Woodpeckers, Larks & Hirundines (8 species)

Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis)
A species which had declined locally during the late 1980's, recovered, first bred in 1991 and now appears to be stable in the valley. Regular reports from Newbridge Wood, the Barleyfield, Wightwick Ridge and elsewhere suggest at least four pairs nest locally. The effect of development at Compton Park on breeding activity that produced one youngster there in 2012, remains to be seen.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus major)
Birds can be encountered along the whole valley and drumming birds are heard from as early as mid-January at Wightwick Bank, Tettenhall Ridge, Aldersley/Oxley. Dunstall Park (Private Land), Compton Park, Peasley Wood, Wightwick and elsewhere.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus minor)
we are so lucky to have this surprisingly inconspicuous and elusive bird in our valley. It has been vanishing nationally at an alarming rate, so to hold recent Spring and Summer sightings of this species, is a measure of how special and in need of protection the LNR is. It has been recorded in all months except July, and over the years has favored the mid and Northern sections of the reserve. Since 1989, it has only been absent in 4 years. In 2010, sightings were recorded in February, March and June, including a drumming bird.

Skylark (Alauda arvemsis)
Pairs bred at Dunstall Park (Private land) until 1999 and at the Barleyfield until 2000. Occasional song in recent years evokes memories of days before the plight of our farmland birds became apparent. The local status was effectively ended by the grass-mowing regime at the redeveloped Dunstall Park from 1996 and the end of arable farming at the Barleyfield in 1993.Passage numbers continue their rapid decline. 54 headed over Dunstall Park in October 2001, and as recently as 2007, 29 were recorded overhead. Only 10 moved over the same site on 10/10/2010, although skywatches at Wightwick Fields picked up 27 next day. Birds can occasionally be seen during mid-Winter cold-weather movements.

Wood Lark
The valleys only record was of a passage bird that was seen descending onto the sloping rough grass fields to the North of Smestow school on 29/3/1998. The bird stayed for a few minutes before heading off to the SW

Sand Martin(Riparia riparia)
First recorded in April 1992. Small numbers are seen across the valley, from April (earliest date 28/3 2003 and 2007) and September (Latest date 3/10/2009).

Barn Swallow (Hirunda rustica)
Birds arrive in Mid April (earliest date 25/3/2009) and depart in late September (latest date 25/10/1998). The demolition of outbuildings at Dunstall Park in 1993, and the conversion of barns in the South section ended the birds breeding status. However their status was re-instated in 2007 after a nine year absence, when pairs nested near Newbridge Playing Fields, and further from 2009, when activity started at the Dunstall Park stables (Private land). September can produce a great migration spectacle. On 26/9/1997, 600+ hirundines, which were mainly Swallows passed over Dunstall Park from 07:45 to 09:15, and on 27/9/1999 a local record was set when c1,050 passed over Wightwight Fields in one hour!!! Recent records are nowhere near as impressive, but remain an evocative sight, epitomizing the sense of freedom and exploration, as these delicate looking birds start their epic journey's.

House Martin (Delichon urbicum)
Birds arrive in Mid April (earliest date 29/3/2002) and depart at the end of September (Latest date 22/11/2006!!!).Colonies exist at Pendeford and Farndale. Up to 250 birds could be seen hawking around the nearby Dunstall Park (Private land), until 2004. Numbers have since crashed and the most recorded there by 2010 was 40+ on 18/8.

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