Map reference: SP0081
This water-supply reservoir covers 46 hectares and has uninviting concrete banks surrounded by short grass. This fits in with the image give in Bill Oddie's Gone Birding of a bird-free sight. Bill spent his formative years birdwatching here, and his regular attendance actually produced a fine selection of birds, as shown in his report Birds in the Bartley Reservoir area, 1931-1962.
Despite usually being an unproductive sight, particularly in the summer, the reservoir continues to produce birds not usually seen elsewhere in the county. These often appear during hard weather due to the reservoir being much deeper than other bodies of water in the area. All three British divers have appeared in the last fifteen years, as well as Red-necked Grebe. The gull roost occasionally contains rarities such as Iceland and Glaucous Gull. Other birds which passed through in the 1990s included Fulmar, Leach's Petrel, Honey Buzzard, Stone Curlew, Great Skua, Laughing Gull, Richard's Pipit and Snow Bunting.
Access: The reservoir is situated in Bartley Green, four miles south west of Birmingham city centre. A lane runs close to the southern and western sides of the reservoir.
Resident: Mallard, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Little Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Treecreeper.
April - September: Common waders and terns on passage, including Black. Common warblers.
October - March: Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Shelduck (scarce), Wigeon (scarce), Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Goldeneye. Roosting gulls. Passerines may include Redpoll.
Map reference: SP0486
This canal-feeder reservoir covers 26 hectares with a few marshy creeks and some mature trees around the edges. Although the resident birds are only those you would expect to see in your local park, regular visiting will be rewarded with the occasional good sighting.
Access: Entrance in Reservoir Road, Edgbaston, about 2 miles west of Birmingham city centre.
Official website (including warden's phone number) here.
Resident: Great Crested Grebe, Canada Goose, Mallard, Tufted Duck. Cormorants visit regularly.
April - September: Terns on passage, including Black.
October - March: Occasional ducks include Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard and Goldeneye. Roosting gulls. Passerines may include Redpoll.
Marsh Lane Gravel Pits
Map reference: SP2180
This new reserve has been created by the Packington Estate. Entry is by day or year permit only.
Access: Off A452 between A45 and Balsall Common.
Although this reserve only opened officially in 2001 it already has a site list of over 150 species.
Resident: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Stock Dove, Little Owl, Green Woodpecker. Cormorant are regular visitors.
April - September: Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern, most species of warbler including Grasshopper. Passage waders in April, May, August and September. Hobby and Buzzard breed locally.
October - March: Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Common Snipe, Siskin, Redpoll.
Sheepwash Urban Park
Map reference: SO9791
This Local Nature Reserve is owned by Sandwell Council. This site of a former brickworks has a variety of habitats, including a number of pools and extensive grassland.
There is a classified list for this site here.
Access: From the end of Johns Lane, off the A461 Dudley Port Road.
Resident: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk. Grey Heron visit regularly.
April - September: Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap. Passage waders including Common Sandpiper.
October - March: Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Goosander, Water Rail, Lapwing, Common Snipe, Redpoll.
Map reference: SJ8900
This Local Nature Reserve is owned by Wolverhampton Council and runs from Oxley in the north to Wightwick in the south. Habitats include 48 hectares of parkland, the Smestow Brook and the Staffs and Worcester canal. 145 species of birds have been recorded here in recent years by the Smestow Valley Bird Group.
Access: Main entrance is in Henwood Road, Tettenhall near the junction of A41 and A454, west of Wolverhampton.
Resident: Sparrowhawk, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Skylark, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Reed Bunting.
April - September: Warblers (seven species).
October - March: Little Grebe, Water Rail, Snipe, Fieldfare, Redpoll, Siskin.
Map reference: SP0997
Access: Near Sutton Coldfield. There are several gates, all around the perimeter of the park. All are well signposted and have plenty of car parking.
Official website here.
Classified list: www.telinco.co.uk/peter_coxhead/spnh/bi.html
A surprising range of habitats so close to Birmingham city centre. A variety of lakes and pools surrounded by woodland and some heathland. Although the park is a very popular amenity it is so large that it is always possible to get away from the crowds and find a quiet spot.
Resident: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Yellowhammer.
April - September: Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit.
October - March: Shoveler, Pochard, Goldeneye, Goosander.
Updated 20 October 2002