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Shropshire

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis ©Jim Almond Website

Situated on the border between England and Wales, Shropshire has a wide range of habitats from upland moorland, down to the fertile valleys of slow flowing rivers. There is coniferous and deciduous woodland, some remnant lowland heathland and extensive areas of farmland, from small upland hill farms to the large fields of the lowland farms in the east of the county.

The collection of meres around Ellesmere is a focal point for winter wildfowl and gull roosts. This is the nearest we get to sea watching, especially when gales blow in Leach's Petrel, Manx Shearwater or Gannet. In this large, under watched county rarities tend to disappear - the only Bluethroat for the county was found dead under a bungalow window! A number of sites are good for waders especially the Shropshire Ornithological Society's reserve at Venus Pool, also the Shropshire Wildlife Trust reserves at Wood Lane near Ellesmere and Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth.

The last vestiges of moorland on the Shropshire Hills are the place to see Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat and even an occasional Merlin. Pied Flycatcher and Redstart are mostly confined to the hill country of the southwest but Raven and Peregrine have increased their range in recent years and may be encountered on the Shropshire plain.

The largest habitat is farmland and can still produce Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting and Skylark. Lapwings cling on but are becoming scarcer by the year. The conifer woods of the southwest occasionally produce Crossbills and Siskins whilst Goshawks lurk in the shadows.

Top Sites

Venus Pool

Satellite View

Situated just to the south of the A458 Shrewsbury to Bridgnorth road (about 5 miles SE of Shrewsbury) this shallow pool with gravel islands now has a public hide. There are two smaller hides that are reserved for members of the Shropshire Ornithological Society who own and manage the site. A good spot for passage waders, gulls and terns in season and it has a large Black-headed Gull colony.

Ellesmere

Webpage

Satellite View

Close to the town of Ellesmere, Ellesmere, is the largest of a number of meres in this area. With a small heronry on the island, visible from the visitor centre, the mere is worth a visit at any time of year. In the winter it is particularly good for gulls with a large roost often containing some of the rarer species, and usually has a range of wintering ducks including Goosander, Smew. Wintering Cormorants have a roost here but keep an eye open for the occasional diver.

Long Mynd

Information

Satellite View

Dominating southern Shropshire is the upland mass of the Long Mynd. Some 13km by 6km, the National Trust largely owns it. Although the pressure of sheep grazing has influenced the varied habitats this is still a good area to see Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Stonechat, Whinchat and Wheatear. The steep valleys contain Grey Wagtail and Dipper whilst Raven and Buzzard are often seen overhead. For the lucky a fleeting glimpse of Merlin may be a bonus.

Stiperstones

Satellite View

To the west of the Long Mynd, the Stiperstones is another upland site, with more rocky outcrops and more heather among the boulder-strewn ridge. A National Nature Reserve with interesting geology and botany in addition to its upland birds. Attempts are being made to return this ridge to a continuous tract of heather moorland and many of the conifer plantations are being removed. For more information see the Shropshire Wildlife Trust Site (below).

Chelmarsh Reservoir

Information

Satellite View

The long narrow Chelmarsh reservoir attracts wintering duck and passing gulls and terns. The Shropshire Wildlife Trust and the South Staffordshire Water Company manage the marsh at the west end to attract waders on passage. There is a hide from which the reed bed and pools can be observed in comfort. Reed Warbler and Water Rail are among the wetland birds to be seen at this site.

Whitecliffe Common

Webpage

Satellite View

Situated to the south west of the River Teme the common overlooks Ludlow but it is the woodland that covers the steep slope down to the river that holds a small flock of Hawfinches that are found under the Hornbeams most winters. There will also be flocks of tits and other finches whilst the river itself is a good place to see Kingfisher, Dipper, Siskin and Redpoll.

Wood Lane

Satellite View

This wetland is reclaimed sand and gravel workings and has been recently developed by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust; it is a good place for waders on passage. Access to the hides is by permission only. For more detail visit the SWT website. Local observers are developing a website for this site which is due to be launched later this year (2000) - watch this space!

Earl's Hill

Webpage

Satellite View

The Shropshire Wildlife Trust's flagship reserve south of Shrewsbury near the village of Pontesbury. It has a wide range of habitats from grassland and scrub to deciduous woodland and the Habberley brook providing homes for a wide range of species. Meadow Pipit and Raven may be seen near the top of the reserve whilst the woodland holds warblers, tits, woodpeckers and Pied Flycatcher. Along the stream are Grey Wagtail and Dipper.

Contributor

Colin Wright

Biological Records Officer, Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Shrewsbury

colinwright6@btinternet.com

County Recorder

Martyn Owen

34 Peacock Hill, Alveley, WV15 6JX

01746 780336

soscountyrecorder@gmail.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: ?

County Bird - Common Buzzard Buteo buteo [The county list is being scrutinised adn revised]

Useful Reading

Where to watch birds in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcester and the former West Midland County

F Gribble, G Harrison, H Griffiths, J Winsper and S Coney - Series: WHERE TO WATCH BIRDS IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE: HELM SERIES 312 pages, 53 maps, 24 line drawings. Christopher Helm 2007

ISBN: 9780713664195

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Shropshire

Deans & Sankey Paperback ( 1 March, 1992) Shropshire Ornithological Society

ISBN: 095186890X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire

MD Leah, CE Wells, P Stamper, E Huckerby and C Welch 252 pages, b/w photos, figs. Oxbow Books 1998

ISBN: 1862200238

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

Biological Records Officer at Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Robin Mager: RobinM@shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk 01743 284289 who would welcome records of birds, plants, animals etc from the Trust Reserves.

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Ashfield Farmhouse

Accommodation

Old roses and scarlet creepers ramble this lovely 16th Century Coaching house and Georgian farmhouse. Spacious quality accommodation gently combining both Welsh and English Country traditions. Large fragrant gardens and orchard, one mile south of Oswestry and one mile from A5 and A483. Nestled amidst unspoilt beauty in the peaceful Shropshire/Welsh Borderlands rich in splendid mountains, lakes and woodlands and enchanting castles. An abundance of birds and animals, catch a glimpse of timid badgers or soaring buzzards, much to experience and explore.

Brimford House

Accommodation

Brimford is an elegant Georgian farmhouse nestling in beautiful, tranquil surroundings on the Shropshire/Welsh border between the River Severn and the Briedden hill. The area is only 20 minutes away from Shrewsbury and Welshpool. The bedrooms are of a high standard, large, and spacious with TV and coffee making facilities. Good hearty farmhouse breakfasts are served with homemade preserves and free range eggs. There is a large garden to relax and a country pub within 3 minutes walk.

Shuttocks Wood B&B

Accommodation

Expect a warm welcome from Juliet & Howard Rutherford when you arrive with a cup of tea and a slice of cake or perhaps something a little stronger to get your stay off on the right foot…

Wildlife Gardening with Jenny Steel

Accommodation

New garden, new bird list! Yellowhammers in my hedge, both willow and marsh tit at the feeders and Welsh red kites around…

Apley Holiday Cottages

Facebook Page

Apley Holiday Cottages offer three high quality self catering cottages in an idyllic, peaceful parkland location in the Severn Valley, a few miles from the attractive market town of Bridgnorth, Shropshire…

Organisations

Shropshire Ornithological Society

Website

Helen Griffiths, 01743 761507 (home) or 01743 282012 (work) helen.griffiths@english-nature.org.uk
The Society plays an important part in the national network of Bird Clubs. This includes the production of an Annual County Bird Report which contains the systematic list of all sightings reported to the County Bird recorder together with articles and reports on all aspects of bird study within the county. The Society covers the County for national surveys and makes past records available for current research. It actively joins in the partnership between the British Trust for Ornithology and County Bird Clubs. The Society is involved in the management of several sites in the County, to ensure they remain excellent bird habitats. Venus Pool, an important wetland, is owned and managed by the Society.

Shropshire Wildlife Trust

Website

The Shropshire Wildlife Trust site at has information on most of its nature reserves and contacts for other activities. The variety of Shropshire`s wildlife habitats is reflected in its nature reserves. Some are significant landscape features from the mosses and meres of the north to the hills of the south and west. Others are more discreet and have to be searched for in this extensive inland county.

Friends of Priorslee Lake Wildlife Site

Website

Welcome to the Friends of Priorslee Lake Blog, where Richard Cramp - Chairman, Ed Wilson - Site Recorder and Martin Adlam - Blogger, hope you will enjoy the new look blog.…

Reserves

Wood Lane Nature Reserve

Webpage

Satellite View

Wood Lane is the Tudor Griffiths Group sand and gravel extraction site near Ellesmere, Shropshire. The worked out parts of the quarry provide an exciting opportunity to enhance the whole area in terms of nature conservation and provision of various wildlife habitats for a wide range of wildlife. To further develop nature conservation work, The Tudor Griffiths Group has earmarked a restored area of the quarry as a nature reserve with open access for visitors to enjoy…

Venus Pool

Webpage

Satellite View

The SOS flagship Reserve. Originally a large pool in a field, probably formed when the railway embankment on the north side was built and impeded natural drainage…

Fenn's, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses NNR

Webpage

Satellite View

Straddling the English-Welsh border, its open landscape is a rare wilderness in a sea of lowland agriculture…

Stiperstones National Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Animals of significance include red grouse, stonechat, upland wood ant, grayling and pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, while plants to note are cowberry, crowberry, yellow mountain pansy, moonwort and stag's horn clubmoss…

Wem Moss National Nature Reserve

Webpage

Satellite View

The open mire, an ancient vegetation type with good wilderness quality, is fringed with carr woodland. It has developing bogmoss lawns with open pools, and these feature cranberry, all three British species of sundew, cottongrass, cross-leaved heath, bog rosemary, white-beaked sedge and bog myrtle…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Shropshire Birds

Mailing List

To post to list: Shropshirebirds@yahoogroups.com

List contact: Shropshirebirds-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: Shropshirebirds-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

In order to communicate the information as soon as possible > of county sightings, hide records and other sites. PLEASE Mail your sightings from around the county here, it will go to all other people registered. To report your sightings ring 01952 270738, speak clearly after the tone. Should you encounter any problems try 07951 243922 This information will be posted as soon as possible after your report. thanks Paul

Blogs

Return of the Tattooed Birder

Blog

Been very keen on wildlife since I was small. Started birding around 10, but stopped by the age of 17! Then, many years later I started up again… I have just taken 'a year out' from the birding scene, but am looking forward to getting back to it this year…

Jim Almond - Shropshire Birder

Blog

This site is devoted to my photographic activities whilst out birding - I never ever bird without a camera! My local patch (Venus Pool near Shrewsbury) is the focus but I'm not averse to going out and about…

I spy a bird

BLOG

I am Derek.. Married and live in Shropshire with my wife mandy… i am a member of Butterfly Conservation, RSPB and shropshire wildlife trust…

Other Links

CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd

Website

The CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd is based in Shropshire a few miles east of Shrewsbury and their site at has much useful information on bird feeding…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Paul King - Digital Wildlife Photography

Gallery

Photographer - Bill Nevett - Shropshire Freelance Photographer

Gallery

Living in Shropshire, watching the seasons come and go, a passion for photography and a love of wildlife. These are all the elements that went into the creation of this blog. The photographs cover the range of my work from Birds to Butterflies, Baptisms to Weddings, Industrial to Residential, Tourism to Corporate Events. 'When you are consumed by photography the passion can become all'…