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RSPB Walsall Local Group

a million voices for nature

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Field Trip: Attenborough

3 March 2002

This was the group's first trip to Attenborough, and the early signs of spring were evident as we travelled from Walsall along the A38 and A50 towards Nottingham. Attenborough nature reserve is on the southwest side of that city, between the main railway line and the river Trent. It comprises a series of gravel pits at various stages of reversion to nature, surrounded by areas of scrub and woodland.

On arriving at 9.30am we parked in the main car park at the end of Barton Lane. Almost the first bird we saw in the car park was a female Wheatear, a very early summer migrant. She seemed very much at home standing on top of some large boulders, and we were all able to get excellent views for about ten minutes.

From the car park we walked towards Attenborough church, with plenty of birdsong on either side of the path. As we stood watching the ducks, a Green Woodpecker flew over the lake and landed near the railway line. Further along a pair of Kingfishers sat low in some overhanging branches, their orange and blue feathers reflecting in the water. One caught a small fish.

Beyond the village we turned down the side of the sports ground, where a mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares were feeding on the grass, and a single Redpoll was calling from the poplars. A small group of Goosanders could be seen in the distance, diving for food, and a male Bullfinch showed well in bushes on an island.

On reaching the very swollen river we scanned the farmland on the far side. There were flocks of Lapwings and Stock Doves in the fields, and a large group of Grey Herons sitting in some conifer trees. Later on we saw three Oystercatchers flying in a northerly direction and calling loudly, and a Skylark singing high overhead. Returning to the carpark for lunch, a pair of Black Swans added an exotic contrast to the geese and swans being fed bread by the visitors.

In the afternoon we continued to Colwick Country Park, which is to the southeast Nottingham, between the racecourse and the river. Before reaching the car park we stopped to watch a pair of Tree Sparrows in the bushes and soon found some more near the river. From the car park we watched a redhead Smew on the lake, before walking along the river to Colwick Hall. Here Rooks were noisily building their nests in the tall trees. On the way back to the car park we watched a flock of over forty Ruddy Ducks on the main pool.

We left Colwick at about 3.45pm. The day was a success, with the group as a whole seeing around 56 different species, and a return visit is likely in the future.

Andy Thomas

Other birds seen included:

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