Today I decided to pay a visit to Chelmarsh Reservoir in Shropshire. It is a large Reservoir situated close to the River Severn between Highley and Bridgnorth. Views of the reservoir can be obtained from the causeway at the NW end or via walking the section of the Jack Mytton Way that runs parallel to the body of water. On the other side of the causeway (at the NW end) is a small reserve that consists of a scrape and large areas of reed bed.
This scrape reserve was formerly leased out to the Shropshire Wildlife Trust but nowadays it you require a permit issued by the Shropshire Ornithological Society (SOS). For more details see the SOS website:
On arriving at a dull and very windy Chelmarsh I spent a fair while scanning through the gulls and wildfowl with my spotting scope. The first birds of interest I picked up on were 7 Goosander (4♂ & 3♀). Shortly afterwards I picked up a 2nd winter Common Gull that was close to the west shore line. Despite the name Common Gulls are not as Common as you may think...Ok, so they are not a rarity (or even a scarcity for that matter) but they are no where near as numerous in the Midlands as Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
As I continued panning across the water I picked up on 2 Great Crested Grebes and a smaller Grebe that immediately caught my attention. This compact looking Grebe was larger than
a Little Grebe
yet smaller than an Coot. This Grebe’s forehead was steeply sloped with
noticeable peaked shape on top. Its bill
was all black, fine and pointed. The bird’s plumage was black, white and grey
with no sign of the brown hue that you
would expect to see on a winter plumage Little Grebe. The Grebe’s head was black with a dark patch coming down into
its light grey cheek. The bird’s neck
was dark grey, as was its back. It had a
fluffy rear end similar to that of a Little Grebe that was white/light grey
colouration ). It was a winter plumaged Black-necked Grebe, I was chuffed to bits!
Unfortunately I was unable to get any photos of the bird as it was just too windy to digi-scope. Still I was just happy to have found it so I didn't get too down hearted! For the purpose of this post I have used a photo of the Black-necked Grebe that I saw at the same site in November 2012
Once I had finished viewing the main body of water I headed down to the scrape. Here, 4 Siskin were flitting about in the Alders near the hide but there was very little else of note. The scrape itself was virtually devoid of birds with a single Moorhen being the only exception. Still, it was an enjoyable change of scene and I'm looking forward to returning there again in the near future.
Black-necked Grebe - Chelmarsh, 23rd November 2012
Click on image to enlarge