TWASI Visit to Sandwell Valley, 20th May 2018
In May, a small group of TWASI members visited the RSPB nature reserve at Sandwell Valley, which is part of a larger reserve managed for nature on the outskirts of Birmingham.
For someone who doesn’t know this area, it came as quite a surprise, after driving through a suburban area and a housing estate, to arrive at this haven of peaceful river valley, woodland walks and lakes. The day we visited, the weather was perfect; a hot, sunny spring day, ideal to be out and about.
At this time of year, birds were nesting around the lake, including Canada geese, oystercatcher and lapwing. A pair of little ringed plovers were doing their best to imitate the rocks on their chosen small island.
The RSPB visitor centre serves hot and cold drinks and small snacks, but especially with the beautiful weather, we were glad to have taken picnic lunches. There were plenty of shady places to sit and admire the lush white and pale pink May blossom which seemed especially prolific.
If you are in the area, this is a lovely spot to visit and wander about.
TWASI Visit to Birdland, Bourton-on-the-Water, 8th August 2018.
If you like birds, then visit Birdland!
Opened in 1957 in nine acres of land, it is a lovely place, with the River Windrush running through it, and is very nicely laid out with paths and bridges over the river.
Birdland houses around 130 species of birds the most popular are the Flamingos and King Penguins.
There is a viewing window on the Penguins so you can see them in their element, although unfortunately when we went, they were refilling the pool after cleaning, so we didn’t see them swimming, and as it takes about a day to refill, there wasn’t much chance to see them even if we’d stayed longer. Not to worry, though, as they’re always worth going to see, even if they are only waddling about.
Talks on the penguins and flamingos are quite frequent, and you can get close to them, although best to try to get at the front, otherwise heads large and small can get in the way if you want to take photos or sketch.
Luckily we had good weather and it wasn’t too hot, so it was very pleasant to walk around.
There is also a Nature Reserve area to walk around with a couple of hides where you can see various wildlife if you’re lucky, and this incorporates a Jurassic Journey with some Dinosaurs plain to see and others hidden – very popular with the children!
There are temperate and desert houses for birds from hotter and drier areas, and a very nice café to get refreshments, and plenty of picnic tables throughout the park.
Bourton itself is a pretty village with plenty of cafes and shops, and is lovely to walk round with plenty of picturesque bridges over the river.
There is a model village of Bourton itself to walk around, a Dragonfly Maze, Motor Museum, Toy Collection, Perfumery which does tours and courses, and for those who like a pint, the Cotswold Brewery with sales and tours – lots to see and do.