A resource for nature enthusiasts and residents who enjoy the Smestow Valley Local Nature Reserve. Latest bird news and an insight into the history of the area and ongoing preservation work.This site has been inspired by the incredible work of the Smestow Valley Bird Group and the development of this blog will stand as testament to the efforts of a small group of caring and energetic birders that helped create history for the valley.
Friday, 20 May 2016
Morning’s bird blitz
so near to the
Ian had forsaken us for a fortnight in God’ Country
(it starts at Gretna) so it was down to Geoff, Gareth and myself to see just
how many bird species we could tot up in or over the valley on a weekend
morning in May.The record number seen
or heard locally in 24 hours stands at 66, achieved some years ago by Gareth
and his dad Kevin. But they were up at dawn
and considered it over only when the fat Tawny Owl hooted, so we didn’t expect
to top their total (us ancient birders do need our rest).
So, the Saturday before last (May 7th) yet-to-be-ancient
Gareth went straight from a night shift to cover Pool Hall, Wightwick fields
and Turner’s fields, Geoff took in the mid-section centred on the Compton
barleyfield, and yours truly trudged northwards from Newbridge, taking in
Aldersley, Oxley and Dunstall Park.Migration
had slowed (the north end of the valley continues to be quiet for the second
spring running) high pressure weather didn’t help, but comparing notes over a
welcome Cupcake coffee at Newbridge station around mid-day we were more than
pleased with the result.Sixty four species,
a total which would have been bettered had we seen among others Rose-ringed
Parakeet, Little Owl, Garden Warble and Bearded Vulture.
As it was, we managed to list Kingfisher, the first Spotted
Flycatchers for the year (single passage birds by the barleyfield and Wightwick
fields), Great Crested Grebe feeding
youngsters at Pool Hall, singing Skylark,
nesting BarnSwallow, House Martin
and Mute Swan, and a singing Sedge Warbler. Among other species seen
were Bullfinch, Lapwing, Linnet, Herring Gull, Grey Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat,Goldcrest,Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Swift,Green Woodpecker, Great
SpottedWoodpecker, Rook, Raven, Jay, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Mistle Thrush,
Coot, Tufted Duck, Greylag, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk,
Buzzard and Kestrel. A male Pheasant
called from a rough grass field just north of Windmill Lane, and Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer were seen and heard near Castlecroft canal bridge.
All in all, not bad for patch that at its furthest
point is less than four miles from the centre of Wolverhampton. At a time when monoculture agriculture is degrading
large tracts of the British countryside in terms of wildlife variety it’s
refreshing to see a relatively small mixed-habitat linear park on the edge of
one of Britain’s largest conurbations produce such an extensive list of bird
species. Here’s to the Smestow Valley!