This article first appeared in the Birmingham (latterly West Midland) Bird Club Report for 1935.
Bird and place names were spelt as shown.
Bittell Reservoirs, 1935
For the third year in succession, the Bittell reservoirs were low during the greater part of 1935. The uncovered sides were largely overgrown with plants — grass, dutch clover, persicaria, thistles, etc. — so that it was less attractive for waders than in 1934. But although there were not such flocks of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, etc., in the later part of May, two Sanderling and two Bar-tailed Godwits appeared during the spring passage (the latter species has not been recorded at Bittell before), a Whimbrel was seen flying over with some Curlews in late June, and during the autumn migration, besides comnioner species, several Green Sandpipers, a Greenshank, a Grey Phalarope, a Knot, a Grey Plover and a Little Stint appeared. Jack Snipe were noted at the beginning and end of the year. Several Terns were noted in spring and autumn, one being identified as Common, while one Black Tern and one Arctic Tern were seen in the autumn.
In spite of the low water a good many unusual Duck were noted, including Shelduck, Gadwall, Pintail, Scaup and Goosander; at the beginning of the year a Brent Goose and a party of White-fronted Geese visited the reservoirs. But the regular winter population of Ducks was far less than usual in the early months of the year. Fish- eating species were especially scarce - not only Golden-eye and Goosander and Pochard, but also Herons. Some good-sized fish must have survived the very low water of 1934, however, for in the late autumn, when the water had risen a good deal, an enormous pike was lying dead just above the water level. By the end of the year, the Lower Bittell was full, and the Upper Bittell nearly full again. Consequently, at the beginning of 1936, something like the normal Duck population appeared again. On Cofton Hackett pool, which also filled up again, an exceptionally large flock of Pochard and Tufted Duck stayed for a good many weeks, the number fluctuating, however, from week to week. On February 27th, 1936, the total of the two species was 152, of which about 110 were Pochard.
Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.
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