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Blagdon Lake - BirdForum Opus

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England, Somerset


At less than half the size of the nearby Chew Valley Lake, this artificial reservoir is somewhat overshadowed by its larger neighbour but it suffers far less from disturbance and has more attractive surroundings.

There are reedbeds and, when water levels are low, exposed mud that attract passage birds. The shores of the lake have extensive conifer plantations with some mixed and deciduous woodland at the eastern end.


Notable Species

Wintering waterfowl are the main attraction for birders and the species include most of those seen at Chew Valley Lake. This site has more wintering Ruddy Duck than virtually any other water in Britain and other scarcer species regularly seen here include Goosander, Smew and Bewick's Swan. Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebes are present all year but other grebes and divers are rare autumn and winter visitors.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker has been recorded in alders around the lakeshore in winter and passerines at this season can include Stonechat and Grey Wagtail close to the lake, Lesser Redpoll and Siskin in the woodlands and Redwing and Fieldfare are often numerous on the farmland.

Breeding birds on the lake are few but Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck nest in small numbers as well as Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebes, Moorhen and Eurasian Coot. The woodlands can be more productive than the lake in summer and hold a good range of the commoner woodland birds. Eurasian Sparrowhawk breeds in the woods and Common Buzzard is often seen wandering over the area.

When water levels are low the muddy areas often attract passage waders with Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpipers, and Ruff all regular. Scarcer species such as Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper are recorded most years. Small numbers of terns pass through the area including regular Black Tern.


Rarities are recorded with some frequency and the most famous was Britain's first Pied-billed Grebe, a long-staying individual present from 1963 until 1968. Rare waders have included Long-billed Dowitcher, Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Pectoral Sandpipers from North America and Marsh Sandpiper from the east. The North American Ring-necked Duck has also been recorded.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Northern Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Bewick's Swan, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Common Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Black Tern, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, (rare W), Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

A small number of red deer can sometimes be seen at the edge of the trees along the south shore of the lake.

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

To do

Access and Facilities

Blagdon Lake lies to the east of Chew Valley Lake between the villages of Blagdon and Ubley. Like Chew Valley permits are required to visit the reservoir.

Although some parts can be seen from local roads a visit with permit is really needed to view the lake thouroughly. The eastern end can be reached by taking the Butcombe road from Blagdon which allows views from the stone dam and a good area of woodland.

There is a hide on the south side of the lake at Home Bay which is open to permit-holders. This can be reached from the southern end of the dam by taking the minor road to the left.

To view the eastern end of the lake return to the A368 and turn left to Ubley. By the church turn left then left again and where the road meets the river there is a gated entrance which leads to a another hide.

Contact Details

Permits are available from Bristol Waterworks Company, Recreations Dept, Woodford Lodge, Chew Stoke, BS18 8XH.

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve