Latest News


(2) The all day bird count will take place on the Reserve this coming Saturday, 4th May 2019, and all contributors welcome.

(1) The West Midlands Ringing Group are looking for a volunteer(s) to assist them with monitoring Lapwing numbers in and around Marsh Lane Nature Reserve. The intention is to monitor breeding Lapwing numbers from 2019 to 2021 to see where birds move to once HS2 is in place. Some breeding takes place on the Reserve and some east of it. This will require visits between March to September reporting back during each visit on numbers of birds seen, where they are nesting and how many chicks are present. The group would like to be present during the colour-ringing of Lapwing chicks and conduct some evening monitoring during the winter with the use of thermal imaging equipment. Volunteer expenses will be paid. For those wishing to volunteer please contact Ben Dolan at The volunteers are required immediately.


12th and 13th May – Photographs added.

8th and 9th May – Records updated.

6th May – Record updated below the photographs

April records concluded with an update to 28th April 2019 record.

Work Party Dates:

4th June 2019 – 6 pm

3rd July 2019 – 6 pm – (changed from 2nd July)

6th August 2019 – 6 pm

3rd September 2019 – 6 pm

5th October 2019 – 2 pm

9th November 2019 – 2 pm

7th December 2019 – 2 pm

19th May 2019

Sunny start, clouding over pm

Waders today comprised one Ringed Plover, one Common Sandpiper and four Little Ringed Plovers. The Cuckoo was heard again North of Patrick Farm bridge.

18th May 2019

Sunny intervals, some cloud north easterly

There was an audible Cuckoo singing away around Patrick Farm this morning and there was also a second bird later on the Railway embankment. At least three Lesser Whitethroats were recorded, one on the Railway embankment, one on the crop field hedge and one North of Patrick Farm bridge.

Two Garden Warblers included one on the Old Road and one in the back gate copse.

Other counts today were as follows: six Mute Swans and four cygnets, 47 Greylags and 19 goslings, nine Canadas and two goslings, two Shelduck, two Wigeon, 57 Gadwall, ten Mallard, 119 Tufted, seven Cormorants, four Little Egrets, four Grebe and one brood of four on Railway Pool in front of River Hide, one Great Crested Grebe, 12 Moorhen and a brood of four on Railway Pool, 28 Coot, seven Oystercatcher and still two young on Railway Pool, 24 Lapwing and a brood of three in the crop field, six Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers, over 1000 Black-headed Gulls with one young seen, two Herring Gulls, 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 32 Common Terns, two Cetti’s Warblers, one second-summer Mediterranean Gull, one Greylag-Canada hybrid.

Around the Dragonfly pond there were three Black-tailed Skimmers, six Blue-tailed Damselflies, five Azure Damselflies and at least one Green-veined White, all enjoying the sunnier weather.

In the evening, a Whooper Swan flew in over Railway Pool and landed on Car Park Pool at 7.15pm calling continuously and it was still there by 7.45pm.

17th May 2019

Occasional rain, some cloud clearing slowly in the afternoon, north easterly

There were at least three each of Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper on the pools this morning and a Ringed Plover was present briefly.

16th May 2019

Mostly cloudy, easterly

There were two Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers and a Ringed Plover this morning whilst two Bullfinches by the main gate were unusual as birds along the Old Road have been hard to find over the last month.

Russell Tonks continues his botanical survey with Field Pansies in flower around the Car Park particularly to the right hand side of the main gate.

Bulbous buttercup was seen around the back gate compounds on the railway side there was a variety of different vetches including one of the whiter vetches, Vicia Hirsuta (also known as Hairy Tare) in the grassy areas.

15th May 2019

Mostly sunny, light south easterly

At last, the Reserve scored with some Black Terns with three moving North at 9.30am.

Other birds today comprised the long staying pair of Wigeon, two Shelduck, one first-summer Mediterranean Gull, 42 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Herring Gulls in the now regular afternoon build up, four Little Ringed Plovers, one Little Egret, 37 Common Terns, two Garden Warblers, one Lesser Whitethroat; whilst broods of birds comprised eight cygnets for the pair of Mute Swans on Railway Pool, two broods of Greylags (two and one on Car Park Pool), Canada (brood of two on Car Park Pool), Moorhen (brood of six on Railway Pool), three Black-headed Gull chicks on Railway Pool and both Oystercatcher pairs have hung on to one young each on Railway Pool.

14th May 2019

Sunny and warm after a cool start.

There was an anecdotal report of a Red Kite flying over the Reserve this morning although the people who saw it sadly did not place a record in the book.

The Lesser Whitethroat was in song again on the railway embankment and with thanks to Russell Tonks, Crosswort (Cruciata Laevipes) is in flower just outside the Reserve on the right hand verge just after Packhorse Bridge Nature Reserve car park heading towards Hampton in Arden.

13th May 2019

Sunny and warm after a cool start.

There is plenty of song along the Old Road at the moment with at least two Garden Warblers, three Blackcaps, a Song Thrush, Greenfinch and Cetti’s Warbler. Both Lesser Whitethroat and Common Whitethroat were in song by Railway Hide and a second male Cetti’s Warbler singing around the causeway area.

Whitethroat from Railway Hide – 13th May 2019 – Photograph by Stef Fraczek

The warm weather was good for butterflies with at least three Small Coppers on site, together with two Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.

12th May 2019

Sunny, light south easterly wind.

Garden Warbler – 12th May 2019 – Photograph by Paul Casey

A Red Kite was seen soaring distantly to the north of the Reserve in the late morning and, on the Pools, there was a first-summer Mediterranean Gull, a Redshank on Railway Pool, three Little Ringed Plovers, four singing Garden Warblers (back gate, entrance gate, car park gate and top gate), two Lesser Whitethroats one behind Railway Hide and one by the car park gate, two male Cetti’s Warbler, still two Oystercatcher chicks, a pair of Wigeon and two Shelducks.

Oystercatcher Chick – 12th May 2019 – Photograph by Paul Casey

Both Blue-tailed and Azure Damselflies were seen along with two Small Coppers, Holly Blue and Small Yellow Underwing.

11th May 2019

Some cloud, sunny intervals, light north westerly wind.

A very late Green Sandpiper was as much of a surprise as anything this morning, appearing from 8.15 am. Other records today comprise, 10 Mute Swans, 37 Graylags and four broods, eight Canada, two Shelduck, a pair of Wigeon, 67 Gadwall, five Mallard, 101 Tufteds, three Great Crested Grebes, five Little Grebes, four Cormorants, seven Moorhen, 19 Coot and a brood of one on the Reedbed,19 Lapwing and a brood of three in the crop field, seven Oystercatchers and two broods of one each on Railway Pool, three Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers, 1150 Black-headed Gulls, two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls and first-summer, 34 Lesser Black-backs, five Herring Gulls, 39 Common Terns, at least one Cetti’s Warbler, two Garden Warblers (Old Road and along the top stream) and five Swifts.

Three Azure Damselflies, were the first of the year, one on the pond by the car park and two on the Dragonfly Pool. There were five Small Coppers in the horse paddock, a male Brimstone by the back gate, at least three Speckled Woods, seven Orange-tips, three Green-veined Whites, a Large White, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock.

10th May 2019

Heavy showers, variable wind.

Initially today, there were three Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers and a gathering of 78 Lesser Black-backs on the Car Park Pool. Three Lapwing chicks have hatched in the crop field.

As the day progressed, a Whimbrel appeared briefly on Railway Pool. It may have roosted on the south shore in the grass there as it flew over Railway Hide towards Bradnocks Marsh at 11.15.

Little Ringed Plovers increased to six, the Lesser Black-backed Gulls to 80 and there were also five Herring Gulls. A Shoveler appeared and 13 Buzzards formed a kettle soaring over Railway Hide.

9th May 2019

Patchy rain, light north-easterly wind.

A Turnstone and four Dunlin were on Railway Pool this morning.

A fifth Dunlin appeared later in the day and a Ringed Plover flew through and headed east. There was a single Common Sandpiper, one second-summer Mediterranean Gull and 40 Common Terns.


8th May 2019

Rain, light south-westerly wind.

The changing weather had the desired effect and brought in at least two Greenshanks (one on Railway Pool at 10.30 and a second one through at 11.40), with either those two or two different ones at mid-day; three Dunlin (one on Railway Pool until 10 am and then two flew through Car Park Pool at 11.35), three Common Sandpipers, at least four Little Ringed Plovers, three Redshanks briefly on Railway Pool, a second-summer Mediterranean Gull, an additional male Wigeon to join the one with the broken wing on Car Park Pool, a male Shoveler, a pair of Shelduck, a Mistle Thrush in the crop field, two Lapwing chicks on Car Park Pool and at least five each of House Martins, Swallow and Sand Martin.

In the evening a gathering of big gulls, comprised 65 Lesser Black-backs and six Herring Gulls. The two Bar-headed Geese appeared again and there were three Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers and three Swifts.

7th May 2019

Sunny intervals, light northerly, cloud building in the evening.

A pair of Bar-headed Geese on Car Park Pool were somewhat out of the ordinary. A Dunlin in summer plumage was present on Railway Pool for much of the morning, a Water Rail was seen in the causeway bay and the Oystercatcher chick is still being attended by the adults.

A pair of Lapwings in front of Oak Hide had hatched out at least one chick in the evening.

Only four attended the work party, with paths strimmed and various other jobs completed in advance of the approaching rain.

6th May 2019

Sunny intervals, light cloud, light north westerly wind.

A single Swift went south just before 8 am and a Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler were singing along the Old Road, the former at the top gate, the latter by the cottages. The former has become more circumspect just lately suggesting that it has paired up. There is still plenty of song from Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap and more Whitethroats are arriving by the day.

On the pools there were two Little Ringed Plovers and a Common Sandpiper and both Sand Martin and Swallow went through.

The West Midlands Ringing Group were on site today and the following were ringed:

Reed Bed – three Sedge Warblers, one Reed Bunting;

Causeway – one Reed Warbler, one Sedge Warbler, one female Blackcap now colour ringed.

Old Road towards the top gate – a new male Cetti’s Warbler.

The Reed Bunting caught on the Reed Bed looked like a male but was in fact a female with a brood patch.

Cetti’s Warbler – 6th May 2019 – Photograph by Nick Barlow

Reed Bunting – 6th May 2019 – second picture showing brood patch – photographs by Nick Barlow

Other birds during the day comprised one Swift, one Yellow Wagtail, three Little Ringed Plovers, two Common Sandpipers, two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls, drakes of both Wigeon and Teal, a pair of Yellowhammers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the feeders and a Treecreeper in the back gate copse.

5th May 2019

Sunny start, more overcast later, light cool northerly wind.

As is typical after the all day bird count, birds that your were scratching around for the previous day suddenly appear; so a Redshank on Car Park Pool and pair of Linnets flying over were two species that were not seen yesterday.

Other birds today comprised two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls, three Little Ringed Plovers, one Common Sandpiper, a pair of Garden Warblers at the back gate and one by the cottages, a pair of Cetti’s Warblers in the north causeway bay and a male at the north end of Car Park Pool, still one Oystercatcher chick, two Ravens over, two Swallows through, a Yellowhammer at the feeder and still pairs of Wigeon and Teal on site.

4th May 2019

Cold north easterly wind, mostly sunny but with some light showers.

The all day Bird Watch produced 82 species with highlights including two Common Sandpipers, one northern race Ringed Plover (smaller, darker and limited orange on the bill), Barn Owl, the first Hobby of the year, at least three singing Garden Warblers, Yellow Wagtail and a Kingfisher. The full list is below.

Despite the cold wind the sun had enough heat in it in the shaded areas for there to be plenty of Orange-tips on the wing, particularly in Siden Hill Wood where there were also a few Speckled Woods, and slightly more quality came in the shape of Small Copper in the Horse Paddock and a Holly Blue by the south-west pond.

I should mention that at least 12 Swifts went over in the morning and there was a steady trickle of Hirundines through, mostly Sand Martins and Swallows but with the odd House Martin too. The full list was: Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Little Egret (three), Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Hobby, Peregrine, Water Rail (Railway Pool), Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, two Common Sandpipers, Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Barn Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail (male – Car Park Pool Island at 6 pm), Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti’s Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (mobile mast and back gate copse), Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch,
Hawfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.

Notable absentees included Shoveler, Kestrel, Redshank, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail, Mistle Thrush and, perhaps most surprisingly of all, Linnet.

Thanks to all those who attended.

3rd May 2019

Showery, cool north easterly wind.

A little more today with a female Ruff briefly at 8.30 am, the first Cuckoo of the year around the car park and the first Swift over. Three Garden Warblers included a pair in the back gate plantation and another one by the Car Park Pool. Mediterranean Gulls included a first-summer and two second-summers. The pair of Wigeon remain and, in addition, there were two Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, 11 Stock Doves and 12 House Martins.

2nd May 2019

Mostly overcast, showers, cool north westerly wind.

Limited fare today with just two Common Sandpipers, three Little Ringed Plovers, two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls and a Collared Dove behind Oak Hide.

1st May 2019

Sunny morning, patchy rain this afternoon, west, south-westerly wind.

There was only one Oystercatcher chick visible this evening but there were two Greylag broods and a Canada brood. Common Terns reached 45 and there were three Little Ringed Plovers, three Shelduck, a pair of Wigeon, a pair of Teal, two second-summer Mediterranean Gulls, at least 30 Sand Martins and a Swallow.