A regular visitor to the valley, which attempts to breed most years at Dunstall Park (Private Land) (Last successful in 2005, rearing 2 young).
Typical sightings include birds flying along the valley and small groups on the canals in Winter, when local bodies of water freeze over.
9 flew SE over the Barleyfield on 7/11/1988.
2 records: 12 adults SSW over Aldersley on 19/11/2000, seen shortly after over Compton, and 4 West over the sand fields South of Compton on 31/10/2006.
Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens)
The local Canada Goose population has attracted a good number of sightings of feral birds over the years.In 2010, single birds were seen feeding with Canada Geese at Dunstall Park (Private land) on 5/1 and on 4/8, 6/8 and 20/8.
White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons)
12 flew WNW over a frozen Dunstall Park (Private land) on the morning of 31/01/2010, tying in with a prime time for annual migration reports for the West Midlands.
Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
Birds can be seen annually flying over the valley, usually in ones or twos, although 25 over Newbridge on 30/12/2000 and 16 East over the Barleyfield on 12/10/2009 were notable exceptions. A pair did attempt to breed at Dunstall Park (Private Land) in 2003, but the nest was abandoned, whilst brooding.
Greater Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)
Perhaps to most dawn and dusk walkers, this is the most obvious bird in the valley, as groups pass over the valley, between local bodies of water, becoming most obvious in early Spring and late Summer/early Autumn. Hundreds can be seen over the valley at these times.
Pairs nest at Dunstall Park (Private land) annually and in Spring the odd pair may drop onto the canals looking in vain for potential nest-sites.
Records involving single feral birds were received in 10 years since 1988, the latest being from Dunstall Park (Private land) on 11/9/2006. 2 were seen heading North over Aldersley with 2 Canada Geese on 4/6/2001 and again on 7/8/2001.
1 record of a dark-bellied bird grazing among Canada Geese at Dunstall Park (Private Land) on 5/4/2003.
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
First recorded on 14/1/1992, when one was with a group of Mallard on the canal by Graisley Brook. A female then appeared at Dunstall Park (Private land) from 1-5/3/1997, and since then there have been records most years. 3 juveniles were at Dunstall Park lake on 24/8/1998, with 2 of them staying until 3/9/1998.The most seen were 4 adults, which were at the lake before heading North on 25/5/2003. Away from this site there has only been one record: a single flying over Wightwick on 1/6/2003. 4 birds were recorded in 2010, the latest being a juvenile that stayed at Dunstall Park Lake from 5-7/9/2010.
The first valley record was of 2 males, which were at Dunstall Park (Private land) from 2-14/4/2004, 21/4/2004 and on 23/4/2004, during which time they had twice been seen flying into the site from the North. Presumably the same two males were present there from 2/9/2004 to 6/9/2004. A female was then seen with them from 25/9/2004 till 24/11/2004, after which time they had all departed.
The only other valley record was of a juvenile at the same site from 14-30/6/2009.
The first record was of a male which was seen arriving at Dunstall Park (Private land) on the evening of 27/5/2004. In 2006 a male was seen heading South over Wightwick on 29/10 and presumably the same bird remained on the canal there from 10/11/2006 until 6/4/2007. Quite comically, it was seen displaying, in vain to a female Mallard!!!!
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
An obvious bird on the brooks and canals.Over 100 may be seen on the canals in freezing weather and often well over 100 use the relative safety of Dunstall Park (Private land) to moult. Fluffy chicks delight walkers, in Spring and Summer.
Gadwall (Anas Strepera)
The first valley record involved a female seen from Dunstall Water Bridge, flying low across Dunstall Park (Private land) towards Oxley. The species is usually recorded from September to November, or during Winter when they have been noted at Dunstall Park Lake or nearby on the sheltered stretches of canal. It has been recorded in most years. In 2010 pairs were noted on the Staffs & Worcs Canal near Aldersley Junction in January and December.
First recorded on 19/8/1997, when a female stayed at Dunstall Park Lake (Private land) for two days. In 2000 an eclipse male was there from 13/9-19/9, often seen arriving and departing with Mallards. A female was present at the same site on 9/9/2001. 2002 produced 3 records: a pair at Dunstall Park Lake on 27/9, 2 passed South over there on 17/11 and 4 males and a female headed NE over Wightwick Fields on 15/12.
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
First recorded on 16/1/1996, and now regular at Dunstall Park (Private land) from August to April. Numbers are now regularly into double figures and the current record stands at 21 males and 9 females there on 7/2/2010. Birds are occasionally noted on the canals and overhead elsewhere. Over the years the species has been recorded in all months except May.
Eurasian Wigeon ( Anas penelope)
First recorded on 20/9/1996, when a female and a partial-eclipse male was at Dunstall Park Lake (Private land).Birds have been encountered during most years recently, from September to February, with the exception of an eclipse male that arrived at the lake on 28/8/2003, and a male that stayed briefly there on 12/5/2007. The highest recorded count was of between 3 and 6 birds at the lake from 14-25/9/2002.
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Freezing weather brings small numbers to the brooks and canals.Birds frequent Dunstall Park (Private land) from August to March, with a record 32 there on 5/11/2010.
A single valley record of a male at Dunstall Park (Private land) on the morning of 8/6/2006.
Common Pochard (Aythya fuligula)
A scarce Winter visitor associated usually with freezing weather. Absent from 1998 to 2007, and since then, a few December and January records have been received in the North section of the valley only.The last bird South of Newbridge was during an icy January 1996 North of Meccano Bridge, when up to 2 males and a female were present there.
A species which was first noted in Spring 1987, when a pair frequented the canals near Dunstall Park. It is probably best remembered by hardened valley birders for the hybrid male that was frequently seen on the canal in the Compton area from late March 1994 until 14/4/2002.
The valleys second ever record (the first being before 1988) came on 15/6/2007 when a male was seen at Dunstall Park Lake (Private land).
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Double figures can be present at Dunstall Park (Private land) in Spring and Summer, though the only breeding attempt was back in 1988 when a pair successfully raised 2 young there. Freezing weather brings small numbers to the canals annually.
There have been 3 valley records:
- a male flew South over Aldersley canal junction on 26/12/1981.
- a female at Dunstall Park Lake (Private land) on 18/10 and 20/10/1994.
- a female was feeding and preening with a group of Tufted Duck on Dunstall Park Lake on 28/1/2010.
Goosander (Mergus merganser)
Another "cold-weather" bird, 1st recorded on 17/11/2002 in the valley, and since 2009 has become a beautiful Winter feature, increasingly seen flying along the valley or fishing on the brooks and canals during freezing conditions. Has been recorded from October to March with single sightings involving up to 8 birds.
A single valley record of an immature, which was first seen at Dunstall Park Lake (Private land) on 23/8/1993, before being found dead next day.