Stithians Reservoir

Stithians Reservoir looking north. The hides are marked in red. Picture by N. Climpson, aircraft by John and Shaunne Shaw.

Contact the Stithians Warden Here

This body of water is owned jointly by South West Water and South West Lakes Trust, it is a major birding site in the South West and comes with a very impressive species list. There is a footpath around most of the perimeter of the Reservoir with a section of road to complete a circular walk.

CBWPS manages the southern portion of the main reservoir and also the southern and northern ‘cut-offs’ as nature reserves. There are two open hides at the southern end of the site, one overlooking the south western corner of the reservoir and one overlooking the ‘cut-off’ from the western bank. Access to both hides is through unlocked gates on the roadside at the western end of the causeway where there is a small lay-by for parking.


There is a hide built by South West Lakes Trust overlooking the northern cut-off adjacent to the sub-station.  Access is opposite the Golden Lion.

Locally resident birds include Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Buzzard, Kestrel, Mallard, Coot, Stonechat, Marsh Tit and Reed Bunting. During the winter months their numbers increase and they are joined by Wigeon, Teal, Goldeneye and Snipe. Goosander can be present during the colder months and Mediterranean Gulls are often present amongst the flocks of gulls. The surrounding fields often hold large numbers of wintering thrushes.

Sand Martins are the earliest of the spring migrants; other hirundines and Swifts arriving later when the weather improves. Warm winds from the southeast may bring Ospreys or Black Terns.

In addition to the resident breeding birds, Great Crested Grebe often turn up to breed during late summer waders can present subject to water levels. Garganey can be found among the water plants at both ‘cut-offs’.

During the autumn the water level is critical – if it is high and there is little or no exposed mud – then waders move on very rapidly, however, a reasonable amount of mud in the margins encourages them to stay and a wide variety of species may occur. Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper are all regular with the possibility of the rarer American waders.

Rare birds appear almost every year without fail. In recent years these have included Pied-billed Grebe, Lesser Scaup, White-rumped Sandpiper, Caspian Tern, Baillon’s Crake and Alpine Swift.


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Locations of the hides at the reservoir

Mega sighting at Stithians Reservoir

Congratulations to Angela Tonry who spotted and photographed this Golden Eagle over Stithians Reservoir on Sunday 19th April 2009. This is one of a series of pictures which also included buzzards mobbing it for size comparison. It has been confirmed that it is not an escapee from a Cornish site. If it is accepted it will only be the second record for Cornwall. The previous one was nearly 200 years ago!