Monday, 22 August 2016

Call for development sites at Earlswood

Solihull Council have recently published a "Call for sites" schedule, presenting sites submitted by landowners and developers to the council for consideration of suitability for housing development. Somewhat alarmingly, 10 of these sites are situated within the Earlswood recording area (all in Tidbury Green parish) and some are quite large, but all have yet to be assessed for their suitability at this early stage. Certainly something to keep an eye on...

Here's a map of the sites with the site names (and promoters/agents)

37 Bowyer Farm (landowner)
39 Field adjacent to Tudor Croft (landowner)
42 Big Cleobury Farm (landowner)
58 Land at Cleobury Lane (John Shepherd Estate Agents)
69 Norton Lane (PRW Strategic Advice)
70 Kidpile Farm (landowner)
71 Land at 149-163 Wood Lane (Tyler-Parkes Partnership)
73 Earlswood Caravan/Ambleside Nursery (ACL Consultants)
141 Land around Earlswood Station (Bilfinger GVA)
206 Land at Norton Lane (DS Planning)

Sunday, 15 May 2016

West Midlands Spring Bird Race 2016

This year and hopefully in subsequent years from now on, the Warks bird race took place on the same day as the spring all-dayer that has been organised at Upton Warren for many years, and at other key West Midlands region birding sites more recently too. The "Ladywalk Loons" did really well to come first in this #WestMidsBirdRace list as well when you look at the competition! I'm really pleased with Team Earlswood's position here too for the same reason. But all patches got good scores, so well done all :-)

1. Ladywalk - 93
2. Belvide - 90
=3. Grimley - 89
=3. Middleton Lakes - 89
5. Sandwell Valley - 85
6. Upton Warren - 84
7. Marsh Lane - 83
=8. Earlswood - 77
=8. Salford Priors GP - 77
=9. Clayhanger / Ryders Mere / Stubber's Green - 74
=9. Draycote - 74
=9. Venus Pool - 74
10. Charlecote - 73
11. Farnborough Park / Burton Dassett - 59
12. Morton Bagot - 54

A re-match in the autumn is on the cards! >:-)

Phil Andrews has posted species lists for most of the participating sites here.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Warks Patch Bird Race 2016 - results

May 7th 2016

A total of 6 patches took part in this year's Warwickshire patch bird race. I hope everyone who participated enjoyed it as much as I did! The final results are as follows:

1. Ladywalk - 93 (Adam Archer, Steve Cawthray, Peter Forbes, Steve Haynes, Dave Hutton, Donna Mallon, Pete Sofley, Kevin Whiston, Mick)

=2. Earlswood - 77 (Jon Chidwick, Paul Fitzgerald, Matt Griffiths, Yvonne Heward, Mike Jeeves, John Oates, Barbara Philp, Tony Philp, John Sirrett, Jim Winsper)

=2. Salford Priors GP - 77 (Jon Bowley, anon)

3. Draycote - 74 (T. Crawford, Bob Hazell, John Judge, Tim Marlow, I. Martindale, Richard Mays, Steve Valentine)

4. Charlecote - 73 (Gus Ariss, Jack Bradbury, Lizzy Bradbury, Roland Hopkins)

5. Farnborough Park / Burton Dassett - 59 (Gareth Blockley, Dan Watson)

6. Morton Bagot - 54 (Mike Inskip)

A total of 115 species were recorded during the day, including a few recorded at non-participating sites. My thanks to Gus Ariss, Steve Haynes and John Judge for putting day lists together for Charlecote (C), Ladywalk (L) and Draycote (D) respectively. Species recorded at Earlswood are denoted with E.

  1. Great Crested Grebe - D, E, L
  2. Little Grebe - C, L
  3. Cormorant - C, D, E, L
  4. Grey Heron - C, D, E, L
  5. Little Egret - L
  6. Mute Swan - C, D, E, L
  7. Greylag Goose - C, D, E, L
  8. Canada Goose - C, D, E, L
  9. Shelduck - L
  10. Wigeon - C, L
  11. Gadwall - D, L
  12. Teal - Brandon
  13. Mallard - C, D, E, L
  14. Shoveler - L
  15. Tufted Duck - C, D, E, L
  16. Goldeneye - D
  17. Goosander - L
  18. Red Kite - D, L
  19. Sparrowhawk - D, E, L
  20. Buzzard - C, D, E, L
  21. Kestrel - D, E, L
  22. Hobby - L, L
  23. Peregrine - L
  24. Grey Partridge
  25. Red-legged Partridge - C, D
  26. Pheasant - C, D, E, L
  27. Moorhen - C, D, E, L
  28. Coot - C, D, E, L
  29. Water Rail - L
  30. Oystercatcher - D, E, L
  31. Avocet - Salford Priors GP
  32. Lapwing - D, E, L
  33. Ringed Plover - L
  34. Little Ringed Plover - L
  35. Common Sandpiper - C, D, E, L
  36. Wood Sandpiper - Morton Bagot
  37. Dunlin - D
  38. Greenshank - Brandon
  39. Redshank - Brandon
  40. Curlew
  41. Common Gull - D
  42. Great Black-backed Gull - D
  43. Herring Gull - C, D, E, L
  44. Lesser Black-backed Gull - C, D, E, L
  45. Black-headed Gull - C, D, E, L
  46. Black Tern - Salford Priors GP
  47. Common Tern - D, E, L
  48. Feral Pigeon - D, E, L
  49. Stock Dove - C, D, E, L
  50. Wood Pigeon - C, D, E, L
  51. Collared Dove - C, E, L
  52. Turtle Dove
  53. Cuckoo - C, E, L
  54. Barn Owl - L
  55. Little Owl - C, E
  56. Tawny Owl - E, L
  57. Swift - C, D, E, L
  58. Kingfisher - C, D, E, L
  59. Great Spotted Woodpecker - C, D, E, L
  60. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  61. Green Woodpecker - C, D, E, L
  62. Skylark - C, D, E, L
  63. Sand Martin - C, D, E, L
  64. Swallow - C, D, E, L
  65. House Martin - C, D, E, L
  66. Meadow Pipit - C
  67. Pied Wagtail - C, D, E, L
  68. Yellow Wagtail - D, E, L
  69. Grey Wagtail - C, D, E, L
  70. Wren - C, D, E, L
  71. Dunnock - C, D, E, L
  72. Robin - C, D, E, L
  73. Blackbird - C, D, E, L
  74. Song Thrush - C, D, E
  75. Mistle Thrush - C, E, L
  76. Spotted Flycatcher - E
  77. Pied Flycatcher
  78. Cetti's Warbler - L
  79. Grasshopper Warbler - D, L
  80. Sedge Warbler - C, D, L
  81. Reed Warbler - C, D, E, L
  82. Blackcap - C, D, E, L
  83. Garden Warbler - C, D, E, L
  84. Whitethroat - C, D, E, L
  85. Lesser Whitethroat - C, D, E, L
  86. Willow Warbler - C, D, E, L
  87. Chiffchaff - C, D, E, L
  88. Goldcrest - C, D, E, L
  89. Long-tailed Tit - C, D, E, L
  90. Great Tit - C, D, E, L
  91. Blue Tit - C, D, E, L
  92. Coal Tit - C, E, L
  93. Marsh Tit - C, L
  94. Willow Tit - L
  95. Treecreeper - C, E, L
  96. Nuthatch - C, E, L
  97. Jay - C, D, E, L
  98. Magpie - C, D, E, L
  99. Jackdaw - C, D, E, L
  100. Rook - C, D, E, L
  101. Carrion Crow - C, D, E, L
  102. Raven - C, E, L
  103. Starling - C, D, E, L
  104. House Sparrow - C, E, L
  105. Tree Sparrow - D
  106. Chaffinch - C, D, E, L
  107. Greenfinch - C, D, E, L
  108. Goldfinch - C, D, E, L
  109. Lesser Redpoll - E, L
  110. Siskin - E, L
  111. Linnet - C, D, E, L
  112. Bullfinch - C, D, E, L
  113. Yellowhammer - C, D, E, L
  114. Reed Bunting - C, D, E, L
  115. Corn Bunting

Monday, 7 March 2016

Warks Patch Bird Race 2016 - participants

May 7th 2016

The 2nd Warwickshire patch all-dayer is taking place on May 7th this year, to coincide with the regular annual all-dayer at Upton Warren, Belvide, Middleton Lakes, Sandwell Valley and Marsh Lane. The idea is for teams of birders to visit their patch and put a bird species list together for the day, hopefully resulting in some interesting finds. Preliminary patches and participants, all tbc:

Gus Ariss
Jack Bradbury
Lizzy Bradbury
Roland Hopkins

John Judge
Steve Valentine

Jon Chidwick
Paul Fitzgerald
Matt Griffiths
Yvonne Heward
Mike Jeeves
John Oates
Tony Philp
Barbara Philp
John Sirrett
Jim Winsper

Farnborough Park / Burton Dassett
Gareth Blockley
Dan Watson

Adam Archer
Steve Cawthray
Peter Forbes
Steve Haynes
Dave Hutton
Donna Mallon
Pete Sofley
Kevin Whiston

Morton Bagot
Jon Yardley
?Mike Inskip

Salford Priors GP
Jon Bowley
?Paul Hands

Also taking part but not in Warwickshire:

Clayhanger / Ryders Mere / Stubber's Green
Kevin Clements

Friday, 15 January 2016

Birds of Earlswood 2015

I guess this is better late than never. Earlswood finished on 129 species reported during 2015 (subject to confirmation), the highlights of which were:
  • Cetti's Warbler - a bird in reedmace around Terry's Pool, found late one evening in the autumn (MPG), the 1st record for Earlswood. I've been cautious with this record given that it was heard-only but can't think what else it could've been!
  • Goshawk - one over Windmill Pool (P. Fitzgerald), a potential 1st for Earlswood though there are a couple of other unconfirmed reports from previous years.
  • Yellow-legged Gull - a first-winter visited for 3 days during the autumn (MPG, J. Oates, J. Sirrett et al.), a long-overdue 1st for the lakes, and the 2nd record for Earlswood.
  • Caspian Gull - a second-winter visited the lakes early in the year (J. Chidwick, B. Philp, T. Philp, MPG et al.), and returned in third-winter plumage during the autumn (J. Oates et al.) and has just about made it into 2016, there only being one previous record of this species back in 2003.
  • Short-eared Owl - one over Manor Farm (J. Oates), the 3rd record for Earlswood.
  • Ring Ouzel - a male at Gypsy Lane (MPG), the 3rd record for Earlswood.
  • Red-breasted Merganser - a pair seen flying over the lakes (A. Archer), the 3rd or 4th record for Earlswood subject to confirmation.
  • Hawfinch - a bird seen flying over the lakes and later seen in a yew tree at Manor Farm (MPG), the first record for Earlswood since 1949. Being both a finch and a county rarity, and me having only seen the species once before in the Forest of Dean, this was the top patch bird of the year for me! Sorry gulls and heard-only birds!
  • Firecrest - a male briefly around Terry's Pool (MPG, J. Sirrett), the 4th I've found at Earlswood!
  • All 10 species of gull on the Earlswood list being recorded during the year, this including Kittiwake, Little, Mediterranean and Great Black-backed besides the above two.
Other birds noted in 2015 which haven't occurred annually in recent years were a Goldeneye, long-staying Pintail, 4 Red Kites, a Dunlin, Greenshank, Little Owl, Lesser Spotted WoodpeckerTree Pipit, 2 White Wagtails, a few Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Marsh Tits, a few Bramblings and a Crossbill. Another personal highlight for me was closely watching a Cuckoo eating caterpillars along Springbrook Lane, my best views ever of one and the first time I've seen one feeding. A Rock/Water Pipit which flew over the lakes calling frustratingly didn't land and would've made I nice round 130 species.

The systematic list of birds recorded at Earlswood has now been updated for 2015.

I finished the year on 120 species, adding 4 new species to my Earlswood life list: Caspian Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Cetti's Warbler and Hawfinch. This was marginally better than the 119 species I had in 2014 (although of the two new ones I had that year, one was a Yellow-browed Warbler!). The species I missed were:
  1. Red-breasted Merganser (A. Archer) - pair seen in flight from causeway early morning if I recall correctly - if only I'd got up early that day! Fortunately I saw the previous one in 2003.
  2. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (J. Chidwick) - one calling around Terry's Pool, the 1st record since 2013.
  3. Whimbrel (J. Sirrett) - a flock of 4 flew over the lakes in the spring. Especially disappointing to have missed these as I'd managed to see this species for 4 consecutive years!
  4. Crossbill (J. Oates) - a fly-over so not twitchable.
  5. Greenshank (J. Oates) - one flying around the lakes so not twitchable. A bit of a bogey species for me at Earlswood, as I think this is the 3rd recorded at the lakes since my one and only sighting ever in 2011.
  6. Redstart (J. Bowley) - one along Braggs Farm Lane during the autumn. I'd seen birds at Earlswood every year since my first in 2010, but Gypsy Lane just didn't deliver this species in 2015.
  7. Little Owl (J. Oates) - One around Engine Pool was the 1st record since 2012 but sadly appears not to have stayed in the vicinity.
  8. Short-eared Owl (J. Oates) - I was at Earlswood at the time and John rung me up quickly but the bird simply didn't hang around.
  9. Goshawk (P. Fitzgerald) - yep another fly-over, that's six!
Even so, 2015 was my 3rd best year on patch for quantity of species, not bad considering I made much fewer early morning starts than previous years and for that reason I could've done much better. To be honest, I lost some enthusiasm, after facing a moral dilemma early in the year, in which by doing the right thing for my conscience I really hurt myself emotionally and it's taken a long time to accept what happened, clear my head and move on; I won't go into detail but I've largely recovered from this now. Also, I've been studying part-time at university since October, which with coursework and lectures has kept me away from Earlswood for days at a time and will continue to do so for the next 3 years. I must make sacrifices and prioritise though, as uni will hopefully help me to get a job I love with a better wage than my current one, and to ultimately achieve what is now my number 1 ambition of buying a house at Earlswood. 2015 has shown me that I'm happiest when I'm around people, places and things I love, and I am dead-set on living on my beloved patch.

Many thanks to everyone who has tweeted, emailed, texted or phoned their sightings to me. May 2016 bring you good fortune, in birding and life in general :-) x


Thursday, 14 January 2016


For the latest Earlswood bird news, please visit

N.B. You don't have to join Twitter to view updates.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Bird nestboxes for sale

Ken Scivyer with John Courtis have now produced 20 nest boxes for sale in aid of Earlswood Wildlife Partnership funds. Attached is a copy of the poster/flyer/order form that you may like to put on the blog and/or hand out to anyone you meet that might be interested. They could put them up over the winter for roosting or purchase them for a Christmas present!


Tony Philp (edited)

Friday, 18 September 2015

Tree works at the lakes this autumn

As suspected, more trees are to be cut along the east side of Windmill Pool this autumn, with some cutting also taking place along the south side of Engine Pool too. The following note from C&RT ecologist Paul Wilkinson concerns the proposed tree work around the lakes:


Hi Bob,

Please could you circulate the planned tree works, the works are due to the reservoir engineers concern regarding the reservoir embankments and preventive measures to stop the likelihood of trees falling and blocking weirs in a storm event, all tree works have also been assessed by an independent arboriculturalist.

Please let me know if you have any concerns, I believe all the trees have already been marked, P= pollard at height, a line or F is fell to the base or the line.

Sorry for the short notice, they would like to start next week.



Saturday, 12 September 2015

Bat box survey, 12/09/2015

Earlswood Wildlife Partnership today did a bat box survey at Earlswood, and although we only checked 42 of the 100+ boxes there it was a good one. We had a few Soprano Pipistrelles, a Noctule and best of all 2 Brandt's/Whiskered Bats! Paul Wilkinson (C&RT ecologist) thinks they were Whiskered, which as far as I'm aware would be a first for Earlswood, but there is also only one previous record of Brandt's in the area, so either way a great record! Hopefully DNA analysis on some droppings we collected from the box they were in will give us a positive ID...

Noctule Bat

Brandt's/Whiskered Bat - 2 in box

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Moth evening at St. Patrick's Church

ImageEarlswood Wildlife Partnership invite you to join them for an evening looking at the fascinating night-time world of moths – an opportunity to see a variety of moths caught in special light traps around the churchyard and to learn more about them.

Thursday 17th September 7.30pm in the Undercroft (rear of the church). Light refreshments will be provided.

For further information, speak to Tony Philp 01564 702915