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This reservoir is one of the largest bodies of freshwater in south-east England and was completed in 1970. Almost a quarter of the more than 100ha lake is a nature reserve managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust.
Water levels drop in summer to expose the muddy margins which are highly attractive to passage waders. Surrounding the lake are deciduous woodlands and scrub, fields and hedgerows.
Around 230 bird species have been recorded in total and more than 170 are recorded annually on and around the reservoir.
Although from a birding point of view Bough Beech is best in winter and during passage periods, there is a good range of birds to be seen throughout the year. Great Crested Grebe is present all year along with Great Cormorant and Grey Heron, Greylag Goose and Canada Goose and Common Kingfisher as well as a wide range of woodland species. Mandarin Duck is now present all year but most other waterfowl species occur in winter.
All three British woodpeckers breed as well as Eurasian Nuthatch and Common Treecreeper, various tits and most of the commoner birds of a southern English woodland. Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting breed around the lake.
Passage periods bring a variety of waders to Bough Beech including Ringed Plover, [[Little Ringed Plover, Golden Plover and Grey Plover, Dunlin, Red Knot and Sanderling, Ruff, godwits, Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel, and Spotted Redshank and Common Redshank, Greenshank, and Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiperand Common Sandpiper. Terns also pass through including Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern and Black Tern. Osprey is becoming increasingly regular and there are hopes that one year a pair will stay on and breed. Little Egret is also becoming more frequent here in line with its increase nationally. Regular passerines migrants such as Yellow Wagtail, Whinchat, Common Redstart and Northern Wheatear are frequently joined by scarcer species including Water Pipit and Blue-headed Wagtail, Black Redstart and Wood Warbler.
Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal and Northern Shoveler are all common in winter joined by Common Pochard and Tufted Duck and smaller numbers of Common Goldeneye, Goosander and Ruddy Duck. Gulls roost here in huge numbers, mainly Black-headed Gull but with smaller numbers of the other common species and the occasional rarity. Red-throated Diver appears most winters with the odd visit from a Black-throated Diver or the scarcer grebe species. In severe winters Smew and Bewick's Swan my turn up.
Vagrants are increasingly reported from Bough Beech and have included several North American waders such as Spotted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper, and in October 1984 a Radde's Warbler from Asia.
Very occasionally seabirds such as Northern Gannet, Shag and Kittiwake are seen on the reservoir or ducks more usual on the sea including scoters, Long-tailed Duck, Greater Scaup and Common Eider occasionally occur.
Birds you can see here include:
Red-throated Diver, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Common Shelduck, Mandarin Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Smew, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Western Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Osprey, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Partridge, Common Pheasant, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Common Coot, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Common Ringed Plover, Eurasian or European Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, European Turtle Dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Short-eared Owl, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Water Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Common Redstart, Black Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Treecreeper, Common Jay, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Eurasian Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Access and Facilities
The reserve lies in the north of the reservoir and a road crossing the lake provides excellent views. This road can be reached from the B2027 by taking the right turn about 2km west of Chiddingstone Causeway following signs for Winkhurst Green and Bough Beech Nature Reserve.
There is an information centre, car-park and toilets to the north of the reservoir open April-October at weekends and on Wednesdays from 11.00am until 4.30pm.
The reserve and surrounding countryside have a network of footpaths.
Grid Ref: TQ496494
Tel: 01732 453880
- Birdforum Thread
- Bough Beech Reservoir on Streetmap
- Kent Wildlife Trust, Bough Beech Nature Reserve
- Bird Forum thread
Content and images originally posted by Steve