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Beaconwood and the Winsel

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Old Friday 6th April 2012, 14:37   #1
Sy V
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Beaconwood and the Winsel

For a change today I thought I'd renew my acquaintance with Beaconwood and the Winsel WWT Reserve which is at the end of the road where I live. The last time I went up it was late Summer Early Autumn and despite my best efforts I couldn't get a around the reserve due to losing the run of the path with dense undergrowth. Happily today the circuitous path was easy to follow and a very pleasant couple of hours was spent totally on my lonesome - not another soul to be seen - one of the best things about this reserve.
These beautiful woods in the Northern-most edge of Worcestershire are renowned for their stunning shows of bluebells each spring. I was very surprised and totally unprepared to see Bluebells already in flower!
The woods lie on the northwest spur of the Lickey Hills. Beaconwood was cleared and replanted with oaks about 120 years ago whereas plantations on the Winsel date from around 1930. Part of the National Trust’s Chadwich Estate.
Entering via an arched wrought iron gate from the public footpath off the old A38, you’ll walk up the forester’s track passing beech and turkey oaks with an understorey of holly. As you walk the trees become more varied with whitebeam, cherry, sweet chestnut and mature conifers on the north slope. The Great Oak, planted as the marker oak at the junction of three forestry compartments, is around 250 years old. Further along the track is the Great Elm a lone survivor of the 70's Dutch Elm disease.
The heavy leaf canopy and dense bracken provide ideal cover for a range of wildlife. Whilst WWT claim that Pied flycatchers, tawny and little owls, can be found in these woods, I'm yet to connect with any. Today I saw and heard 5 Buzzards, 4 Chiffchaffs, GSW, 3 Nuthatch and a plethora more common woodland birds.
Here are a few photos.
One of the few songsters that wasn't way up in the canopy.
Not at their best yet but I reckon this year's Bluebell show will be the dog's danglies. Another bonus to these woods is that there's a carpet of blue bells on both SW and NE-facing slopes so the period of bloom should be pretty extensive.
This little white flower had me thinking, and I'm still not certain. It has shamrock/clover-like leaves but its white flowers are bell-like. Is it Shamrock? This is the only clump (if you can call it that) that I saw.
And this spectacular but awful non-native is abundant along a stream that feeds the very silted over pond.
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Old Friday 6th April 2012, 18:10   #2
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Hi Sy, the white plant is Wood-Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella) and the other one is Skunk-Cabbage (Lysichiton americanum), a native of North America.


Cheers, Jared
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Old Wednesday 11th April 2012, 13:30   #3
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Nice one. Thanks Jared.
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Old Saturday 26th May 2012, 14:51   #4
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Wife and son announced that they were going to Redditch so I nipped up to the local woodlands for a couple of hours today.
I encountered my first ever "other person" on the reserve to day who came up behind me and announced that the footpaths weren't very good. I explained that they weren't footpaths but a nature trail and asked if he knew the reserve. He told me that he was doing some quiz orientated treasure hunt and said he was going to a trig point where the two woods meet (actually his electronic map showed that he was going to the confluence of two public footpaths - there are no footpaths on the reserve) so I explained to him the error of his ways and showed him out of the woods and on to the public right of way (but not before he'd bored me rigid with the exigencies of the pursuit he was following).
Anyway, once alone I had a splendid wander finding many woodland bird species nesting areas (I won't be posting photos of them of course) and saw several other woodland species including Nuthatch and Treecreeper. I also thought I heard the call of a Spotted Flycatcher but despite sitting and watching for 25 minutes I connected with nowt! I was surprised at the amount of insect activity; red and blue Damsel Flies (species unknown) and butterflies aplenty including what I think is a Speckled Wood... and I hope the likes of Des et al will put me straight on the IDs! I also have some poor imagery of a yellow-flowering plant that I think is Yellow Bartsia, but N Worcestershire is out of its range (at least, I thought it was). I also saw two deer species; Fallow and Muntjac, but I only managed to get photos of the latter as the Fallows saw/heard me well before I saw them shooting away into the distant undergrowth! Here are some snaps...
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Old Saturday 26th May 2012, 14:53   #5
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Just a couple more images the same blue-coloured Damsel fly and the yellow flower...
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Old Saturday 26th May 2012, 18:09   #6
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Hi again Sy, the blue damsel is Beautiful Demoiselle, the red one is Large Red Damselfly and the plant is Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galaeobdolon)

Cheers, Jared :)
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Old Saturday 26th May 2012, 18:10   #7
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Oh and by the way the butterfly is a Speckled Wood!
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Old Thursday 31st May 2012, 20:29   #8
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I took a walk around here today and it is a most enchanting little wood. I had the privilege of watching two GSW's making constant trips to feed their young. Whilst doing so a group of Roe deer passed within 50 yards of me and no more than 100 yards from the burger van adjacent to the reserve. On the way back a Muntjac walked along seemingly non-plussed of my presence. I'l give it another go soon for sure. Never realised how close to home this place is.
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Old Monday 7th January 2013, 14:50   #9
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Hi Simon...amazing what you can find on a forum.....this one for instance.

Being in The Worcester trust I have seen this place mentioned for (too many) years.
Always seen to miss the walks "they" have around it for the bluebells.
Found the location off Google earth and decided to visit one evening in late summer...not the best time for birdlife...or in fact any life as it turned out.
My 2 memories were of the constant noise from the bypass - especially around the pond area,and 2 what looked like local ladies (they turned up in a car),and they pointed me to the entrance so knew their way around.
The reason for remembering them was the fact they were walking 2 of those annoying little dogs that celebrities carry around - and letting them leave ridiculously large "deposits" on the track.Nearly caught me out on my way out...

I promised to myself to return some time in the future and this thread has given me heart that it is not just a noisy/smelly place.

I too read about the Flycatchers etc that they say frequent here and I hope it's true.
Thanks
Keith
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Old Tuesday 8th January 2013, 09:55   #10
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Keith

I hope it's true too...and I intend to co-ordinate with the Wood's warden a nest box programme to see exactly what is and isn't here. I know the tree to which you alluded for the GSWs and I intend to study these and other woodland species this coming nesting season. Last year there were at least 4 singing male Nuthatches present. We'll have to get together...
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Old Sunday 3rd February 2013, 21:25   #11
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Got this shot of a Buzzard at the Birmingham Road end of Alvechurch Highway.
Not quite in the woods but probably one of the local ones that are always circling the wood.....had one fly from off the barrier in front of the car and land on a low branch by the burger van area.
Also this Kestrel almost at the Garden centre on same road.
Keith
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Old Monday 4th February 2013, 04:19   #12
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Keith
Those are our local birds. If you were outside the garden centre you were less than 250 yds from my house and our fields!
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Old Monday 4th February 2013, 10:01   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithr View Post
Got this shot of a Buzzard at the Birmingham Road end of Alvechurch Highway.
Not quite in the woods but probably one of the local ones that are always circling the wood.....had one fly from off the barrier in front of the car and land on a low branch by the burger van area.
Also this Kestrel almost at the Garden centre on same road.
Keith
Good photos Keith, not so very far from my house either but never managed to get shots like that.
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Old Sunday 17th February 2013, 10:14   #14
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Thanks - and this was a week later at the same location.....but in a Blizzard.
Keith
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Old Friday 22nd February 2013, 13:16   #15
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Might be of interest ....at the wedge of field where M5 south at Junc 4 meets A38 to Rubery.......a field full of Lapwing and Corvids...bet there were Pigeons or maybe a Buzzard in there somewhere as well....

Keith
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Old Friday 22nd February 2013, 16:14   #16
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Keith, I've seen those as I pass that field every day. You are right about the Buzzard I've seen him sitting to the left of the field and also right next to the slip road.

Field also attracts plenty of gulls in certain weeks with the tip being very close. Well worth keeping an eye out.
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2013, 09:45   #17
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Really. I must admit that I normally go to Rubery over the top, either via Lickey or Waseley Hills, from our gaff on the Birmingham Rd. I hadn't seen any Lapwings in our area since the pair fledged two young in 2010 on our fields. I can feel a map coming on...
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2013, 09:58   #18
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My house under the pin and our fields highlighted roughly in red.
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Old Sunday 24th February 2013, 19:01   #19
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I assume that the field you two guys are on about is the one bordered by the M5, Birmingham Rd and Manor Lane?
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Old Sunday 24th February 2013, 20:10   #20
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Yes Simon. When heading south on M5 its on your left. There are a couple of gates you pull up by on Manor Lane. The hedge was quite high from memory.

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Old Sunday 24th February 2013, 20:29   #21
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I assume that the field you two guys are on about is the one bordered by the M5, Birmingham Rd and Manor Lane?
Yes ....see Red mark on your Map.


I see that there is a stream feeding the ponds either side of the bypass ...is there any access to explore this or is it private.I thought the pond in Beacon wood was just from water off the wood but it seems to be fed by the stream...or does it flow the other way !!

Keith
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Old Monday 25th February 2013, 08:25   #22
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Keith

Here's an Ordnance Survey map. Spring Pools are private (owned by John Monk who also owns Chadwick Farm). There is very little to see there these days although as a kid I had my first Tufted Duck and Mandarin there. Seen from the side of the dual carriageway. I wouldn't recommend it as a vantage point these days though!
In the north east corner of the map is another WWT reserve - Broadmoor Wood. This had Spotted Flycatchers when I was young. The map shows another pond in there that's linked by stream to Spring Pools but it's very silted over (at least it was when I saw it last a couple of years ago)
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Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 16:09   #23
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My 1st post on here said I thought it was a noisy place but I hope for a re-visit...well last evening I managed to have a walk around.
It was even noisier as the M5 was in full flow as well as the by-pass and I remembered to fit my hearing aids...blimey my ears are still ringing....what a shame this wood is located here...totally spoilt by location and the pond area could be nice but for noise and mess from the lay-by.

All I spotted was 2 views of a Buzzard overhead...Crows,Jackdaws,Blackbird,Wren,Blue Tit and the highlight was a Deer looking at me as I reached the highest point - it was way below but ran off as I raised the camera and met up with about 3 others as they moved of to the right (north east-ish).
The Yellow Skunky things DO look brilliant though.
Not a lot to report but I got a couple of Lapwing along Alvechurch Highway in ploughed field to left of road and a Male Kestrel up by Beacon Farm.

All the Nest boxes look to have small holes...Blue Tit size....I wonder what size Great Tit or Flycatchers need.
Keith

EDIT...Forgot to say the Bluebells are starting to show but only on the sunny side of the hill.
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Last edited by keithr : Tuesday 30th April 2013 at 16:28.
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Old Tuesday 30th April 2013, 16:10   #24
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And the Birds...
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Old Wednesday 1st May 2013, 07:41   #25
Sy V
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keithr View Post
My 1st post on here said I thought it was a noisy place but I hope for a re-visit...well last evening I managed to have a walk around.
It was even noisier as the M5 was in full flow as well as the by-pass and I remembered to fit my hearing aids...blimey my ears are still ringing....what a shame this wood is located here...totally spoilt by location and the pond area could be nice but for noise and mess from the lay-by.

All I spotted was 2 views of a Buzzard overhead...Crows,Jackdaws,Blackbird,Wren,Blue Tit and the highlight was a Deer looking at me as I reached the highest point - it was way below but ran off as I raised the camera and met up with about 3 others as they moved of to the right (north east-ish).
The Yellow Skunky things DO look brilliant though.
Not a lot to report but I got a couple of Lapwing along Alvechurch Highway in ploughed field to left of road and a Male Kestrel up by Beacon Farm.

All the Nest boxes look to have small holes...Blue Tit size....I wonder what size Great Tit or Flycatchers need.
Keith

EDIT...Forgot to say the Bluebells are starting to show but only on the sunny side of the hill.
Keith

I know what you mean about the noise, but I think you'll find it's the Wood that has been spoilt! The by-pass was only built in 1963 IIRC.
As for the nest boxes. Pied Fly require 28mm (Great Tit) boxes and Spot Fly prefer open fronted boxes. There are some very Flycatcher-esque spots in the woods, I must agree.

Sy
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