Thursday, 5 May 2016

Kings Norton Nature Reserve 30/04/16

On Saturday I took my weekly stroll around Kings Norton Nature Reserve. This week it was the monthly guided walk and I was a few minutes late for the start due to rushing there (via a very quick snack at home) straight from a dawn chorus walk on the Rowley Hills! Luckily the group hadn't set off yet so it was all OK :o)

It was a great walk; I saw and/or heard 35 species in all, of which two were new for me at this site, taking my patch total to 65. Here are the highlights!
  • The first of this week's new species was Swallow - two flew over just after we'd started our walk at British Waterways Meadow. I wouldn't have thought that Swallows would breed anywhere on the reserve as I don't think there is any suitable habitat, but there is plenty of feeding habitat for them (over the paddocks and Merecroft Pool) so I'm hoping I will see them some more, along with maybe some House Martins, Sand Martins and Swifts (none of which I've seen yet at the reserve).
  • The second new species was Whitethroat, hurrah! On my last visit I saw Adrian who said he had heard one singing in the area behind Wychall Reservoir; I didn't find it then, but this week I had smashing views of a male Whitethroat on some scrubby vegetation, seen from the path just west of Wychall Reservoir.
  • We spent rather a long time enjoying the view from the dam at Merecroft Pool. This was because the Grey Heron chicks all stood up in their nest, so I could finally count how many there were! On my previous visits they've always been asleep, making it difficult to count them. I haven't mentioned the breeding Grey Herons for a while as disturbance (unintentional or otherwise) is always a risk with breeding birds, but the juveniles are looking quite big now and will probably be fledging soon. A couple of them were having a good practice, flapping their wings in preparation for flight!
  • Also from the dam, we watched a Great Crested Grebe diving and surfacing multiple times in front of us - it didn't seem to mind that we were quite close. I don't think they are breeding at the reserve which is a shame, as I've only seen them intermittently there.
  • Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps are now singing all over the reserve.
  • As I arrived at the Wychall Lane entrance to Merecroft Pool, I saw a Buzzard overhead being mobbed by gulls.
  • Not a bird, but we found a patch of beautiful Fritillary flowers which I think had been planted by the Friends of Kings Norton Nature Reserve as part of their management. This is an uncommon spring flower of marshy meadows and is one of my favourites!
As it was sunny, I took loads of photos - including yet more of the Bluebells which are still looking great!

Merecroft Pool (HDR).
The juvenile Grey Herons.
Great Crested Grebe.
Mute Swan portrait.

Sleepy Mute Swan.
Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris).
Fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris).
Bluebells by Merecroft Pool (HDR).

Bluebells by Merecroft Pool.
Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) along the River Rea (HDR).

Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) along the River Rea (HDR).

Don't forget this Saturday there are loads of nature-related activities on at Kings Norton Nature Reserve including a dawn chorus walk which I will be leading. Click here for all the info!


Blackbird Goldfinch Mallard
Blackcap Great Crested Grebe Moorhen
Blue Tit Great Spotted Woodpecker Mute Swan
Bullfinch Great Tit Robin
Buzzard Greenfinch Song Thrush
Canada Goose Grey Heron Stock Dove
Carrion Crow Herring Gull Swallow
Chiffchaff Jackdaw Whitethroat
Coal Tit Jay Willow Warbler
Coot Lesser Black-backed Gull Woodpigeon
Dunnock Long-tailed Tit Wren
Goldcrest Magpie


  1. I went to Lifford Lane tip last night and popped around the corner to Lifford Reservoir afterwards. A pair of Great Crested Grebes present, with one appearing to be sat on a nest. I hope they are breeding, I love baby GCGs - they look like dazzle ships.

  2. That's great news - hopefully they are breeding there. Maybe the ones I see intermittently at Kings Norton are the same birds, come for a quick feed. I've never been to Lifford Reservoir, will have to check it out. Haha baby grebes do look a lot like dazzle camouflage - I never realised before! :oD On an unrelated note, I see you have a Mogwai of my all time favourite bands, lovely stuff :o)

  3. Just seen your photos on Twitter - good news! I didn't see any sign of the chicks on Weds, but it was way past their bedtime by the time I was there.

    There were goosanders around in Manor Farm Park in Northfield at the end of last year and early this year. I was hoping they were going to breed, but they seem to have moved on.

    The Mogwai blog was an offshoot of this fansite I ran for years.
    There was a long period of time where they were hopeless at keeping folks updated on what they were up to, basically until they left PIAS.
    Great live band, and lovely folks too.

    I had intended to come on the Dawn Chorus walk this morning, but a long week at work put paid to that. Hope it was good.

  4. Hope you've had a chance to catch up with the GC Grebe chicks by now! That's a shame you couldn't make it to the dawn chorus walk, it was quite good - haven't had a chance to finish my blog post about it yet due to a hectic week but it's on its way.

    Yes, there were Goosanders off and on at Kings Norton over winter too. I don't think they breed in Birmingham so much though, they like somewhere a bit more secluded!

    That's cool! Mogwai are so awesome live, I'm looking forward to seeing them in Coventry Cathedral later this year :o)

  5. All being well, I'll be at the Mogwai show too.
    Off to see Eagulls again at the H&H tomorrow, and Man Of Moon in Moseley on Thursday.

    Keep up the good work on your blog.