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England Staffordshire

Nuthatch Sitta europaea ©Martin Kessel www.martinkessel.net/birds/birdsindex.htm

Staffordshire consists of the North Staffordshire Moorland and South Pennines to the north, and mainly farmland further south, although a large heathland relic is still present at Cannock Chase. Prime sites for rarities are Blithfield and Belvide reservoirs in the centre of the county.

Top Sites

Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Aqualate Mere NNR is situated 3km to the east of Newport, at the heart of a private estate, centred on Aqualate Mere - the largest natural lake in the West Midlands. Extensive reed beds surround this NNR which supports wildfowl throughout the year. Marsh and Willows Tits can be found feeding new the hide on the east shore…

Belvide Reservoir

Satellite View

Situated near Gailey, 7 miles NW of Wolverhampton, the reservoir has 3 hides on the south bank. It is good all year round, but spring/autumn passage and winter usually throw up wader and waterfowl rarities. Access to the hides is by permit only, available from the West Midlands Bird Club.

Berry Hill

Satellite View

Situated on high ground in the middle of the Stoke-on-Trent conurbation, the horse paddocks and fields are particularly good for spring and autumn passage migrants such as ring-ouzel, redstart, whinchat, wheatear and black redstart…

Blithfield Reservoir

Satellite View

Situated just north of Rugeley, near Abbots Bromley. The largest reservoir in Staffordshire, this site regularly attracts passage waders and wintering duck, with some rarities each year. Best in autumn and winter. The road causeway over the reservoir is good for casual observations, but hides and muddy bays are situated at the NW end, furthest from the dam wall. Access to the latter is by permit only, available from the West Midlands Bird Club.

Cannock Chase

Satellite View

Situated in a large area north of Cannock. A large area of wood and heath-land, notable for nightjars in the summer, especially near the Katyn Memorial. Also holds a few woodlark, hobby in summer, great grey shrike in winter, goshawk, lesser-spotted woodpecker, and the usual woodland birds. Best in early morning or evening - avoid the large crowds during summer daytime.

Chasewater Reservoir

Satellite View

Situated near Brownhills, this is a prime spot for Iceland and Glaucous gulls in the large winter roost. Park at the car park at the southern end and scope the roost. Also interesting for passage migrants and wintering waterfowl, especially in the areas to the north which are cut off from the water sports taking place on the main reservoir.

Coombes Valley Nature Reserve

Satellite View

Owned by the RSPB, but accessible by anyone, this is a great site for the bird lover rather than twitcher. The best time to visit is late spring/early summer, when you are almost certain to see pied flycatcher, redstart and wood warbler. Also present are lesser spotted woodpeckers, dippers and kingfishers.

Middleton Lakes RSPB

Satellite View

Opened in 2011, this reserve near Tamworth on the east of the county, borders Warwickshire and was previously a working quarry. New marshland habitat is being developed but the site is already attractive to waders, waterfowl and marshland dwellers. Recent rarities include Least Sandpiper, Broad-billed Sandpiper and Glossy Ibis…

North Staffordshire Moorlands

Satellite View

As with most moor-land, it is difficult to predict where to find some birds, but a summer walk could reveal ring ousel, hen harrier and short-eared owl. The river Dane between Danebridge and Gradbach is good for dippers, Knotbury for twite in the summer, and red grouse can be found on most areas with heather (e.g. The Roaches and Lum Edge). Swallow Moss was the place to go for black grouse, with a specially built hide overlooking the lek, but virtually no birds were present in 1999, and it may become extinct in Staffordshire. Rudyard Lake and Tittesworth Reservoir are also worth investigating for water and waterside birds. The latter has a conservation area with hides.

Whitemore Haye

There are several gravel pits in this area, some still being worked, so this is an excellent area to look for passage waders. The first pit on the left as you come down the access road is particularly worth investigating. Look too for corn buntings and tree sparrows.

Contributor

County Recorder

Nick Pomiankowski

22 The Villas, West End, Stoke ST4 5AQ

01782 849682

staffs-recorder@westmidlandbirdclub.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 313

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

The New Birds of the West Midlands

…covering Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the former West Midlands County - Graham Harrison and Janet Harrison 496 pages, colour photos, line drawings, maps. West Midlands Bird Club 2005

ISBN: 0950788120

Buy this book from NHBS.com

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

Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the Former West Midlands - 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 due June 2007

ISBN: 9780713664195

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Chasewater Wildlife Group

Website

Chasewater Country Park is situated in the heart of the Forest of Mercia, on the southern edge of Staffordshire and immediately north of the West Midland conurbation. It lies on the 150 m contour 3 miles south of the Iron-Age hillfort of Castle Ring, which at 244m is the highest point on Cannock Chase. The Country Park covers 300 ha of which the lake and dam make up 93h and Jeffrey`s Swag 10ha. The Norton Bog restoration area, which includes the Slurry Pool (5ha), is additional to the Country Park…

RSPB - North Staffs Local Group

Website

Local RSPB members group. Details of programme of events and places to birdwatch in North Staffordshire…

South Staffordshire Naturalists' Society

Website

We are the South Staffordshire Naturalists’ Society, a club of about 200 members, which was founded in 1894. We learn about and enjoy: birds, flowers, trees, fungi and insects, whilst walking through beautiful countryside. We have a full programme of field trips and indoor presentations and we are seeking new members…

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

Website

The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust was founded in 1969 to conserve wildlife, wildlife habitats and sites of geological importance in Staffordshire. It aims to promote the conservation of the natural environment for the public benefit and to provide opportunities for people to enjoy and to learn about it…

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust - Leek Group

Website

Nature Reserves in Staffordshire Moorlands - In late 1999 the Trust purchased 160 acres at Cotton Dell, near Oakamoor; further details in future leaflets and on this web-site. At Coombes Valley nature reserve near Leek the Trust has an agreement over 60 acres of the 260 acre total. The whole site is managed by the RSPB. The Trust also has an agreement over nature reserves at Longsdon Woods, Spring Cottage and Ward's Quarry. Access by permit only…

West Midland Bird Club

Website

e-mail: secretary@westmidlandbirdclub.com
The West Midland Bird Club offers the widest range of indoor and field meetings for its members. Probably more than any other provincial bird club in the whole of the UK.

West Midland Bird Club - Stafford Branch

Website

Andy Lawrence, 14 Jack Haye Lane, Light Oaks, Stoke-on-Trent ST2 7NG 01782 253502

Reserves

Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve

Information

Satellite View

Aqualate Mere NNR is situated 3km to the east of Newport, at the heart of a private estate, centred on Aqualate Mere - the largest natural lake in the West Midlands. Extensive reed beds surround this NNR which supports wildfowl throughout the year. Marsh and Willows Tits can be found feeding new the hide on the east shore…

Berryhill Fields

Satellite View

The main beneficiaries of this diversity are the birds and mammals. Five species of warbler, including the uncommon grasshopper warbler, breed alongside nationally threatened farmland species such as grey partridge, snipe and skylark. Skylarks epitomise the Fields, delivering their songs even on cold, windy winter days with the freedom that the Fields offer. Mammals include nationally protected water vole, brown hare and pipistrelle bats.

Blithfiled Reservoir

Website

Satellite View

Blithfield is a 800-acre (324 hectare) drinking-water supply reservoir, situated to the West of Abbotts Bromley in Staffordshire, operated by South Staffordshire Water plc, who have granted a lease to the West Midland Bird Club for the issue permits for the purpose of observing and recording birds and for the study of natural history…

Branston Water Park

Satellite View

Branston Water Park is a premier wildlife site in East Staffordshire. Located just outside Burton off the A38 Branston Water Park was originally an open cast gravel pit and is now home to many species of plant and animal, both common and nationally rare…

RSPB Reserve - Coombes Valley

Website

Satellite View

In winter, redwings, fieldfares and winter finches are frequent visitors…

RSPB Reserve - Middleton Lakes

Information

Satellite View

Nestled in the beautiful Tame valley, just south of Tamworth on the Staffordshire/Warwickshire border, Middleton Lakes is our latest nature reserve to open to the public. Since we acquired the site in 2007, we've worked hard to make sure the final restoration benefits birds, wildlife and visitors….

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

Abbot's Haye

Accommodation

Abbot's Haye is a 7 bedroom country house with Tudor origins, standing in 6 acres of Staffordshire countryside, with 2 acres of mature gardens, where guests may relax or play. We are situated 4 miles from Alton Towers, 12 miles from the Potteries and the Peak District. Abbot's Haye has 4 en suite family rooms and 1 en suite double room available. Ample off-road parking is provided.

White Hart

Accommodation

The White Hart is a traditional country pub based in the picturesque village of Alton, less than one mile away from the top UK tourist attraction, Alton Towers. We provide 3 letting rooms - 2 double and 1 twin/family - all newly refurbished. All major credit cards are accepted.

Forums & Mailing Lists

WMBC-Staffs

Mailing List

To post to list: WMBC-Staffs@yahoogroups.com

List contact: WMBC-Staffs-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: WMBC-Staffs-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

This mailing list is for discussion of birds and birding in the English county of Staffordshire, especially notable sightings and site reports, and the activities there, of the West Midland Bird Club (WMBC):

Blogs

Birding for Fun - Paul Shenton

Blog

37 year old birder who just loves birding.I have been at it since the age of 10 but with a few years break due to beer and then my own nippers I dont have my own patch as I like to go where ever my mood takes me. Tittersworth Greenway Rudyard & Norh Staffs Moors are my most regular Staffordshire spots. While in Cheshire Frodsham and Sandbach Flashes are always top of my list I am playing around with digiscoping as it seems to have become very popular since my break from the birding world. Opticron with HDF 32x eyepiece and Samsung Nv100hd (as of 2011) are my choice (well actualy TSBs choice)…

Birding with the Clayheads

Blog

A blog showing photos from my trips around Staffordhire and further a field…

Dudebirding

Blog

Staffs Birder Harry Dennant’s light hearted look at his birding experiences…

Staffordshire Bird News

News Blog

Regular Staffs bird news can be obtained online from here…

Staffordshire Stray

Blog

Staffordshire stray, as the title suggests, follows the occasional inane bird ramblings of a Staffordian-in-exile…

The Wandering Gronk

Blog

am just a simple novice birder based in Newcastle-U-Lyme in sunny Staffs, been birding seriously now since 2007 this blog just follows Lesley's and my wanderings around the country and what we see along the way…

Tittesworth Reservoir

Information

Recording Wildlife at Tittesworth Reservoir is a water storage reservoir near Leek, Staffordshire, fed by the River Churnet…

Other Links

Belvide Birding

Website

Belvide Reservoir is a 180 acre canal feeder situated in south west staffordshire. I have been visiting Belvide since 1984 in which time I have made nearly 4000 visits.Over the years I have managed to see 223 species…

Birds of Keele

Website

The deciduous woodland at Keele holds a good resident population of the commoner species such as Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker with a few pairs of Stock Dove, Jay, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Woodcock and, more recently, Green Woodpecker. There is a Rookery of 20 to 30 nests behind the Students Union building and shopping precinct. The coniferous plantations hold Goldcrests and Coal Tits as well as an occasional Sparrowhawk nest.

Gulls in the West Midlands Region

Website

This is a personal website which presents data and images relating to gulls in the West Midlands Region (the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the metropolitan county of the West Midlands).

Staffordshire Birding

Website

Welcome to Staffordshire Birding we hope to cover all news on a daily bases from Drayton Bassett in the south to the Moorlands in the north. This site will be for postings of bird news only with no gossip, questions or discussion threads…

West Midland Birding

Website

Welcome to West Midland Birding, my new web page dedicated to birdwatching. This website describes some of the best birdwatching sites in the West Midlands area. A description is given of how to find them and which birds you are likely to see at different times of the year. Covers some sites in Staffordsire too.

Westport Lake

Website

Stoke on Trent's premier birding hotspot. Westport Lake consists of one large lake and a small boating lake which has a island on it. At the side of the main lake is a small Nature Reserve which also includes several small pools, woodland and a small stream, the other side of the lake runs the Mersey/Trent canal. by the carpark is a Visitors Centre run by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, this incorporates a small shop and cafe, plus information boards telling you about the area and wildlife you can see….

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Martin Kessel

Gallery

Bird Photos from home and away….

Photographer - Steve Shaw

Gallery

I was very young, I have had an interest in wildlife and nature though I would never class myself as a bird watcher and would struggle to name any but the very obvious garden bird. Over the years I have reached a point where my hobby of photography and my long standing interest in wildlife have come together…