Events

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. Please note however that July and August 2014 meetings are yet to be confirmed - .
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
email: pshobbs66@hotmail.co.uk

"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
email: lpmouse12@hotmail.com

August 2014

Wed
27

Out And About - RSPB Middleton Lakes

Location: Meet at RSPB car park - details to follow.
OS sheet 139. Grid Ref:- SK193982.

By road: Middleton Lakes is off the A4091, just six miles from the M6 and four miles from the M42, north-east of Birmingham. By car, take the A446, the AA4091 and then Bodymoor Heath Road.

By train: The nearest railway station is Wilnecote, 2.5 miles away. On foot follow the signs towards Fazeley then turn left on the A4091 until you reach the canal. Walk alongside the canal to the reserve.

By bus: The reserve is not currently served by buses

Postcode: B78 2AE (Google map)

Nestled in the beautiful Tame valley, just south of Tamworth on the Staffordshire/Warwickshire border, Middleton Lakes is our latest nature reserve to open to the public.

Since we acquired the site in 2007, we've worked hard to make sure the final restoration benefits birds, wildlife and visitors. The area is already regionally important for overwintering wildfowl such as pochards, tufted ducks and smews. Middleton Lakes will become the most important site for breeding waders in the Midlands. The lakes, reedbeds, meadows and woodlands make it one of the best birdwatching sites in the area.

We have also recently opened our new Lookout hide overlooking the northern scrapes. If you come and visit we'd love to know what you think.

Other special wildlife here includes otters, butterflies, wetland plants and dragonflies. The reserve has been designed with families in mind, so there are always lots of ways to enjoy nature, whatever the season.

Summer: Dragonflies emerge from the pools and are pursued by dashing hobbies. Swifts scream as they chase smaller insects while newly fledged swallows sit on the wires chattering as busy parents feed them. The longer evenings mean that bats and owls are often encountered as they make their first hunting flights. Day-flying moths such as burnets and cinnabars can be seen in the grassland and grass snakes can be glimpsed as they bath in the sun. Baby birds are found all around the reserve and can be heard begging for food whilst trying to avoid trouble!

Autumn: Young herons will be hanging around the wetlands hoping for easy meals, and kingfishers are regularly seen following a good breeding season. Winter wildfowl begin to return to the lakes and migrant waders drop in for a rest and feed, before continuing to wintering grounds. In the woodland, fungi are fruiting and young woodpeckers find the feeders. Small birds begin to form large flocks and redpolls, siskins and other finches can be heard moving through the alders by the canal.

Time: 9.30 am

Price: Cost of getting there by "own transport"; cost of meal if required; £2 charge allowing entry for up-to four people (Free for RSPB members.)

Booking essential

Telephone: 07966 418301

E-mail: lpmouse12@hotmail.com

September 2014

Thu
18

Indoor Meeting - Open Night

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

"Open Night" - further details to follow.

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

E-mail: bhamlocalrspb@gmail.com

Sun
21

Coach Trip - North Cave Wetlands and Blacktoft Sands

Location: Coach pick up point is from South Parade car park in Upper Holland Road, opposite Plantsbrook School, Sutton Coldfield.

Postcode: B72 1RB (Google map)

Full day coach trip to North Cave Wetlands (Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve) and Blacktoft Sands (RSPB -Humber Estuary)
This is a shared event with Sutton Coldfield RSPB Members Group.

North Cave:-
Habitat:- Reclaimed gravel extraction pits - now shallow lake with islands flood meadowland and reedbed.
Facilities:- 3 hides (2 with disabled access), 1 portaloo, mobile van providing drinks and food at carpark.
Key birds:- Wildfowl, waders (including breeding Avocet, Lapwing, Redshank & Oystercatcher, Ringed & Little Ringed Plover), gulls, breeding warblers, Tree Sparrow. (209 species recorded.)

Blacktoft Sands:-
Habitat:- Largest tidal reedbed in England.
Facilities:- 6 hides & 1 viewing screen, Information Centre, refreshments & toilets. 5 hides accessible to wheelchairs. (Track to Ousefleet Hide can be difficult in wet)
Key birds:- Breeding Avocets, Bearded Tits, Bittern & Marsh Harriers. In autumn migrating waders; Wildfowl (spectacular Teal & Wigeon flocks) & Hen Harriers in winter. Water Rail, Barn & Short-Eared Owl possible. (270 species recorded)

Approx time of time of return to Sutton Coldfield 7.30 pm.
Booking must be made by 12th September 2014 to PS Hobbs.

Time: 7.00 am

Price: Coach fare £19 (£10 for under-16 yr olds) plus reserve permit charge payable on arrival.

Booking essential

Telephone: 0121 382 7154 07796 187399

E-mail: pshobbs@hotmail.co.uk

Wed
24

Out And About - Shire Country Park, West Midlands

Location: Shire Country Park. Meet at Sarehole Mill car park, Cole Bank Road.
OS sheet 139 - Grid Ref:- SP 099818.
Postcode: B13 0BD (Google map)

The Shire Country Park comprises the Millstream Way, following the course of the River Cole between Yardley Wood and Small Heath, the Chinn Brook Recreation Ground, Coxmoor Woods and a number of satellite sites including Moseley Bog LNR.

The Park contains wetlands, grasslands, woodland and heath supporting a wealth of animal and plant life on the doorsteps of Yardley Wood, Billesley, Springfield, Sparkhill and Small Heath.
Trittiford Pool is a good site for bat watching during late spring and summer and the pool supports breeding wildfowl including Swans, Great Crested Grebes and Coots. Nearby Scribers Lane SINC is a diverse site with mixed broadleaf woodland containing wet flushes and ditches, a disused millrace and a wetland scrape. Over the past few years there have been reports of Otter, Water Vole and Water Rail in this area.

Time: 9.30 am

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

Booking essential

Telephone: 07966 418301

October 2014

Thu
16

Indoor Meeting - John Allen - Birds Of Venezuela

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

E-mail: bhamlocalrspb@gmail.com

Sun
19

Coach Trip - Newport Wetlands

Location: Coach pick up point is from South Parade car park in Upper Holland Road, opposite Plantsbrook School, Sutton Coldfield.

Postcode: B72 1RB (Google map)

Full day coach trip to RSPB Newport Wetlands reserve. This is a shared event with Sutton Coldfield RSPB Members Group.
Habitat:- Estuary, Reedbed
Facilities:- Visitor centre, Café, shop, toilets & children's play area.
Key birds:- Bearded Tit, Dunlin, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Shoveler. In Autumn - migratory wildfowl & waders begin to arrive. The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience.
Departure from Sutton Coldfield 7.00 am; approx time of time of return to Sutton Coldfield 7.30 pm.
Booking must be made by 10th October 2014 to PS Hobbs.

Time: 7.00 am

Price: £19.00 (£10.00 for under-16s)

Booking essential

Telephone: 0121 382 7154 07796 187399

E-mail: pshobbs@hotmail.co.uk

Wed
29

Out And About - Earlswood Lakes, Solihull

Location: Earlswood Lakes. Meeting place is Red Lion car park, Lady Lane. B94 6AQ
OS sheet 139. Grid Ref:- SP113746
Postcode: B94 6AQ (Google map)

Earlswood Lakes is the modern name for three man-made reservoirs which were built in the 1820s at Earlswood in Warwickshire, England, to supply water to the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. They still supply the canal, and also provide leisure facilities, including sailing, fishing and walking. The northern banks of the lakes form the county boundary with the West Midlands.

Terry's Pool is a wildlife reserve, and the whole area has a rich variety of plant and animal life. This includes Pipistrellus and Daubenton's bats, Muntjac deer,[7] and more recently, otters. Snapping Turtles also dwell in the lakes, proved when a carp fisherman caught a 33 pound (16 kilo) specimen on the second of September, 2008.[8]

Many varieties of plant and tree life can be found in and around the shores of the lakes and the water channels. Plants such as Angelica, Great Willowherb, Amphibious Bistort, Betony, Gipsywort and Yellow Flag Iris are all common to the area. Many water loving Willow Trees can be seen around the lakes, these are managed to promote new growth and more Willow trees.[8]

As of 2010, there are signs that otters frequent the Engine Pool, and there are hopes that breeding pairs will make it their permanent home. An unwanted pest however is the Mink that have escaped or been released from fur farms and have found their way onto the lakes via the network of rivers and canals in the area.[8]

To the west, the lakes are bounded by the site of special scientific interest Clowes wood and New Fallings Coppice. The site was notified in 1973, and includes for 45.3 hectares (111.9 acres) of woodland, divided in part by the Birmingham to Stratford railway. The ancient woodlands are excellent examples of lowland mixed oakwoods, and support a large and important breeding bird population.[9] Forty-nine species of woodland bird breed in Clowes Wood, including all three species of woodpecker and six species of tits, including Willow Tit. Also the Wood Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler breed regularly along with five other species of warbler. Predators include for Eurasian Sparrowhawks, Common Kestrels and the Tawny Owl.[9]

Time: 9.30 am

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

Booking essential

Telephone: 07966 418301

E-mail: lpmouse12@hotmail.com

November 2014

Sun
16

Coach Trip - Martin Mere Wetland Centre

Location: Coach pick up point is from South Parade car park in Upper Holland Road, opposite Plantsbrook School, Sutton Coldfield.

Postcode: B72 1RB (Google map)

Full day coach trip to Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust's Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire.
This is a shared event with Sutton Coldfield RSPB Members Group.
Habitat:- Reedbed & marsh, pools.
Facilities:- Wildfowl collections of rare / endangered species, 11 hides overlooking the mere, Swan feed each afternoon, visitor centre, gift shop, In Focus optics shop, Mere Side Café - serves hot food to 2.30pm. Toilets. Mobility scooters welcome.
Key birds:- Up to 2000 Whooper Swans, other wildfowl, especially Pink-footed Geese and Wigeon, passage waders, wintering Hen Harrier, Peregrine & Merlin. Also there are 2 Asian Short-clawed Otters in enclosure and a Beaver Lodge.
Approx time of time of return to Sutton Coldfield 6.30 pm.
Booking must be made by 7th November 2014 to PS Hobbs.

Time: 7.00 am

Price: Coach fare £19 (£10 for under-16 yr olds) plus admission charge for non-WWT members.

Booking essential

Telephone: 0121 382 7154 07796 187399

Thu
20

Indoor Meeting - Chris Edwards (RSPB Sandwell Valley) - Why, Where, What And Wildlife! From The Beginning.

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

E-mail: bhamlocalrspb@gmail.com

Wed
26

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

E-mail: lpmouse12@hotmail.com

December 2014

Wed
10

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

E-mail: lpmouse12@hotmail.com

Thu
11

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

E-mail: bhamlocalrspb@gmail.com