• 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
  • Smelly Sandwell Valley by Sue Fox

    After a few weeks volunteering at RSPB Sandwell Valley, usually on a Tuesday, I found that this was the day when, once every few weeks, the tanker comes to collect the waste from the septic tank! That got me thinking, what does all the wildlife make of the smells on the reserve? I love going round the reserve smelling the flowers, but do all the animals and plants smell things as well?

    (oystercatcher and coot)

    Through…

    • 17 May 2018
  • My first month as a Learning Assistant Intern by Christina Nijar

    It’s been about a month since I joined the RSPB Sandwell Valley team and it'a been bit of a whirlwind so far. Having previously just finished my master’s degree in outdoor education, I was looking for a way to expand my experience and also to volunteer my time to a cause I believe in.

    My role here is to assist the learning officer, Gretel Cooper, at Sandwell with the delivery of schools on reserve sessions…

    • 14 May 2018
  • Owen helps save the albatross!

    Hi, I am Owen!

    I am not only speaking for myself, but for the Eco-council at Witton Middle School in Droitwich. I wanted to help nature, so I joined my school Eco-council. When I found out about the Albatross Appeal, I suggested we should collect stamps for it, and our Eco-teacher said that we could. The RSPB sent us a stamp collecting kit which I put together and took to school. We put it by the school library. I spoke…

    • 11 May 2018
  • St George and the Dragonfly

    Almost everyone knows the great legend of St George and the Dragon, the brave knight who fought to rescue a princess and later became known as the Patron Saint of England. As the sunshine is shining and we're spotting more and more species across the reserve, we thought it'd be fun to see which of our residents could play the parts of the characters in the legend. Alas, here be no dragons. However, if we look closely…

    • 20 Apr 2018
  • The elusive butterfly and other tales

    Spring is late this year and every time we cleared the snow on the reserve we had more a week later, but last Sunday was warm and pleasant so we set off to Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham to find our first butterfly of the year. The bees were active, we identified honey bee, buff-tailed bumblebee, tree bumblebee and hairy-footed flower bee, but no butterflies. The next day the weather was back to normal I had an odd thought…

    • 5 Apr 2018
  • SpawnWatch

    You may have heard of the Big Garden Birdwatch, but have you heard of SpawnWatch? For the next two weeks our volunteers will be keeping an eye out for our amphibian friends and any frog spawn – those amazing little green clumps of jelly! We’re working with BBCARG (the Birmingham and Black Country Amphibian and Reptile Group) to see how much frog spawn we can find.

    Sometimes you can see frog spawn as early…

    • 28 Mar 2018
  • Spring, spring, spring!

    After being hit by stormy winds and snowy blizzards from the east, we’re all waiting in anticipation for spring to finally arrive. The lake is no longer frozen over, the birds are happily chirping away and the sunshine is now beginning to appear once again from behind those grey clouds. Here at RSPB Sandwell there’s signs of new growth all over the reserve, from the delicate blackthorn blossoms to the budding purple of…

    • 16 Mar 2018
  • Volunteering at RSPB Sandwell Valley by Jenni Wilding

    I have been volunteering at the RSPB Sandwell Valley Reserve for over a year now, and my only regret is that I didn’t start volunteering sooner, having lived in the local area for a fair number of years. I mainly do the Friday work parties, but occasionally get involved with other events. It’s great to not only spend more time outside helping with habitat improvement, but also have the opportunity to enhance other peoples…

    • 9 Mar 2018
  • Sandwell snipe almost steal the show... but not quite

    I often say that I always leave Sandwell Valley as a volunteer with a new memory which will often stay with me for a while – last Friday in the hide was no exception – a joyful couple of hours in the afternoon with two memories.
     
    We had a few snipe flying in and out for the first hour but nothing prepared me for the show which 5 or 6 of them put on just to the right of the hide a little later. I think this…
    • 1 Mar 2018