FACILITIES AND INFORMATION FOR BIRDWATCHERS AT CARSINGTON WATER
Carsington Water is a multi-user water facility run by Severn Trent Water. It is some 200 metres above sea level with an eight mile walk around 300 hectares of water. It was opened in 1992 and has become a major tourist attraction, very busy on sunny weekends and school holidays. There are 4 bird hides plus a Wildlife Centre Hide, all with disabled access, three large car parks, Visitor Centre, restaurant, café and shops. Foot and cycle access is via any part of the eight mile circular route. There is limited access to the shore and no public access to adjacent fields or to the seven islands but most shorelines and islands can be viewed with little disturbance to wildlife.
Visitor Centre Car Park: Pay and Display £3/2hrs, £5 all day and £47 annual ticket. Open 7:30am till dusk.
The Wildlife Centre is off the north end of the car park, open 8am- 6pm [or dusk if earlier]. It is a heated hide containing displays, wildlife information, wildlife records book. It overlooks an island for breeding birds and a feeding station for Tree Sparrow and Willow Tit.
Stones Island provides good views over much of the water. There is a small hide and the gull roost can usually be observed at dusk. Outside busy visitor times it attracts common passage birds, best early morning.
The Visitor Centre is open 10am-5pm. Restaurant, café, shops, toilets, cycle hire, watersports, fishing and children’s playground are also located here.
Millfields Car Park: Pay and Display £2.50/2hr, £4 all day.
8am till as shown on entry post [usually dusk, no later than 7pm]. Toilet facilities.
Access to the dam wall and walks below. Also check Penn Carr and Millfields Island and Spit. Some of the water and dam wall can be viewed from cars, useful in poor weather.
Sheepwash Car Park: Pay and Display £1.50/2hrs, £3 all day but no facilities. Open 8am till as shown on entry gate post [usually dusk, no later than 7pm]. Check feeding station in centre of car park.
Access eastwards to Sheepwash Hide and to Paul Stanley Hide for Willow Tit on feeders. These hides have site diaries for checking on/recording sightings. Site maps, STWA information, last month’s bird notes and Bird Club details are posted in these hides. Access westwards to the small brick observation tower, Lane End Hide and then a Tree Sparrow feeding station.
Other Site Users: Fishing season mid-March to mid-October. Fishing is from motorised boats which are slow and quiet and restricted from the white buoyed-off wildlife sanctuaries, thus keeping wildlife disturbance to a minimum. Watersports are open all year, they require a large operational area to be effective but are limited to within the large orange buoys and have access to Watersports Island for some pursuits. Sailing Club have access to the same water area and have a landing pier and observation tower on Sailing Club Island. All these users have fast motorised safety and rescue boats which have to be operational whenever facilities are in use.
Birding: For latest sightings see: Diaries in Sheepwash and Paul Stanley Hides, Wildlife log book in Wildlife Centre, last month’s Bird Notes posted in all hides and notice boards, the bird club web site www.carsingtonbirdclub.co.uk, and see the comprehensive Annual Bird Report produced by the club.
Species: 70 daily, 100 monthly, 170 annually and 232 species recorded since 1992.
Breeding Birds: 65 species annually and 80 species proven+16 possible since 1992. Surveys during 2002-2006 found 2116 pairs of birds breeding including 167 pairs of Willow Warbler.
Wintering Wildfowl: 2000 Ducks, 1000 Coot, 500 Canadas and 30 feral Barnacle Geese.
Waders: Up to 1000 Lapwing in winter. Spring passage is variable, up to 20 species in total, but only a few per day. Autumn passage sometimes poor. Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Redshank breed.
Autumn/Winter Gull Roost: Up to 10,000 birds, 13 species recorded. View from Sheepwash Hide or Stones Island at dusk.
Please leave records of birds, mammals, butterflies and dragonflies in diaries provided, with details and contact names, essential for any significant sightings.