Chasewater Chat - 2010







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31st December 2010

graham you might remember me ,we spoke mid Dec about teal and green
hairstreaks.i thought you might be interested in my butterfly sightings for the
rewarding and memorable day we were talking of (Sat 22.5.10 anticyclonic hot
clear still) Green Hairstreak. Dingy Skipper.Small White. Large White.Green
Veined White.Speckled Wood.Smallheath.Orange Tip.Peacock .Small
Tortoiseshell.Small Copper.Common Blue.Also Mother Shipton moth.I thought these
sightings might perhaps be useful in records .I look forward to my path crossing
yours next time Alistair(AW)

31st December 2010

Re Ryders Mere;

Alarmed about the planning application, which I've covered here:

Hope it does the thing justice.

Best wishes, and happy new year,


29th December 2010

Hi, and a happy new year to all, thank you for the photo's and info on the site, could you please let us know where the new feeding station at Fly Bay is located, we went over on Monday but could not find it?
Thanks ,
John and Sue. 

22nd December 2010

Sorry to disturb you but they are your gulls that are going to blith at the moment! Saw this one tonight. I thought it was a ylg at first but its the same colour as those around it. not right for a casp. its not a s/pl herring is it?

Nick Smith

22nd December 2010
Thanks to those who braved the cold and came to last night's Christmas meeting. We looked through a year of Chasewater wildlife highlights with some fantastic photographs and video footage. Thanks to those who have the time and patience to provide us with the show, I know they spend endless hours in the field collecting the material. I particularly enjoyed the extra special sandwiches kindly provided by Tony's wife. I'd also like to thank the lovely lady who helped me with my minor incident and provided me with coffee :-) Merry Christmas to the whole group.

Nat Ward

Thanks Nat, It was great to see everyone there; a good time was bound to be had with such good company and Neil and Phill's photos were fantastic along with Tony's excellent video of the Green Woodpeckers. I hope your thumb is feeling better; I'll forever feel responsible - I knew I should have walked :-) Happy Christmas to everyone. Graham

I can only blame my silly self! Wonder if I'll be able to hold my 'bins?


21st December 2010

Graham, 39 Waxwings in Great Charles St, Brownhills today at 15-45, regards Arthur.


21st December 2010

On visiting Silver Court Brownhills today Tues. 21st approx 10:20 there were 40+ Wax wings feeding on the Rowan berries ,flying off at 10:30 [KS].


16th December 2010
Hi All,
Hughie King incorrectly identified a white winger at Stubbers on Monday as the immature Iceland Gull ( and despite the fact that the age of that bird is not straight forwardly agreed as it could be an advanced 2nd winter) Hughies bird is undoubtedly the 2nd-winter Glaucous Gull present at Throckmorton Tip on the 12th and prewviously at Didcot Oxon on the 4th and subsequently at Dosthill 14th and 15th.
Did BG see the real imm Iceland Gull on the 13th or did he also make the same mistake.
Pity that a Chasewater birder told people how to separate and age Iceland and Glaucous Gulls in 1975 yet half of Britain's birders still cannot get them right 35 years later. Where did Rob Hume and Peter Grant go wrong....
Cheers Steve Whitehouse
Cheers Steve,
I had a text from Paul Jeynes tonight with the same information and I've corrected the diary. BG just stands for Birdguides as that was where we got the info from.
All the best,

Hi all,
Looks like the 2w Glauc was at Stubbers Green on the 13th judging by these pics: (scroll down).
Ties in with the Throckmorton sighting on 12th and Dosthill on 14th and 15th.

Cheers Brian,
Several people have made the same observations and amendments have been made.
All the best,

Hi Graham. Please find attached a photo of what I believe to be the 2nd/3rd winter Iceland Gull 13/12/10 at Stubbers Green. Could you please confirm this.

Also present was a now corrected 2nd winter Glaucous Gull. I could see the size and bulk of this gull but not sure if it was a large Iceland or small Glaucous. I know I should have noticed primary projection. Being unsure I consulted two highly regarded birders by email. One replied and one did not.

The reply was that it was a large 2w male Iceland Gull. I respect the superior knowledge of this person who shall remain anonymous. I have since received a reply from him agreeing to 2w Glaucous Gull. In his defence he presumed this was the regular Iceland Gull and was more concerned with aging than detail.

I am posting two photos. One of the 2w Glaucous Gull. and another of the possible 2w/3w Iceland Gull for your perusal.

Sorry for the confusion.

Regards Hughie King.

Iceland Gull © Hughie King
Glaucous Gull © Hughie King
Thanks Hughie, the Iceland Gull is indeed the same individual that has been in the area since 22nd November and I decided to call it a 3rd year bird since there is a great deal of grey in the scapulars for a late autumn bird and it looks the spitting image (but 11 months on) to the 2nd year bird that was present from December 13th-23rd last year and from ringed birds we have learnt that we have a large number of returning birds each year. Of course it can be argued that it is a very advanced 2nd year bird but I've not heard anyone else discuss the matter! As for the Glaucous Gull, the photo is perfect for not showing the bill structure and primary length and its easy to see how a mistake could be made. Your photo is interesting because perfection is something that can, usually, only be found in Worcestershire :-)
All the best,
These are the photos I took at Stubbers Green last December and it would be good to have a discussion about why it can't be the same bird as this year's (GE).

4th December 2010

A link to Phil Parsons video of the Franklin's gull from July. The video was shot at Gailey reservoir but is the same bird that spent several days at Chasewater


25th November

Hello there,

I was wondering whether there was any new line on Chasewater Reservoir.. Being empty…. Is it going to plan? Number of birds dwindling? Rare birds?

I suppose I am after an update really… 

Ed Dawes
Broadcast Journalist
Producer The Andrew Peach Show & The Carl Chinn Show


Hello Ed,

For the official view of how the dam repair is progressing look at the Lichfield DC's Chasewater Dam blog which is linked from our website. Many other people have their own views, such as Brownhills Bob (also linked) and the angling fraternity's Maggotdrowning site. 


The original draft schedule predicted that the work would be completed by now but it has only just started; Galliford Try's contract starting on November 15th. The date guiding both council and contractors is October 2011 when the works legally have to be completed but this has left many of the paying users of Chasewater high and dry for far longer than they were originally led to believe.


As for the birds, the low water levels have obviously had an effect on the numbers attracted such as more waders (Dunlin, Lapwings etc) and dabbling ducks (Mallard and Teal) but fewer diving ducks such as Tufted Ducks and Goldeneye. The overall number of species recorded this year is around average with 152 species seen so far. By logging onto our Monthly Diary you can see what has been seen but the highlight of the year has to be the Franklin's Gull (from North America) in July and more recently there have been 2 Avocets, 2 Lapland Buntings, a Leach's Storm-petrel, Caspian Gull and an Iceland Gull. 


The water level is about to be pumped down to its lowest ever so that the main works can start and its effects will be monitored closely, especially on the remaining fish which will have to be removed by British Waterways.


All the best,

Graham Evans


Hi Graham,


Thanks for your help.


So... it should have been finished by now? As in completed and refilling process started?



11th November 2010

Graham, here are some of the birds we had today. A flock of linnets, also lapwings, pochard, widgeon, teal, gadwall, tufted duck, 7 goldeneye, 10 goosander, 40+ snipe and 8 dunlin, great crested grebes and 1 little grebe. I'll leave you to sort out the gulls. Regards Arthur & Chris Bladon.







I've been searching for a list of the aquatic species living in Chasewater.

I'm interested in fish, invertebrates, and insect species along with associated aquatic plants.


Any information would be gratefully received.


Kind regards,


Tim Hayes

Midland Reefs




You mention a 1952 record. Is that this one below?




One in flight, October 29th.


The 1952 WMBC is quite brief so i got this from the more detailed BB article. By Cannock do they mean Cannock Resr?


Cheers, Nick Smith


Hi Nick,

Yes it was really annoying how WMBC always referred to 'Cannock' which could have meant Chasewater or a town 5 miles away! I can't put my hand on the 1952 Report at the moment but Rob Hume in his 1971 'The Birds of Cannock Reservoir' has included the Leach's Petrel record on October 29th 1952 as being at 'Chasewater'.

All the best,



That fits then!  1952 report for such a large event is vague. 23 reports from Staffs then goes on to say how many dead and alive. Only locations mentioned are Leek (for the most north record) and Stoke (for a Nov 9th record). At least BB lists locations. Thanks for the info


26th August 2010

Hi Graham


We paid a visit to Stubbers Green on Monday 30th August and took some pictures. If you are interested I have attached a few. These are low res for your site so some detail has been lost. I was taking a gull landing and when I looked afterwards I noticed what I believe to be a Tufted Duck. Its a very large crop taken at 400mm focal length. There are 2 other birds, a gull and a duck that I am unsure about. The rest I have named.


Hope these are of use to you.


Kindest regards





29th August 2010

Hi Graham

I was walking around the area today and visited the feeding station. All the feeders and containers have been removed. I was wondering if this is in preperation for the winter or if the station is not going to be used this year. I have looked through previous posts but cant find any reference to this.

Thanks a lot


The feeding station is going to be relocated for the coming winter so that it won't be on the SSSI heathland. The site will be on the edge of the alders at the end of Fly Bay, a little more accessible than the old site but still hidden away sufficiently to give the birds a chance to feed.
All the best,

26th August 2010

Birdlife International Zino's Petrel Appeal; 

30th July 2010

hi there , very interesting letter about Chasewater in the RSPB Birds magazine , august issue .

 How very true indeed ,and very sad too .


26th July 2010

My wife and I thought we would create laughter with birders who've seen the Franklin's Gull and give comfort to those who haven't. So far, we've paid 5 visits and spent 7 hours each trying to see it, to no avail. We've been there at all times between 17:00 and 21:15. Can anyone beat our record? Our latest attempt saw us get there on 24/07 at around 17:15. The gull must have flown off whilst we were walking from the car park!


We know of one birder who got there at 04:00 one morning knowing that the bird had roosted the previous night. Was it there? Was it heck!  In the words of Clark Gable -" Franklin's my dear, I don't give a damn".


Will we back if it's reported? You bet.



Graham & Chris Weston


22nd July 2010

Hi there. I visited with a couple of other birders from Manchester for the Franklin's Gull this evening. It flew off at 7.25pm just as we arrived and
didn't see it, so we hung around until dusk and the bird returned with some of the last returning gulls for the roost at 9.45pm in near darkness on the last scan before calling it a day. Very lucky!
Also present were 1 Little Egret, 2+ Yellow-legged Gulls (1 ad, 1+ 1st Sum), 1+ intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull, 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Oystercatchers, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Peregrine (juv, causing mayhem amongst the gulls and waders), 2 Cormorants, 1 Pochard, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Linnets.
A lovely site and I hope to return soon.
Also an adult Med Gull was in the roost this evening (21/07)
Thanks. Henry Cook
Hi Henry, Glad you enjoyed your visit and managed to see the Franklin's Gull. Its good to know that the Peregrine didn't scare it away for good. Graham

11th July 2010

Hi Graham,
I took a stroll with my wife and the camera down to the swan pools tonight , I've included 2 photos of a Little Egret and the heron. I was amazed how many cars stopped to have a look.
Best regards   Andy & Annmarie Swift

Photos taken at Swan Pool, Stubbers Green

4th June 2010

Hi Graham,

Thursday 3rd June. A Profusion of Dingy Skippers and Common Blues along the railway embankment adjacent to the Slurry pool. Small heaths everywhere plus solitary Brimstone and Peacock between the Slurry pool and the Swag. Several Four-spotted chasers on the Slurry pool near the cotton grass, plus Broad-bodied chasers alongside the boardwalk on the small pond. Cuckoo calling from dead tree on North heath with 3 Red deer nearby, 2 being young stags in velvet.

Cheers for now, Kev McCarthy

19th-29th May 2010



Quote from the above website;

"Disturbance To Rare Breeding Birds

It has been brought to our attention that people have been photographing rare, protected breeding species on Cannock Chase and at other sites within our region, and that extensive use of bird recordings on mobile phones etc. is taking place, so as to lure these species into the open. Not only is this illegal, where 'Schedule 1' birds are concerned, but it discourages the birds from remaining in the area and could place them and their nest, eggs and young at increased risk of predation or other loss.

The Club strongly condemns this practice. If you witness anyone acting in such a way, please contact your local police wildlife crime officer, or the investigations section at the RSPB:

  • Cannock Police Station: 0300 123 4455

  • Crime Stoppers: 0800 555 111 (will pass the details, anonymously, to the relevant police force anywhere in the country.)

  • RSPB: 01767 680 551

Any member of the Club found to be acting in such a manner will have their membership terminated immediately and permanently. It should be born in mind that substantial fines and/or a prison sentence could result for those found guilty.

By watching birds and other wildlife responsibly, we can all help our rare species to flourish.

The Management Committee
May 2010"


Further information;


"In England, Scotland and Wales, it is a criminal offence to disturb, intentionally or recklessly, at or near the nest, a species listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (see for a full list). Disturbance could include playback of songs and calls. The courts can impose fines of up to £5,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to six months for each offence."


To report a wild bird crime online to the RSPB;


Schedule 1 birds;


I fully support the comments in your post regarding the law and common sense about disturbing birds and their nesting sites, whether photography, bird watching, or more serious vandalism is concerned. Can I suggest that a list of the more common birds listed in schedule 1 be posted here. A full list would be too large I feel, and unnecessary, but to cover the species most likely found around the greater Chase area would be useful. Most of us know some of the more common birds that might be schedule 1, but many (myself included) are not aware of all the ones we are likely to come across in this area and could easily fall foul of the law inadvertently through ignorance. Apart from the law side, most responsible enthusiasts would not want to cause a disturbance anyway especially of an endangered species.

I hope this suggestion is of use and that someone in the group with the necessary knowledge can advise.

Regards Trev

Hi Trev, the schedules offer extra protection to rarer species however the law provides protection to ALL species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981;

Basic protection

All birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law and it is thus an offence, with certain exceptions (see Exceptions), to:

  • intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird 

  • intentionally take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst it is in use or being built 

  • intentionally take or destroy the egg of any wild bird 

  • have in one's possession or control any wild bird, dead or alive, or any part of a wild bird, which has been taken in contravention of the Act or the Protection of Birds Act 1954 

  • have in one's possession or control any egg or part of an egg which has been taken in contravention of the Act or the Protection of Birds Act 1954 

  • use traps or similar items to kill, injure or take wild birds

  • have in one's possession or control any bird of a species occurring on Schedule 4 of the Act unless registered, and in most cases ringed, in accordance with the Secretary of State's regulations (see Schedules

  • intentionally or recklessly disturb any wild bird listed on Schedule 1 while it is nest building, or at a nest containing eggs or young, or disturb the dependent young of such a bird.   

(quoted from RSPB website- see links above)

The schedules can be accessed from the links above. There is an attempt to manage the possibility of accidental disturbance of the little ringed plovers at Chasewater. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 provides protection against intentional damage or destruction of all active birds nests. Schedule 1 affords extra protection against reckless disturbance which I think could possibly include crossing a barrier that has been put up to protect the birds, especially when there are signs indicating the presence of nesting birds. I believe photographing birds at the nest site can also be considered disturbance (and in the case of schedule 1 birds is subject to a license). Other birds on schedule 1 are present in Staffordshire but it is certainly worth familiarizing yourself with the whole list particularly for those people who travel/holiday elsewhere in the UK. It is best practice to avoid disturbance of all breeding birds by sticking to marked paths and keeping dogs on leads during the breeding season (April-August at least). Also by reading and following the advice of any notices and information that may be provided by landowners and authorities. By taking these measures you are very unlikely to fall foul of the law.

For more information on wildlife and conservation law please see the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website and also the Wildlife and Countryside Act on the OPSI website

All the best, Nat

12th May 2010

Dear CWG,


I am a birder from south Manchester area around Stockport.

I recently came to the area to see the Hoopoe at Clayhanger.

As I arrived at Clayhanger early in the morning and saw the Hoopoe very well, I decided to also try Chasewater.

This was my first ever visit and I was not expecting to see such low water levels. It had the impression of an estuary rather than a reservoir.

What is happening to the lake to cause such low levels?


I had a few good sightings including Sanderling and Greenshank as I walked around the lake.


There were also some Little Ringed Plovers on the stoney ground just after passing the train station. These birds appeared to be paired up and were displaying.

People and dogs were walking over the area and the Little Ringed Plovers flew off out of sight.


Does the Wildlife Group have plans to protect such rare breeding birds?


I have just found your website and started to read the sightings pages.

I will definitely visit again as I travel the M6 on a regular basis.


Keep up the good work


Simon Prince

Simon, thank you for your email and interest in Chasewater. There is now a comment on our diary page for May regarding the LRP's; "It's good news that next week LDC will be putting up signs and rope fencing around the Little Ringed Plover areas in order to make the public and Rangers more aware of the need to leave these protected birds undisturbed. The LDC Voluntary Dog Walkers Code of Conduct will also be given a far greater profile than it currently has and let's hope it will be followed by all responsible dog owners (GE)." 

12th May 2010

I have recently started a blog covering my local birding patch Lutley Wedge in the West Mids which may be of interest to local birdwatchers around Chasewater. Please could you link me in from your site, I have provided a link on my site to C.W.G.
Blog address:-
Many Thanks 


May 2010

Can anyone explain the hundreds of bones all over the floor of Chasewater now most of the water has drained away?  What are they from and how did they get there?  This afternoon we walked from the power boat side towards the middle and where the mud has dried out there are masses of smallish bones, mostly bigger than chicken bones.  They are visible part way down the cracks in the mud as well as on the top.
Liz (Bolton)

Does anyone know? Please send any thought or comments to cwg_comments at (replace 'at' with @)

Hi Liz, I've been meaning to refer to all the bones for quite a while and have now added a comment and photo to the diary for May 4th. The bones are almost certainly all the remains of our Sunday and Christmas dinners that the gulls have scoffed whole whilst feeding on the local landfills. We have always wondered what effect the gull roost has had on the quality of the lake's water and now we at least have a visual clue. I'm sure there are people who can tell us more about the impact these bones, and everything else that comes out of the gulls, has upon the lake's ecosystems and it would be good to hear from them. All the best, Graham.

Liz, good afternoon.

The bones will be from a number of different sources.
Most will have been regurgitated by gulls roosting at Chasewater. Factory roofs with roosting gulls are also usually adorned with various bones.

Some bones could also have come from birds and animals that have died in and around Chasewater. These will over time settle to certain areas of the lake bed due to currents and wash caused by the speedboats.

best regards Ian

9th May 2010


I was just walking around ChaseWater and just past the Boat Club there was a Swan wing and lots of feathers. As I continued walking a couple of steps and there was a dead Swan to the left of me, I didn't approach it as I was a bit upset. 

I tried to telephone someone but I got through to the boat club for some reason. I explained the situation and they said they would contact the ranger.

I was wondering if they had done so? Also could you please let me know the age of the swan and what had happened. I'm hoping it's a young Swan as if it is a grown swan the partner will be cut up with grief.

As the wing was ripped off do you know what happened? Was it a large dog maybe as I'm assuming a Fox would have been fought off? I'm so upset about this - I absolutely hate to see dead animals, perhaps the shallow water was a contributing factor to this attack?

Also could you please inform me of a telephone number for the rangers or someone I could contact on weekends as well in case of something like this happening again.

Thank you



Hi Kez, I have posted your message here so that other members of the group, who may have seen the swan, can answer your questions. Unfortunately I haven't seen the bird. It's difficult to say what could have caused it's demise without having seen it- the wing may have been torn post mortem. There are a couple of contact numbers I have taken from Lichfield District Councils website for you; the Countryside team on 01543 308164 or Chasewater Rangers on 01543 370607. There was a terrible incident with a swan last year which you can read about here.

All the best, Natalie

6th May 2010 

Dear Chasewater Wildlife Group


I am making contact on behalf of BirdLife International with an exciting opportunity for you. We have recently reviewed your site, and were impressed by your concern for birds and conservation.


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I’m writing because we’re just launching a new area of our website that we hope you’ll be interested in – The BirdLife Community. The BirdLife Community is the place online to discuss the latest news from the frontline in biodiversity protection. We’re now publishing many more news stories, and also blog and video posts from the frontline of conservation.


As part of promoting our launch, we are offering links to websites and blogs who publish a favourable review of The BirdLife Community. The review can be as long or shot as you wish, and in return we’ll thank you by placing a link to your site from our blog roll.


We also hope that The BirdLife Community will prove to be a valuable resource for news and stories for your own site. To keep updated of the latest posts, you can subscribe to posts by email and RSS. All we ask is that you place a link at the end of your posts stating: ‘Source:


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Best wishes,


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I've now put a link to the superb Birdlife Community website on our Links Page. It certainly adds a few more absorbing hours of quality and thought provoking reading! Graham

5th May 2010


I have recently set up a blog focusing on my local patch of Shenstone in Worcestershire and my other travels further afield (including Staffordshire) and would be grateful if you could add my blog to your Links on the excellent Chasewater Wildlife Group webstite. 

 I have added a link to your site from my blog.

The blog is called "The Shenstone Birder"

Many Thanks


Hi Jason,

I've just had a look at your blog and it brought back many memories, since many years ago I went to Shenstone New College and our second year campus was right in the middle of your patch! I'll never forget a magic walk up to Captains Pool during the spring of 1974 which just perfectly matched the lyrics of the Strawbs' 'A Glimpse of Heaven'!

We'll happily put a link to your blog onto the Chasewater Wildlife Group's site but we will have to make it clear that it is the Worcestershire Shenstone and not our local village of the same name. I remember it causing confusion all those years ago when 1-2 students went to interview at the wrong place!

All the best, Graham 

Thank you Graham, it is much appreciated.

Did you know that the college still exists on Heath Lane but know it is an Islamic School.  As for captains pool, it is fished a bit too often in my books but in the winter still manages to draw in the odd Goosander, Shoveler, Wigeon or Tufted Duck

Cheers, Jason

Hi Jason,

I'm surprised that some of the college is still standing! I remember seeing quite a few Pochard on Captains Pool and bike rides down to Wilden produced one of Worcestershire's first Little Gulls and a Sanderling. I'll have to check my notebooks to see what else I saw.


1st-4th May 2010


I've just returned from a walk around Chasewater. At about 4 o'clock on the North Shore a Short-eared Owl was hunting. (Apparently very successfully).

I've attached two photographs I managed to get. Apologies for the quality but I had the wrong lens, of course!!

Whilst watching the owl I had a close encounter with a Fox carrying what appeared to be a Magpie.

Best Regards

Pete Harper



I have attached a photo of the owl taken on Monday afternoon.

He/she was too intent on its prey to worry about me.

The concentration as it dropped the last three feet onto the unfortunate victim is quite something.

Best Regards

Pete Harper

26th-28th April 2010

I've just come across the pictures of the horses that got stuck in Chasewater, as for your little comment beside I don't think it's right as you don't know the facts. I wasn't there but I am the owner of the horse in the pictures. The girls that were riding were not even near the silt at the time. But they were attacked by a dog that was lose, this dog bit one of the horses which caused them to bolt off, they ended up in the silt through shear panic trying to get away from the dog. All riders had been thrown off whilst the horses had tried to escape so I want to know how they were foolhardy? They were out trying to enjoy a summers night! The owner of the dog fled, leaving two young distraught girls on the floor, the adult rider had been knocked unconscious and had broke her foot! He hadn't brought a lead out for his dog, so I'd like to know why the girls who are totally not to blame should be made to look silly like they could of prevented this? I spent 7 hours the following day calming my horse down and bathing him. The two girls both were in shock and were very shook up, and my good friend still is poorly with her back. The lesson is here is not to judge as you see! The main culprit here is the dog walker, a coward and an irresponsible pet owner.
This is not a hate message as I'm sure it comes across, but it got me very upset to see the pictures then the comment saying that it was the girls fault.
I hope more people become aware of horse riders as we should all be able to enjoy Chasewater together.
Thank you. Abie Stanley.


Hello Abie,

Thank you very much for responding to the diary entry and now we have more detail as to what happened we will be able to modify the diary. Yet again it seems that an irresponsible dog owner has been the cause of a really nasty and potentially very serious incident. The Council has drawn up a voluntary code of conduct for dog owners where between April and August the shores of the lake are a no go area for dogs. The trouble is that, apart from putting it on their website, they don't seem to have told anyone yet!

I'm not sure about the Council's view regarding horse riding on the shore, you probably know far more than we do, but the rare and protected shoreline vegetation, much of which is a Site of Special Scientific Importance, can be badly damaged by excessive trampling by both human feet and horses' hooves.

We are very pleased to hear that the horses have recovered and we hope that the children and adult involved have not been too traumatised by the unfortunate incident.
All the best, Graham Evans

Thank you for your reply. As for riding along the front, when the incident happened they weren't even by there, I can vouch for the girls on my yard that they never ride along there anyway as we know it's dangerous and some of us at least do our homework about where we're riding before we go. But thanks to the incident I don't think any of the girls will be riding over there any time soon as it's too dangerous.
Thank you again, Abie Stanley.

11th April 2010

Hi Graham

I wonder if you can advise please, I am a regular reader of your web site and often see references to Jacks Wood. Now, it might be me being stupid, but I cant seem to find a way into the wood to see what's going on. I checked mainly the Church Road area but it seems to be all surrounded by a steel fence.

My main interest is natural history photography and regularly visit the feeding station, but am always on the look out for different locations. You may remember, I sent in the picture of the turtle on the no fishing notice some time ago.

If you can advice please it would be appreciated, or if you know of any other sites around Chasewater that are suitable. I ask that because reading your daily logs you seem to be able to spot the visitors in certain areas, but I have yet to find them lol.

Thanks again and kindest regards.


 Hi Trev, Since the building of the by-pass, Jack's Wood can only be accessed by a path that leads from Church Street just opposite the old school and just before the row of houses that lead to Chasetown Football Club.
All the best, Graham

9th April 2010


I enjoy looking at the diary to see the bird sightings around Chasewater….but can you tell me why some species are in bold text and others are not?.....just curious.


Stuart Drury


Hi Stuart, they are usually in bold if they are a species 'of note', for examples the first migrants of spring or less common species either at Chasewater or the region.

All the best


7th April 2010

I sadly feel that the deer numbers may now be down to 37.
Coming from Lichfield on Sunday afternoon, half way between The old Three Tuns pub and Pipehill lights there was a red deer lying dead on the footpath.
That isn't a long way across the fields and I wonder if the Chasewater deer do wander as far as Lichfield.


6th April 2010

This has got me puzzled, ever since I was a lad I was always warned not to swim in the 'pool' because the weeds would trap you. Also when I went fishing in there more often than not I would get my line caught and reel in a load of weed. But now nothing , only stones, tyres and black mud, what has happened ? Anyone know.

A puzzled JB.

Hi, I would imagine most of the plant life in Chasewater dies back in the winter, lies dormant and begins to grow again in the Spring. Hopefully someone with more knowledge of Chasewater's plant life may be able to shed more light on this; if I get any further replies I will post them here


4th April 2010

Hi there,

I was just reading posts from other people and was shocked at the one about the 17 dead gulls.

This has upset quite a bit - I saw 2 dead a few weeks ago, 1 by the edge of the park - just by the railway cafe and 1 by the other side of the park; by the steps going down into the pool.

They may be the ones Pat had already counted. Does anyone have any idea why they're dying?

It's such a shame, maybe it has something to do with the draining of the pool? Or maybe some type of animal? Surely not dogs as what type of owner would/could allow their dogs to kill 17 birds!?


Can you inform me of where the bird feeder is? I've never come across it but would absolutly love too!

I'm coming from the Norton East road way so directions from there would be fab!


Also I would like to say I throughly enjoy looking at the picture sent in by the readers of this website - they're truly beautiful!


Thanks for keeping such a wonderful website - so informative & time consuming - I could spend all day browsing your sightings!



Hi Kez, thank you for the compliments on the website. The feeding station is marked on the map (see home page). Any dead birds found can be reported to DEFRA (when deaths are 10 or more as in this case). Unfortunately the results of any analysis they perform are not given to us as members of the public (see private email for further information)

Keep enjoying Chasewater and remember to send us your sightings

All the best


2nd April 2010

Hi, I have attached a few photos taken at the chasewater feeding station recently, The photo of the rat was taken just before he jumped out of the tree onto the feeding table!  :) please feel free to use any on the website if you wish.

March 2010

After having read the discussions on the LDC Chasewater Dam Blog  anyone wishing to sign a petition to 'save Chasewater's fish' can follow this link sent in by Derek Sadler.

25th March 2010

Dear CWG, 

The Pink Footed Goose, presumably the same one as seen at Stubbers Green recently, was seen today 25/3/2010 along the canal between Longwood Bridge in Aldridge and Park Lime Pits in Rushall. Walking from Longwood Bridge pass under Riddians Bridge and it was in the second field on the right across the canal with several Canada Geese.



21st March 2010

I spotted this goose while i visited chasewater today sunday 21st .. i assume its the pink footed goose mentioned earlier in the week
Also i was lucky enough to see the frogs spawning the same day ... what a rare treat
kay cunningham

Hi Kay, I think the goose is a Chinese goose (a feral/domestic/introduced bird). I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. The pink-footed goose is being seen at Stubbers Green which is a small lake near Shelfield in the West Midlands where lots of Chasewater's gulls hang around to bathe after feeding on the tips. I can send you a location map if you'd like. The frogs are out in force, great to see some pictures thank you

All the best


14th March 2010

Hi. Yesterday afternoon my husband and I was talking to a member of your group. After he drove away we moved off the road and onto the beach. We had just turned the bend coming away from the jetty opposite the railway buildings. After just a few paces we came across a dead gull. After only a few more steps we saw another one. Altogether along that stretch of beach between the jetty and the car parks near the entrance to Chasewater we saw 7 dead gulls. All were the same breed. This is a picture of one of them (hopefully I manage to send it to you}

Unfortunately I have not been able to download the picture. Pat, I have sent you an email regarding reporting the birds. Regards, Natalie

Hi we walked the west shore again today and found another 10 dead gulls this brings the total to 17 discovered since Saturday we have not walked the other shores yet so we don’t know if there are more casualties. I rang DEFRAs dead bird line this morning and registered the deaths they said they would call me if they needed any more info and said to notify the council. We also witnessed the netting of the large pool by the pier, A few small fish were rescued along with an eel about three and a half feet long these were released into the main pool. The north side of the speedboat jetty is a small pool which contains 2 large unfortunately dead eels a real shame they could not have been saved. Regards Mick.

Thank you for taking the time to report the birds, DEFRA are normally pretty helpful. 17 is a lot, they tend to follow up reports of 10+. Please let me know if they get in touch with you. Did you get chance to report to the council too or do you need help finding a contact number? Let me know. Regards, Natalie

Mick and Pat's image of one of the dead black-headed gulls

11th March 2010

I sadly fear that the 39 deer are now reduced to 38, I am sure that this morning at about 6.20 I saw a body of either a deer or something big on the side of the road where Hanney Hay Rd goes over the toll. 

John Butler



February-1st March 2010

I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed a trip to the feeding station on Sat 27th although it was very wet & dull and I got soaked it was well worth the effort. I am amazed at how bright the bullfinches are... not seen them that brightly coloured before on other walks. I saw a few different tit varieties which I was over the moon with as I find them so hard to photograph as they’re so quick. I have enclosed a few pics of the hour or so I was up there & will get some better photos when the weathers a bit brighter

It’s a place I will visit frequently from now on


Hi, I had another wander up to the feeding station Monday 1st March & took a wrong turning but doing so I almost walked into 3 stags just off the main track. I also managed to see 2 brown rats at the feeding station & the usual birds...what an enjoyable morning 

It took an hour to walk home as everyone wanted to stop & chat what a friendly bunch you get up Chasewater  

I have enclosed a few pics of the deer & the rats


Thank you for the pictures Kay

All the best



February 2010

Thanks for your information on how to find the feeding station, we went and found it on Sunday morning it was sound lots of different birds in there eating away, very good.


On another point , the emptying of the pool is really intriguing me, does any one know where the ' plug' hole is or are there any plans etc showing the detail, I have looked on the council site but I can’t see anything. Surely if it is not dead centre in the deepest part some water will remain for some time. Also who thinks there will be a big find of some kind in there be it grisly or war linked or something along those lines. Lots of things are being found within throwing distance of the dam, some one I know found a load of cats last weekend ( don't worry not real ones ! ) they were some kind of porcelain figurines, trumpets. I found a mallet on Sunday. It will be interesting to see what happens.  I think there will be some army type devices, when I was young the names of the areas were different, Fly Bay was the ' target' because it was said that the army practised there, Fly Pool was the Cinder Hole, the seven hills were there but they are long gone along with the ' Willow Wood' pool and another swag. When we were young in the late 50's you would find lots of bullet cases in the ground over by this area. I am finding the whole operation very sad , but at the same time fascinating.


John & Sue  

Hi John and Sue, the plug hole is now revealing it's location as a small vortex that can be viewed from the dam. I saw it today while out walking, no one else seemed to notice it as it's not that impressive yet

Nat 1.3.10


February- 15th March 2010

Hi there,

I’ve been following your daily updates for over a year now and have been particularly interested in the changes in Chasewater now that the level is constantly falling. I like to get over there every month or so and managed a trip over on Saturday afternoon.

It was just as the sun was setting so I managed to get some nice shots and have attached a couple you may like. The first is of the receding waters looking North (ish) with the visitor centre about 100 yards behind me. The other is a silhouette shot of the castle which would only normally be possible from a boat !!

Keep up the good work


Andy Colman

Beautiful images Andy, thank you for sharing them


The week after I sent these pictures, I bumped in to Graham at the reservoir. It was nice to be able to put a face to the web-site.

The reason for writing now is that I notice from the site that the fish rescue is likely to take place next week. I would be very interested in helping out if that is feasible (other people seem to be volunteering via the site) and could have a day off work if necessary.

Could you keep me posted with any developments?

Many Thanks


Hi Andy; the site your are referring to is the Lichfield District Council Chasewater Blog which we have linked to via our news page. This website is distinct from the Chasewater Wildlife Group Site. A lot of people have been adding comments to their blog offering help but I would imagine contacting the council by phone and offering to help would be better. I am trying to find out the best contact number to use and will get back to you.

Regards, Natalie

21st - 23rd

February 2010

As a local angler I’ve been very interested in Chasewater for years (even joined the boating club so I could do my own survey of the lake) and have been a part of netting team all over the West Midlands. What happens when they net lakes like this is they do have an interest in the fish but of the 50000 fish estimated to be in the lake their only concern is of the 400 to 600 premium fish they mention. These are the fish like specimen pike, catfish, large bream, and carp which they will sell on to fisheries all over the U.K. to the highest bidder. These fish will have a high price tag 'cause they have reached this size not by anglers bait but by natural ways and are priceless. I think that all these specimen fish should be put in the swag pool next to Chasewater along with as many of the smaller fish as they can get in there and kept in there till such time they can be re-introduced back to their natural environment where they belong. There are many people wanting to
know what monsters are going to come up in these nettings so please back me and lets keep these fish where they belong in Chasewater. I'm sure in a few years to come if they are put back Chasewater will stand to make a lot more money out of anglers that want to fish for these specimen fish than they will ever make from speed boats and the sailing club. Stick together its on your door step
Hope this has some effect

Derek ****** thank you

Thank you for your comments Derek. A lot of people are very worried about the fate of the fish. Have you voiced your concerns and suggestions to Lichfield District Council?


If anyone is interested at 12 noon on Saturday this weekend a photo will be taken with other anglers who feel the same. Then I've got to contact the Lichfield Mercury who are going to do a write up and a photo and publish it. It would be nice to see a lot of people down there.
A forty pound carp is worth in the region of £20-25000 and if there's one in Chasewater that's got to that weight without the aid of bait it would be priceless. It really is these sort of fish that would attract anglers from all round the country and would make a large income for the place !!!!! 

21st - 23rd February 2010

Dear Site Readers

Having spoken with British Waterways employees on Friday whilst walking around Chasewater and they were of the opinion that every drop of water is to be taken out - completely emptied.

The impact will catastrophic - apart from the effect on the food cycle the impending death of fish will be witnessed by hundreds of visitors to the park. I noticed fish in the 9 foot struggling in inches of water - imagine that on a much wider scale.

I have asked LDC to comment on the rescue plan - including the bullheads - but have had no definitive reply.

An impending farce.......

(No name included with email comment) Please include your name in the future or your emails will not be included (GE).

How very distressing to see the fish struggling like that. Did you inform the rangers?


The CWG is also very concerned about how the long-term ecology of the lake will be affected and hope that everything possible will be done to ensure that the quality of the refill water will be of a standard suitable for allowing the rare aquatic and littoral vegetation to recover as well as fish and crayfish populations, the latter having massively crashed over the past couple of years.

At a meeting with Neil Turner, LDC Leisure Services Manager, last week we were given details of how the water levels are going to be lowered and how fish populations are going to be managed. The following is a copy of the information from the LDC Chasewater Blog.

With regards to the timing of the fish rescue, the team at Chasewater are waiting for the water level to drop a little lower, so it will be easier for us to catch as many fish as possible.

We plan to catch a sample of fish this week, so we can confirm the fish population is healthy. Once the test results are in, we will be able to confirm the locations where the fish will be released.

We continue to work closely with British Waterways and the Environment Agency to ensure that we carry out the operation properly, and we expect the main rescue to be completed by the end of March – before the start of the fish spawning season.

As soon as more details are known they will be posted to the blog.

The level of the lake when full is at 152m above sea level. It is now down to 148m and will continue to be lowered to 144m when it will be the same level as the canal and further water will need to be pumped out as necessary but there will always be around a metre of water left in the lake and the streams will be allowed to continue to flow. During the works on the dam the Swag will be left to find its own levels but it may need lowering during October and November when the culvert is put into the causeway.

I hope Neil takes this opportunity to reply to our Chasewater Chat as I know he cares greatly for the wildlife of the site, including the Bullheads, and he told me at the meeting that Natural England has advised that the whole site should be regarded as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Importance) during the course of the works.


From a personal point of view I would like to see representatives of LDC out and about on the dam, particularly at the weekends. They can educate the public on the works and help reduce the number of rumours flying around. The LDC blog is great but how many people know it's there? There are so many people with a passion for the place that are forming their own often misguided opinions. We talk to people when we're out and about and you wouldn't believe the rumours that are flying around. It's no good having a few signs or a display in the innovation centre as people walk around with their eyes closed (it took me a week to notice the signs!). Straight from the horses mouth would make a huge difference.


I really don't believe the fish netting is being co-ordinated well - the next weeks will prove this (hope I'm wrong) if you guys need any help - just shout up.

Mr Turner has clearly stated LDCs stance - money and reputation first...

The BW lads clearly stated that every drop is to be emptied - even pumps being used to drain the remainder!!

Name supplied

Its the way of the world; Councils have to represent their taxpayers as a priority just as companies have to represent their shareholders. We all have restrictions put on what we would ideally want. You want to remain anonymous yet others want your email deleted, we can't all have our way, Paul. As for the pumps, once the level reaches 144m (the level of the canal), pumps will have to be used to send the water uphill but it does not necessarily mean the final 2-3m will be completely drained. Graham

21st February 2010

Hi there

I have been out & about this week & took this pic of a waxwing on the small garden in the centre of Norton Canes. The date was 20.2.10. Also a Mistle thrush I saw in the trees by Norton swag

Can you tell me whereabouts the feeding station is please & if it’s possible to take pics there?

Kay Cunningham

Kay, good morning.

Thank you for the great photographs. The waxwing is a very rare sighting this winter.

The feeding station has been marked on the map on the website (directions in your inbox). The screens provide good cover and there are some very good photo opportunities with good numbers of bullfinch, reed bunting and occasional willow tit.

best regards

Ian Ward

Thanks for the reply Ian

I did have a good walk all round the pool on Sunday & didn't see anything different but saw 3 deer in an area near the blanket of snowdrops & near the plastic that's been installed to stop the newts wandering off  

I had no idea there was so much beauty up there its amazing & I will be a regular walker round the swag & Chasewater

I spent a few hours watching the swans courting & generally showing off which was very entertaining & I think the lovely pair that I have followed for the last year on the swag have seen there cygnets off to the big pool

I got some pretty good photos of the cob I assume defending the food I was feeding them when the Canada geese arrived last year he was pretty aggressive with the geese & I also got one of him picking a coot up & throwing it

Out of interest when do they ring the cygnets & I have noticed the cob on the swag has a metal ring but the pen has a metal one & a yellow one is that normal or could the cobs coloured ring have come off

I have enclosed a few swan photos but I could go on forever taking photos of them & never tire of seeing them & everything else that inhabits this lovely area.

Many thanks for the reply

Kay Cunningham

Thanks for the posts Kay. Your Waxwing record is wonderful (and so are the photos). There are many years when no Waxwings are seen in the Midlands and yours is certainly the first I've heard of in this area this year. Graham

17th February 2010

The feeding station is still very busy and is being topped up several times a day some days, which is fantastic. I've noticed that sometimes the fat balls in the hanging feeder are being emptied out onto the table, leaving the hanging feeders empty. This is great for the bullfinches and other birds that use the table but don't forget these little guys;



The long-tails use the hanging feeders all the time and prefer the fat balls to anything else. They are such lovely little characters, I could watch them for hours.

All the best


17th February 2010


I stumbled across your site by accident, but I am thrilled to find you.  My first bird watching experiences were at Chasewater, years ago.  I used to go there every evening after work (living in Brownhills on Ogley Road, it was ideal).  I only wish I had taken it more seriously back then.  My first "rarity" was a Bar-Tailed Godwit there, which was pointed out by a chap called Phil!  Happy memories!

I shall continue to follow and enjoy your site.

Wishing you all the best


Hi Angie, Chasewater is lovely in the evening and a great place to unwind after work. I've not been so lucky to see a godwit there unfortunately. Thank you for the message and I hope you enjoy the site


13th February 2010

Thanks for your great website.

Having lived in the area all my life and benefited from the joys of Chasewater I despair at the current work that is taking place and the confusion regarding how the fish stocks are to be safeguarded.

Apart from the survey that has taken place and the promise that British Waterways are going to transfer the remaining fish to BW waters (not the Swag or Stowe Pool!) I have seen no specific mention of the humble bullheads (millers thumb) and what fate awaits them as the levels drop.

Bullheads are a protected species, and although they don't compare to the beauty of a big roach or pike I still believe they deserve a fighting chance as the rocks they frequent become exposed and eventually dry up.

Like lots of other people it sometimes needs a project like the dam repair to fuel my enthusiasm to help and I intend to attend your meeting on Tuesday to join the group and hopefully lend a hand to minimise the impact on our lovely environment - perhaps others will.



Thanks Paul,

There are a great many issues that we fear (lets hope unnecessarily) have not been adequately addressed by LDC regarding the draining of the lake and repairs to the dam and we are hoping to be able to discuss them at Tuesday's meeting and also on Wednesday when LDC has arranged a meeting for all 'Stakeholders' to attend. They range from bullheads and crayfish to protected breeding birds and quality of refill water. We will make a fuller statement after the two meetings.

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.


12th February 2010

Hi Graham,

I do not know if you were the birder I met on Mon 8th Feb or your mate.
Anyway you guided me to the Slurry pool and Smew.
Also tried to show me a Med Gull on main Lake and I had a blond moment and could not see it.
but just after you left I managed to get a Glaucous gull in flight over the raft amongst Great BBGulls.
Thought you would like to know for your records.

Andy Butler.

Thanks Andy,

I'm pleased you saw the Smew and Glaucous Gull on Monday. I was at work so I imagine it could have been Ian, Paul or Phill who guided you to the Slurry Pool.


12th February 2010


I just thought I would forward you a photo of the drake Smew that I took on Monday 8th Feb.  The bird was partially concealed behind branches on the small island at the Slurry Pool.  Also of interest was a Willow Tit that was seen in the area of damp woodland where the footpath runs between Jeffrey's Swag and Slurry Pool.

Cheers Jason Kernohan

Jason, thank you for the image. It does appear to be a favourite spot for the Smew lately. It was almost invisible behind the branches all but a small flash of white on Tuesday.


1st February  2010

Some of you may well have seen my wife and I walking round the pool, we are the ones with the 3 legged greyhound, any way could someone tell me  :- A) where is the feeding station for the small birds, is it in the field near the sailing club ? B) this is more difficult, we all know that the water is being released from the pool to the canal by the valve, is the process reversible, i.e. could the pool be refilled from the canal when ready ? Thanks,

John and Sue

The feeding station is actually to the North of the North Heath close to the fence that runs alongside fly pool. Graham has marked it on the map (I have sent directions to your email address)

Regards the canal and the reservoir- the canal is fed by gravity from the reservoir so unfortunately the process cannot be reversed. The reservoir will refill from rainfall and the various tributaries that feed into it. It is thought it could take three to four years to refill completely.

All the best


7th February 2010

Hi, Many congratulations on your excellent website. I had a very enjoyable visit to Chasewater and Stubber's Green yesterday. The feeding station was very busy and I had at least three, probably four Willow Tits visiting and the Bullfinches were the least wary individuals I've ever come across. I agree, it's a shame the council have cleared the scrub to ground level. All those potential Willow Tit nest stumps gone to waste. We have the same problem in Oxfordshire where the powers that be target their environmental efforts in one direction at the cost of all others. In your case I think it's the heath that takes priority.

An hour at Stubber's Green produced good views of the three regular star birds; the Glaucous and Iceland Gulls and the 1st winter Caspian Gull. We've had ten different 1st winter cachinnans in South Oxfordshire during January and it's interesting to note than none of them had moulted their inner tertials or greater coverts unlike the Stubber's Green bird. I've attached some pics. 

Keep up the good work.

Cheers, Ian Lewington

Hi Ian,

Many thanks for the images. It's great to know our willow tits are getting some attention.

Thank you for the kind remarks about the website


Natalie Ward

7th February 2010

Hello Graham, Please find 2 No. Videograbs of Glaucous & Caspian Gulls. Regards Phil Parsons

Hi Phil, thank you for the images, I managed to download them without any problems this time



6th February 2010

My name is Michael Clinton I am 8 years old and a member of Chase water wildlife group and so is my grandad Bob Smith we went to the feeding station on Saturday 30th Jan 2010 and I took my first photos of some birds. There was a bullfinch on on of the feeders and a bluetit looking in one of the boxes near to the feeding station. I hope you like them from Michael.

Hi Michael, welcome to the group. I'm glad you enjoyed the feeding station. It's one of my favourite places. Thank you for the photographs, keep up the good work.

All the best


1st February  2010

Just a few notes on observations made on February 1st. Chasewater missed the overnight snowfall I left behind in Walsall, but it was still a beautiful morning following a night of heavy frost. The drake smew was near the power boat club, accompanied by three goldeneye. Two nice drake shovelers also present. Flushed a fox from the embankment by the slurry pool at 9:25am. Three red deer stags on the north heath, engaging in a bout of antler sparring, accompanied by occasional grunts. Buzzard and fieldfares present at Heathfield Farm.

Cheers for now Kevin McCarthy

Hi Kevin, thank you for your email. It's always nice to see a fox; my husband saw one in the same area, he was lying in the middle of the path enjoying the sunshine one morning!

Kind regards

Natalie Ward

Hi Nat, I've also noticed Ian loafing around in the middle of paths. He wants to be careful as he might cause a nasty accident one day :-) Gray

Hi Gray, I did think about editing my ambiguous comment but I think I'll leave it- who knows what other strange behaviours people might start to report :-) Nat

29th January  2010

I took the attached photo today at Stubbers about 12.45 if you want to use it on your website.
Ken Mather


Hi Ken, thank you for the image. Stubbers is always a great place to study the gulls.


24th January 2010

Hi there,

Thought you'd like to know I saw a Barn Owl at approx 01.10 am Saturday morning as I drove along the Burntwood bypass road. Saw the owl hunting the rough grass very close to the exit road from off the M6 toll route . Can't imagine the bird having much of a life-span hunting so close to such fast roads. Have there been any sightings of the Short eared owl this winter? Glyn

Hi Glyn,

Thanks for the really interesting Barn Owl record and let's hope it doesn't become a road casualty. There has only been one Short-eared Owl record this winter but it was several weeks ago.


22nd January 2010

Hi Chaps
Way back on Sunday last, I did a couple of items about Chasewater on the Brownhills Blog. You can find them here:
The dead fish one is bothering me a bit - I used your photo (I couldn't bring myself to photograph those poor creatures for some reason) and pointed readers toward your site for the full SP, crediting you guys for the photo, and the information.
Today, I get two comments from this Janet Lee woman, expecting me to phone her. Now, after the E&S robbed stories off me, I certainly wasn't about to phone a journalist. Next thing, I'm getting a call from a relative in Burntwood saying it's frontpage on the Burntwood Post.
I haven't seen the article yet, but please accept my apologies if they credit my blog and not you guys. I know and appreciate what you folks do, and I know many of my readers regularly click through to your site. My intention was to promote and credit you. Bloody lazy journalists...
As an aside, I see Mr. Fabricant is busy scaremongering about the dam repairs. Nice one Mickey. "scores of lives will be lost' - utter rubbish, but nothing less than I'd expect from an attention seeker like him.
Please accept my apologies, and thanks for the wonderful stuff you do.

Hi Bob,

I thought it must have been a case of lazy journalism; it's not the first time its happened and wont be the last. I still haven't seen the articles in the paper and I missed the local 'news' items last night as well but I haven't heard a good word about any of them. Hopefully we will be able to get closer to the truth this weekend, especially regarding the dead fish. Keep up the great work with your excellent blog.

All the best,


17th January 2010

I saw your web site and thought you may be interested to know that yesterday (16/01/2010),  I and my partner saw a group of 4 red deer at Sandhills near Walsall Wood.

I have attached two very poor quality photos taken on my phone camera.

I have a map grid location (from google maps) of 52.641996  -1.909422 - that is a field on the left of the Lichfield Road when traveling towards Muckley Corner out of Walsall Wood - very close to Eclipse Freight Services.

It was around mid-day when I saw them and I stopped the car to take the photo, all 4 appeared to be stags (with largish antlers). They appeared very relaxed despite being only 100m from a busy road and on open ground. Perhaps there was something in the field that they could eat? They seemed to be grazing.

One of the deer had something entangled in it's antlers though I could not see well enough to make out what it was - it looked very dark (almost black) that made me suspect that it was a piece of material or something man-made rather than vegetation though I could be wrong. Or could it have been shedding velvet at this time of year?

They were large and imposing animals (I had to do a double take and turned the car around as I was not quite sure if I had seen correctly!) and as one of them moved onto the driveway that leads to Eclipse Freight Services and was within 25m of a house he presented a sideways view. He looked quite mature with a fair set of antlers (not as branched as some photos I have seen) though I am not knowledgeable enough to make any estimation of age.

Hope this is of interest.

Regards Simon Andrew (of Walsall Wood)

Thanks for the information Simon. At this time of year the Red Deer tend to keep in single sex herds and groups of stags usually spend most of their time sensibly keeping in woodland cover. Therefore your sighting is of note and its good to know that there are still some stags around since they seem to be the main target when 'the powers that be' reckon there is a need for a cull!

All the best,

Graham Evans

14th January 2010

Just a note to say how great the website is looking now it's more refined, I know a lot of hard work goes into it :-)

Good to see how many people have been out and about feeding the birds. The willow tits are still coming to the feeders- I'm waiting to hear back from the biodiversity officer about possibly meeting up with me or the group to see if there's anything we can do to help with them. I was hoping we could use some of the felled wood but having looked into it a bit it seems that when the trees are felled if 5 foot stumps are left then the birds will use these to dig nest holes into once they've rotted. What a shame the scrub clearance is all down to ground level. If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them. Nat

Thanks Nat,

 I'm glad someone's noticed. I'm doing it by guesswork but so far I don't seem to have lost any files or jammed up the system! I'm quite pleased with how its coming along and its now easier to spot what needs to be updated; there's a lot more to be done! The 3 central photos will be the main regular change, according to season, what's about and who's willing to send me their photos.

Thanks for your efforts with the Willow Tits, I hope Justine and Chris, the Bio-diversity officer, will be able to attend the next meeting on Tuesday 19th January so we can co-ordinate our ideas. Gray

9th January 2010

I think you are right about the Chasewater gulls coming up to Blithfield. We have a tremendous number of Herring Gulls and twice as many Lesser Black-backs coming in plus at least 10 Yellow-legged tonight. We also have a lot of ice, even at the Deep End now. Roger

Thanks Roger,

Its good to be able to track their movements but I wonder just how they know where to find unfrozen water to roost on. Is it by a sixth sense, squawk of bill or older birds' experience? Aren't they just wonderful creatures!