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Birds

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Stanwick Lakes is known for its wild birds and thousands of people visit to see them each year. It is particularly well known for waterfowl like ducks and geese but a huge variety of birds, such as Reed Warbler, Long Tailed Tit and Grey Wagtail are regularly spotted.

Over 15 lakes, ponds and marginal habitat provide perfect areas for waterbirds, particularly those lakes with an open nature and emerging islands. Ongoing surveys reveal that the site is used by Oyster Catchers, Common Terns and Great Crested Grebes for breeding.

Reedbeds provide habitat for Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler and Bittern (a BAP priority species) and Stanwick Lakes boasts one of the largest in the county.

There are large numbers of other wintering waterfowl species including Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal and Tufted Duck. Many of the birds which spend the winter on site migrate down from colder regions like Scandinavia and Siberia to benefit from our comparatively milder climate.

Wetland Bird Surveys (WEBS) counts carried out in autumn and winter indicate that Stanwick Lakes can hold a significant proportion of the valley’s population of rare Golden Plover (an annex 1 species of the EC Birds Directive); in fact, at times, over 3,000 birds have been present. Lapwings (an IUCN Red list species) are seen in flocks of over 1,000 in flight from September to March, although the site will host in excess of 3,000 birds at any one time.

Managed hedgerows, trees and bramble patches provide areas for nesting birds in the spring and summer while providing warmth and cover in autumn and winter. More common garden birds such as Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin and Great Tits are regularly seen as well as less common birds such as Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit and Bullfinch.

The abundance of hawthorn provides food in the form of berries in the autumn and winter for Redwing and large numbers of Fieldfare (another IUCN Red list species), as well as providing thorny protection for nesting birds in the spring and summer.

Barn Owls and Tawny Owls use the site and have nested in owl boxes on site. The wildflower meadows, which have an abundance of butterflies and bees during spring and summer, provide the perfect hunting ground for them, due to the small mammals using the long grass for cover.

The display in the Visitor Centre provides a good introduction to the resident birds and to our summer and winter bird visitors. For a comprehensive list of birds throughout the seasons visit Seasonal Birds.

What Birds are there to see at Stanwick Lakes?

An abundance of birds can be seen at Stanwick Lakes. We have provided a list of resident, Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer visitors to help you know what you may have seen.
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Resident Birds & Where To Spot Them
Resident Birds
Where found
Autumn / Winter
Spring / Summer
Mute Swan
Coot
Moorhen
Canada Geese Wigeon
Greylag Geese Pochard
Cormorant Goosander Common Tern
Mallard Goldeneye Oyster Catcher
Tufted Duck Shoveler Ringed Plover
Gadwall Pintail Little Ringed Plover
Great Crested Grebe Water based, island & marginal birds Shelduck Greenshank
Little Grebe Water Rail Green Sandpiper
Grey Heron Teal Snipe
Little Egret Lapwing Yellow Wagtail
Black-headed Gull Golden Plover
Lesser Black-backed Gull Redshank
Great Black-backed Gull Bittern
Kingfisher
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Dunnock Chiffchaff
Blackbird Willow Warbler
Greenfinch Garden Warbler
Chaffinch Reed Warbler
Robin Sedge Warbler
Song Thrush Chetti Warbler
Wren Grasshopper
Great Spotted Woodpecker Redwing Warbler
Green Woodpecker Fieldfare Blackcap
Starling Amongst Vegetation, Reedbeds & on the ground Stonechat Whitethroat
Pied Wagtail Redpoll Lesser Whitethroat
Grey Wagtail Siskin Sandmartin
Rook Housemartin
Carrion Crow Swallow
Jackdaw Swift
Magpie Cuckoo
Kestrel Peregrine Falcon
Sparrowhawk Hobby
Buzzard
Red Kite
Barn Owl
Tawny Owl

Stanwick Lakes Nest Box Scheme

The nest boxes on the site provide a vital nesting place for birds such as robins and wrens, blue tits and great tits, kestrels and tawny owls. Each year we are offer the opportunity to sponsor a nest box for the annual nesting season and by doing so, help us to look after the birds that live at Stanwick Lakes. A £25 donation to sponsor a nest box will contribute towards projects specifically aimed to help birds on the nature reserve and awareness to support these initiatives.

As a nest box sponsor, you will receive a pack which includes information about the nest box you have sponsored, how we look after the birds on the nature reserve and a pin badge.  To protect the birds, we don’t share the exact location of the nest boxes with you, but we will give you a general description of the location, details of the immediate habitat, and its registered number so you can follow along with what is happening in your box throughout the nesting season.

You will also be the first to hear about bird related events taking place at Stanwick Lakes, such as our Dawn Chorus Walk, and other bird related events.

Current Sponsors

A big thank you to those who have supported this project already this season.

Dougie and Danny Dormer, Margaret and Ian Atwood, Sean Carroll, Zoe Walker, Northamptonshire Walks, Jim Aspinwall, Frances Bilby, the Wood Family

Nest Box Updates

Once the breeding season starts in February / March 2024, and as a nest box sponsor, you will receive information about all the nest boxes on the nature reserve at Stanwick Lakes. Information will include what species of bird has built their nest in your box (and others), if eggs have been laid and how many chicks have hatched and fledged.

If you are already a sponsor of a nest box, you can follow along with updates.

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