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Bittell Reservoirs and Hopwood area (2 Viewers)

wmtlynx

Steven Peters
Hi everyone,

Spent this morning doing a walk around Bittell Reservoirs to see what was about. Parked on the bend of Bittell Farm Road and walked north up the bridleway to the dam. Along the bridleway I encountered several mixed flocks of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbirds, Robins and a Great-spotted Woodpecker. From the dam I could see the main reservoir was mainly frozen over, with Lesser Black-backed gulls and a large number of Black-headed Gulls standing on the ice, along with a Great-Crested Grebe and a Grey Heron. Back on the public footpath to the small duck pond, which was totally unfrozen there was a surprising amount of activity. Several Coots and Mallards here, along with a Little Grebe, another Grey Heron, 2 Moorhen and 15 Goosander which departed after a while. I then followed the North Worcestershire Path and saw Chaffinch, more Tits, several hundred Black-headed Gulls and Carrion Crows in neighboring fields. Then down the A441 and along the Birmingham and Worcester Canal where Wren, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, House Sparrow and Kestrel were added to the list. Around a dozen Mallard were on the Canal. Back through the farmyard and onto Bittell Farm Road where I viewed the southernmost pool at Bittell to see the water level very, very low and muddy and containing Coot, Mallard, around a dozen Teal and presumably the same 15 Goosander seen earlier. 3 Shoveller, a Mute swan and around 30 Canada Geese flew overhead during my visit, too.

All in all a very nice day. Nothing spectacular but thought I would post my findings in case anyone wondered what was there. May be worth keeping an eye on that water level on the lower pool - could get quite exciting if it stays muddy!

Regards,
Steve
 

timmyjones

Well-known member
Excellent trip report Steve, you must of had real good views of the goosander on that small pool.

The levels on Lower are really low at the moment like you said and if it remains like that then it will certainly attract some very good wader species. Presumably there doing some work somewhere down the canal and as this is used as the canal feeder reservoir so heres hoping the levels stay at the current low level!
 

wmtlynx

Steven Peters
Excellent trip report Steve, you must of had real good views of the goosander on that small pool.

The levels on Lower are really low at the moment like you said and if it remains like that then it will certainly attract some very good wader species. Presumably there doing some work somewhere down the canal and as this is used as the canal feeder reservoir so heres hoping the levels stay at the current low level!

Yes Tim, I did have excellent views of the Goosanders on the duck pond. I was very surprised to see them on such a small piece of water, and to see so many in one place. Never so many in one place before, I think about half a dozen at Sandwell Valley is the most I've seen.

I think there may be work going on along the B&W canal as there were several portacabins and plant hire vehicles adjacent to the farm next to the canal.

Regards,
Steve
 

timmyjones

Well-known member
Yes Tim, I did have excellent views of the Goosanders on the duck pond. I was very surprised to see them on such a small piece of water, and to see so many in one place. Never so many in one place before, I think about half a dozen at Sandwell Valley is the most I've seen.

I think there may be work going on along the B&W canal as there were several portacabins and plant hire vehicles adjacent to the farm next to the canal.

Regards,
Steve

There was 70+ reported there not long ago steve, the numbers there always seem to vary a lot.

I see, well lets hope the work goes on a bit longer then see if we can get a decent wader or two on to it!
 

discors

Old Timer
Saw Green Sandpiper there (Lower) yesterday first overwintering record for me. Level is so low now it shows all the levels in the reservoir. The edge is quite shallow before it drops away. The fish must be concentrated now as the Goosanders (18) were having a quick success rate being mobbed by black headed Gulls.
Trevor Jones
 

midlands birder

Well-known member
Saw Green Sandpiper there (Lower) yesterday first overwintering record for me. Level is so low now it shows all the levels in the reservoir. The edge is quite shallow before it drops away. The fish must be concentrated now as the Goosanders (18) were having a quick success rate being mobbed by black headed Gulls.
Trevor Jones

well done with this, ive only heard of 1 other green sand winering in worcester this year:t: may be more tho
MB
 

Emma

Well-known member
To continue this thread.....

Went to Upper Bittell Reservoir for the first time today, it was an unplanned visit as we originally went to the Lickey Hills to have a look for the Crossbills (See Worcs thread) and a very kind gentleman told us of the Goosanders which are currenlty showing well at Bittell and gave us directions from the Lickey Hills...we didn't realise it was so close!

The walk down to the reservoir from the road was busy enough with the common waterfowl in the pools and a Raven was heard cronking overhead, this area has the potential to be teeming with birds from the Spring onwards! At the reservoir we were greeted with the view of 45+ Goosanders in 3 groups at either end of the reservoir. About 1/3 of the water was unfrozen and the main group of Goosander were close to the public footpath/bank (South Western bank) and so gave us super views of them! In the North-Eastern side of the reservoir the Goosander were in amongst Tufted Duck, Wigeon, BH Gulls, Cormorants and a line of 12 Grey Heron were seen along the reeds in the Northern end of the reservoir.

This turned out to be a super unplanned visit to Upper Bittell and we will definitely be returning here in the coming months!
 

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Veracocha

Well-known member
To continue this thread.....

Went to Upper Bittell Reservoir for the first time today, it was an unplanned visit as we originally went to the Lickey Hills to have a look for the Crossbills (See Worcs thread) and a very kind gentleman told us of the Goosanders which are currenlty showing well at Bittell and gave us directions from the Lickey Hills...we didn't realise it was so close!

The walk down to the reservoir from the road was busy enough with the common waterfowl in the pools and a Raven was heard cronking overhead, this area has the potential to be teeming with birds from the Spring onwards! At the reservoir we were greeted with the view of 45+ Goosanders in 3 groups at either end of the reservoir. About 1/3 of the water was unfrozen and the main group of Goosander were close to the public footpath/bank (South Western bank) and so gave us super views of them! In the North-Eastern side of the reservoir the Goosander were in amongst Tufted Duck, Wigeon, BH Gulls, Cormorants and a line of 12 Grey Heron were seen along the reeds in the Northern end of the reservoir.

This turned out to be a super unplanned visit to Upper Bittell and we will definitely be returning here in the coming months!

These places (Lickey's/Bittell) are my usual Sunday walks and they do produce some worthwhile sights. You might already know it but you were just a short bridlepath away from the lower reservoirs but there was very little on show on either lakes on Sunday morning. If you look down and to the right of the road that intersects the two lakes there is a concrete sluice below you. There is usually Grey Wagtails there and is a favourite crossing place for mink. On the exact opposite side of the road there will be 4 mooring posts very close to the nearside bank. These are the best places to catch a glimpse of the Kingfishers.
 

Emma

Well-known member
These places (Lickey's/Bittell) are my usual Sunday walks and they do produce some worthwhile sights. You might already know it but you were just a short bridlepath away from the lower reservoirs but there was very little on show on either lakes on Sunday morning. If you look down and to the right of the road that intersects the two lakes there is a concrete sluice below you. There is usually Grey Wagtails there and is a favourite crossing place for mink. On the exact opposite side of the road there will be 4 mooring posts very close to the nearside bank. These are the best places to catch a glimpse of the Kingfishers.

Thanks for the info Veracocha! We knew there was a lower reservoir but didn't know exactly how to get to it, the information you have given me will certainly help for our next visit there!:t:
 

Veracocha

Well-known member
Thanks for the info Veracocha! We knew there was a lower reservoir but didn't know exactly how to get to it, the information you have given me will certainly help for our next visit there!:t:

You're welcome. To be precise, from where your shots were taken you could have continued along the pathway, crossed the stile and continued along the footpath. That would bring you to the road splitting the lakes. Alternatively, as you walked back towards the two small lakes and followed the road to the left for two/three hundred yards and come to the same road. (this path has produced LSW).
 

discors

Old Timer
Went to Lickey yesterday. Stood on Cofton Hill searching for Crossbill but no joy. Did get good views of goosanders on Upper Bittell, counted 26!
 

Veracocha

Well-known member
Been out since 6 in the snow over Bittell Reservoirs. 18 Goosander overflew the two lakes and dissapeared in the blizzard. Came across a Munjtac between the railways and the resers, lots of Teal by the causeway road. On my way back up towards Cofton Park I stopped at the sluice gate adjoining the old West Midland Transport lake. Just at the bottom I could see a water rail feeding away. Can't believe there's one of these on my doorstep. Had enough of the snow but what a cracking morning.
 

Pam_m

Well-known member
Been out since 6 in the snow over Bittell Reservoirs. 18 Goosander overflew the two lakes and dissapeared in the blizzard. Came across a Munjtac between the railways and the resers, lots of Teal by the causeway road. On my way back up towards Cofton Park I stopped at the sluice gate adjoining the old West Midland Transport lake. Just at the bottom I could see a water rail feeding away. Can't believe there's one of these on my doorstep. Had enough of the snow but what a cracking morning.

A great find with the Water Rail!:t: I think another visit to Bittell Reservoirs will be the order of the day again soon!
 

wmtlynx

Steven Peters
Had another visit to Bittell today. Saw a comparable array of species to those seen before. Goosanders present on Lower Bittell this time in large numbers (20+) and around half a dozen on Upper Bittell. Around a dozen teal on Lower Bittell, viewable from the canal at the bottom end. The highlight of the day (and the year so far!) was the 2 Ravens doing amazing aerobatics above Upper Bittell. They were showing off in spectacular style, flying with wings closed and even flying upside down!
 

discors

Old Timer
Lower Bittell is flooded again. I was hoping that the mud would attract spring migrants.
5 Goosander stilll present. Redwing and Fieldfare still in horse fields and Skylarks singing in field alongside ash path.
 

timmyjones

Well-known member
Not long back from Bittel where I saw 4 Whooper Swans on upper in the NE corner, also 4 Sand Martin through, an un-ringed Barnacle Goose behind the small pools at the back and a male Wheatear in the field at the end of the ash path.
 

discors

Old Timer
Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Lesser Whitethroats in full song along Ash path. Upper Bittell covered with Hirundines 2000? impossible to guess. Dramatic low flying Swifts sything through flocks of Swallow, Sand and House Martin covering the whole reservoir, impressive.
 

discors

Old Timer
Chiffchaff down the ash path between Upper and lower Bittell. Two drake goosanders on lower with 2 females on shrub mill. Upper was very choppy with the wind whistling across the dam no sign of the Whitefronts or pinkfoot among the Canadas and Greylag but numbers were down probably out feeding on the fields. Chaffinch flock in hedge opposite stile on path across field by the end of the private road leading to sailing club.
 

SJPortugal

Active member
Hello - I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good reliable spot or site during the winter to see either Barn Owls or Short-eared Owls?
Any help very much appreciated.
 

Veracocha

Well-known member
Barnacle goose amongst the Canada geese at the trout lakes by Bittell. Strange sight amongst the many canadas, so small.
 

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