few regularly stopping for a day or two on their long journey northwards. Little Ringed Plovers, Curlew and Shelduck also return at this time, all of which nest on or near to the reserve.

As spring gives way to summer there is still plenty to see. As well as birds, Ladywalk is home to five species of Orchid, including the only Marsh Hellebore colony in the county there are now an amazing 2,000 plants of this species. In 1999 a large colony of the locally rare Yellow Birds Nest was discovered.

Butterflies are plentiful, with many species occurring, including the locally scarce White-letter Hairstreak that can be found in the Church Pool Covert. In 1995, Ladywalk's first recorded Marbled White was seen.

The shallow scrapes are now home to many dragonflies and damselflies over sixteen species have been recorded on the reserve, so all in all making summer an interesting time.

Time: 9.30 am

Price: Only cost of getting there by "own transport", plus cost of meal if required.

Booking essential

Telephone: 07966 418301


December 2014


Out And About - Marsh Lane Nature Reserve (Packington Estates)

Location: Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, Marsh Lane, Meriden, Warwickshire

The reserve is just off the A452 some two miles north of Balsall Common. Travelling (southwards) between the A45 / Meriden and Balsall Common the reserve is on the right hand side off the A452 (through a signposted lorry park) Turn across the central reservation following signs for the lorry park / truck stop, then very shortly turn sharp right onto the old Birmingham Road where there is gated access leading to the reserve from outside a house on the right hand side. (OS sheet 139, Grid Ref: SP217804)
Details of annual/day permits and directions can be obtained from Packington Estate Enterprises on 01676 522020

Linda Hobbs has obtained access for Birmingham Local RSPB Group members to visit this private nature reserve (Day permit fee will be payable for non-permit holders)
Marsh Lane Nature Reserve at Berkswell (between Solihull and Coventry) lies adjacent to and in the flood plain of the River Blythe, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It opened to permit holders on the 1st of July 2001.
Two of the main pools have been shaped and include a number of islands which, since formation, have attracted a wide range of breeding and passage waders. Four hides have been constructed which, between them, give excellent views of all the pools and islands. The hides are linked by hard paths and there is a car park within the site's locked gates. Disabled visitors should find the site suitable for them although the paths are unbound. The paths are made of planings and are reasonably compact but wheelchair visitors may need some aid. Within the hides, seats can be unhinged or moved to allow wheelchair access to the blinds.

Up to March 2013, the site list stands at 195. Birds of note in this time include Hoopoe, Spotted Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, Black Kite, Rough-legged Buzzard, Spoonbill, Stone Curlew, Lesser Yellowlegs and Beeater. Little Egrets occur annually, and Osprey is recorded in most years. Buzzards and Hobby are regular and Marsh and Hen Harrier have also been recorded. Most passage waders have been seen including Avocet, Knot, Spotted Redshank, Turnstone and Temminck's Stint. Up to three Black Necked Grebes were recorded in the spring of 2000 and again in 2012. In winter, up to 400 Wigeon, 300 Golden Plover and 750 Lapwing are regularly present, although Golden Plovers have become lss regular in recent winters.

There are two established feeding stations which attract a variety of species including Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Tree Sparrows and Bramblings have visited regularly over previous winters. A 5 acre field has been set aside to provide food and cover for finches and buntings in Winter with flocks of over 100 Yellowhammers and 60 Reed Buntings and up to 300 Linnets.

In May 2010, with help from Natural England, an area of some 16 acres of former arable ground was shaped into wet grassland with scrapes, suitable for breeding and feeding habitat for waders. Two hides have been constructed overlooking the field, linked by a series of paths through the 13 acre Siden Hill Wood. Small car parks are located at either end of this walk, which lies west of the River Blythe and can be reached, on foot, from the main Reserve.

There is a good network of footpaths linking the site with other attractive areas of countryside, including Bradnocks Marsh. For new site plan, see download box above.

Time: 9.30 am

Price: Cost of getting there by "own transport"; cost of meal if required; day permit fee - Adults £4 / OAPs £3.50 - for non-permit holders.

Booking essential

Telephone: 07966 418301



Indoor Meeting - Martin Cross - A Walk On The Wild Side - Part 2: Autumn And Winter

Location: The Nautical Club, Bishopsgate St., Birmingham
Postcode: B15 1ET (Google map)

Illustrated talk.

Time: 7.30 pm

Price: £3.00 (£1.50 for under-16s) Concession for newcomers' first meeting - £1.50 (£0.75 for under-16s)

Telephone: 0121 382 7154