A Natural History of Sutton Park

Introduction

Sutton Park is an area of about 900 hectares (2,200 acres) in the Sutton Coldfield district of Birmingham. It is located in the north of Birmingham, centred roughly at National Grid Reference . Sutton Coldfield was formerly an independent town within Warwickshire, so the Park falls into Vice-county 38 (Warwickshire) for biological recording purposes.

Most of the park has never been cultivated, and is a mixture of woodland and heath with a number of streams and man-made pools. The heaths and bogs are now a rare habitat in the Midlands and support plants and animals not found in the surrounding areas. The park is a National Nature Reserve, managed by Birmingham City Council under a management plan agreed between the council and .

For more general information about Sutton Park, see the .

Starting in about 1988, Peter Coxhead and Harold Fowkes (now sadly deceased) have been engaged on a project to document the natural history of Sutton Park. The work is being published as a series of booklets by the under the general title A Natural History of Sutton Park. Much of the work has consisted of collating existing records, particularly those held by the Biological Records Centre, Warwick Museum. Many other people have contributed their time and expertise, including George and Maurice Arnold (birds), Stefan Bodnar (birds, vertebrates), Malcolm Clark and members of the Birmingham Natural History Society Mycolological Section (fungi), Les Evans (butterflies and moths), Steven Falk and colleagues from Coventry (insects), John Field (bryophytes), Wayne Rixom (spiders) and John Walton (lichens).

Records are constantly being updated (see below for links to checklists on the web). For example, in 2009, a rare parasitic wasp was observed in the Park for the first time. (See the separate web page for more details.)

Drawing of a Weasel
Drawing of a Weasel by Natalie Walker, to appear in Part 4: Animals

Checklists on the Web

Checklists available online have links in the table below.

The online checklists use various symbols and abbreviations. For an explanation of these, see Key to Symbols and Abbreviations in Checklists.

PlantsBryophytes (mosses and liverworts)ChecklistRecord List
Vascular Plants (ferns to flowering plants)ChecklistRecord List
Fungi and LichensFungi (plus Oomycota and Mycetozoa)ChecklistRecord List
Lichens (lichenized fungi)ChecklistRecord List
InvertebratesArachnids (mostly spiders)ChecklistRecord List
Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)ChecklistRecord List
Diptera (true flies)ChecklistRecord List
Insects other than Lepidoptera and DipteraChecklistRecord List
Invertebrates other than those aboveChecklistRecord List
VertebratesBirdsChecklistRecord List
Other Vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals)ChecklistRecord List

Any additional records will be very gratefully received. For my address, see my home page or you can e-mail me via alternative e-mail address. Species name, group, date and name and address of the recorder are essential; a location within the Park is useful. Any records, however common the species, are useful in order to keep the database up-to-date.

Drawing of a Wheatear Drawing of the Round-leaved Sundew

(Above) Drawing of a Wheatear by Vanessa Nixon, from A Natural History of Sutton Park -- Part 3: Birds

(Right) Drawing of the Round-leaved Sundew by Harold Fowkes, from Part 1: Vascular Plants

Booklets

Three booklets in the series A Natural History of Sutton Park are currently available:

Each booklet is A5 size, professionally printed with a laminated card cover, and includes:

The booklets can be bought from the Visitor Centre in Sutton Park. Alternatively, print out the order form and post it to me (the address is on the form).

Talk on Sutton Park

Peter Coxhead is available to talk about Sutton Park -- see his .