Map reference: SJ8710
Belvide is a 75 hectare canal feeder reservoir near the village of Brewood, seven miles north-west of Wolverhampton. It is leased to the West Midland Bird Club by British Waterways as a nature reserve. The reservoir was constructed in the 1830s to serve the nearby Shropshire Union Canal.
Birdwatchers began visiting the site in the 1920s, realizing its value for wintering wildfowl and passage migrants. The West Midland Bird Club began issuing permits to visit the reservoir in 1953, and the first hide was erected in 1956. The nature reserve was established in January 1977.
In addition to the reservoir there are almost 9 acres of woodland. Other habitats include reed beds and unimproved pasture. The reserve has 4 hides and there is a feeding station in the car park.
During the winter common ducks such as Mallard, Teal and Wigeon are present in large numbers. Diving ducks such as Goosander are also present. The large gull roost sometimes includes Glaucous or Iceland Gulls. Divers and migrating swans and geese occur annually.
Belvide is an excellent place to look for waders during spring and autumn passage. In recent years the common waders have been joined by Whimbrel, Wood Sandpiper, Curlew Sandpiper, Little and Temminck's Stint. Tern passage is also good, with Black, Arctic, Little and Sandwich Terns annual visitors. Other birds seen at this time include Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Black-necked Grebe and Spotted Crake
Resident: Little and Great Crested Grebe, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Little Owl, Tawny Owl.
April - September: Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge and Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher.
October - March: Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Pochard, Goldeneye, Goosander, Water Rail, Snipe.
Map reference: SK0623
Blithfield is a 320 hectare drinking-water supply reservoir situated to the west of Abbots Bromley in south Staffordshire. It is leased to the West Midland Bird Club by South Staffordshire water plc as a bird reserve. The reservoir was opened in 1953 to supply water to the growing West Midlands conurbation.
Even before its opening the reservoir was a well known birdwatching site, due to its large size and position on the migrating routes along the Tame and Trent valleys. The West Midland Bird Club began issuing permits to visit the reservoir in 1967. The site was leased by WMBC as a reserve in the 1970s and this arrangement continues to this day.
During the winter both dabbling and diving ducks occur in their thousands, with nationally important numbers of Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes. Goosanders have been present in large numbers in recent years. There is also a large gull roost with the possibility of seeing unusual species such as Kittiwake and Mediterranean Gull.
During late summer weather conditions and water consumption often result in large areas of mud becoming exposed. This attracts numbers of migrating waders, with Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper all being annual visitors. Unusual birds turning up in autumn 2003 included Great White Egret, Little Egret, Garganey, Hen and Marsh Harrier, Honey Buzzard, Whimbrel, Turnstone, Pectoral, Wood and Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Little Stint and Ruff. Tern passage is also good in spring and autumn, and Ospreys pass through in most years.
April - September: Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, passage raptors including Osprey.
Map reference: SJ9901
Access: The chase lies in a triangle between Cannock, Stafford and Rugeley, and consists of 6700 hectares of decidous and coniferous woodland and upland heath. There are numerous car parks. The best areas for birdwatching are the Sherbrook valley, Brocton Coppice and Seven Springs. There is a winter feeding station at the Marquis Drive visitors centre.
Resident: Woodcock, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Stonechat, Coal Tit, Treecreeper.
April - September: Cuckoo, Nightjar, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher.
October - March: Brambling, Siskin, Crossbill, Great Grey Shrike (occasional).
Map reference: SK0307
This reservoir has been watched regulary since 1948, and has built up a very impressive list over the years. Rarities in 2003 included Iceland Gull, Mealy Redpoll, Osprey, Little Egret, Great Skua, Slavonian Grebe, Grey Phalarope and Great Northern Diver.
Access: North of the A5 near Brownhills.
Resident: Little and Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Lapwing, Kingfisher, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Tit.
April - September: Little Ringed Plover, Cuckoo, Sand Martin, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler. Common Scoter, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Common and Arctic Tern on passage.
October - March: Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Cormorant, Golden Plover, Jack Snipe, Snipe, Common Gull, Stonechat, Siskin.
Map reference: SK0052
Access :Off the A523 road to Ashbourne, 3 miles south-east of Leek. Follow signs to Apesford.
Resident: Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Woodcock, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, all three woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Redpoll.
April - September: Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Redstart, Wood Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher.
October - March: Fieldfare, Redwing, Brambling, Siskin.
Map reference: SJ9024
Access: Follow the River Sow from Doxey Road in Stafford.
This Staffordshire Wildlife Trust reserve is especially important for breeding and wintering Redshank, Snipe and Lapwing.
Resident: Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Lapwing, Snipe, Kingfisher, Reed Bunting.
April - September: Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler. Passage waders may include Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Common and Green Sandpiper.
October - March: Teal, Shoveler.
North Staffs Moors
Map reference: SK0063
Access: Off the A53 Leek to Buxton road. For The Roaches turn off the A53 at Upper Holme 3 miles north of Leek. Park at The Roaches and explore from there or continue along this road to Roach End and walk down into the Blackbrook Valley.
Resident: Sparrowhawk, Red Grouse, Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Raven.
April - September: Golden Plover, Curlew, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Whinchat, Ring Ouzel, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher.
October - March: Fieldfare, Redwing.
Updated 28 February 2004