Pigeons to Kingfishers (15 species)

Feral Pigeon (Columba livea)
Small colonies exist along the valley and birds join other species to forage on the fields and open areas.

Stock Dove (Columba oenas)
A stable population exists in the valley. Pairs continue to occupy breeding sites at Aldersley/Oxley, Newbridge, Tettenhall Ridge and Wightwick, with display flights regularly seen in Spring. Nowadays the best opportunity to see good numbers of these birds is to visit the barleyfield just after it has been cut in late Summer, when over 20 may often be seen feeding there.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)
Perhaps the most obvious and numerous bird in the valley, and since 2005 an amazing spectacle of Autumn passage over the valley has been recorded. Dawn skywatches from Castlecroft canal bridge have produced record busting numbers of birds heading mainly South at this time of year.On 1/11/2006 9,700 birds passed over the Wightwick Fields area during the first couple of hours after dawn. Numbers consistently peak during the last week of October and first week of November, and at this time it really is worth getting up early, especially on Northerly winds to witness this annual event that can equally be observed at the top of the Barleyfield, or anywhere along the valley with a decent view of the skies.
Recent peak numbers have been:
2,860 on 31/10/2008
2,680 on 31/10/2009
3,218 on 3/11/2010.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
First recorded in Britain during a massive extension in it's range from Asia in the 1950's. It is therefore quite surprising to note that the species actually appears to have declined in the valley, since 126 roosted on the railway walk near Hordern Road on 13/1/1988. Aside from a pre-roost gathering of 64 at Dunstall Park (Private land) on 5/10/2006, there have been no records involving more than 13 birds since 1996. 4 was the maximum count during 2010.

Turtle Dove
There have been 5 valley records:
3/6/1979 - single
19/6/1982 - single
22/6/1983 - single
4/5/2004 - 2 low NW over Aldersley/Oxley
16/10/2007 - a late passage bird was seen heading South with Woodpigeons over Dunstall Park (Private land)

Common Cuckoo
Known to have bred at least once in the valley. Recorded annually until 2001, almost exclusively in May, when birds are most obvious.A juvenile was mobbed by Magpies in the NW corner of Dunstall Park (Private land) on 7/8/1991. Last recorded on 13/5/2007 at the barleyfield.

Ring-necked Parakeet
There have been 6 valley records:
pre 1994 - 1 record.
12/10/1994 - one over the Paddock near Newbridge.
13/1/1997 - 1 seen between Hordern Road and St. Michael's Court was believed to be this species.
13/9/1997 - a bird seen briefly South of Aldersley Oxley was suspected as being this species.
9/8/2004 - one was perched on telegraph wires by Wightwick Fields.
18/4/2007 - one on the Compton Park Playing Fields.

Long-eared Owl
The Winter of 1996/7 brought an unusually high number of birds to the Midlands. On 15/12/1996 a bird was seen briefly as it flew from a hawthorn bush at the top of Wightwick Dell, shortly before midday. It was positively identified shortly after, when it was seen sitting in a tree by the nearby sand quarries and was later mobbed by Corvids.

Short-eared Owl
There have been 3 valley records:
April 1986 - one near Aldersley School
1988 - a bird at Barnhurst sewage works
12-14/4/1989 - one on rough ground North of the Birmingham canal, adjacent to Dunstall Park, observed during several late afternoons hunting.

Tawny Owl (Strix aluca)
The valley's only resident Owl. Birds bred at a traditional site until 1996, where 3 young had been released to maintain the status of the species, after breeding failed for the first time in 1991. The last clear evidence of successful breeding was on 30/8/2001, when a juvenile was heard uttering contact calls at Aldersley, when 3 pairs had a presence in the valley. In 2010, birds continued to be heard from Wightwick Bank, Tettenhall Ridge, Peasley Wood, Wightwick, Aldersley and other wooded areas. Sadly a pair that roosted near the crop testing field at Compton Park were disturbed by construction work in 2012 and aside from the odd record of a female which seemed to be attempting to find a new roost site near the prefabs at Henwood Road, no birds have been vocal in the mid-section since.

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Records of a species, which successfully raised two young in the South section of the valley in 1997 (and was thought to have bred during 1998 and 1999), are now sadly few. After single January sightings at the Barleyfield in 2006 and 2007, the next encounter was reports of a bird hunting at dawn over the sloped grass fields next to pine tree hill near Wightwick Mill canal lock on 19/10 and 21/10/2010.

Little Owl (Athene noctua)
A species that has been quite regularly encountered in the valley over the years, especially involving post breeding dispersal. A bird calling by Pool Hall Lane near Castlecroft canal bridge on 15/10/2010, was a representative of the declining South Staffordshire population.

Common Swift (Apus apus)
Birds arrive by the first week in May (earliest date 19/4/1996) and depart in late August (latest date 15/9/1998). A barometer for the species in the valley has been the recording of maximum counts over the traditional Newbridge breeding site in July. In 1988 60+ were present there, but by 1999 half that number was the norm. Although c40 were there in 2007, the following year only 13 were counted. 22 were screeching over the site at dusk on 25/7/2010.

Wolverhampton's first ever record came on the morning of 27/4/1997, when a bird was briefly seen flying low over the banked field by the railway carriageworks at Aldersley-Oxley and over the Birmingham Canal. It disappeared behind the racecourse copses by Aldersley Canal Junction. it was later spotted feeding along the shoreline at Dunstall Park Lake and was still feeding and resting there late afternoon.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
We are so blessed to have this beautiful bird as a feature in our valley. The last record of suspected breeding was in 2004, by the Smestow Brook at Wightwick Fields, meaning that sightings are only now recorded during Winter and Spring.

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