I fancied a change today, so I headed up to the north of the county. There, in a fairly urban and often industrial setting to the north-east of Birmingham, is the Middle Tame Valley, a stretch of river, gravel pits, scrub land and parkland which together make up a vitally important bird habitat.
I started at the southern tip of the valley, at Whitacre local nature reserve, and quickly found Green Woodpeckers, two Jays, a Willow Tit and some Goldcrest. I then discovered that leaving my wellies at home was a big mistake. With all the main paths flooded, I headed off to Kingsbury instead.
Kingsbury Water Park is a very different kettle of fish - a huge municipal park covering a dozen or more pools, the river on one side and a canal on the other. Good (unflooded) paths lead to several bird hides, and although water levels were generally too high for waders, some patience was rewarded when up to six Snipe eventually showed themselves.
I then headed north again, this time on foot, walking up to Dosthill pits. Nothing of huge note here, except the huge flocks of Canada Geese and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A couple of Linnet were a nice find, as were eight Redwing, my first of the season, flying low overhead.