West Midland Bird Club

Chasewater, 1948

This article first appeared in the Annual Report of the Birmingham (latterly West Midland) Bird Club for 1948.

Chasewater was previously known as Cannock Reservoir.

Bird and place names were spelt as shown.

Cannock Reservoir.

The re-focussing of attention this year on what has proved to be one of the most interesting and productive reservoirs in our area must not go unrecorded. The water, which has an area of about 210 acres, lies at the foot of Cannock Chase in the midst of the South Staffordshire mining district. There is an attractive area each of sandy beach, gravel, marsh and mud around the flat and easily flooded shores, which provide suitable feeding- grounds for several different species of bird. Along the north shore grow a few stunted bushes, and in the immediate vicinity is an extensive area of heathland.

Old records, dating from 1907–10, give an attractive list of rarities, many of which, the late F. Coburn stated, occurred there regularly. It was with ever-increasing pleasure, therefore, that we found as the year advanced that most of these species were still visiting the pool.

The chief attraction of this reservoir lies in the facility with which migration may be observed actually in progress. Many of the waders recorded were seen arriving or departing; many did not stay, while on May 21st, Messrs. Norris, Lambourne, and the writer watched a flock of seventeen Common Sandpipers flying over and around the reservoir. This species is rarely recorded in flocks of quite this size.

No less than eighteen species of wader were recorded during the year and eleven kinds were seen on one visit in May. Common, Arctic, and Black Terns were observed on both passages. As winter came on a few Twite appeared and a flock of nine was resident from December. This species is said to nest in North Staffordshire. I have records from as far south as Barlaston (near Stone) but am unable to trace any other records for the south of the County. A single Snow-Bunting stayed throughout . 9 December. In November, two Eider Ducks were present, and in December, a duck Red-crested Pochard.

Other notable records are : Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Shag and Merlin, the latter being recorded on one or two occasions. Perhaps the most interesting bird was the Lapland Bunting which appeared for four days in early December.

Cannock Reservoir, known also as Norton Pool, lies within easy reach of Birmingham and Wolverhampton and should prove a popular resort for week-end bird-watchers at all times of the year.


© West Midland Bird Club, 147 World's End Lane, Birmingham, England B32 1JX
Registered charity, number 213311

Ornithology in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire & the West Midlands county, since 1929.

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