This article (by W. E. Groves) first appeared in the Birmingham (latterly West Midland) Bird Club Report for 1936.
Bird and place names were spelt as shown.
ROTTON PARK RESERVOIR, EDGBASTON .
The interest of this Reservoir as a bird resort is due to its situation. When it is full the water covers about 65 acres and the mean distance of this area from the centre of Birmingham is only 1½ miles; the dam at the E. end abutting on the wharves and rolling mills of Icknield Port Road.
The Reservoir supplies a canal system and is fed by streams from the west. A cinder track surrounds the margin of the water and the enclosure (except at the E. and S. E. ) is bounded by a belt of trees; the wooded area at some points being of considerable depth.
For the greater portion of the year the grounds are used as a pleasure park. Most of the structures for the various amusements are on the S. E. bank. Sailing, boating and fishing are among the attractions. Under these conditions few birds are to be seen except during the winter months when a considerable variety of species visit the area, particularly if the weather is keen. Water birds are to a great extent kept off shore by dogs, which are taken for exercise by their owners.
Twenty-one visits were paid to the Reservoir during the periods December 7th, 1935–April 6th, 1936, and October 27th, 1936–December 2nd, 1936, and 32 species were seen.
Observations of principal interest are given in the following diary extracts in which the absence as well as the presence of birds is noted.
Dec. 7. 42 pochard, 85 tufted duck.
" 8. Mixed party of 137 pochard and tufted duck-conditions prevented accurate count of each species.
" 9. No duck.
" 18. About 80 duck-pochard and tufted.
" 20. Duck as on the 18th with addition of 2 mallard.
" 21. Mallard gone, other duck as on the 20th.
" 26. 5 tufted duck (4 drakes), 1 drake pochard, 20 mute swan, 1 moorhen.
Jan. 7. 1 grey wagtail. No duck.
" 11 Grey wagtail seen again. No duck.
" 14. 13 pochard, 29 tufted duck (mostly drakes).
" 17. Many skylarks, 1 redwing, 2 coot (immature). Duck as on the 14th.
" 18. About 100 duck, pochard and tufted, 1 redwing, 1 goldfinch, 1 rneadow pipit. Coots as on 17th.
Feb. 5. 20 tufted duck. No pochard.
" 8. 40 duck (tufted and pochard), 3 redwings.
" 11. Duck as on the 8th, several redwings,1 reed bunting.
" 20. 12 tufted duck, 2 drake pochard, a few redwings and a moorhen.
April 6. 5 great crested grebes (3 adult males, 1 adult female and 1 immature), 12 tufted duck (6 drakes).
Oct. 27. 14 tufted duck (10 drakes), 2 little grebes, 1 grey wagtail.
Nov. 4. 3 tufted duck, 5 mute swans and 2 cygnets.
" 20. 1 great spotted woodpecker, 5 tufted duck.
Dec. 2. 1 great crested grebe, a few tufted duck.
Black-headed gulls were present on nearly every date mentioned — the maximum number being 20, on January 18th. Carrion crows bred in the grounds until recently. A pair bred in Hagley Road (opposite Portland Road) in 1936. Five birds were seen frequently at the Reservoir, probably the parents and family from the nest.
Great numbers of starlings and sparrows are always in the hawthorn hedges and small trees during the winter. They spend much time bathing, particularly near the intakes.
W. E. G.
[1^]Edgbaston Reservoir was previously known as Rotton Park Reservoir.
Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.
Fetched fromon Wednesday 23 April 2014 15:42:42
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