Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis ©Jim Almond Website

The recording area of Shropshire (aka Salop) is a ceremonial county in the West Midlands of England (area 40 in the Watsonian system), bordering Wales to the west, Cheshire to the north, Staffordshire to the east, and Worcestershire and Herefordshire to the south. Shropshire is landlocked and with an area of 3,487 K² (1,346 square miles) is England’s largest wholly inland county. It is one of England’s most rural and sparsely populated counties with around half a million people and only two large towns; Telford, the largest and Shrewsbury the county town.

Being 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. It is mostly flat in the north and hilly in the south. 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 Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers about a quarter of the county, mainly in the south. The Wrekin is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the county, though the highest hills are the Clee Hills, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Wenlock Edge is another significant geographical and geological landmark.

In the low-lying northwest of the county overlapping the border with Wales is the Fenn’s, Whixall and Bettisfield Mosses National Nature Reserve, one of the most important and best-preserved bogs in Britain. The River Severn, Great Britain’s longest river, runs through the county, exiting into Worcestershire via the Severn Valley.

Birding Shropshire

The collection of meres around Ellesmere is a focal point for winter wildfowl in modest numbers and gull roosts (mainly at Ellesmere itself). This is the nearest the area gets to sea watching, especially when gales blow when you might be extremely lucky and see 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! Another example was a Red-flanked Bluetail, which was only caught on film by a camera trap monitoring for Pine Martens! A number of sites for waders include the Shropshire Ornithological Society’s reserve at Venus Pool, also the Shropshire Wildlife Trust reserves at Wood Lane near Ellesmere and Chelmarsh, near Bridgnorth, although inland wader passage has reduced over recent years.

The last vestiges of moorland on the Shropshire Hills are the place to see Red Grouse, Ring Ouzel (on passage), 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
  • Chelmarsh Reservoir

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    The long narrow Chelmarsh reservoir attracts wintering duck and passing gulls and terns. A local ringing group and the South Staffordshire Water Company manage the marsh at the west end to attract waders on passage.. Reed Warbler and Water Rail are among the wetland birds to be seen at this site. Access is limited to the footpath across the western end.
  • Earl's Hill

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    Local people see the shape of a sleeping dragon in Earl’s and Pontesford Hill and fiery its beginnings certainly were. Redstart, Siskin and occasional Crossbills may be seen.
  • Ellesmere

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    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 sometimes containing Caspian or Mediterranean gulls, and usually has a range of wintering ducks including Goosander and Goldeneye. Wintering Cormorants have a roost here but keep an eye open for the occasional diver or terns on spring or autumn passage.
  • Long Mynd

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    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 (on passage), 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, while spring often produces a record of Dotterel. Autumn and winter have recently provided records of Snow Buntings and, once, Lapland Bunting.
  • Stiperstones

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    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). Birds are similar to the Long Mynd with a few Red Grouse, Wheatear, Tree Pipit and Cuckoo plus an occasional Whinchat or Grasshopper Warbler.
  • Venus Pool

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    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 three public hides. 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. In winter wildfowl include Gadwall, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Greylag Goose and often good numbers of Lapwing and Snipe along with Little or an occasional Great White Egret. Spring brings Little Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Reed and Sedge Warbler. In some years there is a Black-headed Gull colony, but it has been erratic in recent years. Worth checking for passage waders, gulls and terns.
  • Whitecliffe Common

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    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

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    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. There are now floods and pools here with a hide managed by Shropshire Wildlife Trust (you need to request the access code from them for viewing). These can hold wintering wildfowl such as Pintail. Teal and Shoveler with passage waders in spring and autumn when conditions are favourable. The nearby moss itself can be viewed from a tower hide accessed along the canal towpath and has occasional Marsh and Hen harriers, Merlin and in some years Great Grey Shrike on passage and in winter. Black-headed Gulls breed along with wildfowl and the declining Curlew.
  • Colin Wright

    Shrewsbury |

  • John Martin


County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 309

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

    Checklist PDF
    From the Shropshire Ornithological Society
Useful Reading

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Shropshire

    | By P Deans | Shropshire Ornithological Society | 1992 | Paperback | 208 pages, Maps, line illustrations | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780951868904 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Shropshire - A County Avifauna

    | By Leo Smith | Liverpool University Press | 2019 | Hardback | 544 pages, colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9781781382592 Buy this book from
  • The Wetlands of Shropshire and Staffordshire

    | By MD Leah, CE Wells, P Stamper, E Huckerby & C Welch | Oxbow Books | 1998 | Paperback | 252 pages, b/w photos, figures | ISBN: 9781862200234 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in West Midlands

    | By F Gribble, G Harrison, H Griffiths, J Winsper & S Coney | Christopher Helm | 2007 | Edition 3 | Paperback | 343 pages, 53 maps, 24 line drawings | ISBN: 9780713664195 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • Biological Records Officer at Shropshire Wildlife Trust

    Shropshire Wildlife Trust can provide species records and Local Sites information on behalf of the Shropshire Ecological Data Network (SEDN).
  • RSP South Shropshire Local Group

    Welcome to the RSPB South Shropshire Local Group website
  • RSPB Shropshire Local Group

    The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. We have regular monthly indoor meetings with speakers throughout the year and have monthly walks and visits to local nature reserves.
  • Shropshire Ornithological Society

    Welcome to the website of the Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS). In these pages you will find information about the objectives, activities and work of the SOS. Just select the links on the menu above or in the listing below.
  • Shropshire Ornithological Society (Church Stretton)

    This website serves the needs of the branch of the Society in Church Stretton. All members of the SOS (and non-members) are welcome to take part in branch activities as well as the activities of the main Society.
  • Shropshire Ornithology

    Facebook Page
    Promoting ornithology in Shropshire by encouraging people to increase their knowledge and enjoyment of the county's birds.
  • Shropshire Wildlife Trust

    Our vision is for Shropshire to be alive with wildlife, loved by people and its wild places cherished. The Trust cares for 40 nature reserves, including woods, meadows and wetland bird havens.
  • ShropshireOrnithology

    Twitter Page
    A place to report all your bird sightings ,news and photos taken within the county of Shropshire

Abbreviations Key

  • *Shropshire Wildlife Trust Reserves

    WebsiteSatellite View
  • CP Granville Country Park

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    Relics of former industrial activity, including furnaces and an old winding house, are now surrounded by woodland full of birds, while pit mounds of waste have been transformed into flower-rich grassland and heath.
  • LNR Birch Road Pond

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    A delightful patch of wet woodland with a pond, right in the centre of Ellesmere.
  • LNR Catherton Common

    WebpageSatellite View
    Wild, bleak and uncultivated, Catherton Common is an ancient landscape, dotted with houses and smallholdings. Large tracts of heather and furze make it a wonderful place for many birds that have vanished from other parts of the county, such as skylarks, linnets, meadow pipits, stonechats, wheatears and yellowhammers. A vast pesticide-free area, it’s also a haven for bees, dragonflies, bog bush crickets and many other insects.
  • LNR Charles Sinker Fields

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    The bird hide offers clear views over an area of open water, where birds such as teal, lapwing and curlew can be seen. The remaining ditches are home to water voles and areas of sedge and rushes provide ideal habitat for other small mammals, such as wood mice, field voles and harvest mice,
  • LNR Earl's & Pontesford Hill

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    In spring the wood – hazel, oak, field maple, holly and yew - is awash with bluebells and singing with migrant birds, encouraged to breed here by the provision of numerous nest boxes. Dippers can be spotted flying just above the stream, or bobbing up and down on rocks. There is fine old meadowland here, with anthills of the yellow hill ant – a favoured feeding ground for green woodpeckers. In summer look out for the tiny purple flowers of wild thyme and butterflies, such as small blues and orange tips.
  • LNR Polemere Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    This small pool, set amid farmland six miles south west of Shrewsbury, has long been known as a site worth visiting to see birds but interest declined as the pool silted up and shoreline became overgrown with trees.
  • LNR Venus Pool

    WebpageSatellite View
    Venus Pool Nature Reserve, usually known as “VP”, is 10 km (6 mi) south-east of Shrewsbury and covers almost 27 ha (66 acres). In addition to the pool itself, with its islands and areas of open shoreline, other habitats include stands of willow scrub, extensive marginal vegetation, flower-rich grassland, hedgerows and woodland. An arable field to the south of the pool is planted with bird-friendly crops.
  • LNR Wood Lane Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    One of the best bird-watching sites in Shropshire, Wood Lane Nature Reserve has been developed in recent years on worked-out industrial land, Tudor Griffiths Group’s old sand and gravel workings near Ellesmere. Reserve manager, Shropshire Wildlife Trust - Tel: 01743 284280 -
  • NNR Fenn's, Whixall & Bettisfield Mosses

    WebpageSatellite View
    Straddling the English border, near Whitchurch in Shropshire and Wrexham in Wales, lies one of the biggest and best raised bogs in Britain. Its astonishingly varied wildlife makes it a place of international importance. Main habitats: lowland raised bog, wet woodland, wet peaty fields, heathland and Teesdalia grassland.
  • NNR Stiperstones

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • NNR Wem Moss

    WebpageSatellite View
    Wem Moss is an outstanding example of a lowland raised bog, a wildlife habitat that exists in Britain today in just tiny remnant fragments. Ninety-four per cent of its former range has been destroyed or degraded by drainage, intensive peat cutting, grazing, forestry and pollution, leaving just 503 hectares of unspoilt raised bog in England.
  • Priorslee Lake

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    With the River Severn winding its way through the towns and villages of Shrewsbury, Ironbridge and Bridgnorth, this impressive river is an important landmark for waders, that use it to navigate their way to their breeding grounds to the north. And one particular landmark along its path, is Priorslee Lake which has proven to be an important stopover for many of these birds. Lying close to the Severn Valley it is one of the few lakes that migratory birds see at altitude and thus provides an ideal opportunity for a bathe and stopover.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Shropshire Birds

    The SOS is the recognised body through which observations of species seen in our County are submitted, recorded and made available for bird study locally, nationally and internationally. If you have any notable bird reports, please send them to BirdTrack or to the County Bird Recorder John Martin. For more information on submission of records click here.
Places to Stay
  • Ashfield Farmhouse

    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.
Other Links
  • CJ Wildbird Foods Ltd

    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…
  • Shropshire Birder

    Welcome to the home page for my world of birds, birding and bird photography. The culmination of a lifelong passion for nature and photography, birding has enabled me to combine the two hobbies to good effect! Whether it's record shots only or images suitable for publication, my motto 'never birding without my camera' usually holds true! Every now and then, opportunities arise to capture unforgettable moments. This Osprey seen on 9th April 2009 snatching a Roach out of Venus Pool for supper keeps reminding me why I do this!!
  • Wildlife Gardening with Jenny Steel

    Jenny Steel is a Plant Ecologist and Author who has been specialising in Wildlife Gardening for almost 30 years. She gives occasional talks around the UK and teaches workshops around the UK. Contact Jenny to find out more. She is also a Director of the Garden Bird Food company JUST ADD BIRDS
  • Jim Almond - Shropshire Birder

    I will try and keep up to date with pictures taken of birds in Shropshire and my trips out and about elsewhere.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Jim Almond - Shropshire Birder

    Welcome to the home page for my world of birds, birding and bird photography. The culmination of a lifelong passion for nature and photography, birding has enabled me to combine the two hobbies to good effect.

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