Local Walk to WMBC Ladywalk

It was largely through Harry Lees’ tireless efforts that the CEGB (now EON) was persuaded to establish this reserve in 1970. Not contented to sit on his laurels, he then assumed the job of honorary head warden. At the same time, he took on the job of head of the Hams Hall Environmental Studies Centre. A member of the West Midland Bird Club for many years, Harry was for a time Chairman of the Research Committee. A teacher by profession, it was through his expert tuition at Birmingham University’s extra-mural evening classes that many developed their interest in birds. It was also a measure of his popularity and success that many people enrolled in his classes, year-after-year.

WMBC Annual Report No 50 1983 G R Harrison

Several GEC work colleagues including myself attended his Warwick University evening classes at The Charterhouse, Coventry in the early 1970’s.

Nine local group members, which included two members of the West Midland Bird Club, braved the early morning frost and later basked in wall-to-wall sunshine on this reserve between the giant Hams Hall distribution complex and the River Tame.

Although the pools were iced up there were plenty of woodland birds on show titmice, great spotted woodpecker, magpie, jay and raven to name a few. The footpaths were firm under-foot and not muddy at all.

The open water of the river provided us with waterfowl and a few waders. Goosander, gadwall, wigeon, teal, mallard, mute swan, greylag and Canada goose. In the unfrozen woodland ditch, we disturbed a kingfisher and a water rail.

As usual most of us retired to the comfort and warmth of the local hostelry, which just happened to be the same one that we dined at on our October visit to Whitacre Heath, just nine minutes away from Ladywalk.

A total of 43 bird species were recorded on the day.