Following on from Part I of Birding in England and a trip to Sandwell Valley, a few days later I drove a little south of Bromsgrove. When researching birding hotspots, Upton Warren came recommended and the website and app EBird showed that it was fairly active with observations from other birders. The location consists of a sailing club and lake, with a cafe where you pay £3 entry per-person, unless you are a member of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust or an associated trust. Beyond the sailing lake is The Christopher Cadbury Wetlands. Christopher Cadbury is a grandson to the founders of the Cadbury’s Chocolate company, located just up the road on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Out on the sailing lake, we spotted commons such as Mute Swan, Great Cormorants, and the usual Canada Geese. We also spotted a Great-crested Grebe. A new lifer!
Through a gate to the right, we made our way along a trail towards the wetland. There were two or three large wooden hides along the edge of the water, quite elaborate and elevated to offer good views. In my previous post, I talked about how some kind strangers had shared their knowledge and helped us to identify some of the waterfowl we were uncertain of. The same was true of a gentleman here who had been watching out for a Water Rail. These birds are quite elusive. I have only seen a couple of Virginia Rails, the related North American species which can be found in Ontario. The Water Rail popped out of the reeds a couple of times and the gentleman brought out attention to it. I only got a couple of crap photos of it, though!
Like my previous post, there were tons of Northern Lapwings, Canada Geese, and Black-headed Gulls. There were several Great Cormorants, Green-winged Teal and Moorhens. In amongst the Lapwings and at great distance, there were three birds that I couldn’t identify but were in the Calidris family (sandpiper type birds). I suspect they might be Dunlin, but the photo is terrible and I’ll not bother uploading it here!
A bird that could be easily identified, not least because of its fancy bill, is the Eurasian Curlew. There were around eight of them moving around the shallows, probing the ground for invertebrates.
We made our way back to the car. A few hundred yards down the A38, is another wetland at the end of a turning onto Lakeside Court. A short walk got us to another hide with good elevation over Moors Pool and a couple of other birders who were calling out their sightings in a manner that was very helpful to us novices! Perhaps the best sighting from this vantage point was a very well hidden and somewhat distant (so excuse the poor photo) Common Snipe. They are similar to the similarly elusive American Woodcock. The snipe, as these birds are wont to do, was performing an interesting “dance” where it bopped, back and forth. This movement is thought to be a way of sensing food, the bopping movement a result of the front foot feeling the mud.
There were more Northern Shovelers here, some Greylag Geese, Mallards, more Green-winged Teal and so forth. On a feeder, I finally saw a European Greenfinch, which I’d casually looked for on previous visits. Along the tree line, I heard some unfamiliar bird song and, after several moments of deliberation and finally having to look it up online, I concluded that the song was coming from a couple of Reed Buntings.
And that’s it! The weather didn’t co-operate as much in my second week, so less birding than I would have liked. I’ve been a little remiss with updating my life list spreadsheet (geek alert) lately, but I would say I’ve added about 10 or 12 new species to it. Nothing hugely significant, but the Snipe and the Water Rail were quite cool.
I did get a few more photos on one of the days I was staying at my Dad’s, where the hanging bird feeders are often filled. I’ll leave you with a few shots of those.
One bird that I saw several times that I would really like to have gotten a shot of, was the Long-tailed Tit. I saw these in the garden, on a walk across Hartlebury Common and several other places. I briefly visited Uffmore Wood near to the Clent Hills. I got a rubbish shot of the back of ones head! I also saw a couple of Fallow Dear and missed photographing those along with a Eurasian Treecreeper. Oh well! Maybe next visit. Whenever that will be?
Thanks for reading.