Swithland Reservoir is the most reliable place in the county to see Peregrines
in the winter: most days one or two sit in a prominent oak tree on the
skyline of Buddon Wood for an hour or two before dusk, and can easily
be seen from the dam. Calm, clear days seem to be more productive than
in poor weather. Sparrowhawks are regular over Buddon Wood, and this is
also a good site for Hobby in late summer/autumn.
Wader passage has been almost non-existent in recent years, as the water
level has been kept constantly high, but odd birds such as Common Sandpipers
may drop in and rest on the dam. Water Rails are sometimes seen, the best
spots being the inflow and the reedy area by the railings along Kinchley
Common Terns breed on the rafts on the north side, and Arctic and Black
Terns pass through on migration. Little Gulls may also be associated with
these movements, especially during easterly winds in spring.
All three woodpeckers may be seen around the reservoir, especially along
Kinchley Lane, which is bounded on one side by what remains of Buddon
Wood. Kingfishers are regular - a particularly good spot for them is behind
the dam, where they fish in the old settling pools of the waterworks.
Grey Wagtails are regular on the dam and along the overflow channel. Both
Marsh and Willow Tits are scarce these days, but may still be encountered
in Buddon Wood, which also occasionally has small flocks of Redpolls and
Siskins. Bramblings are regular in spring, the trees behind the dam being
Swithland has amassed a good list of rarities over the years due to being
well-watched. Recent highlights have included: Red-rumped Swallow (twice),
Crag Martin, White-winged Black Tern, Red-necked and Grey Phalaropes,
Great and Arctic Skuas, Ring-billed Gull, Spoonbill, Bittern, Little Egret,
Avocet, Ferruginous Duck and Firecrest.