Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Kings Norton Nature Reserve 28/11/15

I was back for my weekly stroll around my local patch Kings Norton Nature Reserve on Saturday. This time it was one of the Friends of Kings Norton Nature Reserve's monthly guided walks; however in contrast to the well-attended previous walk I'd been on, the only other person on this one was the chap leading it, Alastair. Luckily he was happy to still go for a walk despite the low turnout! We started by checking out Merecroft Pool before proceeding along the River Rea path and around the back of Wychall Reservoir and its surroundings. It was good to meet another of the Friends of KNNR - I learnt some more about the site's history and management, as well as some new bits to explore, and also a way in to the area officially closed to the public that doesn't require a key (just a bit of scrambling!).

After last week's Woodcock-based excitement, I was wondering if I might have another similar sighting, or perhaps see some other wintery visitor. I saw 37 species, of which three were new ones for me at this site, taking my total after seven visits to 49 species. 50 by Christmas is looking very doable! :o) I didn't see a Woodcock on this visit, but yet again Kings Norton Nature Reserve surprised me! Here are my highlights:
  • As I'd been hoping, Lesser Redpolls have now arrived for the winter. We had lovely views of four feeding on reed seedheads and perching in the tops of willows around Wychall Reservoir. When I came back along this way a bit later, there were five. Another new species for my patch list.
  • We had pretty much finished our walk when we stopped to watch a flock of Long-tailed Tits pass by near Wychall Reservoir. I then spotted a woodpecker high in a mature willow, pecking away quietly; a look through the binoculars revealed it was a little scrappy-looking fellow with a very stripy back. LESSER SPOTTED WOODPECKER!! This was another new patch tick and also a year tick - in fact it's only the second Lesser Spotted Woodpecker I've ever seen in my life! As such I was very excited indeed. Helpfully a Great Spotted Woodpecker also appeared nearby allowing us to compare the two. I did attempt to photograph the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but my results were rather pitiful! However now I know they're there (they? I hope there's more than one anyway), I'll know to look out for them and maybe I'll be able to get a decent photo in time.
  • A flock of Feral Pigeons flying over was the other new species I saw - not so exciting, but still a tick.
  • Siskins have also now well and truly arrived after the brief flyovers I'd had previously. There were a few large flocks around feeding on Alders, mixed up with Goldfinches. Other finch species (Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch) were also in evidence to a greater extent than on previous visits.
  • We heard Water Rail again in one of the creeks leading to Wychall Reservoir.
It was a bit too windy for HDR photos as shown by the first pic below! I took a few other wintery snaps however...

Too windy - a poorly aligned HDR photo!

Loooads of Teasels.
The remains of some kind of umbellifer seedhead I think - these always remind me of exploding fireworks.
Moss & lichen.


Blackbird Great Tit Mute Swan
Black-headed Gull Greenfinch Redwing
Blue Tit Grey Heron Robin
Bullfinch Grey Wagtail Siskin
Carrion Crow Herring Gull Song Thrush
Chaffinch Jackdaw Starling
Coot Jay Stock Dove
Dunnock Lesser Redpoll Teal
Feral Pigeon Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Tufted Duck
Fieldfare Magpie Water Rail
Goldcrest Mallard Woodpigeon
Goldfinch Moorhen Wren
Great Spotted Woodpecker


  1. Fantastic find with the Lesser Spot. I live very local and have been around Merecroft and Wychall regularly Ive tried to count the Corvid roost last year but couldnt find the main centre. Excellent potential you certainly have encouraged me to focus on this underwatched reserve on my doorstep. Would be keen to share sightings
    Trevor Jones Twitter- @Discors1 E-mail

  2. Hi Trevor, thanks - yes I was so pleased to find the LS Woodpecker. Will be very interesting to see what transpires next spring - if there is a breeding pair present. Counting the corvid roost would certainly be a challenge! The site definitely has a lot of potential, I've only been visiting for a couple of months and it's already surpassed my expectations - glad I've encouraged you to focus more on it, maybe we'll bump into each other there. Have followed you on Twitter, I'll let you know if I see anything of interest! :o)