Trip Reports - 2007
Three of us turned out for this walk on a cool, dull day that eventually
brought showers after midday, but this didn't dampen our spirits. There
were several flocks of various sizes of finches including Siskin, Redpoll,
Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Brambling (c. 150 birds) in different parts of
the park. Wildfowl were well represented with the usual ducks and geese,
but also a few Little Grebe and Goosander. A solitary Redwing was seen in
a Yew tree. As the rain started, at least 2 Buzzards were seen and heard
beyond the ford passed Hardwick village. Sadly, Hawfinches and Lesser Spotted
Woodpecker remained elusive as we reached a total of 57 for the day.
Overnight snow in the valley caused havoc with our plans but 5 members
eventually managed to get to Ogston an hour or so late. There was no snow
there but after a few cold flurries during the morning the weather was excellent
this afternoon. There was nothing unusual to report. Highlights were a single
Pink-footed Goose with the Canada Geese, several Goldeneye and up to 5 Reed
Buntings on the bird feeder by the club hide. We stayed until after 4:00
to witness a massive gull roost developing. There were well over 1,000 birds
of the usual 5 species when we left, with hundreds still arriving, but we
failed to spot the Glaucous or the Iceland Gulls that have both recently
A rather frosty start quickly gave way to a a glorious sunny day and
by the end of it we had observed 57 species. A few Fieldfare were glimpsed
as they flew over, but there was no missing the large flocks of Golden Plover
over the Trent. A couple of Bearded Tits were seen at the edges of the reed
beds, while a Barn Owl quartered over them. A pair of very confiding Stonechats
gave lovely views of their plumage. A distant Merlin, a couple of Whooper
Swans and a flypast by a Kingfisher all added to the excitement, but it
was the Marsh Harriers that stole the show.
A cold northerly breeze and a misty start didn't promise a lot but we
were well rewarded for our efforts. We had grand views of at least 3 Goshawks
displaying before we even reached Howden dam where we usually wait to find
them. At the dam we had even better views of a Peregrine over the dam wall.
Twenty Whooper swans were flying over Derwent reservoir as we walked and
were settled on Howden later. We enjoyed an excellent morning and recorded
Despite rather cooler cloudy weather, seven members enjoyed an excellent
visit, recording 55 species. There were 5 warblers including a reeling Grasshopper
warbler (unseen), and 6 waders. Other highlights included very good views
of a pair of Yellow wagtails in front of the 'mound', and also Willow tits
and Reed buntings at the feeding station. As we left, we watched a Great-crested
grebe swallowing a really large fish that few thought it would manage!
The dawn chorus was excellent and within the first hour we had ticked
42 of the 69 species we would observe on this trip. A party of about 6 quarrelling
Marsh Tits, a handsome drake Mandarin, a couple of Yellow Wagtails, several
Yellowhammers and singing Woodlarks and Tree Pipits were among the highlights.
The 5 members on this trip were soon rewarded with the fantastic song
of a Nightingale and, later in the day, even good views of one. Little Ringed
Plovers were courtship displaying and a pair of Oystercatchers had two young.
Most of the warblers were seen: Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser
Whitethroat and Willow, Garden, Sedge and Reed warblers. All told, 60 species
This year's Nightjar display didn't match last year's spectacle, but
that was only to be expected. Nonetheless, club members were treated to
several close albeit brief views of a couple of Nightjars, together with
churring and a few wing claps. Several Woodcocks were flying around repeatedly,
sometimes calling, and this made the evening memorable.
The 7 members that made the trip to North Cave were welcomed by a Corn
Bunting singing on wires some distance away. After early drizzle the weather
improved and we enjoyed a hot and sunny visit. The water level was very
high, so that only 41 species were recorded with very few waders. Some of
us had great views of another Corn Bunting, which sang loudly in the hedge
behind our lunch spot. Luckily the many butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies
made up somewhat for the poor showing of the birds! A quick visit to South
Cave a few miles away proved excellent with good views of a Hobby. A Buzzard
and a couple of Kestrels were seen together with a fleeting glimpse of a
The water levels in the lagoons were reasonable, though perhaps some
were a little too high for waders, though plenty were present: Black-tailed
Godwits, Dunlins, Avocets (100+), Green Sandpipers, Snipes, Redshanks, Spotted
Redshanks, Lapwings and a Curlew Sandpiper. A male eclipse Garganey was
the most unusual bird present. Many hirundines and Swifts were flying through.
A pair of Marsh Harriers and two juveniles were also quartering the reed
beds. In total, 54 species were seen or heard.
Old Moor Wetlands
The water level at Old Moor was still very high from the floods but much
lower than a month ago. The high water mark was clearly visible on the trees,
some 4 feet higher than the highest part of the reserve paths. Much of the
low lying ground will take time to recover and looked in a sorry state.
The highlight of the day was a pair of Little Egrets. Waders were represented
by one Common and about 3 Green Sandpipers together with a pair of Ringed
Plovers and over 300 Lapwings. Among the 50 species recorded was a family
of Shelducks, at least 2 broods of Tufted Ducks and over 400 Canada Geese.
In the early afternoon we spent an hour at Broomhill Flash where a pair
of Grey Partridge appeared just as we left. There were at least 4 separate
broods of Tufted Ducks present.
Just two members travelled to the reserve, just south of Skegness. The
Red-backed Shrike, Redstarts and Pied Flycatchers that had been reported
earlier seemed to have gone overnight, nonetheless, 65 species were seen.
The highlights were: several Marsh Harriers quartering the reed beds and
marshes, several Buzzards including a possible immature Honey Buzzard, Turtle
Dove, Little Tern and Arctic Skua. Among the many hundreds of waders were:
Avocet, Knot, Sanderling, Ruff, Redshank, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit,
Ringed Plover, Grey and Golden Plovers, Turnstone, Curlew, Lapwing and a
Four members made the trip. The weather was fine but surprisingly windy
by the river. The disappointing show of birds was somewhat made up for by
the large number of dragonflies that were around. There were very few highlights
during the day - a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Spotted Flycatcher
were about the most memorable. Fortunately, just before leaving, a visit
to the riverbank after the tide had receded provided views of a number of
waders including Redshank, Lapwing, Turnstone, Knot and a large flock of
Golden Plovers. Over 40 Shelduck and a few teal increased the species count
to 42 for the day.
Three members made the trip to Spurn and enjoyed an excellent day. After
driving through a large crowd of twitchers to get into the car park we discovered
the attraction - a Bluethroat sitting in bushes by the adjacent cafe. Despite
not having enough time to visit Beacon Ponds this year, we still managed
to record 61 species. High tide was around 2PM by which time there were
thousands of waders close to the roadside. As well as thousands of Knot,
there were Golden, Ringed and Grey plover, Dunlin, Turnstone, Oystercatcher,
Redshank, Sanderling and Curlew, Bar and Black-tailed godwit. Other highlights
included an Arctic Skua, at least 3 Red-throated Divers and a fine pair
We enjoyed lovely weather at Leighton Moss, though it was rather quiet
on the bird front. That said, the 3 club members on this outing were treated
with great views of a long-staying Great White Egret. There were also a
couple of Kingfishers providing much delight. The day's total was 62 species.
Sprotborough - Denaby Ings
A perfect winter's day - cold and sunny with no wind - was spent at two
sites in the Dearne & Don valleys. The usual wildfowl were present at both
Denaby Ings and Sprotborough. We had excellent views of a Kingfisher fishing
at Denaby. After a grand lunch in the Boat Inn near the lock at Sprotborough,
we had more views of a Kingfisher there. Sadly, both of the hides at Sprotborough
have been destroyed by vandals but it's hoped to have them both replaced
before the end of 2007. Around 30 species were recorded at each site, with
a total of 35 for the day.
A pair of Stonechats as we left the reception area were soon followed
by close views of a Water Rail at the first hide and the day got even better.
The weather was excellent and we later saw another water rail, at least
2 Kingfishers and had a good view of a wintering Chiffchaff right by the
next hide. The usual November wildfowl were complemented by a male Pintail,
around 2 dozen Goosanders and almost as many Goldeneyes. A couple of Ruffs,
two Green Sandpipers and about a dozen Dunlin were with the usual large
flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing. A few winter thrushes and at least
three Green Woodpeckers were soon on the list and we eventually found a
snipe hiding between a Grey Heron and a Pheasant, on the water's edge, from
our last hide. An excellent day with 58 species recorded.
Strong and rather cold winds failed to deter 6 members from the trip
to Carsington. We were greeted by a fine male Bullfinch in the Sheepwash
car park and later saw several more. In addition to the usual wildfowl,
the feeders at Paul Stanley hide provided Willow Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker,
together with some Tree Sparrows and the unusual sight of a Moorhen and
a Pheasant on the bird table at the same time. In the afternoon a Little
Owl was spotted from the wildlife centre and we had good views of this on
our way back to Sheepwash. Despite the strong wind, we still managed to
record 47 species.
Much of the Mere was frozen and almost all of the outlying pools were
solid. Despite this, four members enjoyed a sunny but freezing day. We found
3 Bewick's Swans among the hundreds of Whooper Swans. There were the usual
massed ranks of Pintails and Shelducks. In addition to the large numbers
of Lapwing, there were a few Snipes and over 40 Ruffs. Raptors were represented
by 2 Peregrines, a Kestrel, at least 5 Buzzards, a Marsh Harrier and, for
our most patient member, a female Merlin in the last half hour. In total, 57
species were recorded.