Trip Reports - 2006
A dull, damp day didn't stop us from searching for the elusive Hawfinches
or achieving a final list of 50 species, but it was hard work finding the
birds. The highlights were: a Water Rail in the Cow Pastures by the lake,
and lots of Marsh Tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers. And no, we didn't see
A calm day prevented the mist from clearing properly, but this only hampered
very distant observations. Among the 45 species seen, the highlights were
a couple of female "red-head" Smew, at least 5 Harriers, including at least
3 Marsh Harriers and 1 Hen Harrier, and a couple of sightings of a Bittern.
A cold easterly breeze failed to deter a small group of us. They were
rewarded by superb close up views of around 30 cormorants, many in superb
breeding plumage. There were few wildfowl around, but at least 12 Goldeneye
and over 40 Grey Herons were present. A Little Owl was found near Brackenfield
churchyard. Other highlights included good views of several Bullfinches
and at least two Buzzards. It seemed to be very quite, but we still managed
to record 46 species.
An icy north-easterly wind didn't provide good conditions for raptor
watching so we weren't too disappointed to get only brief views of a buzzard
and a fleeting glimpse of a probable Goshawk from our usual watch point
by Howden Dam. There wasn't much activity but a pair of Goldeneye and a
male Red-breasted Merganser were found below Fairholmes on our return. We
discovered a new heronry on the island below Howden dam having seen 9 Grey
Herons flying up the reservoir to their nests. In total, 27 species were
recorded including at least 5 Treecreepers.
Seven of us decided the poor visibility and frequent drizzle wasn't enough
to keep us away. We were rewarded with good views of Yellowhammers, Reed
Buntings and our first House Martin of the year. There were numerous Willow
Warblers and Chiffchaffs calling (with many clearly visible). In all, 44
species were recorded. We retired to the Arkwright Arms in Ducmanton for
lunch soon after noon. The drizzle had become heavy rain after lunch, so
the planned visit to Pleasley colliery was cancelled.
The 3 members venturing out on this early morning walk were rewarded
with a total of 72 species. One of the region's first Spotted Flycatchers
was observed (and later reported to BTO), along with the usual summer visiting
warblers, hirundines and swifts. A brief masterclass in identifying distant
Arctic and Common Terns was gratefully received from some of the park's
regulars. Stunning and prolonged views of a singing Woodlark and brief sightings
of a singing Redstart were the icing on the cake.
A hot, sunny day and 64 species may the day out at Whisby Pits more than
worthwhile. Whisby Pits is a good place for Nightingale and Turtle Dove,
and both species were seen and heard. Grey Partridge were heard calling
and close views of male and female Lesser Whitethroats provided all with
new year's ticks.
A breezy and overcast start at Bempton was followed by a stop-off at
Blacktoft Sands. The usual sea birds were seen along the cliffs, but a highlight
were several pairs of Fulmar. A Grasshopper Warbler was "reeling" near the
visitor centre, bringing the total to 19 species. A couple of Spoonbills
was the attraction at Blacktoft and, unlike previous years' sleeping beauties,
these birds were quite active, feeding and flying about. Among the 41 species
seen here, were Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Spotted Redshank
and a couple of Bearded Tits.
The Nightjar display was something else this year. Just as we were becoming
worried that it was staying light too long, a Nightjar called. Soon afterwards,
it flew over our heads and landed 15 yards away on a branch and continued
its churring for several minutes. Earlier, a Kingfisher, 9 Common Sandpipers
and 47 other species had ensured a memorable evening.
As we arrived the mist descended, but within an hour or so it had lifted.
A rather meagre 52 species were seen, which continues the recent run of
poor experiences at Spurn.
Although rather overcast, a good selection of woodland and water birds
were seen. Of the 50 species seen, a Stonechat was the most unusual - evidently,
only the second time one has been recorded at Potteric Carr.
Over 60 species were seen or heard. Eider and Scoter were visible at
sea with thousands of Oystercatchers being pushed ashore by the high tide.
There were a couple of sightings of a Kingfisher whilst watching the hundreds
of Knot, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing, and 3 Greenshank. Wildfowl
included Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Wigeon and a pair of Pintail,
but the Lesser Scaup had moved on. Several Buzzards and a couple of Ravens
were seen. A couple of visitors, including one club member, both heard what
they thought was a booming Bittern. Bearded Tit were heard but not seen.
Just two members went on this trip, which was rescheduled owing to inclement
weather. Wow! What a day it was for wildfowl! Among the 66 species observed
were about 20 species of wildfowl and a dozen waders or gulls. The highlights
among the wildfowl were a Slavonian Grebe, hundreds of Goldeneyes and Great
Crested Grebes. Willow Tit, Little Egret, Water Rail, Buzzard, Redwing,
Barnacle Goose and singing Song Thrushes were among the supporting cast.
Fewer than ever Bewick's Swans are wintering at Martin Mere this year
- only one is known to be present and the 4 of us were lucky enough to see
it. The sunlight was superb and made for perfect viewing conditions of the
wildfowl in all their splendour: Pintails, Wigeon, Pink-footed Geese, Teal
and, of course, the Whooper Swans. Among the more unusual were several Barr-headed
Geese and a Red-breasted Goose associating with Barnacle Geese - all were
presumed to be escapes. Sadly, Barn Owl and Hen Harrier were not seen this
year, but remarkable views of a Merlin, Peregrine and several Buzzards made
up for this. The day more or less closed with lengthy views of a stunning