Trip Reports - 2004
dedicated group of seven members braved the elements to start 2004's field
trips at Ogston. Fortunately, the weather improved throughout the day after
a very wet and windy start. Despite being a little too windy 46 species
were still recorded. Fantastic views of a Willow Tit were gained as it approached
to within 2 feet of a hide to feed. A Little Owl was found near Brackenfield
church. The usual ducks and gulls were present together with a mixed flock
of Goldfinch and Linnet, forty or more Cormorant, a single Redshank and
a lone Meadow Pipit.
A frosty start quickly gave way to a pleasant sunny day. The walk around
the Chapel and lakeside provided sightings of the expected woodland and
wildfowl, including several Goosander and Ruddy Duck. There were dozens
of Mistle Thrushes and Redwings, a solitary Fieldfare and a couple of Grey
Wagtails in the Cow Pastures. The weir and ford were rather quiet except
for splendid views of two soaring Buzzards. Several spectacular Mandarin
drakes and ducks were seen between Clumber and Carburton Bridges, and a
flock of Siskin and a Kingfisher were seen near the latter. As we were departing,
having seen 53 species, a single Hawfinch made a farewell appearance and
finished off an excellent trip.
day started with a diversion to Grimsby to see the long staying American
Robin. Worlaby Carr was very quiet apart from dozens of singing Skylark
and a few representatives of a dozen other species. Discussions with the
estate manager revealed that there had been few wintering birds owing to
the mild weather. The next stop was Blacktoft Sands where 34 species were
recorded, including the usual wildfowl and waders.
The morning was rather overcast but the birding was off to a great start
with Siskin by the Fairholmes car park, and by the time we had reached Derwent
Dam we had seen about 20 species including Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper and
Goldcrest. A flock of 34 Whooper Swans were on the reservoir and later the
same flock splashed down behind Howden Dam while we were having coffee and
savouring the excellent views of Goshawk and Buzzard. About 30 species in
total were seen or heard.
A good day was spent at Carr Vale where over 60 species were recorded.
Several "firsts" for the year were seen including Swift, House Martin, Whinchat,
Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat. The views of a pair
of Yellow Wagtails were great. A skulking Sedge Warbler was heard but failed
to put in an appearance. The day finished with a pair of Buzzards being
"buzzed" by a Sparrowhawk and an excellent, albeit short, view of a Whitethroat.
Yellowhammers were also seen.
Our ears were overwhelmed by the dawn chorus and we quickly had more
than half of the day's total of 69 species including Chiffchaff, Willow
Warbler, Cuckoo, Blackcap, Yellowhammer, Tree Pipit and the usual water
and woodland birds. Woodlark, Redpoll and Redstart were seen and heard near
Five Thorns Plantation.
The Pied Flycatchers remained elusive, but the evening's walk through
Padley Gorge and the Longshaw Estate were rewarded with good views of Stonechat
and several encounters with Cuckoos. A pair of Little Grebe were on the
pond, and a Green Woodpecker and Redstart were heard calling. About 28 species
Whisby Nature Park
Whisby is renown for Nightingales and Turtle Doves, and we were not disappointed.
One of the first birds to be heard was a singing Nightingale and, just before
midday, a purring Turtle Dove was also heard. Among the 57 species were
good numbers of leaf warblers, buntings, tits, finches, hirundines and wildfowl.
During lunch, in one of the hides overlooking Grebe Lake, breathtaking views
of a low-flying Hobby added to the day's excitement.
Despite frequent showers, the walk from Calver was pretty good, as was
the pub lunch at "The Bridge". On the river were several Grey Wagtails and
we had brief glimpses of Kingfisher and Dipper, but best of all was a female
Goosander with 3 youngsters. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Garden Warblers
and Blackcaps were still calling loudly and in the woods below Curbar edge
we had good views of Whitethroat, Redstart and Yellowhammer. In total the
6 of us managed to identify 41 species during the 2½ hour walk.
Bempton gave excellent views of Puffins to the 4 brave souls that ventured
into the blustery showers, though the Swallow family nesting just inside
the entrance to the visitor centre provided as much enjoyment. Other seabirds
included Gannet, Razorbill, Guillemot (including at least 3 "bridled" types)
and Kittiwake, but no Fulmars. By the time we reached Blacktoft in the afternoon
the rain had passed though the wind increased. Marsh Harrier and Cuckoo
were seen from the Singleton hide, but most of the waders were at Marshland:
Avocet (aboutp 50 birds), Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed
Godwit, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff and Snipe. Total count for the
day was 52 birds.
Were we fortunate to see the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher? Yes!
This North American wader (photo: bird on right) is a rare vagrant to Britain
and resembles a Snipe, but with a hint of Godwit (bird on left). Among the 60
species seen were: Stonechat, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Common Sandpiper, Sandwich
Tern and Whimbrel.
A rich diversity of species - 71 in total - made a glorious day even
better. This year's highlights included several Little Stints and a couple
of dozen Curlew Sandpipers among the Dunlins, Knots and Ringed Plovers,
a flotilla of Common Scoter at sea and Arctic Skua harassing terns and gulls.
While we were having lunch, sat among the sand dunes, a Wheatear quite literally
dropped at our feet and searched for food. Also, an Egyptian Goose was spotted
as we were leaving. Of course, Sammy, the Black-winged Stilt, is the real
star, now in his twelfth year.
A strong wind limited bird numbers. However, there were lots of wildfowl
and waders at Ousefleet and many waders at Xerox but the other pools were
very quiet. Good views of Bearded Tit and Water Rail, and a Marsh Harrier
appeared later in the day. A total of 45 species were recorded.
A very blustery day kept most of the small birds out of sight, but the
larger water birds were unperturbed. A Little Owl was roosting in hawthorns
at the edge of fields along Beacon Lane, and in the same fields were a couple
of Wheatear, but no sign of the Barred Warbler that had been seen the day
before. Brent Geese, Grey Plover, Sanderling and Knot were among the many
birds at Beacon Ponds. At the point, Scoter and Scaup were on the choppy
River Humber. Practically no birds were seen among the scrub except for
a Dunnock and a fleeting glimpse of Woodcock (though it could equally well
have been the reported Jack Snipe). Total count for the day was 49 species.
Another rather poor day for small birds owing to the wind, and both construction
and habitat work around the reserve meant that many of the water birds were
also keeping low. Just under 40 species were seen, however, the highlights
being Kingfisher and Willow Tit. A good many pairs of Gadwall were to be
seen among the Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Wigeon and Teal.
Despite constant drizzle there was no wind and so 6 members enjoyed good
views of the many waterfowl. There were no rarities but 50 species were
recorded including Kingfisher, Redwing, Dunlin, Willow Tit and Redshank.
Sunshine eventually broke through the grey clouds but the birds were
then often silhouetted. As expected there were lots of wildfowl but very
few geese, including Little and Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, Gadwall,
Shoveler, Pochard and Ruddy Duck. A breathtaking view of a Green Woodpecker
outside one of the hides was surpassed only by that of a Kingfisher perched
in a shrub for more than quarter of an hour. Hundreds of Fieldfare seemed
to be roosting in hawthorns and dozens of Redwings were seen around the
site. At the end of the day 56 species had been seen or heard.
The weather was excellent and the highlight of the day was the superb
views of the Golden Plover - estimated at over 5,000 birds - which kept
moving around all the time. The usual winter wildfowl were present together
with 4 species of gull. Waders were represented by Redshank and Dunlin in
addition to the usual Lapwings. The garden area continues to improve and
was very busy with numerous Greenfinches and Tree Sparrows. Apart from an
early Sparrowhawk, raptors were absent despite the huge number of birds
present. In total, 46 species were recorded.
The winter sun provided very good viewing conditions of 56 species, mostly
water birds as would be expected, but the day's highlights were several
buzzards, peregrine and hen harrier, including inter-species aerial combat.
Other birds included thousands of Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese, 500
Shelduck, 2 Bewick's Swans, Goldeneye, Barnacle Goose, 2 Black-tailed Godwit,
Tree Sparrow, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, and Redwing.