Trip Reports - 2020
Rother Valley Country Park
8th January 2020
Eight members met for a very pleasant wander around Rother Valley Country Park this morning. We
were so fortunate with the weather after yesterday's gale force winds and the forecast rain and more wind for tomorrow.
Today was pleasantly cool with sunny periods. As usual we started by walking around the nature reserve lakes where the
paths were unsurprisingly quite muddy. From the car park we could see many of the wintering wildfowl with several
Goldeneye in addition to the Pochard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck and Mallard present. Also there were around 30
Cormorants, a few Grey Herons and a Little Egret. Highlight of the morning was finding a female Smew in almost exactly the
same position on the same pool as we found one last February. The only raptor of the day was a rather distant perched
Common Buzzard. Around the main lake were around 80 or more Lapwing and many more Black-headed Gulls. On the island the
Grey Herons seemed to be taking possession of their nesting sites but maybe are now competing with the Cormorants. How
long will it be before they also have to contend with Little Egrets. By the end of our visit we had recorded 41 species.
12th February 2020
A few members cried off at the last minute as the driving snow, sleet and wind in the valley
looked (and felt) quite grim. Nine of us managed to get to Linacre through the bad weather and were rewarded with
increasingly bright and sunny weather in the sheltered valley. We enjoyed a very pleasant wander around the reservoirs.
The top reservoir is often a haven for a significant number of Mandarins but we only managed to find two today - a pair.
There were over 100 Mallard with much lower numbers of Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and only a single Great
Crested Grebe. The woods were busy with the usual tit species and one member saw their very first Goldcrest, which was
showing quite well. Nuthatches and Treecreepers were also quite visible. We failed to see the yaffling Green Woodpecker at
the top of the reservoirs and only a few of us heard the Tawny Owl calling as we neared the end of the walk. We recorded a
total of 31 species if we include those latter two and also the white Domestic Mallard.
Beeley Moor & Chatsworth
11th March 2020
A good turnout of 15 members rolled up to park above Beeley for today's walk over to the woods
above Chatsworth House. The weather was very kind and it was bright and sunny as we set off over Beeley Moor. The Skylarks
and Meadow Pipits were in good song as we wandered the track over to Stand Wood, where we were welcomed by Buzzards
overhead. The woods were strangely quiet with very little action and the lakes weren't much better. After a coffee stop
above the waterfall we checked Round Lake to find single pairs of Coot, Mallard and Tufted Duck present. Two went ahead to
the Emperor Lake to find 7 Mandarin, which had disappeared into the lakeside vegetation before the rest of us arrived. The
lakeside was occupied by several pairs of Canada Goose with only Coot and Mallard remaining on the lake. After a stop for
more sustenance by the Hunting Tower, we continued round the track past the drained Swiss Cottage Lake and headed back
over the moors to our parking spot. Not long after leaving the last lake, some of us were lucky enough to catch sight of a
female Goshawk, probably the highlight of the trip for the lucky few. Retracing our steps across the moor, the stragglers
got good views of a pair of Stonechats, and two of us had a brief glimpse of a Red Kite over the fields beyond Edensor
before the last highlight of the third Raven of the walk. It wasn't sparkling for birds but it was a very pleasant walk
and 31 species were recorded.