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

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Autumn patch all-dayer

Yesterday several midlands patches did an all-day bird race. The results are as follows:

  1. Belvide - 91 spp.
  2. Upton Warren - 89 spp.
  3. Grimley - 88 spp.
  4. Clayhanger/Stubber's Green - 81 spp.
  5. Middleton Lakes - 77 spp.
  6. Earlswood - 56 spp.

We had only a fool's hope against those other patches, but we fought bravely! ;-) Thanks to Jon Chidwick, Mike Jeeves, John Oates, Tony Philp and John Sirrett for also taking part at Earlswood. I managed to connect with all 56 of the species recorded at Earlswood, namely:

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Greylag Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Shoveler
  6. Tufted Duck
  7. Great Crested Grebe
  8. Cormorant
  9. Grey Heron
  10. Sparrowhawk
  11. Buzzard
  12. Moorhen
  13. Coot
  14. Black-headed Gull
  15. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  16. Herring Gull
  17. Stock Dove
  18. Wood Pigeon
  19. Collared Dove
  20. Kingfisher
  21. Green Woodpecker
  22. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  23. Sand Martin
  24. Swallow
  25. House Martin
  26. Grey Wagtail
  27. Pied Wagtail
  28. Wren
  29. Dunnock
  30. Robin
  31. Blackbird
  32. Song Thrush
  33. Blackcap
  34. Garden Warbler
  35. Common Whitethroat
  36. Chiffchaff
  37. Goldcrest
  38. Long-tailed Tit
  39. Blue Tit
  40. Great Tit
  41. Coal Tit
  42. Nuthatch
  43. Treecreeper
  44. Jay
  45. Magpie
  46. Jackdaw
  47. Carrion Crow
  48. Raven
  49. Starling
  50. House Sparrow
  51. Chaffinch
  52. Greenfinch
  53. Goldfinch
  54. Siskin
  55. Linnet
  56. Bullfinch
We'll do another all-dayer next spring, hopefully against the above five patches plus the Warwickshire patches that participated in the spring this year.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Warwickshire Patch Bird Race - species list

Here's the list of 106 species recorded on the all-dayer (plus 3 species recorded by non-participants in county). Thanks to Steve Haynes for putting this together.

Mute Swan

Greylag Goose
Brandon, Draycote, Morton Bagot
Canada Goose

Bubbenhall , Haselor, Ladywalk

KWP, Morton Bagot

Fisher’s Mill    (Other obs)
Lea Marston, Fisher’s Mill
Tufted Duck

Ladywalk, Middle Spernal
Red-legged Partridge

Grey Partridge
Charlecote, Wishaw


Little Egret
Fisher’s Mill, Ladywalk
Grey Heron

Little Grebe
None at Draycote !
Great Crested Grebe

Marsh Harrier
Salford Priors



Bubbenhall, Charlecote, Kingsbury area, maybe others
Brandon (Other obs)


Ladywalk, Kingsbury area at least
Little Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover
Draycote, Kingsbury area, Ladywalk

Draycote, Fisher’s Mill, Morton Bagot
Common Snipe
Ladywalk (2)
Brandon  (Other obs)

Common Sandpiper
Kingsbury WP, Shustoke
Black-headed Gull

Little Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Common Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gull
Herring Gull
Bubbenhall, Charlecote, Draycote, Earlswood
Common Tern
Brandon, Draycote, Earlswood, Kingsbury, Shustoke (very few)
Stock Dove

Wood Pigeon

Collared Dove

Barn Owl
Charlecote, Kingsbury area, Ladywalk area
Little Owl
Charlecote, Morton Bagot
Tawny Owl



Green Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker




Carrion Crow

Charlecote, Draycote, Kingsbury, Morton Bagot, Shustoke at least

Blue Tit

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Marsh Tit
Charlecote, Morton Bagot

Sand Martin


House Martin

Cetti’s Warbler
Brandon and two other sites
Long-tailed Tit


Willow Warbler


Garden Warbler

Lesser Whitethroat
Charlecote, Draycote, Earlswood, Kingsbury, Morton Bagot, Shustoke at least

Grasshopper Warbler
Kingsbury area
Sedge Warbler

Reed Warbler






Song Thrush

Mistle Thrush

Spotted Flycatcher
Earlswood, Farnborough

Brandon area
Coleshill, Morton Bagot

House Sparrow

Tree Sparrow
Yellow Wagtail
Draycote, Kingsbury, Morton Bagot, Shustoke at least
Grey Wagtail
Draycote, Kingsbury, Shustoke at least
Pied Wagtail







Reed Bunting

Corn Bunting

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Warwickshire Patch Bird Race - results

May 9th 2015

A total of 9 patches took part in this patch bird race. The final results are as follows:

  1. Ladywalk/Coton/Shustoke - 84 species (Steve Haynes, Simon Roper)
  2. Brandon Marsh - 77 species (Paul Cashmore, Dennis Woodward)
  3. Morton Bagot - 76 species (John Coombes, Richard Harbird, Mike Inskip, Dave Scanlan, Jon Yardley)
  4. Salford Priors GP - 75 species (Jon Bowley, Neil Duggan)
  5. Charlecote - 71 species (Gus Ariss, Jon Barnett, Roland Hopkins, Dan Watson)
  6. Earlswood - 65 species (Jon Chidwick, Paul Fitzgerald, Mike Jeeves, Matt Griffiths, Yvonne Heward, John Oates, Bob Roberts, John Sirrett)
  7. Draycote - 64 species (Dave Cox, John Judge, Richard Mays, Steve Valentine)
  8. Farnborough Park - 58 species (Gareth Blockley)
  9. "The Dump" - 53 species (Gareth Blockley, Dan Watson)

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Earlswood all-day bird race

This Saturday (9th), birders at Earlswood will be taking part in an all-day bird race against 7 or 8 other teams of Warwickshire birders at their local patches. These are set to comprise Charlecote, Draycote Water, Farnborough Park, Ladywalk area, Morton Bagot, Salford Priors Gravel Pits and Newton. Each team will be spending all or part of the day trying to find as many bird species on their patch as they can. The hope is that this will encourage further bird recording in Warwickshire, and that perhaps a few rarities will be found on the day.

Birders and garden-watchers are more than welcome to contribute what they see at Earlswood on the day, or meet up with me. I'll be at the Malthouse Lane causeway hopefully from first light to around 9am, with maybe a group photo around 8am/8:30am. Birding will be concentrated at the lakes, Clowes Wood / New Fallings Coppice, and Springbrook Lane areas, and we'll be aiming for a total of around 60 species. My email address is matt_avesmaster@hotmail.com

It's going to be a great day! :-)

Kind regards,

The Earlswood recording area:

Warwickshire Patch Bird Race - participants

May 9th 2015

A total of 10 patches are taking part in this Saturday's Warwickshire Patch Bird Race! Patches and participants:

Gus Ariss
Jon Barnett
Roland Hopkins
Dan Watson

Dave Cox
John Judge
Richard Mays
Steve Valentine

Jon Chidwick
Paul Fitzgerald
Mike Jeeves
Matt Griffiths
Yvonne Heward
John Oates
Bob Roberts
John Sirrett

Farnborough Park
Gareth Blockley

Steve Haynes
Simon Roper

Morton Bagot
Richard Harbird
Mike Inskip
Dave Scanlan
Jon Yardley
John Coombes

Salford Priors GP
Jon Bowley
Neil Duggan
Lee Taylor

"The Dump"
Gareth Blockley
Dan Watson

“The Puddle”
Matt Bruce

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Updated Cormorant proposals

Sorry, yet another Cormorants post! I've been forwarded these updated, more formal proposals for reducing Cormorant predation at the lakes, which look to be final. I'm generally happy with these, except for the "immediate use" of active scaring, suggesting it could be done during the breeding season, so will seek clarification on this.


Earlswood Lakes Cormorant Predation Proposal

Reduce perching locations for cormorants:

  • Removal of tree limbs from the two trees either end of the narrow island (closest to Engine pool) on Terry’s pool. (Time scale 3 months subject to nesting birds)
  • Installation fabric meshing to wooden posts surrounding the narrow island (closest to Engine pool). This should both discourage perching and also allow for natural reeds to establish behind. (Time scale 3 months subject to nesting birds)
  • Perimeter fencing on floating islands on Engine pool (see habitat improvements)
  • Remove Tern raft from terry’s pool (see habitat improvements)

Active scaring of cormorants:

  • Stop the action of using a metal bar to rap on tree trunks and fishing stages. (Time scale immediate)
  • Permit the use of an instrument such as two pieces of wood that can be rapped together to create a cracking sound to disturb visible and active cormorants. Open to options, possible football rattle. (Time scale immediate use as required)

Habitat improvements:

  • Carl Nicholls and Paul Wilkinson to explore options and solution for underwater fish refuges in the lakes. (Time scale 3 months)
  • Installation of fish refuges within the lakes (Time scale 9 months)
  • Paul Wilkinson along with new volunteer person (to be appointed) take forward repairs and re-establishing of floating islands on Engine pool. This is to include new planted coir matting and perimeter fencing around the islands to allow the young plants to establish and also reduce cormorant perching opportunities. (Time scale 9 months)
  • Remove tern raft from Terry’s pool to allow for repairs and design modification to improve target birds use. (Time scale 3 months subject to nesting birds)

Record Keeping:

  • Fishery bailiff and open match fishing organisers to keep daily records of: Date, Time of day, Cormorants seen flying over, Cormorants seen on the lakes, Cormorants seen feeding (yes/no) and photographic evidence of damage caused to fish by Cormorant predation.
  • Annual records of Cormorant numbers recorded by local bird groups.

A review of measures and effectiveness of actions after 12 months.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Cormorant proposals - my comments

Thanks to those who sent me comments or responded directly to Canal & Rivers Trust about the recent proposals for reducing Cormorant predation of fish at Earlswood. I've just emailed the following to the fisheries manager.


Dear Carl,

I hope I'm not too late to comment on the Cormorant proposals at Earlswood Lakes. I am a birdwatcher who has been visiting Earlswood regularly for over 7 years. My comments are below in red:

Improvements to the existing floating islands on Engine pool. This included new coir mats and replanting of native plants on the island. An increase to the perimeter edge of the islands with coir rolls and new perimeter fencing around the island to protect the new plants while they establish as well as hindering the perching areas used by the cormorants. As well as fish refuges beneath islands suggested by Bob Roberts, maybe also plant more reeds in the water around the sides of the pool as additional fish refuge habitat.

The long thin island nearest to the Engine pool on Terry’s pool is noted as a roosting and feeding location for the cormorants. Remove all the wooden posts surrounding the island that are used by the cormorants to perch on. Coppice all the trees and the island to reduce potential perching locations but retain valuable habitat for nesting of local birds. Only the tree at the western end of the long island tends to be used by resting Cormorants, so only this would need coppicing. The wooden posts surrounding the island may be holding it together, so alternatively the posts could be used along with branches or some other material to retain soil added there and then planted with reeds, making it unsuitable for the Cormorants but providing some useful breeding habitat for other animal species. The lakes would benefit from having more reedbed habitat than they currently have.

Opening up of more areas around Terry’s pool by removing encroaching branches to allow for more visual appreciation of the pool as well as naturally disturbing cormorant resting and feeding due to more visual public presence. Terry's Pool is used as a refuge by many of the shyer waterbirds that visit the lakes, not to mention breeding species, due to its more sheltered situation and less disturbance. Opening up more areas around the pool is going to cause more disturbance to the birds seeking refuge there, making humans and dogs more visible to them, and allow strong winds to penetrate what is effectively a shelterbelt for the birds. It will remove cover possibly being used by fish as shelter, and remove bird nesting habitat. It will also encourage more illicit fishing there by providing more access points to the water's edge. 

Use of starting pistol by fishery bailiff and an angling representative to create loud bang and disturb roosting or feeding birds. Conditions and code of practice to be agreed on time of day, number of times fired and per day, other users to the site etc.  Use of a starting pistol is going to cause disturbance to non-target bird species, and whilst Paul Wilkinson assures me that any disturbance like this will not take place during the breeding season, birds visiting at other times of the year are going to be affected. It will also be a nuisance and potential hazard to other human users of the lakes and those residents living within hearing distance.

Kind regards,
Matt Griffiths