Thursday 3 February 2022

25th January 2022 Belvide Reservoir WMBC Reserve, Staffordshire, UK


Donations : Acorns 

Many thanks to . . . 

Andrea, P & P, Moira, Jackie Griffiths, Bob, Keep U, Rosie, Jayne Grosvenor, Jane & Andy Revell, Louise, Stuart Griffiths, M & D Shaw, Dave & Sue White, Janette Lowndes, Bart, Lise Hanson, Maria Hill, Phil V, Chris Elmer, Sue Murphy, Nicky, John Hague, Mike, Kimberley Bills, Norma Hines, Rob Gilbert, Julia, Colin Graham, Sarah Moreton, Lizzy, Lisa Hillier, Rob Leech, &P. 

Acorns Children's Hospice 

Total so far . . . 

£633 plus gift aid


Donations : RSPB 

Many thanks to . . . 

P & P, Moira, Jill from Dorking, Nicky M, Terri Akers, Anne Beckett, Maria Hill, Mark Carter, P

Gary's RSPB Justgiving page link

Total so far . . . 

£253 plus gift aid

Thanks everyone.    xx


January 25th, 2022        Belvide Reservoir

          Belvide Reservoir is a West Midlands Bird Club nature reserve about ten miles north of Wolverhampton.

          After a relatively smooth ride to Belvide along the country lanes from the north, I access the reserve and push the bike down to the hides. The path around the reserve, a place that was my patch for over twelve years from 1978 when I moved to Wolverhampton, is superb! With a solid surface access for wheelchairs must be fine and the horrific mud from my patch days long ago are a thing of the past.

No one is in any of the first three bird hides, fabulously situated now to give great views over each part of the reserve but eventually I meet a birder, Paul, at a bird hide overlooking the far, western end of the reservoir. Conversation ensues with a local birder and with the target bird, an American Green-winged Teal, not in view and possibly having left. Paul thinks it will still be here but tells me that duck numbers are well down now that the ice from a few days ago has gone.

Great-crested Grebe

           I go for a walk to the most westerly end of the reserve, remembering times past as I do so; the Little Owl that was a regular sight on Blakey's farmyard barn, a male Merlin used to sit on these fence posts and the like.

          Returning to the first entered hide, another birder arrives and so we three start to search once more for the Yankee duck.

          "There you are, you little sweetie!" shouts out Paul and indeed there it is, out in the open on the far side of the bay. Green-winged Teal* UTB - under the belt and onto my BIGBY, Big Green Big Year bird list.

          National Geographic wants copies of my photographs of the bird for a future calendar! OK, not the best photographs obviously but they do show the diagnostic shoulder slash that distinguishes a Green-winged Teal from a Eurasian Teal.

          Flushed with success, after saying thanks and "see you later" to the other birders and in desperate need of the loo, I make my way back along the path to the compost toilet block adjacent to the new Gazebo hide. No water used, after doing what one has to do, I threw handfuls of sawdust into the device. A superb, no smell toilet is a boon for any reserve and to hear that the collected material is used as compost eventually makes me wonder why more places don't have these facilities. I remember that Pulborough Meadows RSPB reserve in Sussex has one.

          Relaxed and comfortable once more, I enter the Gazebo hide and enjoy watching the many bird feeders here as birds arrive in good numbers to take what's on offer. The large fat balls are particularly popular.

          A few Reed Buntings* arrive and so go onto my BIGBY bird list.

          Back in the seventies and eighties there were certain birders who became iconic to the reserve. David Smallshire was the first man I remember in that category, being the warden for many years. Another amazing birder back then was the incredible John Higginson, now living on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly.

          Nowadays the main man, so to speak, is Steve Nuttall and true to form, Steve arrives early afternoon. Usual banter ensues about football, with Steve's passionate support for the small West Midlands' club, West Bromwich Albion coming up against my own immense supprt for the Midlands' most mighty of clubs, Aston Villa, a team supported by royalty, Prince William and Hollywood Star, Tom Hanks. Up the Mighty Villa! Other topics of conversation will be overlooked!!!

          As the afternoon fades towards dusk gulls arrive to roost in good numbers but nowhere near the numbers that used to be here in the eighties. Amongst the large gulls Steve finds a Yellow-legged Gull*, another one for the BIGBY bird list.

         Eventually all others leave, leaving the reserve to me with an onstruction to try and see Woodcock as they leave the wood. As darkness falls no Woodcock have been seen and I prepare for a cold night sleeping in one of the bird hides.


Charity Pledges 

These are the names of people who have made a pledge to pay so much per bird species seen at the end of the year to either one of the charities I am supporting or to both.

Lee Dark, Mary & Brian Prescott, Joshua Prescott, Rebecca Prescott and Les Oxley-Stoker, Donna Prescott. 

Massive thanks to everyone who has either made a donation or made a pledge.


If anyone would like to make a pledge, say 1p for every bird specie I see this year, with the thought that I think I will see around 280-90 different species, then please message me. It would be fabulous to hear from you. Thanks.
Biking Birder I - 2010  People January/February



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