The tents are packed away, the fairground rides are gone, the giant screens have vanished, the music stage has been dismantled and there’s now no trace of what for two days turned Dunstall Park into a cross between Alton Towers and Brighton pier. The annual City Show, moved this year for the first time from West Park to the racecourse, was rightly a weekend fun time for many (not, as it transpired, for as many as the organisers had hoped for) but a worry for those who care about the wildlife living on and around one of Wolverhampton’s largest green spaces. But, credit to Arena Leisure who run the site, within 24 hours the whole area was spick and span, cleared of clutter and litter and ready for a race meeting on the very next day. So as we move into the second half of summer, for birds, animals, insects and plants it’s business as usual . . .
Wader passage is under way, with birds able to feed and preen along the lake shoreline. Three Little Ringed Plover adults were present on June 21st and 28th, two Green Sandpiper were seen on July 15th and 19th, and the first Common Sandpiper seen at the lake since 2011 was noted on July 21st. Lapwing are arriving to rest and feed on the central grass area, with 57 counted on July 25th, alongside an increasing number of gulls: around 70 Black-headed Gull, including three juveniles, on July 19th and nine Lesser Black-backed Gull (including four juveniles) on July 27th.
Elsewhere on the racecourse, four juvenile Linnet foraging with adults in a drainage ditch near the grandstand on June 10th were proof of successful nesting at the top of the sloped grass fields below the nearby railway carriageworks at Oxley. A Pied Wagtail pair have again nested in the hotel precinct, and House Martin and Barn Swallow youngsters have fledged in the hotel/stables area. Raptor presence has been intermittent, but Common Buzzard adults, some now increasingly ragged in appearance as the summer progresses, are starting to call up their young, a female Kestrel hovered over the bottom of the Birmingham Canal locks on July 19th before perching on a racecourse floodlight pylon, and a female Sparrowhawk tried for and missed a small bird low over the lake on July 15th.