A rich ar­ray of wildlife in a small heath­land set­ting

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PETE HACK­ETT

THE COM­MON IS a relict of the once ex­ten­sive heath­land of Can­nock Chase with an area cov­er­ing around 100 acres. Bor­der­ing the busy A5, it is home to a wealth of wildlife in­clud­ing Red Deer, Com­mon Lizard and Great Crested Newt. The habi­tat is man­aged by Wal­sall Bor­ough Coun­cil. Conifer-thin­ning is on­go­ing and will al­low more heath­land to gen­er­ate which, in turn, will im­prove the area’s bio­di­ver­sity. One sur­prise find here was a su­perb Glossy Ibis, which took a lik­ing to a small pud­dle in a muddy field. This al­lowed ap­proach to a mere few me­tres which kept pho­tog­ra­phers happy for days. It flew away to nearby Chase­wa­ter. There is a good se­lec­tion of breed­ing war­blers, while Siskin and Lesser Red­polls find the pines to their lik­ing. For­merly, Short-eared Owls were more reg­u­lar, but to­day Tawny and Lit­tle Owls would be more re­al­is­tic. Buz­zards, Spar­rowhawks, Kestrels and, in­creas­ingly Ravens, are also reg­u­lar, so there’s plenty to see and do if you visit the area.

Siskin Tawny Owl

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