Birdwatching at Bittell Reservoirs


Lower Bittell Reservoir


Introduction & access: Located in the north-east corner of the county the reservoirs at Bittell consist of Upper Bittell and the smaller Lower Bittell which are linked by a small wooded stream. Fishing occurs on both reservoirs with sailing only on Upper Bittell, leaving Lower Bittell relatively undisturbed. The area is particulary attractive to wildfowl and gulls, especially during winter while the spring and autumn passage periods bring terns and a wide variety of waders. There is no general access to the confines of the reservoirs although most of the birdlife can be viewed from the public footpaths and roads that surround the area.

Birds: Wildfowl are prominent during the winter months with good numbers of Great Crested Grebes while both Goldeneye and Goosander are regular. Scarcer visitors include Scaup, Smew and Red-breasted Merganser while it the prime locality for divers and the scarcer grebes although neither have been as regular in recent years. Gulls numbers often build up during late afternoon before heading off to the roost at nearby Bartley Reservoir. The spring and autumn passage periods increases the variety of visitors with terns being regular and under the right weather conditions Black and Arctic Terns can occur in double figures with occasional Sandwich and Little Terns a real possibility. Provided the water levels at Upper Bittell are favourable then an excellent range of waders can occur and in addition to the frequent Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Greenshank it is a regular site for scarcer species like Sanderling, Knot, Turnstone and Little Stint. In addition Spotted Redshank, Bar-tailed Godwit and Curlew Sandpiper are possible while it still remains the most regular site in the county for the now very scarce Grey Plover. Over the years an impressive list of waders has been recorded including the only county record of Kentish Plover, all four Purple Sandpipers and more recently a Long-billed Dowitcher occurred during the autumn of 2006.

For a location map of Bittell Reservoirs: click here



Lower Bittell Reservoir


Upper Bittell Reservoir


Upper Bittell Reservoir



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