Wildlife

Abberton Reservoir is recognised as a site of international importance for its populations of wildfowl and wetland birds and is one of the top places in the country to spot them.

The variety of habitats provided by the open water and surrounding wetland, woodland, and grassland makes Abberton Reservoir a very special place for wildlife. The reservoir is one of the most important in Britain for wildfowl. It is a Ramsar Site (Wetland of International Importance for birds), a Special Protection Area (SPA) designated under the EU Birds Directive, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The site is designated for its use by a number of wildfowl species, which are Coot, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, Mute Swan, Pochard, Shoveler, Teal, Goosander, Tufted Duck and Wigeon. The reservoir is
also home to an inland breeding colony of Cormorant of
European importance.

Other species to be found include Little Ringed Plover, Cuckoo, Grasshopper Warbler, and Reed Bunting. Bird of prey are common visitors and include Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Peregrine Falcon and owl species, including Barn Owl. The shy Bittern overwinters at the site favouring the reedbeds at the western end.

You may be lucky and spot one of the mammal species that live around the reservoir. These include Otter, Water Vole, Brown Hare and Harvest Mouse. All this diversity makes Abberton Reservoir an excellent place for nature lovers, wildlife enthusiast and bird watchers alike.

The Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre is set in a 24ha reserve beside the reservoir and managed by Essex Wildlife Trust. It is an ideal place to view and learn about the wildlife and get up-to-date news on the latest sightings. The reserve offers beautiful walks taking in bird hides, picnic areas, ponds and views across the reservoir.

Please click here to discover more about Abberton Reservoir Visitor Centre and reserve, including information about upcoming events and activities.
(Water vole image by Terry Whittaker).

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