Over this past three of months since starting my new job, I have been very fortunate to be able to visit almost every single working day the local nature reserve in Kings Norton, Birmingham, which is situated a mere 4 to 5 minutes walk from my office.
This place has really amazed me. I love nature, and over the last couple of years I have become more and more interested in bird watching. Being a little restricted on where I can travel to on public transport has been somewhat awkward and in some ways a little frustrating but it hasn’t prevented me from pursuing my love and interest of our British Wildlife.
There are several entrances in and out of different section of the reserve and to see a couple of the entrances from the busy main roads into this local reserve, you wouldn’t think much of it, but once you are a couple of minutes walking into the reserve then you start to get that feel good factor happening. It’s also an ideal place to spend an hour or so after finishing work, before going home, which means as an added bonus, especially during these summer months, I get to avoid the traffic congestion through Birmingham city centre.
Each morning, because of having to time my bus connections into work, it means I am sometimes about 30 to 40 early and so getting off my bus I pop along into the nature reserve with my camera. Each morning I have been greeted by the various different sounds and songs of the array of different species of our British birds, some of which are hard to see, but you can sometimes make out from the distinctive sounds what species they are. When ever I walk through this one area of woods in the reserve it literally is alive with the sound of bird song. And if you watch closely, you can see the birds darting in and out of the trees and bushes, as well as feeding in the long meadow grass. Other days on the leafless branches of higher trees you can spot a bird sitting their singing his little heart out. I’m afraid to say this, but the boys are by far better at singing than the girls when it comes to birds, as is the colour of their plumage. This may well have something to do with the fact boys need to show off more in order to try and prove they are the more dominant of the species 😉
I’m no expert when it comes to bird watching, neither am I an expert at bird sounds, far from it in fact, I am just a mere beginner, but I have been able to see a bird hear its song or just simply the type of noise it makes, photograph it, identify it and know from that when I next hear it I will know what it is. It’s a great way of learning about bird watching.
What I also love about this place is that apart from the usual Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, Starlings, Sparrows, Pigeons and Magpies that we tend to see every day, I am now discovering more different birds that I wouldn’t normally get to see near home. I have always had a deep interest in our garden birds, but like a lot of other things in life, these little creatures are always about and I suppose what many of us see on a day-to-day basis is what we take for granted and think that a bird is just a bird. But I love to walk through there and listen to all the bird chatter and singing, and I swear they are sometimes conversing which each other. A couple of weeks ago I saw a Buzzard circling overhead, but to far a way to get a clear photo. The river Rhea runs along side the reserve, although in many area it is overgrown, with tree’s heavily laden with berries, and tons of different insects, it is an ideal home for many of our British birds and wildlife, it offers them good protection and an endless supply of natural food.
In recent weeks I have discovered Wrens, Nuthatches, various different Tits and Finches, Goldcrests, Jays, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpeckers, Warblers, Thrushes. Treecreepers and close by at the adjoining Wychall Reservoir a Grey Heron, and on two days I have caught a short glimpse of a Kingfisher, but alas, way far too quick for me to photograph……..(as yet anyway!) This is a big challenge I am setting myself.
In addition to all the birds, I have spotted an array of other wildlife such as Butterflies, Dragonflies, Crickets, and a quick glimpse of a Shrew, Fox and of course what woodland would not be complete without our comical little grey Squirrel. And although I am not 100% sure yet, one evening I am certain I spotted a Pipistrelle Bat. And in addition to all of this there are also many different wildflowers and trees. This place is just so magical for me, especially in these summer months. For me it is a little bit of England’s green and pleasant land.
But I am also looking forward to the coming months as the seasons are changing, the leaves will be falling off the trees and the birds that remain will be hopefully easier to spot and photograph.
Each day has been a little bit different to the last one, the weather condition dictate what birds are out and about on certain days and clearly visible to those that prefer to stay hidden. But this nature reserve really amazes me, the sounds of the birds singing can be so soothing at the end of a challenging day at work.
I have been fortunate to get right up close to several Robins in different parts of the reserve, who one minute are making a chattering noise and then with a little bit of enticement with bird grain they start to sing their little hearts out for me and will very confidently perch themselves on a lower branch, or tree trunks and show off their beautiful red breast strutting around ready for the camera.
The reserve is also a very popular place for local dog walkers, joggers and especially as a short cut for people on their way to and from work. Several locals have now got used to seeing me with my camera, we stop and chat, and they let me know if they have spotted something unusual and where about they have spotted it. This gives me the chance to further investigate and add even more photos to my collection.
When you cross over from the main section of the reserve that I visit, on to Wychall Lane, there is another very large part of the reserve which I have yet to visit properly. Problem being is that for people who like myself love nature and photography, there is just so much to see in the one area of the reserve that I get little time to go across Wychall Lane to the other section.
I am so looking forward to the changes to be seen in this coming Autumn season, for me it is just as appealing as Summer. So many wonderful and colourful changes take place, so many different birds and creatures change their habits.
Upon a nice mid-spring day,
Let’s take a look at Nature’s way,
Breathe the scent of nice fresh air,
Feel the breeze within your hair.
The grass will poke between your toes,
Smell the flowers with your nose,
Clouds form shapes within the skies,
And light will glisten from your eyes.
Hear the buzzing of the bees,
Climb the tallest willow trees,
Look across the meadow way,
And you shall see a young deer play.
Pick the daisies as they grow,
Watch a gentle cold stream flow,
Know the sounds of water splash,
Catch its glimmer in a flash.
When altogether all seems sound,
Lay yourself upon the ground,
Take a moment to inhale,
And listen to Nature tell her tale…
Heidi Campbell sums up nature in the best way possible, by allowing your senses to understand nature and what it has to offer.
Breathe the scent of nice fresh air – Feel the breeze within your hair – Smell the flowers with your nose – Hear the buzzing of the bees – Watch a gentle cold stream flow
Below are a selection of a few of my favourite photos I have taken in the reserve these past three months, I hope you enjoy them.
All photos are the copyrights of Sue Westwood Photography 2015.
Many thanks for stopping by.