RSPB Walsall Local Group

a million voices for nature


Tree Sparrow colony thriving in Walsall

We're pleased to be able to tell you some good news, about what should be a guaranteed Tree Sparrow flock this winter (2005/2006) at Lime Pits Farm, Rushall (near Park Lime Pits reserve* - see map for car park*).

For years Tree Sparrows have been just about hanging on in the Lime Pits farm area with one or more pairs nesting most years and Walsall Council's rangers have tried to 'manage the land well for wildlife'. Then there was a gap of 3 years where none were seen and they were thought to have become locally extinct. Then, this year, ranger Dave Grundy found at least one pair in the area - they can be notoriously difficult to track down in the breeding season!

In co-operation with the local farmer John Adams of College Farm, the rangers sowed a wildbird mix in 2005, on one of the fields which is adjacent to Riddians bridge on the Wyrley and Essington Canal. The field in question has been sown with 1/3 triticale wheat, 1/3 quinoa and 1/3 kale. The rangers will continue to manage it similarly over the next 10 years under Countryside Stewardship. The quinoa is the major success - so they will probably try and increase its proportion in future years.

As a result of this, in November 2005 eighteen Tree Sparrows were seen in the field, plus a handful of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers - similar numbers are anticipated for the rest of the winter. Elsewhere on Lime Pits Farm were a flock of 42 Yellowhammers feeding on our stubble field (left specially for birds) plus Skylarks and a flushed Woodcock. (This stubble field is reached by tracing the brook back from Riddians Bridge toward Park Lime Pits.) Also along the stream was a male Stonechat on a patch of rough headland left specially for birds. All of these are visible from the paths - the rangers would like birders not to walk across the fields - even under stubble. On the public footpath heading up toward the White House in Aldridge from Riddians bridge were a further 6 Tree Sparrows near College Farm.

The Rangers will continue to monitor the bird numbers monthly over the winter, but if any birders want to send counts for numbers of any birds - particularly Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting, then that will really help the rangers with the management of the land for birds. You can send counts to our webmaster, who will forward them.

Credits:

Many thanks to Dave Grundy for this wonderful news.


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