Nuthatch Sitta europaea ©Martin Kessel Website

Staffordshire recording area follows the same boundaries as Staffordshire (abbreviated to Staffs) ceremonial county (Watsonian area 39), which is a landlocked county in the West Midlands of England. It adjoins Cheshire to the north west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the south east, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west. The county has an area of 1,713 square kilometres (661 square miles) and a population of over one million people. After Stoke-on-Trent (population 258,366), the largest settlements are Tamworth, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Burton upon Trent.

In the north and in the south, the county is hilly, with wild moorlands and uplands of the Peak District and southern end of the Pennines in the far north, and Cannock Chase (an area of natural beauty) and part of the National Forest in the south. In the middle regions, the landscape is low and undulating. Throughout the entire county there are vast and important coalfields. In the southern part, there are also rich iron ore deposits. The largest river is the Trent; it and its tributaries drain most of the county. Staffordshire has an extensive network of canals including the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, Caldon Canal, Coventry Canal, Shropshire Union Canal, Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and Trent and Mersey Canal. The soil is chiefly clay and agriculture was not highly developed until the mechanisation of farms.

The theme park Alton Towers is in the Staffordshire Moorlands and several of the world’s largest pottery manufacturers are based in Stoke-on-Trent. The town of Burton upon Trent is known for its beer brewing industry with several major brands brewed there.

Staffordshire contains sectors of three green belt areas, two of which surround the large conurbations of Stoke-on-Trent and the West Midlands, and were first drawn up from the 1950s.

Birding Staffordshire

All the county’s districts contain some portion of belt. It is a beautiful rural county of scenic contrast, stretching from the Gritstone Hills on the edge of the Peak District National Park, to the flood plains of the river Trent, to the edge of the West Midlands conurbation. The area includes the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Forest, together with the Forest of Mercia, a community forest. These mixtures of habitats are naturally good news for birdwatchers with a high variety of species found in the area.

There are several RSPB reserves and National Nature Reserves with many local reserves too. The prime sites for rarities are Blithfield and Belvide reservoirs in the centre of the county.

Belvide Reservoir on a Stormy Day ©Steve Nuttall

Top Sites
  • Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Aqualate Mere NNR is situated 3km to the east of Newport, at the heart of a private estate, centred on Aqualate Mere - the largest natural lake in the West Midlands. Extensive reed beds surround this NNR which supports wildfowl throughout the year. Marsh and Willows Tits can be found feeding new the hide on the east shore…
  • Belvide Reservoir

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    Situated near Gailey, 7 miles NW of Wolverhampton, the reservoir has 3 hides on the south bank. It is good all year round, but spring/autumn passage and winter usually throw up wader and waterfowl rarities. Access to the hides is by permit only, available from the West Midlands Bird Club.
  • Berryhiill Fields

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    Berryhill Fields is an area of grassland in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent in England, between the housing estates of Bentilee and Berryhill and the town of Fenton. It is a local nature reserve, owned and managed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
  • Blithfield Reservoir

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    Situated just north of Rugeley, near Abbots Bromley. The largest reservoir in Staffordshire, this site regularly attracts passage waders and wintering duck, with some rarities each year. Best in autumn and winter. The road causeway over the reservoir is good for casual observations, but hides and muddy bays are situated at the NW end, furthest from the dam wall. Access to the latter is by permit only, available from the West Midlands Bird Club.
  • Cannock Chase

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    Situated in a large area north of Cannock. A large area of wood and heath-land, notable for nightjars in the summer, especially near the Katyn Memorial. Also holds a few woodlark, hobby in summer, great grey shrike in winter, goshawk, lesser-spotted woodpecker, and the usual woodland birds. Best in early morning or evening - avoid the large crowds during summer daytime.
  • Chasewater Reservoir

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    Situated near Brownhills, this is a prime spot for Iceland and Glaucous gulls in the large winter roost. Park at the car park at the southern end and scope the roost. Also interesting for passage migrants and wintering waterfowl, especially in the areas to the north which are cut off from the water sports taking place on the main reservoir.
  • Coombes Valley Nature Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Owned by the RSPB, but accessible by anyone, this is a great site for the bird lover rather than twitcher. The best time to visit is late spring/early summer, when you are almost certain to see pied flycatcher, redstart and wood warbler. Also present are lesser spotted woodpeckers, dippers and kingfishers.
  • LNR Consall Woods RSPB

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    Consall Woods is a wonderful place to explore. This once industrial valley has again taken on nature's mantle and is now a wonderfully rich mixture of wood pasture, pools and mature woodland, nestled alongside the River Churnet.
  • Middleton Lakes Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Opened in 2011, this reserve near Tamworth on the east of the county, borders Warwickshire and was previously a working quarry. New marshland habitat is continuing to be developed but is attractive to waders, waterfowl and marshland dwellers. y Ibis…
  • North Staffordshire Moorlands

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    As with most moor-land, it is difficult to predict where to find some birds, but a summer walk could reveal ring ousel, hen harrier and short-eared owl. The river Dane between Danebridge and Gradbach is good for dippers, Knot and red grouse can be found on most areas with heather (e.g. The Roaches and Lum Edge). Swallow Moss was the place to go for black grouse, with a specially built hide overlooking the lek, but they are now extinct in Staffordshire. Rudyard Lake and Tittesworth Reservoir are also worth investigating for water and waterside birds. The latter has a conservation area with hides.
  • Whitemore Haye

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    There are several gravel pits in this area, some still being worked, so this is an excellent area to look for passage waders. The first pit on the left as you come down the access road is particularly worth investigating. Look too for corn buntings and tree sparrows.
  • Nick Pomiankowski


County Recorder
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 323

Useful Reading

  • A Checklist of the Birds of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands and Guide to Status and Record Submission

    | Written & Published by West Midland Bird Club | 2011 | Paperback | Edition 3 | 32 pages, b/w illustrations, tables | ISBN: #194352 Buy this book from
  • The New Birds of the West Midlands

    | (covering Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and the former West Midlands County) | By Graham Harrison & Janet Harrison | West Midlands Bird Club | 2005 | 496 pages, colour photos, line drawings, maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780950788128 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in West Midlands

    | By F Gribble, G Harrison, H Griffiths, J Winsper & S Coney | Christopher Helm | 2007 | Paperback | 343 pages, 53 maps, 24 line drawings | ISBN: 9780713664195 Buy this book from
  • RSPB Burton & South Derbyshire Local group

    Our aim is to support the RSPB in their conservation work. and to introduce members of the public to all aspects of Flora and Fauna. We are a friendly group and do not have any membership fees. Do feel free to join us on our field trips and indoor meetings.
  • RSPB Lichfield & District Local Group

    The group's aim is to support actively the work of the RSPB in the local community and to involve RSPB members and the wider public in the Society's conservation, public affairs, education, fundraising and other activities. We have regular monthly indoor meetings locally throughout the year and have occasional day-trips to local nature reserves.
  • RSPB North Staffs Local Group

    Local RSPB members group. Details of programme of events and places to birdwatch in North Staffordshire…
  • RSPB Walsall Local Group

    The RSPB Walsall Local Group was formed in 1971 and is one of the oldest groups in the country. Whether you are an experienced birder, a novice, or simply interested in the birds you see flying in and around your garden, please feel free to join us at one of our events.
  • SWT Leek Group

    Nature Reserves in Staffordshire Moorlands - In late 1999 the Trust purchased 160 acres at Cotton Dell, near Oakamoor; further details in future leaflets and on this web-site. At Coombes Valley nature reserve near Leek the Trust has an agreement over 60 acres of the 260 acre total. The whole site is managed by the RSPB. The Trust also has an agreement over nature reserves at Longsdon Woods, Spring Cottage and Ward's Quarry. Access by permit only…
  • Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Local Groups

    Staffordshire Wildlife Trust's Local Groups are groups of wildlife enthusiasts who organise walks, talks and fundraising events for the Trust.
  • West Midland Bird Club

    The West Midland Bird Club offers the widest range of indoor and field meetings for its members. Probably more than any other provincial bird club in the whole of the UK.
  • West Midland Bird Club - Stafford Branch

    The Staffordshire research programme includes the important Staffordshire Ecological Records project. Integral to this project is the Online Bird Atlas.

Abbreviations Key

  • CP Park Hall

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    Park Hall Country Park is a beautiful area perfect for walks and nature with lakes, sandstone canyons, woodland, heath-land, and fishing facilities. Park Hall Country Park is one of the city's most important natural sites
  • LNR Berryhill Fields

    InformationSatellite View
    Berryhill Fields is 68 hectares of grassland in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, between the housing estates of Bentilee & Berryhill and the town of Fenton, Staffordshire. It is a local nature reserve. The main beneficiaries of this diversity are the birds and mammals. Five species of warbler, including the uncommon grasshopper warbler, breed alongside nationally threatened farmland species such as grey partridge, snipe and skylark. Skylarks epitomise the Fields, delivering their songs even on cold, windy winter days with the freedom that the Fields offer.
  • LNR Branston Water Park

    Information PDFSatellite View
    Branston Water Park is a premier wildlife site in East Staffordshire. Located just outside Burton off the A38 Branston Water Park was originally an open cast gravel pit and is now home to many species of plant and animal, both common and nationally rare…
  • LNR Croxall Lakes

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    Previously quarried for sand and gravel, Croxall Lakes now provides a home for a wide range of wintering and breeding birds.
  • LNR Doxey Marshes

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    A wetland oasis near the centre of Stafford and one of the country's best bird watching sites
  • LNR Highgate Common

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    An ancient lowland heath buzzing with rare wildlife
  • LNR Loynton Moss

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    Discover a surprise around every corner in a unique landscape formed by retreating ice sheets at the end of the last age, 10,000 years ago. Great for wetland birds.
  • LNR The Roaches

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    Breathtaking views, amazing wildlife - the gateway to Staffordshire’s Peak District good for Red Grouse, Curlew, Peregrine Falcon, Meadow Pipit and Green Hairstreak butterflies.
  • NNR Aqualate Mere

    InformationSatellite View
    Aqualate Mere NNR, managed by Natural England, is situated 3km to the east of Newport, at the heart of a private estate, centred on Aqualate Mere - the largest natural lake in the West Midlands. Extensive reed beds surround this NNR which supports wildfowl throughout the year. Marsh and Willows Tits can be found feeding new the hide on the east shore…
  • NNR Chartley Moss

    InformationSatellite View
    Chartley Moss NNR is the largest example of a floating peat bog, or schwingmoor, in Britain. The sphagnum lawn supports important botanical communities adapted to grow in this hostile environment. These plants in turn support a a large number of invertebrates.
  • NNR Hulme Quarry

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    This area features heathland, woodland, grassland and scrub, as well as a number of small pools and geological features. Main habitats: geological, grassland, heathland.
  • NNR Mottey Meadows

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    Mottey Meadows National Nature Reserve is one of the best examples in the UK of wildflower rich floodplain meadows. The reserve is made up of a series of alluvial flood meadows which have been managed as hay meadows for many centuries.
  • RSPB Coombes Valley

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    This is a delightful oak woodland to walk through – especially in spring and early summer when lots of migrating birds come to breed at the reserve. Birds you may see on the steep valley sides include flycatchers, redstarts and wood warblers. There are a wide variety of butterflies to spot too.
  • RSPB Middleton Lakes

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    Since we acquired the site in 2007, we've worked hard to make sure the final restoration benefits birds, wildlife and visitors. The area is already regionally important for overwintering wildfowl such as pochard, tufted ducks and smew. Middleton Lakes will become the most important site for breeding waders in the Midlands. The lakes, reedbeds, meadows and woodlands make it one of the best birdwatching sites in the area.
  • WMBC Blithfiled Reservoir

    WebpageSatellite View
    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.
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Staffordshire Bird

    Lists & Sightings
    Welcome to Staffordshire Birding. This blog will be updated with Staffordshire bird news on a daily basis. If you have any photographs you wish to be considered for use please send them in.
  • Staffs Bird News

    Twitter Feed
    Run in conjunction with our Staffs Bird News Blog providing rare/scarce news as it happens from around Staffordshire.
Trip Reports
  • 2019 [01 January - James Kenny - Blithfield Reservoir

    ...I drove down the causeway and parked alongside the other birders in the northern car park. Most of them were barely aware of my arrival, although a few did turn around, perhaps to check if they recognised me...
  • 2019 [02 February] - James Kenny - Cannock Chase

    ...The intention was to at least show Paula where the Great Grey Shrike, although a small part of me hoped that we would get lucky. We parked up in the secluded Seven Springs Car Park, and clambered out of the car to more unseasonable February warmth...
Places to Stay
  • White Hart

    A warm and welcoming traditional village pub, in the centre of the historic village of Alton, owned by the local community. You can stay here in our comfortable Bed and Breakfast accommodation only a mile away from Alton Towers.
Other Links
  • Birds of Keele University Arboretum

    The success of this page relies on feedback from you. Please pass on anything that you feel others might like to hear about by E-Mail or by post to Geography, Geology & the Environment, William Smith Building.
  • Enjoy Chasewater

    Chasewater was created in the late 18th century as a reservoir feed for the Wyrley and Essington Canal system. The remaining land was further molded through the years of coal mining that followed the construction of the reservoir. When coal mining ceased in the 1960's, the site became wasteland, with pitheads and workings from local coalmines.
  • Gulls in the West Midlands Region

    This is a personal website which presents data and images relating to gulls in the West Midlands Region (the counties of Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the metropolitan county of the West Midlands).
  • Riverside Woodcraft Bird Tables

    Manufacturer of Bird Table Products and Wildlife supplies. Riverside Woodcraft is a family run Garden, Bird, and Wildlife company operating from our premises in Tamworth, Staffordshire. We manufacture quality wooden garden products from our own workshop and to our own designs. We distribute our exclusive range of Bird Tables, Nest Boxes, Hedgehog Houses and other similar items to trade and public.
  • North Staffs Local Group Blog

  • Steve Nuttall - Belvide Birding

    Belvide Reservoir is a 180 acre canal feeder situated in south west Staffordshire. A total of 253 species have been recorded on the reserve. I've been birding Belvide since 1984 and have personally recorded 240 species with over 7600 visits made. Belvide is like a drug to me and I can honestly say I'm addicted.
  • Steve Seal - Notebook from Rudyard

    Rudyard Lake lies on the edge of the North Staffordshire moors and covers some 168 acres and is over 2 miles long. It is owned by the Canal & river Trust built in 1799 as a canal feeder. The area is abundant in wildlife and due to Rudyard still feeding the canal systems the water levels do vary , and many wading and migrating birds can be seen on the mud flats at the northern end. Rudyard holds a very impressive list of bird species with 166 recorded to date.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Martin Kessel

    Bird Photos from home and away

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