Birdwatching at Grimley and Holt


Grimley Camp Lane Pits
 

Camp Lane Pits

Introduction & access: Located in the Severn Valley just to the north-west of Worcester, the Grimley and Holt area encompasses a wide variety of habitats including wetlands, mature and damp woodlands, rough grassland and scrub, arable fields and horse paddocks. This coupled with the area being directly on the Severn Valley migration route means a wide range of bird species have been recorded and this has lead to a growing number of observers visiting the area. Access is from the A443 Worcester to Tenbury Wells road, following the signs towards Grimley. Parking is available along the lane before the village on the wide grass verge opposite the minor road junction here. Alternatively continue towards the village and turn right opposite the telephone box on to Camp Lane and continue for c1/2 mile and park just before the Camp Inn. Parking on verges along the narrow village approach road is not advisable please.

Birds: The main focus of attention are the Camp Lane Pits which is the largest wetland area and hosts nesting Common Tern, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing and Redshank. In addition it is the county stronghold for nesting Gadwall. Passage periods see an increase in the variety of waders with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Green and Common Sandpipers, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit being regular in occurrence. Scarcer waders noted at these times have included Sanderling, Knot, Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper and Little Stint while Pectoral Sandpiper, Temminck's Stint, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover have been recorded on rare occasions. Wildfowl are also prominent at this site with annual records of Garganey, birds often lingering for several weeks during the autumn while Pintail are scarce but regular in the autumn and winter along with the occasional Goldeneye and Goosander. Rarer species have included Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup, Smew, Ferruginous Duck and the first county record of Lesser Scaup. Other first county records to have occurred here are Glossy Ibis and Lapland Bunting. Osprey are more or less annual on spring or autumn passage although they rarely linger and Black Tern is being noted with increasing frequency albeit in small numbers. It is also the top site in the county for Little Egret with several birds often present during the late summer and autumn peaking at an impressive total of 19 birds in 2016. The site is a regular stop over for White and Yellow Wagtails, mostly in the spring, while Whinchat and Wheatear often favour the surrounding fences. Stonechats are also regular on passage and are increasingly present throughout the winter months.

 

For a location map of the Camp Lane Pits: click here


Wagon Wheel Lane Pits

Introduction & access: Created from 2008 onwards, these two pits lie close to the River Severn and have already attracted a wide variety of wildfowl and waders. Please note that there are no public rights of way to these gravel pits; access is at the discretion of the local farmer so please keep to paths and field edges. Park sensibly in Grimley village (before the church) and walk past the Wagon Wheel pub through open gate on left and continue along concrete track to sewage works, then bear left, then right and continue through next gate (please keep closed) and the gravel pits are on the right. During periods of flooding, the fields to the east of the pits can also be productive and can be viewed from the fishermen's track that leads from the village to the river.

Good numbers of Eurasian Wigeon can be found in the winter months with recent peak counts reaching 340 birds. Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard and Tufted Duck are also present in smaller numbers during the winter months and they may occasionally be joined by one or two Goldeneye. There also several records of Common Scoter, Greater Scaup and Red-crested Pochard while Eurasian White-fronted and Pink-footed Geese have been noted. Gulls are also a regular feature especially during periods of flooding and amongst the common species, Kittiwake, Caspian, Yellow-legged, Mediterranean and Little Gulls have been recorded. Terns may also appear on passage and have included Sandwich and Arctic. Waders are less frequent here although if water levels are suitable then anything is possible with notable past records of Little Stint, Sanderling, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Phalarope and the county's second ever White-rumped Sandpiper. Other local rarities have included Shag, Glossy Ibis and Snow Bunting.

 

For a location map of the Wagon Wheel Lane Pits: click here
 


Wagon Wheel Lane Pits


Old workings

Introduction & access: Grimley old workings, as the name implies is a more established site with a fairly extensive reedbed although the encroachment of willow scrub is beginning to deminish this important habitat. Access is via the many public rights of way that cross the area with nearby parking in Grimley village or in the layby near the northern exit off the A443 to Grimley village.

Birds: Reed Warblers are particularly numerous during the summer months with smaller numbers of Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting present. A few pairs of Gadwall breed and Water Rail are present throughout the year while Lesser Spotted Woodpecker are occasionally encountered. Although not as productive a site for waders as the Camp Lane Pits, Green and Common Sandpipers are frequent visitors on passage whilst past records have included Grey Phalarope, Avocet, Curlew Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Knot, Sanderling and Little Stint. Other notable records include Spoonbill, Marsh Warbler, two Spotted Crakes, Bearded Tit, Bittern, Smew, Greater Scaup and Red-crested Pochard, although these were over shadowed by a Barred Warbler in October 2011, the first county record.

For a location map of Grimley old workings: click here

 


Holt

Introduction & access: This area of farmland located between the villages of Holt and Holt Heath is particularly productive at certain times of the year, especially during the winter months. The area can be viewed on the south side from the lane that leads from the A443 to Holt church while footpaths run along the west and east sides.
 

Birds: The winter months provide a good chance of seeing Merlin, which often perch along the many fence lines that cross the area while Peregrine and Raven can also be encountered. Stonechat are usually present and Golden Plover occasionally occur, sometimes in good numbers while the flocks of Canada Geese can attract the odd White-fronted Goose. Long-eared Owls were noted using the area as a communal roost one winter and there are a few records of Short-eared Owl while Barn Owls are more frequent. There are a number of small fishing pools surrounded by alders and these often prove attractive to Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and a few Brambling. Close scrutiny of these flocks have also turned up a few records of the much scarcer Mealy Redpoll. Spring and autumn passage periods often produce a few Whinchat and Wheatear with Spotted Flycatcher a summer visitor to the area surrounding Holt church. Unusual visitors in the past have included Grey Phalarope, Twite, Snow Bunting, Brent Goose, Marsh Harrier, Red Kite, Quail, Little Egret, Sanderling, Pied Flycatcher and a Scandinavian race Rock Pipit.

For a location map of the Holt area: click here

 


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