The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2014 estimated population of 2,808,356, making it the second most populous county in England. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The county consists of seven metropolitan boroughs: the City of Birmingham, the City of Coventry and the City of Wolverhampton, as well as Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, and Walsall.
There are 23 Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the county. One of these SSSIs is Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield, which has an area of 970 hectares (2,400 acres). As a result, it is one of the largest urban parks in Europe, and the largest outside of a European capital city. The park also has national nature reserve status.
There are numerous rivers that pass through the county, including the River Tame. The river basin is the most urbanised basin in the United Kingdom, with approximately 42% of the basin being urban. The River Tame is fed by the River Rea, River Anker, and the River Blythe, which in turn is fed by the River Cole. The River Sowe and River Sherbourne both flow through Coventry. The River Stour flows through the west of the West Midlands county.
Birdwatching in the Birmingham and West Midland Area.
The County of West Midlands being landlocked and far from the sea is not high on birder's lists of places to visit. However, nearly three million people live and work in this great county. What's more, millions more have to visit to both work and play. So if you have time on your hands and want to go birding in the West Midlands here are a few places to visit.
Please note that the expanding West Midlands Bird Club website now has pages for the various branches.
The first ever Urban RSPB reserve. 25 acres at the eastern end of the 1000 acre expanse of Sandwell Valley (more later). A warm welcome awaits you at a recently refurbished visitor centre built with children and education in mind. The reserve covers the eastern end of a balancing lake and has two small man made islands which attract nesting gulls, a small marsh area great for snipe, fields and hedgerows for the more common farmland birds. The whole area covered by the valley is good for birds at any time of the year, but especially at passage time, when almost anything can be seen. Grasshopper warblers have been known to breed, while kingfishers are resident. Lapwings, Reed and Sedge warblers often attempt to breed and sometimes succeed. Late summer and autumn bring a wide selection of the common waders. Timing - An early morning or late afternoon visit is best, either before or after the inevitable dog walkers. Access - Easily accessible by public transport from Birmingham city centre or from junction 7 of the M6 and/or junction 1 M5.
Sandwell Valley Country Park
1000 acres of open space between Birmingham and West Bromwich crossed by the M5/6 motorway link. The area to the west of the motorway is the best for birdwatching with a mixture of woodland, scrub and rough grassland surrounded by untended hedges. The addition of small pools make this a haven for birdlife with all of the common woodland and farmland birds available. Timing - Once again try to avoid the human disturbance by arriving early morning or late afternoon. Access - Easily accessible by public transport from Birmingham/West Bromwich city centre or from junction 7 of the M6 and/or junction 1 M5.
A mixed habitat reserve (62 acres);which is part of the Blackbrook Valley with deciduous woodland, streams, canal towpath, farmland, heathland , reservoir and claypits. The woods and claypits have been declared a site of special scientific importance. (SSSI) and were made the first nature reserve in the West Midlands. This is a good site for wetland and woodland birds. For those wishing to mix business and pleasure the reserve can be found at the rear of the Enormous Merry Hill Shopping Centre. There is a visitor centre in the middle of the woods where an excellent display of the local birds, mammals and flowers can be found. Although mostly easy walking there are parts that require one to be reasonably fit. Timing - Once again try to avoid the human disturbance by arriving early morning or late afternoon. Access - Easily accessible by public transport from Birmingham and other /West Midland Town centres.
About 2 miles from Birmingham City centre this 64-acre canal feeder reservoir is surrounded by the urban sprawl of Birmingham. Yet it can prove to be a lifesaver to the birdwatcher trapped by business meetings. Birds to be seen include common water, park and garden birds, with waders and terns on passage. A large gull roost can also be found. Timing - Mid week is best, as this is a popular boating and recreational area. Once again try to avoid the human disturbance by arriving early morning or evening. Access - Easily accessible by public transport from Birmingham city centre.
Sutton Park is Birmingham's largest park, covering 2,400 acres consisting of woodlands, heathlands and wetlands. The entire park was recently designated a National Nature Reserve by English Nature, Sutton Park Visitor Centre, Sutton Park, Park Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B74 2YT, Tel: 0121 355 6370
26 Hambrook Close, Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton WV6 0AX
01902 568 9997
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 271
Where to Watch Birds in West Midlands
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: 9780713664195Buy this book from NHBS.com
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: 0950788120Buy this book from NHBS.com
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
Featherstone Farm Hotel - Wolverhampton
Featherstone Farm Hotel is a small, high class, country house hotel only one mile from Junction 11 on the M6, or Junction 1 on the M54, but nevertheless set in 5 acres of unspoiled countryside. Luxury restaurant specialising in Indian cuisine set in a luxury 16th century barn on-site.
West Midland Bird Club
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir
At the 11th AGM of Friends of Edgbaston Reservoir held in February 2001 it was agreed that the Friends should attempt to maintain a web site linked to other related local sites. This is the embryo…
RSPB - Walsall Members Group
The RSPB Walsall Members Group was formed in 1968 and is one of the oldest groups in the country. Funds raised by group activities and sales of RSPB goods have allowed the group to contribute to various RSPB appeals and especially to support the local reserve at Sandwell Valley. The group also tries to encourage membership recruitment to the Society and to support youth activities. Membership is free to RSPB members. The group organises a programme of indoor meetings (all welcome!) and field trips.
RSPB - Birmingham
This is the NEW Birmingham RSPB Members Group site. Created by mark.g-designs. We hope that you will find this site interesting and informative, if you have any comments or suggestions please e-mail John Bailey (Group Leader). We will bring to you news of forthcoming attractions including field trips, indoor meetings, guided walks and fundraising events. We shall also have links to other sites of interest including our sponsors. We welcome all new members to any or all of our events.
Wildlife Trust for Birmingham & the Black Country
Previously known as the Urban Wildlife Trust, we are the only charity in Birmingham and the Black Country dedicated to safeguarding the future well being of the area's wildlife…
Birmingham University - Ornithology Graduate Certificate & Msc
University of Birmingham CertHE and DipHE courses in Ornithology are now upgraded and we are now recruiting for a new Part-time Graduate Certificate Ornithology course and a new Part-time MSc in Ornithology. The MSc is unique within Europe. We have also established a Centre for Ornithology and the courses are now run by Graham Martin from the new Centre. As before the courses are part-time taught at weekends and are open to people of all ages. Full details of the courses are now available on the web site - there is a link to courses from the home page that gives a lot of information…
RSPB - Sandwell Valley
The area now known as Sandwell Valley is actually part of the Tame Valley, and was formerly made up of woodland, farmland and the Hamstead and Jubilee Collieries. After the closure of the mine, the building of the M5 and the diversion of a stretch of river to create flood defences, the area was landscaped for various amenities such as golf, sailing and walking. The main area of interest to birders lies to the east of the motorway and is made up of the RSPB's Sandwell Valley Reserve and the adjacent country park owned by Sandwell Council. The reserve contains marsh and reedbed and one end of Forge Mill Lake. There is a visitors centre and a nature trail with viewing screens…
Harborne Nature Reserve
Situated less than three miles from Birmingham city centre, Harborne Nature Reserve is comprised of two areas, totalling approximately nine acres of disused allotments forming part of Pereira Road/ Westfield Road allotments…
Marsh Lane Nature Reserve
This recently-created reserve occupies former gravel pits, on the Packington Estate. Extraction of sand and gravel from approximately 75 acres started in 1995 and has now been completed. Two large pools which resulted each have a number of islands, and attract both wildfowl and waders…
Forums & Mailing Lists
To post to list: WMBC-WestMidlands@yahoogroups.com
List contact: WMBC-WestMidlandsemail@example.com
To subscribe to list: WMBC-WestMidlandsfirstname.lastname@example.org
This mailing list is for discussion of birds and birding in the English county of The West Midlands, especially notable sightings and site reports, and the activities there, of the West Midland Bird Club (WMBC)
Clayhanger Marsh Log
Wildlife and drinking copious amounts of beer and single malt whisky. Despite this I am renowned for being surley and antisocial, so if you ever meet me, don't be surprised if I glare at you menacingly, and walk the other way…
Bird and Wildlife sightings from the West Midlands, Worcestershire and the Scottish Highlands and Islands…
Black Country Birders
Birding diary from the midlands, UK
Stuart Collins - Alrewas Birder
Diary of birding on local patch and of trips away…
Brightside Birding - Kay Donaghy
I'm a 31 year old female birder from Selly Oak, Birmingham. Most of my free time is spent out birding with my partner Max at various sites around Worcs, Warks, Staffs and West Mids.
Worcestershire Source - Reg the Birder & Kay
I first became interested in birds when I spotted a nuthatch in my garden several years ago. Having learned to identify the more common garden birds, I began heading out into the countryside near Wythall where I live to see what I could find…
The Debonair Birder
Primarily a birding blog mainly, focussed on the Midlands area…
Gulls in the West Midlands Region
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).
Photographers & Artists
Photographer - Mike Lane
Welcome to my web site. I`m a full time wildlife photographer specialising in birds and mammals. Although I get to travel to foreign lands a great deal, my main love is British wildlife. I get far more satisfaction photographing humble wrens and chaffinches than exotic parrots in distant rain forests. 90% Birds!
Birds in Particular
A selection of bird photographs from the West Midlands region and others - especially gulls…
Bird Carvings by Teresinha Roberts
Teresinha Roberts carves ducks, geese and swans in lime and other hardwoods. The natural movement and rhythm of the birds is reflected in each unique piece and is a result of careful study in the wild…