Trip reports

FIELD TRIP RSPB MIDDLETON LAKES SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER

FIELD TRIP RSPB MIDDLETON LAKES SUNDAY 1ST OCTOBER

Sunday, 1 October 2017

If you haven't already visited RSPB Middleton Lakes to see the progress made in turning the old gravel workings into a wetland oasis near Tamworth then you are missing an enjoyable day out. Sandwiched between the river Tame and the Birmingham and Fazeley canal the reserve has areas of woodland, meadow, reed beds and shallow water pools dotted with islands. There is now a good network of paths with benches, viewing screens and one large hide at the furthest point from the car park. Refreshments and toilets are available next door at Middleton Hall.
The weather forecast for our visit improved as the day approached; from "heavy rain" to "rain later". However, after a little drizzle, the day was bright grey cloud but warm so the five members of the club who made the trip had a pleasant outing. In total we managed to see nearly fifty different species.
The heronry close to the car park was obviously deserted at this time of year but the feeders nearby were a hive of activity being visited by many tits, finches, house sparrows, dunnocks and nuthatches. A water rail was happily pecking away underneath the feeders along with mallards and some hens from the neighbouring farm. Walking through the wood we saw and heard many corvids including rooks and jays as well as robins, blackbirds etc.
Crossing the canal we were able to start scanning the shoreline and water of Fisher's Mill Pond from a raised platform. Many gadwall were present; a duck which has very attractive if understated plumage when studied up close or through binoculars. Other water birds on the various pools included tufted duck, teal, wigeon, great-crested grebe, moorhen, coot, cormorant, Canada and greylag geese. A couple of oddities spotted were a black swan and a bar-headed goose feeding amongst the greylags.
Various waders were spotted in pools and on scrapes including three great egrets, a little egret, ruff, dunlin, snipe, numerous lapwing and heron. Pied wagtail, various gulls, a stock dove and kestrel were also spotted in the wetland area. Everyone had good views of a green woodpecker hanging on to a vertical fence post and several Cetti's warblers were heard throughout the day.
A few summer visitors were still here including some house martins. Our last sighting of the day was a chiff chaff singing from a bush as we recrossed the canal bridge on our way back to the carpark We probably won't hear another until next March........