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Seasonal highlights

Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds - some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.

Spring

Our heronry reaches its climax with more than 100 birds present. Bluebells fill the woodland with scent and colour while returning warblers provide the soundtrack. On the wetlands, cuckoos announce the start of spring while wetland birds display around potential nest sites. Along the hedgerows and in the meadows a wide range of wildflowers are visited by bees and other insects, whilst skylarks rise high above in song.

Blackcap - maleCuckoo - maleGrey heron - adultSkylark
BlackcapCuckooGrey heronSkylark

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!

Barn owlLong-tailed titSwallowSwift
Barn owlLong-tailed titSwallowSwift

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.

Great spotted woodpecker - maleKingfisherRedwingSiskin - male
Great spotted woodpeckerKingfisherRedwingSiskin

Winter

The cold brings more species to the feeders, including willow tits and even lesser spotted woodpeckers. Frozen lakes force shy water rails into the open and even wintering bitterns can be seen on the reedbed fringes. Raptors such as hen and marsh harriers, merlins and peregrines can be encountered and short-eared owls can be found quartering the grassland. Wildfowl and waders reach peak numbers with goldeneyes and smews often found in the quieter pools and on the river.

Goldeneye - maleMarsh harrier - maleShort-eared owlWater rail
GoldeneyeMarsh harrierShort-eared owlWater rail

Contact us

Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 52.568239,-1.717424
  • Postcode: B76 9JG
  • Grid reference: SP192967
  • Nearest town: Tamworth, Staffordshire
  • County: Staffordshire
  • Country: England

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