The wildlife of Sheepwash forms one of the main attractions of the site. To date around 190 species of birds have been recorded in and around the location, principally by The Tividale Birding Group starting in the 1970’s before the creation of the site, and subsequently during its metamorphosis into an urban park and then a Local Nature Reserve. (The list below is interim and may change on further contributions.)
Many rare visiting birds have been recorded such as dusky warbler, spoonbill and black necked grebe.
Bats, foxes, badgers and amphibian species have also been recorded on the site.
The list here will form a permanent record of these sightings and the current status of the bird at the site. Some of the Tividale Birding Group annual records are also uploaded here. With Special thanks to Mark Sheppard, Dave Waite, and Geoff Williams et al for their information and time they have put in at this site over many years.
Photos, I Carroll, unless otherwise specified.
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Resident. Pairs breed most years.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Resident. Attempts to breed each year, with mixed success.
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Resident formerly scarce visitor.
Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Very rare recorded visitor. First record four birds on pumphouse pool spotted by Geoff Williams 1996.
Bittern Botaurus stellaris
Very Scarce. First record 1987 found by Geoff Williams. One reported booming in 2021 also.
Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Very scarce visitor, with just one record in 2002 by Dave Waite.
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Great White Egret Ardea alba
First record for site in 2021. Spotted by I.Whitehouse and M. Shepherd
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Formerly scarce visitor, but now seen as resident across the site and River Tame.
SWANS, GEESE AND DUCKS (Anatidae)
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Common resident. Several pairs breed each year, but goslings are heavily predated by other birds.
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
Rare visitor with feral birds making the most sightings.
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Scarce visitor, but has bred on the site in recent years with low success.
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
Annual passage migrant, usually seen flying over in autumn/ winter periods, sometimes large skeins.
White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
Very Scarce visitor, with one single bird in the 1990s.
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Resident breeding pair and several visitors, usually chased off.
Bewick’s Swan Cygnus columbianus
Very rare, with first record in 1997 with 11 birds landing in thick fog. Five also flying through in 1999. Spotted by D.Waite.
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Rare feral birds.
Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca
Scarce Visitor .A record of 1 in the 1990’s and more recent of 3 on 10th Feb 2017
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Usually annual passage migrant,1 on the rattlechain lagoon 2020
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
Scarce visitor, rare.
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata
Scarce visitor rare, one in 2020
Shoveler Spatula clypeata
Annual winter visitor, sometimes in double numbers.
Gadwall Mareca strepera
Scarce but annual visitor.
Wigeon Mareca penelope
Scarce annual visitor in small numbers, needs some grazing area’s around the pools
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Resident. Several pairs breed each year, but survival rate low due to predation.
Pintail Anas acuta
Vert rare visitor, with only two records. 28th May 1985 and a female on 17th September 2014.
Teal Anas crecca
Annual winter visitor, numbers have declined, but still a dozen or so winter.
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
Scarce feral visitor. Only 1 record of a male ,back in the 199os
Pochard Aythya ferina
Regular annual visitor in small numbers
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligul
Resident. Pairs breed each year.
Scaup Aythya marila
Rare visitor with just one record
Eider Somateria mollissima
Rare visitor with just one record
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Several records, with the largest flock of 17 back in 1988. A more recent one on rattlechain lagoon in 2020.
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
Scarce visitor with one record on pump house pool, found by Martyn yapp, back in 1990s
Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Scarce winter visitor. Dave Waite remembers seeing 3 back in 1987 .
Goosander Mergus merganser
Annual winter visitor, sometimes large numbers.
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Scarce visitor with just 1 record of a drake.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Formerly small numbers and then just one adult male which is no longer there. This introduced species suffered appalling persecution in the UK after being targetted by European Union “conservationist” zealots who blamed UK male ruddy ducks for mating with European white-headed ducks producing “hybrids”. This species itself on the continent has been hunted to near extinction by man. When challenged for direct evidence of UK birds flying to Spain in a freedom of information request, DEFRA, a Government body could not produce any evidence of this at all.
“we have no evidence of any ringed ruddy ducks from the Great Britain reaching Spain that have subsequently bred with any Spanish White-headed ducks. “
KITES , HARRIERS, HAWKS, BUZZARDS, EAGLES (Accipitridae)
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Resident. Fairly common.
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
Very Scarce visitor, with just one record in the 1990’s.
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Rare and scarce bird, usually seen going over in spring. Several sightings the last few years.
White-Tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
Very Scarce visitor, which was one of the introduced birds from the Isle of Wight. Seen by Ian Whitehouse on the 1st May 2020
Common Buzzard Buteo buteo
Fairly common resident.
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Becoming scarce. Cause for concern, as brown fields get swallowed up for development, birds loose their hunting grounds.They feed mainly on small mammals.
Merlin Falco columbarius
Very Scarce visitor, with just a single record in the 1990’s.
Hobby Falco subbuteo
Regular annual visitor
Peregrine Falco peregrinus
Regular visitor. Pairs have previously bred successfully in the local area.
Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri
Introduced species, now becoming regular in many urban areas.
PARTRIDGES, PHEASANTS (Phasianidae)
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa
Former breeding bird, now becoming scarce and in decline. Just one record in 2021 on land rear of Sheepwash.
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Former regular resident in the 1990’s but not seen for several years.
Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
Seen or heard annually.
Common quail Coturnix coturnix
Rare migrant with a record in the 1990’s.
RAILS, GALLINULES, COOTS (Rallidae)
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Resident breeding birds at the site.
Coot Fulica atra
Resident with several pairs breeding each year on multiple pools.
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Fairly regular visitor in small numbers or single birds and can be seen usually early morning.
Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Very rare and scarce visitor. A decline in this species is notable at the site, and mirrors a national picture, though Sandwell Valley does still attract several birds.
Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Many records from the 1990s, when it used to be a winter visitor with hundreds recorded on the old Autobase site, to the rear of Sheepwash. Very scarce nowadays, with birds flying over, picked out from their calls.
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Rare visitor with few record’s of this scarce inland wader, Dave Waite remembers finding one in 1993 which spent the day round the pool.
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Scarce visitor. Another wader that used to be an annual visitor when there was suitable habitat for waders. No records for many years.
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Scarce visitor, and former breeding species, declined due to lack of suitable habitat.
TYPICAL WADERS (Scolopacidae)
Curlew Numenius arquata
Rare visitor, not always annual. Usually picked up on call with a few records of them down around the pools, going back to the 1990s, when the pool was like a gravel pit ,and not surrounded by trees.
Bar- Tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Rare passage migrant. One in 2014 Mark Sheppard.
Black-Tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Rare, passage migrant, with some coming down on occasions, when there used to be a wader scrape.
Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Now very rare passage migrant that used to come through in the 1980s and 90s. No record for years, with no feeding habit for them. Dave Waite remembers 7 coming down in freezing rain, back in 1992 in December.
Ruff Calidris pugnax
Rare passage migrant. Most records going back in the 199os. Dave Waite remembers 1 being down along the waters edge with 7 little ringed plover.
Knot Calidris canutus
Very rare with only 2 records of this wader, again back in the 1990s.
Sanderling Calidris alba
Scarce migrant through Sheepwash, but several records of them coming down when wader habitat existed.
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Formerly frequent but now rarer passage waders. Annual in the 1990’s but only a few records since.
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
Very rare with only one record of this rare inland wader. Found by Laurie Allen way back in 1984.
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Very scarce migrant through Sheepwash, with only the one record of a single bird in the 1990s found by Geoff Williams.
Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Annual winter visitor, recorded most years. Woodland habitat suits them better.
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
Rare winter visitor, much declined on the site.
Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Scarce winter visitor, that used to winter in double figures. Nowadays single figures usually recorded. Has been a bird seen this year 2021.
Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
Scarce rare visitor. First record on 25th August 1997 spotted by Ian. C Whitehouse.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
recorded annually, usually single birds on passage.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Passage migrant, not always annual.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Scarce passage migrant with 2 or 3 records. When the pool was drained and capped back in the late 1980s, Martyn Yapp and Dave Waite found a bird that stayed a few days, and attracted lots of birdwatchers.
Redshank Tringa totanus
A wader that used to be annual, now a scarce visitor, patch gold nowadays. A record of 1 this year on the 19th April 2021 on rattlechain lagoon found by Ian Whitehouse.
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Very rare passage migrant, again back in the 199os with just two records.
Greenshank Tringa nebularia
This elegant wader used to be annual autumn visitor. Dave Waite remembers seeing 3 late birds in October around John’s Lane pool, back in the 1990s.
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
Very rare visitor, with only one record of one in November 1985 ,which attracted many birdwatchers to the site. Found by Ian Whitehouse, mega inland rarity.
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Very Scarce passage migrant. First bird spotted flying through on 25th August 1997 by Ian C. Whitehouse.
Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Common Winter visitor.
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus
Scarce migrant, with no records here for more than 10 yrs. But several records from the 1990s.
Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Another scarce bird at Sheepwash. Just a handful of records, but a bird was seen in 2020.A gull that is increasing, so more records should come about.
Common Gull Larus canus
Far from common, but recorded most years in winter. 1 on the 14th February this year (2021).
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Winter visitor in small numbers. This winter was a good year to see them. The pool was frozen, and they could be seen. 3 recorded through January, February and into March 2021.
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
Rare visitor with only 1 record of a bird in the 199os.
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Common winter visitor, sometimes in large numbers. Recorded all months
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans
Rare visitor, with only the one record of a first winter bird seen in February of this year by Hughie King.
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
A scarce winter visitor,
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Common winter visitor in large numbers, recorded all months.
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Scarce passage Gull, a few record’s from over the years.
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis
Scarce passage Tern, only 3 records of birds way back in the 1990s and early 2000 . A family group of 3 one August Bank Holiday (Dave Waite).
Little Tern Sternula albifrons
Rare visitor with only 1 record in 2003 found by Dave Waite
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Former breeding species, used the islands on pump house pool for several years. When the islands became overgrown with scrub, they switched to the rattlechain lagoon, and were successful there for a few years ,(nesting on the discharge pipe pontoons). Habitat management needed to recover this bird for Sheepwash.
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Passage migrant, not always annual.
Black Tern Chlidonias niger
Passage migrant, with many records from the 1990s and early 2000s
PIGEONS, DOVES (Columbidae)
Feral Rock Dove (common pigeon) Columba livia domestica
Common resident and often racing pigeons noted on the site to add to numbers.
Stock Dove Columba oenas
Resident in small numbers, 20 were seen in 2020
Woodpigeon Columba palumbus
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Rare, with only 2 records back in the 1990s.
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Resident species, locally common. Some decline has been noticed the last few years
Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Probably annual migrant through the area, never common and rarely been heard calling.
Barn Owl Tyto alba
Rare ,with few records.
Tawny Owl Strix aluco
A pair resident in the area. Not common
Little Owl Athene noctua
A few records from the 1990s ,usually from the rattlechain side.
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
One or two record’s from the 1990s. The last one roosted round rose Lane pool and was seen by many observers
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Habitat change has affected this migrant owl. In the 1990s used to get a few down in the grass. Three spent a time over the rattlechain area one winter.
Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Regular Autumn and Winter visitor. Occasional in Summer. Usually seen flying along the River Tame.
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dryobates minor
Rare visitor. First record on the 8th November 2008,only 2 or 3 sightings since of this scarce bird.
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Resident breeding species, with 2 or more pairs.
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
Common resident with regular sightings through the year, probably breeds in the area.
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Former breeding species no longer here. Last breeding record came from the tip area to the rear of Sheepwash.
Swift Apus apus
Annual migrant with a few pairs breeding in surrounding area. Much declined
SWALLOWS, MARTINS (Hirundindae)
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Annual spring and autumn migrant. One of the islands on pump house pool had a sand Martin cliff built into it on the reconstruction of the lake but has not been used as yet.
Swallow Hirundo rustica
House Martin Delichon urbicum
Annual migrant with a few pairs staying to breed in the area. Much declined.
PIPITS, WAGTAILS (Motacillidae)
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Much declined passage migrant through Sheepwash. Former breeder,last bred in 1987.Would be nice to get this one back as a breeding species.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Resident, breeds in suitable areas along the river tame
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba
Resident, breeds in area but numbers way down.
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Passage migrant and winter visitor. Has bred over on the old rattlechain tip years ago.
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Scarce passage migrant
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
Very scarce migrant with only one or two records.
Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
Used to be annual autumn migrant. Now rare. A tree lined pool is not to their liking.
Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Irruptive winter migrant to the UK. Back in the early 1990s there was a flock of over a hundred birds in the area. More recent a flock of around 20 were around the Great Bridge area.
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes
Dunnock Prunella modularis
CHATS, THRUSHES (Turdidae)
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Passage migrant, much declined, not been a record for many years
Blackbird Turdus merula
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Resident, with at least 3 breeding pairs.
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Rare bird nowadays.
Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
Declined passage migrant, has been 1 seen this year.
Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
Used to winter here, now very rare, prefers heathland, habitat has changed more to woodland.
Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Migrant, used to be annual, now scarce.
(Greenland Wheatear) Oenanthe oenanthe leucorhoa
This brighter coloured wheatear, comes through a bit later, they breed a bit father North.
Wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Only two records of this not so common migrant, one found singing along the canal at Brades Hall, and one found by Mark Sheppard a few years ago.
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
One of the star birds of sheepwash, a one off and a Midlands area first spotted by Geoff Williams in 1996.
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
A once common migrant, much declined, but still in reasonable numbers. A few pairs breed.
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Common migrant, breeds in the area.
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Annual migrant in small numbers.
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Annual migrant several pairs stay to breed. Sheepwash is important breeding site.
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Uncommon summer migrant, probably overlooked.
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Common summer breeding species.
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Annual summer migrant in small numbers.
Lesser Whitethroat Curruca curruca
Annual summer migrant, a couple of pairs breed.
Whitethroat Curruca communis
Summer migrant a few pairs breed.
CETTIED WARBLERS (Cettiidae)
Cetti’s Warbler Cettia cetti
Rare. A single bird was found on the 2nd April 2020 and presented till years end . Found by Ian Whitehouse, new bird for the reserve .
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Scarce passage migrant, usually on autumn passage
Robin Erithacus rubecula
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Scarce passage migrant. Last record of one in 2019.
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Used to be a winter visitor, now a breeding resident. Likes woodland habitat.
Firecrest Regulus ignicapilla
Rare, only a handful of records.
Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus
Just one record of a bird in the 1990s found by Gregg Evans. Very rare bird in the West Midlands.
LONG-TAILED TITS (Aegithalidae)
Long-Tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Common breeding resident. Bramble is important for this bird, to build their nests. Bramble is not just a mess, as some people think. It’s important food plant ,and breeding area.
Coal Tit Periparus ater
Scarce resident 1 or 2 pairs.
Willow Tit Poecile montanus
We have now lost this as a breeding species. Rare bird nowadays. Irregular visitor nowadays. Preditation by grey squirrel, lack of old trees to excavate their nests. And other factors potentially.
Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
Great Tit Parus major
Nuthatch Sitta europaea
Rare autumn winter visitor. Sightings are increasing.
Treecreeper Certhia familiaris
Rare autumn winter visitor, again Sightings are increasing
Jay Garrulus glandarius
Resident with one or two pairs resident
Magpie Pica pica
Common resident. David Bellamy once made a film here about them before Sheepwash was an official Nature Reserve and being transformed.
Jackdaw Coloeus monedula
Scarce at Sheepwash, usually just birds flying over.
Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Common Resident, now gathering in large murders between the trees and pools.
Raven Corvus corax
Sightings have been common the last 5 years or so. Sometimes come down on the pylons.
Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Declined resident, but still fairly common in area.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Resident found on the surrounding housing estates.
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Rare. Used to get the odd passage bird usually in October, no record since the 1990s.
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Common breeding resident.
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
Uncommon winter visitor.
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Resident breeding species.
Greenfinch Chloris chloris
Resident. Breeds in the area.
Linnet Linaria cannabina
Scarce nowadays, used to be a breeding species.
Common Redpoll Acanthis flammea
(Mealy Redpoll) Acanthis flammea flammea
Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
Irregular visitor, with a few records in the last few years.
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Common breeding bird.
Siskin Spinus spinus
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis
Very Rare. Only the one record of a bird in the 1990s found by Geoff Williams at Brades Hall.
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Scarce bird, back in the late 1980s there were 3 singing males. Habitat has changed since.
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Uncommon breeding species, with at least 1 pair present.
Bar-Headed Goose Anser indicus
Feral visitor seen with a barnacle goose in the late 1990’s. Also a female in 2021.
Ross’s Goose Anser rossii
Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Oozlum Bird Carryonus Jungless (Only Joking)
TIVIDALE BIRDING GROUP ANNUAL REPORTS UPLOADS.
All credits within reports.