• Simple Activities for Autumn

    Autumn: a time of change. Green leaves give way to golden. Birds migrate, cheerfully swapping the stereotypical British weather for warmer climates, and many animals prepare for hibernation. Already the conkers and acorns are falling to the ground, the remains left in small clusters by squirrels after an early morning picnic. Everything is in a state of flux, and with the promise of chilly winds and rain ahead, the nights…

    • 3 Oct 2019
  • The Tail of the Eyed Hawkmoth Caterpillar

    The sun is shining, the skies are blue and we're thoroughly enjoying the tail-end of summer here at RSPB Sandwell as we head into mid-September towards the autumn equinox and the changing of the seasons. Out on the lake we're busy starting work on the islands - thanks to support from the Environment Agency Perry Barr and Witton flood risk management scheme - and many of our work party volunteers are getting stuck in and…

    • 13 Sep 2019
  • World Teacher's Day!

    We have a wonderful education team here at Sandwell Valley who work with local schools, youth groups, youth organisations and families. From leading guided walks to teaching children how to pond dip, our team are always on hand to help young learners connect to nature and discover the world around them.

    As it's World Teacher's Day, we thought we'd ask Lucy (our Learning Officer) and Anna (our Education, Youth and Families…

    • 6 Sep 2019
  • Sandwell Switch Off in Support of Climate Strikes

    As many of us have heard on the news, or even seen with our own eyes, the world is going through a catastrophic climate crisis.  

    It’s hard to ignore how our climate has been changing over the past few years, with the MET office recording extremer temperatures year on year. This year alone we experienced the UK’s hottest ever recorded temperature at 38.7°c and only last year did we experience the ‘Beast from the…

    • 5 Sep 2019
  • Super Schools at Sandwell!

    Now that the school term has finished and the summer holidays are officially underway, it’s time to reflect on what an incredible school year we’ve had here at RSPB Sandwell. From April alone, we’ve had 28 different schools come to visit us, totalling 1435 individual children! That is an increase of 340 from the same period last year, which is a whole lot of brains and stomachs to feed!

    While we leave…

    • 9 Aug 2019
  • National Meadows Day

    To celebrate National Meadows Day this year here at RSPB Sandwell Valley we've created another wonderful wildflower meadow!

    On the walk down to the Hide, just before you reach the Hugging Tree, there's a wooden bed full of gorgeous wildflowers and a patch of ground opposite that has been lovingly planted by our morning work parties. In the UK we have lost many of our wildflower meadows and it is vital that we continue…

    • 28 Jun 2019
  • A Reflective Journal by David Winston - Part 3

    Summer is here and the reserve is in full bloom! David Winston, one of our Work Party volunteers, has kindly shared the third part of his reflection journal with us as he documents his experiences during the late spring and early summer season at RSPB Sandwell. From helping with school visits to logging recent sightings, David gives brilliant insight into a day in the life of a reserve volunteer.

    If you missed the first…

    • 28 Jun 2019
  • Family Fun at RSPB Sandwell

    One of our favourite things to do at RSPB Sandwell Valley is help families connect to nature and spend time together in the great outdoors. Our volunteers love showing our visitors how to pond dip or identify birds on the feeders and out on the lake, and it's wonderful to see parents teaching their children about the natural world - and sometimes vice versa!

    Spending time as a family in nature is something special…

    • 10 May 2019
  • Let's Go Wild!

    30 Random Acts of Wildness at RSPB Sandwell

    Every year in June The Wildlife Trusts challenges everyone to take part in a ‘Random Act of Wildness’ - that's one each day for a whole month. Your random act could last a few minutes or a few hours depending on how much time you have on your hands, but the general idea is to take a moment out of your busy schedule and immerse yourself in nature, whether it’s in your garden…

    • 19 Apr 2019
  • Buzzing about Spring

    Blackthorn blossom glistens in the bright sunlight and bare branches are beginning to show the first signs of foliage as they sway gently in the spring breeze here at RSPB Sandwell. There's the tiniest of blue tits perched on a branch outside the office window, ruffling his feathers as the spring rain showers across the valley. Come rain, come shine, our volunteers and visitors are enjoying spotting all the different…

    • 4 Apr 2019
  • A Reflective Journal by David Winston (Part 2)

    Over the past year our morning work parties have been very busy planting and landscaping the Reflection Garden, battling through the winter weathers and now relishing in the warmer spring temperatures. David Winston, one of our most recent work party additions, has been keeping a reflective journal of his most memorable experiences around the reserve including the wildlife he has spotted and the things he has learnt.…

    • 22 Mar 2019
  • A Reflective Journal by David Winston (Part 1)

    We have two work parties here at RSPB Sandwell Valley: one on a Tuesday morning and one on a Friday morning. They are an integral and vital part of our team, taking on the practical side of our conservation work and heading out in all weathers to help preserve and improve our nature reserve. This can include doing anything from sowing seeds and pruning bushes, to landscaping gardens and creating fences.

    One of our newest…

    • 21 Feb 2019
  • Wonderful Winter & Lovely Ladybirds

    It’s 2019, the weather is in flux and everyone’s settling down after the excitement of the Big Garden Birdwatch, eagerly scanning the horizon for any sign of sunshine. This week it's finally appeared - a high of 12° which is amazing compared to previous weeks of blustery winds and below freezing temperatures. In Britain we’re pretty used to the cold weather, and any mention of snow brings both an inordinate sense of happiness…

    • 7 Feb 2019
  • Nature-based Learning by Gretel Cooper

    Children's Mental Health Week is all about encouraging young people to take care of themselves. Here at RSPB Sandwell we run lots of activities for school groups, home educators, uniformed organisations and families. Providing a place where they can connect to nature, relax, and have fun all at the same time is very important to us. Find out about our wonderful sessions below with our Learning Officer Gretel Cooper, and…

    • 24 Jan 2019
  • 2018 - A Year in a Nutshell

    With 2019 just around the corner, we thought we'd take a look back at the best parts of 2018 and see what our volunteers have enjoyed most about their time at RSPB Sandwell Valley this year. From exciting events to fantastic finds, it's been a really wonderful year all round. There's been progress on the Reflection Garden, a nest box full of baby blue tits, and many new faces have joined our brilliant team of enthusiastic…

    • 7 Dec 2018
  • A Positive Outlook - Relaxing with Nature

    Stress is something that potentially we will all experience at some point in our lives. It manifests itself in many ways, and experts have suggested that stress is a response to the demands on life, crisis, work and fears. According to a study carried out by Forth in January this year, around 37% of British residents feel stressed for at least one full day per week - often due to work, money, lack of sleep and health worries…

    • 2 Nov 2018
  • Autumnal Sandwell - by Ali Rajabali

    The winds of change have arrived at RSPB Sandwell Valley. The recent Indian summer is but a distant memory and autumn has arrived bringing with it stormy weather. Whilst the summer weather, greenery and accompanying wildlife will be missed, autumn has its own joys and assemblage of critters that I look forward to seeing. Many birds arrive in the UK to winter here and others simply become more common starting from this…

    • 4 Oct 2018
  • Of Hives and Hornets

    Over the last six weeks our volunteers have been eagerly watching a hornet's nest down on the path that leads from the Hide to the Tame River. With cameras ready in hand they've headed down each weekend to record its progress, documenting the different stages of nest building. The nest itself is being constructed inside the hollow of an old gnarly oak tree - one of the oldest on the Sandwell reserve. It's estimated to…

    • 21 Sep 2018
  • Reflections on a Theme

    Since last September the hardworking volunteers at RSPB Sandwell Valley have been working on a small patch of land tucked away between Storytelling Corner and one of our Pond Dipping ponds. Following an extremely harsh winter and sky-rocketing temperatures this summer, the reserve has endured three very difficult seasons, But now, as Autumn approaches and promises to blanket us in warm amber and rouge, it seems the earth…

    • 13 Sep 2018
  • Stand and Stare

    With the summer holidays in full swing we're all looking for the opportunity to set aside work and relax, whether it's spending time with friends, visiting new places or simply stepping out into the great outdoors. It's a well known fact that going outside, being surrounded by the natural word, is sure to help bring down those stress levels. But what is it exactly that helps us to relax? A refreshing breeze? Listening…

    • 16 Aug 2018
  • A cheer for the Love Island link to nature

    Guest blog by Samantha Lyster - Communications Manager, Birmingham.

    It’s a rare situation where national political debate is sparked by women wearing bikinis. Not since the outcry over the Protein World marketing campaign, featuring an athletic model in a two piece, has swimwear prompted collective conversations over social issues, but then we’ve only recently had the British phenomenon of ITV’s Love Island.…

    • 6 Jul 2018
  • RSPB Sandwell Valley - What it means to me

    It is often difficult to answer the question about why you enjoy a site so much. What is it that brings you back time and time again?

    My history with the RSPB at Sandwell Valley stretches back to my childhood almost 15 years ago. With a budding interest in wildlife, a family member living in Smethwick sold the place easily, talking about flocks of waterbirds as far as the eye can see, and for my unexperienced self, a…

    • 5 Jul 2018
  • Volunteers Week 2018

    Volunteering means different things to different people. For some it's about giving something back to the community; for some it's a way to make new friends and learn new things; for some it's a boost of self-confidence; and for some it's simply a way of life. We've had many volunteers come to RSPB Sandwell Valley over the years, and each individual has a special and unique story to tell. Find out what some of our volunteers…

    • 7 Jun 2018
  • My Visitor Volunteer Experience by Laura

    I started volunteering at RSPB Sandwell Valley near Birmingham in March 2018 as a Visitor Volunteer. This role sees me at the very front of your RSPB experience, answering questions and serving you ice cream on a hot afternoon. On a normal day I spend my time doing a variety of different things: from craft work to making sure the centre is clean and welcoming. I decided to become a volunteer as a stepping stone after…

    • 1 Jun 2018
  • Top 5 butterflies to spot this month

    We’re all of a flutter!

    It feels like it’s been both summer and winter these last few weeks, with blazing temperatures on one day and relentless rain the next - not to mention the thunderstorms and rather astonishing displays of lightning! But one thing we have noticed is that after the clouds have cleared and the raindrops have settled, the wildlife always comes back in full force to remind us that the summer…

    • 1 Jun 2018