Access to birdwatch at Blithfield Reservoir is by Inclusive Club membership only.
Blithfield Reservoir is a large expanse of water covering some 324 ha and owned by South Staffordshire Water plc who lease the right to birdwatch at the site to the West Midland Bird Club. A Bird Club Management Team act in an advisory capacity in connection to the birding and conservation administration of the site. Blithfield is regarded as one of the region's best bird-watching sites that provides interest year round. The reservoir and much of the surrounding woodland is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under the stewardship of Natural England. This woodland and surrounding mixed farmland add a diverse mixture of habitat that, along with the reservoir, its exposed shoreline and reed-beds, plays host to an equally diverse mixture of bird species. The physical expanse of the water is an attraction to waterfowl and migrating wading birds while spring and autumn passage would not be complete without the appearance of Osprey.
Reserve Management Team Contacts
John Holt - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Access - South Staffordshire Water plc Education Centre, accessed via Newton Hurst Lane - O/S Grid ref: SK053250
The most productive areas are Tad and Blithe bays that are situated at the north-west shallow end of the reservoir and these are accessed via the South Staffordshire Water Company Education centre where parking is available and footpaths from here lead to the reservoir shoreline and observation hides, Tad Bay is a designated reserve area. After proceeding along the main entrance road and parking near the education centre, Tad Bay is easily reached through a gate to the left of the drive and Blithe Bay via a locked gate to the right. It is possible, however, to drive around Beech Tree Point into Blithe Bay. Vehicular access to Blithe Bay is also possible from the western end of the causeway but the track is often unsuitable for cars or it may be closed altogether. Similarly it is possible to drive around the tracks of the reservoir to the south of the causeway, known as the Deep End where the tracks are better maintained. If you plan to visit the reservoir for the first time and feel that you require some assistance, please contact the management team through the e-mail address provided above. Several gates around the reservoir are locked and can be opened by a key which can be obtained from the Estate Office that is located on the approach road to the dam and on the production of your WMBC Inclusive Membership card, for a charge by the South Staffs Water Company of £2.50. If you have any difficulty with this, again please contact our management team through the e-mail address provided above. Access to other areas is via footpath from the causeway or the Sailing Club. A relevant car sticker that announces your presence is supplied annually to Inclusive members and these stickers must be displayed in your vehicle/vehicles at all time when visiting. Your inclusive membership card should also be carried with you at all times as the Water Company insists that regular permit checks are made by bailiffs and Club wardens. Additional car stickers may be obtained from the WMBC Membership Secretary or via the contact details above. Failure to comply with these requests may result in a request to leave the Blithfield Reserve.
Notice - Tad Bay access limit. In order to avoid disturbance to the birds in Tad Bay there is strictly no access to this area beyond the Forward Hide - Thank You.
Blithfield Reservoir Location Map
One of a great variety of wading birds that visit the site and in the case of this species, Little Ringed Plover, breed at Blithfield - photo - Steve Edwards
Use the Staffordshire Bird News link to access all up-to-date bird sightings for the area. Blithfield Reservoir sightings will be posted when relevant
Blithfield Reservoir News
The West Midland Bird Club is pleased to announce that the Forward Hide at Tad Bay has been extended to double its size. From that hide members can obtain closer views of the birds in the bay and also see part of the shore that cannot be seen from the Stansley Wood Hide. Please note that the Forward Hide can be reached via a locked gate to the right of the Stansley Wood Hide so a Blithfield key is required; obtainable either from the Engineers Office or through contacting email@example.com A Tern Raft has been placed off Beech Tree Point and can be viewed from the hide on the point.
Work has also been completed on a shelter overlooking the Deep End from between the Angler's Club and Ten Acre Bay. This structure will give better viewing conditions to see the winter gull roost while providing protection to birders in poor weather.
The Club is grateful for the support and cooperation of the South Staffs Water Company and Gilleard Bros Ltd.
Work in progress on extending the forward hide at Tad Bay. This will improve the viewing faciiities at this point. Work on this has been carried out by Gilleard Brothers, a company who specialse in this work.
New approach screening has now been installed to the forward hide affording a stealthy access.
Photograph of extension work - Roger Broadbent
Photograph of new approach screeing - right - Jerry Ray
"Let's put up a couple of nest boxes"
easier said than done
Take a look at the accompanying photograph of Little Owl and Barn Owl nest boxes to appreciate the amount of work that goes into their construction and, it doesn't end there. These beautifully constructed boxes are of considerable size, transporting them to site and then erecting them is another major task for our reserve team at blithfield.
Little Owl - Blithfield - Steve Edwards
Attracting breeding owl species can be a hit and miss affair but these two well constructed boxes will certainly go a long way toward enticing the owl population at the reserve to take up residence.
photograph of boxes - Jerry Ray
Blithfield Access Keys
Any WMBC member wishing to apply for a key to gain access to certain parts of this reserve will benefit by reading the information provided in the link below
Developing all of our reserves is of prime importance and an on going task to make certain that we provide the best of facilities.
Spotted Flycatcher - Blithfield Reserve - Steve Edwards
As part of the on-going Blithfield nest box scheme, boxes that will hopefully attract breeding Spotted Flycatcher have been placed appropriately. The adjacent photograph by Jerry Ray shows a box in a riverside Oak on the Blithe. This species has seen a massive decline in its breeding population and is RED listed here in the UK. The first birds will begin to arrive back here in our region from their African wintering grounds around the end of April with the main influx arriving in May, let's hope that our efforts here at Blithfield will contribute to a recovery in their numbers.
Spotted Flycatcher nest box sited in a riverside Oak on the Blithe - Photograph Jerry Ray
A welcome addition to the new Gull Hide in the form of a drop down viewing pannel. This will certainly help to keep out the icy winter winds that gull watchers frequently encounter.
Photographs Jerry Ray
The first working party of the year was faced with a mammoth task in clearing this blockage from the River Blithe at the Fishgate. The photographs below show the team responsible for undertaking this task and the result of their splendid efforts - Those involved: Philippa and Philip Balfour, Trevor Hardiman, John Holt, Darron Hayes, Roger Rooke, Dave Pantry and Jerry Ray. Rebecca Owens and Alan Shenton from SSW Blithfield were also involved. Photographs by Jerry Ray