Saturday 18 February 2023

More threat of development in and around Earlswood

My last post on here was about a threat of development in the Solihull Borough part of Earlswood, and unfortunately this one will have the same theme as it appears that the Stratford District part of Earlswood now faces a similar risk. Stratford and Warwick District Councils are working together to produce a new South Warwickshire Local Plan to cover their combined geographic area. This plan will determine where, when and how housing and other development will occur up to the year 2050. It is at an early stage and currently a consultation is being undertaken on a number of options including the creation of new settlements and expansion of existing settlements.

Some of these options will affect the Earlswood area if taken forward. In recent weeks, since the consultation started, there has been much discussion on social media regarding Wood End being considered in the Local Plan as a possible site for a new settlement. The indirect effects of this are obvious for those of us who've witnessed changes in the local area since the Dickens Heath, Tidbury Green, etc developments over the last few decades.

There has been a "call for sites" that has resulted in several areas of land within the Earlswood area itself being put forward, mainly by developers. There is also a second "call for sites" currently underway alongside the consultation. These sites have yet to be assessed by the local authority for suitability for inclusion in the Local Plan as development locations, so are less concerning at this stage, despite covering a very large portion of Earlswood. For the latest details on these sites, see this page on the Local Plan website.

Call for sites up to early February.
More concerning is another option being considered for development around the edges of existing settlements (Issues S4 and S7 in Chapter 4), as the list of such settlements includes Earlswood. There are 22 "Small Settlement Locations", of which Earlswood is one, that have had analyses done "for intermediate scale, chiefly residential, development for between 50-500 homes in any one location". The analyses for Earlswood are in Appendix 2 of the South Warwickshire Settlement Analysis. Delving further into this, in the Technical Evidence documents, it appears that land at Earlswood under consideration in this option is a sizeable area to the east of Shutt Lane and Earlswood Common, which includes the National Trust's Old Moathouse Farm estate and Earlswood Moathouse Nature Reserve. The kind ladies who gifted their land to the National Trust for preservation as a "bird sanctuary" would be turning in their graves! The land to the east of Earlswood Common is known to have a population of Great Crested Newts.
"Small Settlement Location" at Earlswood

There is also mention of "M42 Widening – land either side of Junction 3a to help reduce congestion where the M40 joins the M42". There are ancient woodlands that adjoin the motorways there.

The consultation can be viewed at If you have any comments to make on it, be sure to send them in before the deadline of March 6th!

Sunday 15 August 2021

Property developers seeking to build at Fulford Heath

Property developers are currently trying to get the Fulford Heath area of Earlswood included in the Solihull Local Plan as an area designated for future development, which would then make it easier for them to get planning permission. The draft plan is due to be independently examined by planning inspectors from September 27th, and there is a possibility of the land being added to the plan if the inspectors agree with other local authorities that the plan is short of a few thousand homes for house-building requirements.

The developers are seeking to change everything, even the placename as they're promoting it as "Fulford Green"! More houses would put more pressure on the lakes, woods and local wildlife in general. This is something to keep a watchful eye on...

Further info at: 

A facebook group for discussing the Fulford Heath development has been set up at:

Monday 3 May 2021

Earlswood all-dayer - Spring 2021

Well, with the easing of COVID restrictions, this year's Earlswood spring all-day birdwatch went ahead, which was a massive relief after we weren't able to do one last spring due to the first lockdown. The all-dayer took place last Saturday (May 1st), and I'm very pleased to say that we set a new record for the highest number of bird species found during a single day at Earlswood, with a total of 78 bird species found by the team! A fantastic result, and following our highest ever autumn total on patch last year! Our previous highest total ever was 77 species during the all-dayer in spring 2016.

Species totals for previous spring all-dayers have been as follows:
2019 - 64 spp
2018 - 64 spp
2017 - 65 spp
2016 - 77 spp
2015 - 65 spp

Like the autumn all-dayer last year, a large proportion of Earlswood's birders took part. Also, at the lakes, the habitat is excellent at the moment with a lot of exposed shore at all three pools (including Terry's Pool for the first time in living memory), plus there are some path and road closures which appear to have reduced human visitor numbers in general to the area, coupled with the easing of national travel restrictions allowing people to go elsewhere, encouraging birds like waders to stick around. I think these are the main reasons why we got such a brilliant result, despite there being limited signs of bird migration!

The star birds on the day were two long-stayers, both of which had been present for some days: a female Ring Ouzel at Manor Farm and a Greenshank at Engine Pool. Other highlights included a very late flock of 27 Fieldfare at Springbrook Farm, a female Wheatear at Engine Pool, up to 6 Yellow Wagtail at Windmill Pool, and a Hobby over Earlswood Common. Probably for the first time ever on a spring all-dayer, we didn't record Mute Swan as the local pair are nesting outside the patch area. Another miss was Sedge Warbler, one of which had been at Spring Brook Scrubland for some days prior.

A great effort by the team, which comprised John Bishop, Jon Chidwick, Brian Earl, myself, Ash Grove, Yvonne Heward, Bill Ingham, Janet James, Mike Jeeves, Pete Morgan, John Oates, Joe Owen, Tony Philp, John Sirrett and Jim Winsper - thanks to all for their participation in the field. Further thanks to John Sirrett for collating the species list on the day. The full list was as follows:
  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blackcap
  4. Blue Tit
  5. Bullfinch
  6. Buzzard
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Carrion Crow
  9. Chaffinch
  10. Chiffchaff
  11. Coal Tit
  12. Collared Dove
  13. Common Sandpiper
  14. Common Tern
  15. Common Whitethroat
  16. Coot
  17. Cormorant
  18. Cuckoo
  19. Dunnock
  20. Feral Pigeon
  21. Fieldfare
  22. Garden Warbler
  23. Goldcrest
  24. Goldfinch
  25. Great Crested Grebe
  26. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  27. Great Tit
  28. Green Woodpecker
  29. Greenfinch
  30. Greenshank
  31. Grey Heron
  32. Grey Wagtail
  33. Greylag Goose
  34. Herring Gull
  35. Hobby
  36. House Martin
  37. House Sparrow
  38. Jackdaw
  39. Jay
  40. Kestrel
  41. Kingfisher
  42. Lapwing
  43. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  44. Lesser Redpoll
  45. Lesser Whitethroat
  46. Linnet
  47. Little Egret
  48. Little Ringed Plover
  49. Long-tailed Tit
  50. Magpie
  51. Mallard
  52. Marsh Tit
  53. Mistle Thrush
  54. Moorhen
  55. Nuthatch
  56. Oystercatcher
  57. Pheasant
  58. Pied Wagtail
  59. Raven
  60. Reed Bunting
  61. Ring Ouzel
  62. Robin
  63. Rook
  64. Sand Martin
  65. Skylark
  66. Song Thrush
  67. Sparrowhawk
  68. Starling
  69. Stock Dove
  70. Swallow
  71. Tawny Owl
  72. Treecreeper
  73. Tufted Duck
  74. Wheatear
  75. Willow Warbler
  76. Woodpigeon
  77. Wren
  78. Yellow Wagtail
Greenshank, Black-headed Gull and Tufted Ducks at Engine Pool, 01/05/2021 (Brian Earl)

Within the West Midlands as a whole, a total of 33 sites participated in the all-dayer on the same day. Earlswood fared quite well again! Well done to all who took part, and thanks to Phil Andrews who has once again collated the following results:

103 - Branston GP
103 - Ladywalk
101 - Middleton Lakes
  97 - Grimley
  93 - Belvide
  91 - Upton Warren
  91 - Chasewater
  84 - Marsh Lane
  83 - Dairy Farm
  81 - Sandwell Valley
  81 - Venus Pool
  78 - Earlswood
  76 - Coney Meadows
  76 - Doxey Marshes
  75 - Alvecote
  75 - Whitemoor Haye
  75 - Stoke patches
  74 - Coombe CP
  73 - Highgate Common
  73 - Sutton Park
  69 - Coventry patches
  67 - Morton Bagot
  67 - Puxton Marsh
  67 - Salford Priors GP
  63 - Wyre Forest
  63 - Northwick
  62 - Smestow Valley
  62 - Edgbaston Reservoir
  60 - Halesowen patches
  57 - Little Aston
  54 - Avon Meadows
  50 - Babbs Mill
  48 - Kings Norton

Further details for each patch may be posted later on.


Thursday 17 September 2020

Earlswood all-dayer - Autumn 2020

This year's Earlswood autumn all-day birdwatch took place on Saturday 5th September, and it was a day to remember with a total of 71 bird species found by the team - our highest ever autumn total on patch! Previous autumn species totals have been 63 in 2019, 69 in 2018, 63 in 2017, 57 in 2016 and 56 in 2015. It was also our second highest all-dayer total ever, the spring 2016 all-dayer total of 77 species remaining Team Earlswood's best.

Everyone enjoyed it and I thoroughly did, I think particularly as we weren't able to do an all-dayer in the spring this year due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I put in about 9.5 hours of effort and some of the other team members put in several hours each too, this along with the slightly higher than usual number of participants contributed to our excellent result. Water levels at the lakes were falling but weren't particularly low on the day, with only small amounts of shoreline, and despite the pleasant weather there was still small amounts of bird movement evident.

Personal highlights for me included finding a female Redstart along Springbrook Lane, the first Meadow Pipits (5) of the autumn over Manor Farm and a Green Sandpiper flying over the lakes. I also saw a Teal on Engine Pool and a late Common Whitethroat in Spring Brook Scrubland. A Spotted Flycatcher at Springbrook Lane found by John Oates, a Peregrine over Windmill Pool seen by Joe Owen, and a couple of sightings of Yellow Wagtail (firstly by Ashley Grove) were amongst the other birds of note seen over the course of the day. Ashley also had a possible Arctic/Yellow-browed Warbler along Gypsy Lane but didn't get enough on it and it wasn't seen again unfortunately! Our most surprising omissions were Mistle Thrush and Kingfisher. Nevertheless, a great effort by the team!

Many thanks to Jon Chidwick, Ashley Grove, Yvonne Heward, Harry Hopkins, Janet James, Mike Jeeves, Peter Morgan, John Oates, Joe Owen, Tony and Barbara Philp, and John Sirrett for their participation in the field, and extra thanks to John Sirrett for collating the species recorded during the day. The full list was as follows:

  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blackcap
  4. Blue Tit
  5. Bullfinch
  6. Buzzard
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Carrion Crow
  9. Chaffinch
  10. Chiffchaff
  11. Coal Tit
  12. Collared Dove
  13. Common Tern
  14. Coot
  15. Cormorant
  16. Dunnock
  17. Feral Pigeon
  18. Goldcrest
  19. Goldfinch
  20. Great Crested Grebe
  21. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  22. Great Tit
  23. Green Sandpiper
  24. Green Woodpecker
  25. Greenfinch
  26. Grey Heron
  27. Grey Wagtail
  28. Greylag Goose
  29. Herring Gull
  30. Hobby
  31. House Martin
  32. House Sparrow
  33. Jackdaw
  34. Jay
  35. Kestrel
  36. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  37. Linnet
  38. Long-tailed Tit
  39. Magpie
  40. Mallard
  41. Marsh Tit
  42. Meadow Pipit
  43. Moorhen
  44. Mute Swan
  45. Nuthatch
  46. Peregrine
  47. Pheasant
  48. Pied Wagtail
  49. Raven
  50. Redstart
  51. Reed Bunting
  52. Robin
  53. Rook
  54. Sand Martin
  55. Siskin
  56. Song Thrush
  57. Sparrowhawk
  58. Spotted Flycatcher
  59. Starling
  60. Stock Dove
  61. Swallow
  62. Swift
  63. Tawny Owl
  64. Teal
  65. Treecreeper
  66. Tufted Duck
  67. Whitethroat
  68. Willow Warbler
  69. Woodpigeon
  70. Wren
  71. Yellow Wagtail

Within the West Midlands as a whole, a record-breaking 32 sites participated in the all-dayer on the same day, producing another record of 140 bird species observed. Earlswood fared quite well, finishing on a higher or equal total compared with other patches that normally score higher than us, and probably coming as close to Upton Warren's total as we ever will! :D

Well done to all who took part, and thanks to Phil Andrews who has once again collated the following results:

104 - Belvide
  96 - Branston GPs
  94 - Ladywalk
  90 - Grimley
  90 - Middleton Lakes
  89 - Venus Pool
  85 - Chelmarsh
  85 - Sandwell Valley
  82 - Bittell
  82 - Chasewater
  79 - Salford Priors GPs
  76 - Alvecote Pools
  73 - Upton Warren
  71 - Dairy Farm
  71 - Earlswood
  71 - Marsh Lane
  70 - Coney Meadows
  70 - Whitemoor Haye
  69 - Doxey Marshes
  68 - Sutton Park
  63 - Draycote
  63 - Morton Bagot
  63 - Stoke patches
  60 - South Coventry
  58 - Highgate Common etc
  54 - Avon Meadows
  54 - Blithfield
  53 - Edgbaston Reservoir
  51 - Sheepwash
  49 - Plantsbrook etc
  46 - Little Aston SWT
  46 - Halesowen (2)
  42 - Halesowen (1)

Further details for each patch have been posted by Phil here.

Fingers very much crossed that the spring all-dayer next year will be able to go ahead...


Tuesday 24 March 2020

Advice on Earlswood birding during the COVID-19 lock-down

Posted 24/03/2020
Updated 26/03/2020
Updated 18/04/2020

New guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs' Council has been posted on the facebook page of Alcester Police, regarding travel for exercise. They say:

"The NPCC guidance below sets out a range of 'likely' and 'unlikely' reasonable excuses. It is worth reading the statement on the first image to get a better understanding of how the excuses are to be interpreted."

All three pages of guidance as follows, but those relevant to exercise/birding are on the first two:

Much of the below is still applicable though, particularly in terms of risk of coming into contact with infected people at the lakes and woods during nice weather, and the need to suppress rare/scarce bird news to discourage twitches/gatherings.

Birders should not be driving to Earlswood to exercise during the lock-down since this involves non-essential travel. The following is addressed to birders who live within walking distance of the areas of Earlswood they can legally exercise at.

Hi folks,

In light of the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) lock-down announced yesterday evening, please follow government guidance first and foremost when going about local birding. The government are still permitting people to leave their home for "one form of exercise a day" (including walking) alone or with members of their household, exercise starting and finishing from their home.

A number of Earlswood birders live within the patch recording area and will still be birding from their gardens or whilst out exercising during this time. Recognising this, and following some discussion between local birders regarding patch bird news dissemination over the course of this pandemic, we would like to recommend the following:
  • If you wish to post updates and photos about Earlswood birds publicly on social media, please do so only for regular bird species and only after nightfall. Regular birds are residents and annually-occurring visiting species which are unlikely to cause a twitch or other gathering of birders. These reports and photos provide interest and pleasure to those of us who are no longer able to visit the patch, and help us to keep in touch and feel less isolated. Posting after nightfall will help to reduce the likelihood of birders acting upon instant news.
  • Please do not share news or photos for rare/scarce bird species at Earlswood publicly on social media, until the lock-down is officially over. Rare/scarce birds are any species which do not occur every year, or which are annual but infrequent or particularly popular with observers, and can hang around, i.e. twitchable, such as Black Tern.
  • Exceptions to this might be posting news/photos of untwitchable rare/scarce birds, such as those flying over or in nocmig recordings on patch, on social media. For example, a repeat of the 2 White Storks that flew over last year.
The key point here is to use some common sense and consider the consequences of putting news out, to prevent non-essential travel and potential gatherings. If in doubt, please drop me an email or DM.

Since the start of the lock-down, there have been reports of angling, picnicking and large numbers of walkers around the lakes still during the nice weather. Therefore, exercising at the lakes (and probably the woods) has a higher risk for coming into contact with infected people than other accessible areas. 

Anyone exercising at the lakes or woods should also consider the following:
  • In places around the lakes and woods, it will not be possible for people to pass each other at a safe 2-metre distance apart, due to some paths being narrow and/or very muddy.
  • The wooden fishing platforms around Engine Pool are potentially useful for avoiding close contact with other people, but some of them are rotting in places and potentially unsafe to walk on.
These recommendations are open to further discussion and amendment. The situation in terms of birders using Earlswood during the lock-down will be monitored, in case there is a need for full news blackout.

Wishing everyone to stay safe and well.


Friday 13 September 2019

Earlswood all-dayer - Autumn 2019

The Earlswood autumn all-day birdwatch took place earlier this month, on Saturday 7th, and the team recorded a total of 63 bird species over the course of the day. This was our joint-second highest autumn total, last year's result (when the habitat at the lakes and especially Engine Pool was excellent) being the highest to-date. Previous autumn species totals have been 69 in 2018, 63 in 2017, 57 in 2016 and 56 in 2015.

Despite the fairly high water levels and scarcity of terns at the lakes so far this year, we noted Oystercatcher, Green Sandpiper and Common Tern, which were amongst the most notable species found, along with a fly-over Yellow Wagtail. Also, 13 Shoveler at Engine Pool was a high count for the patch, the most I'd personally seen at the lakes since 13 way back in 2008! A new element of the all-dayer this time was the use of a nocmig recorder by John Oates to detect birds calling as they fly over the area, which might otherwise be missed by observers, particularly at night-time; this picked up Tawny Owl, which was also reported by Yvonne in the evening, but still it was worth a try and will hopefully be used in future all-dayers!

There were a few species which were likely around the patch but missed, including Pheasant, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Skylark, Mistle Thrush, Linnet and Reed Bunting. Unfortunately I had to throw in the towel mid-afternoon, as I got a bad headache; otherwise I'm sure the list would've gone up by a couple at least. ;)

Many thanks to Jon Chidwick, Yvonne Heward, Janet James, Mike Jeeves, John Oates, Tony and Barbara Philp, Jenny Renowden, John Sirrett and Jim Winsper for participating. Many thanks to John Sirrett also for collating the species recorded during the day, the full list was as follows:
  1. Mute Swan
  2. Greylag Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Teal
  5. Mallard
  6. Shoveler
  7. Tufted Duck
  8. Little Grebe
  9. Great Crested Grebe
  10. Cormorant
  11. Grey Heron
  12. Sparrowhawk
  13. Buzzard
  14. Moorhen
  15. Coot
  16. Oystercatcher
  17. Green Sandpiper
  18. Black-headed Gull
  19. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  20. Herring Gull
  21. Common Tern
  22. Feral Pigeon
  23. Stock Dove
  24. Woodpigeon
  25. Collared Dove
  26. Tawny Owl
  27. Swift
  28. Green Woodpecker
  29. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  30. Sand Martin
  31. Swallow
  32. House Martin
  33. Meadow Pipit
  34. Yellow Wagtail
  35. Grey Wagtail
  36. Pied Watail
  37. Wren
  38. Dunnock
  39. Robin
  40. Blackbird
  41. Song Thrush
  42. Blackcap
  43. Chiffchaff
  44. Willow Warbler
  45. Goldcrest
  46. Long-tailed Tit
  47. Blue Tit
  48. Great Tit
  49. Coal Tit
  50. Marsh Tit
  51. Nuthatch
  52. Treecreeper
  53. Jay
  54. Magpie
  55. Jackdaw
  56. Carrion Crow
  57. Raven
  58. Starling
  59. House Sparrow
  60. Chaffinch
  61. Greenfinch
  62. Goldfinch
  63. Bullfinch
It was very nice to have a few drinks with John Sirrett, Jim Winsper and Mike Inskip in the Red Lion at midday, and I think we should make a pub meet a regular part of future all-dayers! :)

Within the West Midlands as a whole, a record-breaking 24 sites participated in the all-dayer on the same day, but Earlswood didn't fare so well from this perspective. Some of the patches are smaller than ours, and I can't help wondering how much better our total might be if our bits of farmland were better for wildlife (no Yellowhammer records so far this year!). Still, as they say, it's the taking part that counts! Well done to all who took part, and thanks to Phil Andrews who has collated the following results:

100 - Belvide Reservoir
  99 - Middleton Lakes
  95 - Branston GP
  92 - Ladywalk
  92 - Grimley
  88 - Sandwell Valley
  84 - Upton Warren
  81 - Chasewater
  77 - Bittell Reservoirs
  74 - Brandon Marsh
  74 - Dairy Farm NR
  73 - Marsh Lane
  72 - Venus Pool
  70 - Salford Priors GP
  69 - Alvecote Pools
  69 - Sutton Park
  66 - Doxey Marsh
  65 - Elmdon Park
  64 - Shustoke Reservoir
  64 - Morton Bagot
  63 - Earlswood
  63 - Whitemoor Haye
  60 - Saltwells / Fens Pool
  55 - Draycote Water

Till next year...

Sunday 5 May 2019

Earlswood all-dayer - Spring 2019

A total of 64 bird species were recorded at Earlswood during the West Midlands spring all-day birdwatch yesterday. When putting this into context with our previous spring all-dayer totals, it's interesting to note that, with one exception, we seem to have a tendency to record a very similar number of 64-65 species each year! Previous totals as follows:
2018 - 64 spp.
2017 - 65 spp.
2016 - 77 spp.
2015 - 65 spp.

The weather conditions yesterday weren't great for migration at this time of year really, with a cool northerly wind, and apart from good numbers of hirundines at the lakes there appeared to be few other new arrivals. The most notable birds reported were Lesser Whitethroat, Cuckoo, Raven, Skylark and Common Sandpiper. All of the resident species were recorded, but amongst the visitors that weren't, Common Tern was the most surprising. The full bird list in alphabetical order was as follows:

  1. Black-headed Gull
  2. Blackbird
  3. Blackcap
  4. Blue Tit
  5. Bullfinch
  6. Buzzard
  7. Canada Goose
  8. Carrion Crow
  9. Chaffinch
  10. Chiffchaff
  11. Coal Tit
  12. Collared Dove
  13. Common Sandpiper
  14. Coot
  15. Cuckoo
  16. Dunnock
  17. Feral Pigeon
  18. Goldcrest
  19. Goldfinch
  20. Great Crested Grebe
  21. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  22. Great Tit
  23. Green Woodpecker
  24. Greenfinch
  25. Grey Heron
  26. Grey Wagtail
  27. Greylag Goose
  28. Herring Gull
  29. House Martin
  30. House Sparrow
  31. Jackdaw
  32. Jay
  33. Kestrel
  34. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  35. Lesser Whitethroat
  36. Linnet
  37. Long-tailed Tit
  38. Magpie
  39. Mallard
  40. Marsh Tit
  41. Mistle Thrush
  42. Moorhen
  43. Mute Swan
  44. Nuthatch
  45. Pheasant
  46. Pied Wagtail
  47. Raven
  48. Reed Bunting
  49. Robin
  50. Sand Martin
  51. Skylark
  52. Song Thrush
  53. Sparrowhawk
  54. Starling
  55. Stock Dove
  56. Swallow
  57. Swift
  58. Tawny Owl
  59. Treecreeper
  60. Tufted Duck
  61. Whitethroat
  62. Willow Warbler
  63. Woodpigeon
  64. Wren

Three of the team including myself went for drinks at the Red Lion, and I wonder if others might be interested in doing this at a local pub in future all-dayers? For me as a lightweight, a couple of pints meant that birding for a couple of hours afterwards was, erm, interesting but at least now I know Rosie's Pig and Doom Bar taste good! 😁 Here's a few members of Team Earlswood at the causeway!
Left to right: John B, Janet, Jim, John S, Jon C

Earlswood came 15th out of a record total of 23 sites across the midlands that participated, which was pretty good considering most of the patches with better scores are managed nature reserves or gravel pits. Sites and species totals for the day as follows:
  1. Ladywalk - 102
  2. Middleton Lakes - 97
  3. Branston GP - 91
  4. Brandon Marsh - 90
=5. Belvide - 89
=5. Grimley - 89
=7. Upton Warren - 84
=7. Chasewater - 84
=7. Salford Priors GP - 84
=7. Sandwell Valley - 84
 11. Marsh Lane - 82
 12. Doxey Marsh - 70
 13. Venus Pool - 69
 14. Dairy Farm NR - 65
 15. Earlswood - 64
 16. Morton Bagot - 63
 17. Elmdon Park - 60
 18. Avon Meadows - 58
 19. Halesowen patches - 57
 20. Edgbaston Res - 55
 21. Sutton Park - 51
 22. Fens Pool / Saltwells - 50
 23. Trittiford - 47

My thanks to John Sirrett for collating the bird species reported at Earlswood over the course of the day, to Phil Andrews for collating the site totals for the all-dayer overall, and to the following 11 birders who made up the rest of Team Earlswood this spring: John Bishop, Jon Chidwick, Barry Durman, Paul Fitzgerald, Yvonne Heward, Janet James, Mike Jeeves, John Oates, Joe Owen, John Sirrett and Jim Winsper. The next all-dayer in the autumn will probably be in early September.

Sunday 6 January 2019

Earlswood all-dayer - New Year's Day 2019

For the first time ever, some midlands patches including Earlswood competed in a winter all-day birdwatch on New Year's Day this year, like those we've been doing each spring and autumn in recent years. The results with species totals were as follows:

  1. Belvide - 77
  2. Middleton Lakes - 76
  3. Sandwell Valley - 74
  4. Upton Warren - 70
  5. Doxey Marshes - 66
  6. Whitemoor Haye - 61
  7. Morton Bagot - 58
  8. Earlswood - 56

So we came last, but with a superb adult male Common Scoter being found at Engine Pool, who can complain?! A great start for hopefully another productive year. Earlswood day list with initials for single-observer records and scoter as follows:
  1. Mute Swan
  2. Greylag Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Shoveler
  6. Tufted Duck
  7. Common Scoter (JM et al.)
  8. Goldeneye (JJ)
  9. Goosander
  10. Little Grebe (JK)
  11. Great Crested Grebe
  12. Cormorant
  13. Grey Heron
  14. Sparrowhawk (JOw)
  15. Kestrel (JD)
  16. Moorhen
  17. Coot
  18. Golden Plover (JHS)
  19. Common Snipe (TRP)
  20. Black-headed Gull
  21. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  22. Herring Gull
  23. Feral Pigeon (TRP)
  24. Stock Dove (MPG)
  25. Woodpigeon
  26. Collared Dove
  27. Tawny Owl (MPG)
  28. Green Woodpecker (JJ)
  29. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  30. Grey Wagtail
  31. Pied Wagtail
  32. Wren
  33. Dunnock
  34. Robin
  35. Blackbird
  36. Fieldfare
  37. Redwing
  38. Song Thrush
  39. Mistle Thrush (JJ)
  40. Long-tailed Tit
  41. Blue Tit
  42. Great Tit
  43. Coal Tit
  44. Marsh Tit
  45. Nuthatch
  46. Treecreeper
  47. Jay
  48. Magpie
  49. Jackdaw
  50. Carrion Crow
  51. Raven
  52. Starling
  53. House Sparrow
  54. Chaffinch
  55. Goldfinch 
  56. Bullfinch (JJ)
Thanks to John Bishop, Jon Chidwick, Judy Donath, Harry Hopkins, Janet James, James Kenny, Joe Martin, Joe Owen, John Sirrett, Rob Strong, Tony and Barbara Philp for their reports and/or offering to fill in gaps in the list. Rematch in the spring!

Sunday 4 November 2018

Proposal to close Braggs Farm Lane to traffic

Solihull council have proposed to close Braggs Farm Lane to traffic by installing a gate in the middle of its length. Further info is in the screenshots below, kindly forwarded to me by John Sirrett.

I must admit I rarely drive along the road, and the reduced number of vehicles using it could benefit wildlife and make it more pleasant to walk along. However, in case any readers were unaware of this proposal and would like to comment to the council about it, I thought I'd post the information here. Consultation ends on Friday this week.

Sunday 14 October 2018


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