Field Trips

Day trip to NWT Attenborough Reserve 24 February 2024

Goldeneye – John Lower

Our visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve in the Trent valley didn’t start well. The valley was thick with fog and more than half the footpaths were flooded. By the time we had all arrived and set off however, the sun was beginning to burn through and in no time at all the sky was blue.

We stood on both sides of the bridge and quickly saw goosander, great crested grebe and tufted ducks but the water was surprisingly empty. A song thrush was in full flow and a Cetti’s warbler, one of many that day, shouted from the undergrowth. On the scrapes were two Egyptian geese and two little grebes appeared from the reed edges.

We navigated the muddy path to the tower hide and on the way saw reed bunting and male bullfinch, then we all crammed into the hide. The scopes picked up a collection of waders on the island: oystercatchers, lapwings and some mysterious sleeping birds. Two pairs of goldeneye shone out on the water.

The Kingfisher hide gives us better views of the island where the mystery birds turned out to be 4 snipe plus a green sandpiper( after much debate) an early returning summer visitor.

We strolled towards the river enjoying the warm sunshine and birdsong and as the group became spread out a variety of birds were seen including goldcrest, jay and a pair of ravens flying overhead.

We returned to the visitor centre for lunch then retraced our steps to continue along the river path. The Trent was in flood and flowing fast with no birds showing. We came to a screen and looked back towards the island seeing some teal, wigeon and a collection of gulls including Common gull. As we approached the flooded meadows several white birds could be seen and the scopes gives us all great views of a great egret and two little egrets.

We decided to return at this point but despite only visiting a third of the reserve we jointly totalled a massive fifty species.

A member of our group has written on his blog about the trip. Take a look at:

https://richardcole.me/2024/02/attenborough-rspb-day

Amanda Palethorpe

Canada goose.  Greylag goose.  Egyptian goose.  Mute swan.  Gadwall.  Wigeon. Mallard. Teal.  Tufted duck.  Goldeneye.  Goosander.  Stock dove.  Woodpigeon   Moorhen.  Coot.  Little grebe.  Great crested grebe.  Oystercatcher.  Lapwing.  Snipe.  Green sandpiper.  Black-headed gull.  Common gull.  Herring gull.  Lesser black-backed gull.  Cormorant.  Great white egret.  Little egret.  Sparrowhawk.  Buzzard.  Jay.  Magpie.  Crow.  Raven.  Blue tit.   Great tit.  Cetti’s warbler.  Long-tailed tit.  Goldcrest.  Wren.  Song thrush.  Redwing.  Blackbird.  Robin.  Dunnock.  Chaffinch.  Bullfinch.  Greenfinch.  Goldfinch.  Reed bunting

Mid-week walk at RSPB Sherwood Forest 14 February 2024

great spotted woodpecker – Malcolm Webb

A large group of us met up on a warm drizzly morning. On the  line of trees at the bottom of the car park, a Great  Spotted Woodpecker was seen. In the field beyond was a Pheasant and a  Crow. Overhead a Sparrowhawk,together with a few Crows, were flying around. The G S Woodpecker flew off towards the  village. A smaller bird, which looked like a Woodpecker landed in the top of the tree. We tried to get  a scope  on it, but it flew into the next tree. It was annoyingly behind a large branch, it could be partially seen as it moved around, but no positive  identification. A Goldfinch and Blue Tit flew into  the same tree. It was noted that these birds were a similar  size to the other bird we had been watching. 

On the feeders outside the  visitor centre, we saw Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and Wren. 

On our approach to the  Major Oak, we heard lots of  heavy machinery, they were chopping  down trees. This is the area where we had previously seen the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. I spoke to one of the workers, the aim of the work was to artificially age the trees. It was so noisy, nothing could be heard over the machinery. 

We walked over to the area where the  old visitor  centre  had been. A large  flock of birds flitted  around the  top of the trees – a mixed flock of Siskin and Tits. A group of Jackdaw were squabbling at the top of a small tower. 

We headed back towards  Budby Common. A Green Woodpecker was heard a few times, but it wasn’t  seen. A Jay was spotted at the  edge of the forest. 

As we reached the visitor centre  a kestrel flew into the top of a tree. It was a good  day despite all the disturbance in the  forest. 

Wendy  Dyson

Great  Spotted  Woodpecker, Pheasant, Crow, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Magpie, Chaffinch, Wood Pigeon, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Wren, Blackbird, Siskin, Bullfinch, Goldcrest, Jackdaw, Robin, Redwing, Nuthatch, Longtailed Tit, Jay, Kestrel and probably Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

Day trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands 27 January 2024

Female Marsh Harrier- Robin Potts

11 members  met in the car park. Before going to the hides we went to the roadside to look over the fields. It certainly  didn’t  disappoint: 100s of Pink-footed geese and a few Greylags with more arriving as we watched, a fantastic  sight. We also saw Fieldfare, Starling and Canada Geese.

From the bank  by the feeders, we added Tree Sparrow, and lots of small birds. We checked  in at the Reception  hide and got the latest information on the reserve. We had our first sightings of  Marsh Harrier as it  flew majestically over the reed bed. Coot and Gadwall were on the water but otherwise it was quiet. 

We made our way towards  Ousefleet hide, stopping by the gate to look over the fields. A large number of Curlew flew in and we had good views through the  scope. A Sparrowhawk flashed by looking for its prey. Meadow Pipits and a Pied wagtail were searching around on the scrub for food. Little Grebe and Mallard could be seen from the  screen.

Once inside the  hide we saw Teal, Shelduck and 3 very well camouflaged Snipe.

At Marshland hide we saw Little Egret, Shoveler, Wigeon and Dunlin.

The next hide was Reedling,formerly Xerox, a very smart newly built 2 storey hide. We saw Heron, Cormorant and Tufted Duck.

We worked  our way to the Singleton hide, calling at the other hides on the way. The water levels  were very high, not many  areas for wading birds. Consequently it was very quiet. The Marsh Harriers were displaying well, and in good numbers. 

A great day, with  good  numbers of  birds.

Wendy Dyson 

Pink-footed goose, Greylag goose, Starling, Fieldfare, Canada goose, Moorhen, Goldfinch, Tree sparrow, Blue Tit, Great tit, Woodpigeon,  Magpie,  Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird,  Robin, Coot, Marsh Harrier,  Lapwing,  Gadwall,  Collared Dove, Crow, Sparrowhawk,  Curlew, Meadow pipit, Pied wagtail,  Little Grebe,  Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Snipe, Dunlin, Wren, Goldcrest, Little Egret,  Shoveler,  Wigeon, Redwing,  Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Cormorant,  Mute Swan,  Black-headed Gull, Stonechat,  Buzzard,  Pheasant, Dunnock, Herring Gull.

Mid-week walk at Clumber Park 10 January 2024

Siskin – John Lower

We were a bit late setting off as we ended up in three different car parks! But eventually we all met up near the stables. We headed down to the lake where there was the usual collection of water birds – moorhen, coot, greylag and Canada geese, mallard and mute swan. A bit further out on the water we saw tufted ducks and a female goosander. Walking up to the chapel and then through the trees we added chaffinch, greenfinch, robin, bluetit, stock dove, nuthatch, coal tit and dunnock while a great-crested grebe was spotted on the lake through a gap in the trees. Taking the path towards the causeway, we saw a couple of common gulls among the many black-headeds. Some of the latter were showing signs of their breeding plumage – spring is coming!

Into the trees we saw some redwings on a holly bush and goldcrest on the tree behind them. A flock of small birds flew into the tops of the trees above us and we eventually managed to make out siskin, long-tailed tits and linnets. A buzzard was calling and was spotted in the air through the trees. Near the causeway a grey heron was hunkered down at the water’s edge and on the pond with the dead trees we added shoveler and a male goosander. There was nothing much at the hide but just outside we saw a treecreeper and more goldcrests. On the grass behind them there was a rather smart mistle thrush. Walking back down the side of the lake there were cormorants drying their wings and a pochard was spotted making it 41 species in all.

Black-headed gull, jackdaw, carrion crow, blackbird, feral pigeon, moorhen, coot, mute swan, mallard, greylag goose, Canade goose, tufted duck, goosander, lesser black-backed gull, chaffinch, greenfinch, robin, bluetit, stock dove, woodpigeon, dunnock, great-crested grebe, magpie, coaltit, nuthatch, great tit, redwing, common gull grey heron, siskin, long-tailed tit, goldcrest, buzzard, linnet, shoveler, treecreeper, mistle thrush, herring gull, wren, cormorant, pochard

Day trip to RSPB Old Moor 16 December 2023

bearded tit – Robin Potts

10 members met in the car park on a lovely warm, sunny morning. Magpie, Crows and Greenfinch were on the top of the trees by the Tree Sparrow  Farm.

The RSPB volunteer  by the gate told us the Bearded Tits had been showing well, so we set off to try our luck. As we neared the screen, we could hear the lovely  pinging sound of the birds. We had great views of 2 males and 2 females. They ran up and down the  reeds to avoid the wind as it blew gently. A flock of the birds were spotted flying  low over the reeds.

We moved  onto the Reedbed hide where we saw Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Heron and Gadwall. 

We went to the Bittern hide, the path was badly flooded and some of our group were unable to get through, so we had to split up for a while. 

A Bittern was seen by part of the group. 

We then went to the  Wath Ings hide via the new path but there was not very much to see en route, very quiet.  From the hide we saw, Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Little Egret, Pochard, Goldeneye, Shoveler, Common Gull and Black headed Gull. The water level  was very high so we didn’t  see any of the  smaller birds that would have normally have been on the scrape.

We called in all the other hides on our way to the Tree sparrow Farm. A great debate took place about the type of gulls we saw. The outcome was Herring Gull, L Black Backed and G Black Backed Gulls.

A great  day,for our last outing  of the year.

Wendy Dyson 

Magpie, Crow, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Gt Tit, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Wood pigeon, Song thrush, Reed bunting, Sparrowhawk, Cormorant, Bearded Tit, Coot, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Stock Dove, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Little Grebe Tufted Duck, Heron, Graylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Moorhen, Pochard, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Teal, Bittern, Shoveler, Common Gull, Marsh Harrier, Goldeneye, Peregrine, Little  Egret, Pied wagtail, Wigeon, Lapwing, Great Black Backed Gull, Bullfinch, Longtailed tit, Pheasant, Goldfinch, Redwing, Gt Spotted Woodpecker. 

Mid-week walk at Carsington Water 6 December 2023

Goldeneye – John Lower

Well we certainly picked the right day for this walk – a bright sunny but cold morning sandwiched between two days of heavy rain. 18 of us met at the visitor centre at Carsington Water and picked up house sparrow, blackbird, bluetit, robin and mallard in the car park. Then a flock of pink-footed geese flew over as we made our way round the visitor centre and out to Sones Island. On the water we could see coot, tufted duck, cormorant, pochard and great-crested grebe. Moving onto the island we spotted long-tailed tits, magpie, goldfinch, wren and crow in and around the trees while there was a meadow pipit and a pied wagtail on the beach. On the water here there were moorhen, wigeon, little grebe, gadwall and teal and across on the edge of the island was a solitary redshank. From the hide we saw a nice group of goldeneye and some mute swans. As we headed back towards the visitor centre a buzzard circled overhead and a kestrel was spotted flying and then seen sat in a tree. Just before the Wildlife Centre, an area with trees with red berries had attracted redwings and blackbirds and also a female pheasant. On the feeders at the Wildlife Centre there were great tits, blue tits, coal tits, dunnocks, robins, chaffinches and the occasional nuthatch. A single lapwing flew over, a snipe was spotted on a distant shore and a jay did a close fly past giving us a total of 42 species for the morning.

Most of us then adjourned to The Miners’ Arms at Carsington and enjoyed a sociable lunch together.

House sparrow, blackbird, bluetit, mallard, robin, pink-footed goose, coot, tufted duck, cormorant, pochard, magpie, great-crested grebe, goldeneye, wren, long-tailed tit, Canada goose, meadow pipit, moorhen, wigeon, goldfinch, little grebe, redshank, gadwall, pied wagtail, carrion crow, teal, buzzard, kestrel, redwing, great tit, coal tit, dunnock, chaffinch, nuthatch, snipe, lapwing, woodpigeon, jay, jackdaw, black-headed gull, starling, pheasant.

YWT Potteric Carr trip 18 November 2023

Marsh Harrier – John Lower

We were lucky to have a window in the dismal weather, a fine day was promised when we headed out onto the reserve.

We quickly noticed how strangely quiet the trees and paths were with few small birds to be seen or heard, although we did manage to see two Goldcrests flitting about. From the hides on Piper Marsh we only saw a Grey Heron, Little Grebe and a Coot. Then along the path were some Redwings and an elusive Bullfinch. East and West scrapes were similarly quiet except for a solitary Little Egret, then suddenly a female Marsh Harrier cruised over the reeds.

We stopped for lunch in the large Roger Mitchell hide where, thankfully, the pools held a large number and variety of waterfowl. A helpful birder put us onto a couple of Whooper Swans and a pair of Goldeneye. Noel spotted a single wader among the lapwings which turned out to be a Black-tailed Godwit and there was a very brief view of a bittern as it dropped onto the reeds.

The pools along our return path were quiet again but we had more sightings of the Marsh Harrier with a male bird also.

 A mobile flock of long-tailed tits flitted through the hedges and a small group of siskin were spotted high in the alders near the Visitor Centre.

We were very surprised therefore when we added up our collective sightings and totalled 46 species seen and apart from the great views of the Marsh harrier, the highlight of the day had to be the dry mild weather!

Amanda Palethorpe

Canada goose, Greylag goose, Mute swan, Whooper swan, Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon,  Mallard, Teal, Pochard, Tufted duck, Goldeneye, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Little grebe, Lapwing, Black-tailed godwit, Black-headed gull, Cormorant, Bittern, Grey heron, Little egret, Marsh harrier, Kestrel, Magpie, Jackdaw, Crow, Coal tit, Blue tit, Great tit,  Cetti’s warbler (h), Long-tailed tit,  Goldcrest,  Wren,  Starling,  Redwing,  Blackbird,  Robin,  Chaffinch,  Bullfinch,  Greenfinch,  Goldfinch, Siskin.

Mid week walk on Big Moor 11 October 2023

stag – Des Haslam

Following an interesting update on the Eastern Moors Project, Danny Udall was asked if he could arrange a walk for us. It was decided to have one to coincide with the annual deer rutting season as the resident red deer on the moor are very vocal and fairly easy to observe.

20 of us met in Curbar Gap car park and were introduced to John Meade, a long time ranger on the moors. From the car park we heard and saw small groups of skylarks and some redwings.

It was very windy but stayed dry for the most part and we began to climb up towards White Edge. We stopped to scan for deer when some large birds were spotted over the ridge. We were all excited to see a ring-tailed hen harrier being mobbed by a raven. The harrier tracked along the escarpment giving everyone excellent views before disappearing. What a bird!

At this point we also saw our first stag, he was following some hinds but was lost to view among the bracken.

We saw meadow pipits and a kestrel but the strong wind kept the small birds down.

At the trig point we had more good sightings of stags and hinds, some bolving (bellowing) but no rutting behaviour.

As the rain clouds gathered we set off back to the car park two buzzards hung in the sky and we witnessed another magnificent stag crossing our path. We stopped on Curbar Edge to admire the view then descended to the car park, some of the tail-enders saw rooks, a peregrine and another raven.

Amanda Palethorpe

Blackbird,   buzzard,   carrion crow,   hen harrier,   kestrel,   magpie,   meadow pipit,   peregrine,  raven,   robin,   rook,   skylark,   woodpigeon.

YWT North Cave trip 16 September 2023

Avocet – Martin Beaumont

It was quite a dull morning as we gathered at North Cave for our day out but the bacon butty van and the view over Village Lake is good for lifting the spirits.

Our list started well with little and great-crested grebe, greylag and Canada goose, lapwing, cormorant and coot. There were lots of ducks but the plumage was not always helpful being this time of year – we saw mallard, wigeon, tufted duck, teal, gadwall and shoveler and there was some discussion around a possible pochard in unhelpful plumage. The feeders are taken down over the summer so we didn’t pick up the usual small birds.

We moved on to the Turret Hide where we had been promised great things and we were not disappointed – green sandpiper, snipe, curlew sandpiper, dunlin, little ringed plover, common sandpiper, curlew, avocet and water rail were all spotted.

By now, the sky had cleared and the sun came out. We continued round the path to Crosslands Hide picking up some smaller birds and corvids as we walked. There was a distinct lack of gulls, we only saw black-headed and common gull. The ranger said they had lost quite a lot to bird flu.

The new lakes beyond Crosslands Hide are gradually taking shape and a new hide is planned in that area. Crosslands Hide today was very quiet and so we made our way back up Dryham Lane to the cars.

Greylag goose, mute swan, mallard, coot, lapwing, woodpigeon, wigeon, tufted duck, little grebe, cormorant, grey heron, moorhen, robin, Canada goose, teal, buzzard, great-crested grebe, green sandpiper, snipe, little ringed plover, curlew sandpiper, dunlin, common sandpiper, curlew, pied wagtail, shoveler, avocet, water rail, gadwall, goldfinch, reed bunting, rook, carrion crow, jackdaw, starling, great tit, kestrel, black-headed gull, little egret, magpie, long-tailed tit, blue tit, chiff-chaff, common gull, Cetti’s warbler (h)

Mid-week walk at Waverley Lakes 13 September 2023

Kestrel with prey – Robin Potts

12 of us set off towards the  lakes. Magpies and Crows were the first birds to be seen, followed by  a Kestrel and  a Sparrowhawk. A large number of Pink Footed geese flew high overhead. 

Building work carries on at the site. A large solid fence  has been erected near the water, but the paths are still accessible. 

Our first glimpse of water birds included Pochard, Black Headed Gulls, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and Coot.

We spotted 4 Buzzards in the distance and 3 Kestrels being  mobbed by Crows. A Kestrel came and sat on the post just in front of us and proceed to eat a little  shrew. This gave the photographers amongst us  a great opportunity to take some good shots.

The Crows continued to mob the Kestrel – it eventually  flew off but did manage to  eat the prey first.

6 birds flew low over the water and when they settled, we could see they were Common Sandpipers. They continued to fly around for most of the walk.

A large  group of small birds were flitting around in the trees including Longtailed Tits and Blue Tits.

On the smaller pond we spotted Little Egret, Gadwall and Pied Wagtail. On the island,  Amanda focused on a bird with its head tucked  in. It eventually  moved  slightly and we could see it was a Goosander .

Along the far side of the lake, the reeds are thriving, getting  thicker and spreading  out. Barbara  was the first of us to spot the Great White Egret, fishing on the edge. At the end of the large  lake, we at last got a good look at the juvenile Black Necked Grebe.

We stood on the bridge  over the River Rother. A great torrent  of water was making  its way down stream, but unfortunately no birds. 

A good start to  this year’s programme. 

Wendy Dyson 

Magpie, Crow, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk,  Pink-footed Geese, Pochard, Black Headed Gulls, Tufted Duck, Coot, Mallard, Little Grebe, Wood Pigeon, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Herring Gull, Lesser Black  Backed Gull, Cormorant,  Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Reed Bunting, Greylag Goose, Goldfinch, Common Sandpiper, Little Egret,  Gadwall, L T Tit, Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail,  Willow warbler, Starling, Goosander,  Great  White  Egret,  Moorhen, Black Necked Grebe, Robin, Meadow  Pipit.

RSPB Middleton Lakes trip 22 July 2023

Our July trip to Middleton Lakes was cancelled due to bad weather. However, one of our hardy members did make the journey and has written up his day out on his blog which he has allowed me to share with you:

https://richardcole.me/2023/07/an-enthralling-day-at-middleton-lakes-rspb-nature-reserve

Carr Vale walk 12 July 2023

Robin Potts

14 of us met at Carr Vale DWT reserve. We headed towards the scrape and viewing mound taking note of any birds along the way. There were singing chiffchaffs and swallows swooped around overhead. Kingston spotted two jays along the fence line, they looked like juveniles, other smaller birds were heard but rarely seen among the dense summer foliage, very frustrating! There were plenty of butterflies however on a bramble thicket in full sun. We picked out Comma, red admiral, ringlet,  meadow brown and tortoiseshell.

We arrived at the mound and met Mark Beevers, a regular observer at Carr Vale. He pointed out a green sandpiper, a new bird for many and two hobbies hunting over the scrape. Little egret and common tern were also present plus kingfisher and sand martins.

After spending some time there we followed the path along the scape and heard reed warbler, but again no sighting. We joined the Stockley trail and returned to the carpark just as the predicted rain arrived.

We all agreed the hobbies and sandpiper had been our birds of the day and a surprising total of 41 species had been seen and heard.

Amanda Palethorpe

Swallow,   blackcap.  Blackbird.  Woodpigeon.  Swift.  Crow.  Chiffchaff.  Jay.  Wren.  Dunnock.  Buzzard.  Robin.  Great tit.  Mallard.  Grey heron.  Song thrush.  Goldfinch.  Sand Martin.  Whitethroat.  Green sandpiper. Hobby.  Little egret.  Mute swan.  Canada goose.  Coot.  Lapwing.  Stock dove.  BH gull.  Greylag goose.  Gadwall.  Shoveler.  Oystercatcher.  Kestrel.  Gt crested grebe.  House Martin.  Common tern.  Kingfisher.  Reed bunting.  Starling.  Reed warbler.  Greenfinch

Red admiral.  Comma.  Tortoiseshell.  Meadow brown.  Ringlet.  White. 

St Aidan’s trip 17 June 2023

Martin Beaumont

9 people met up at St Aidan’s RSPB reserve for our June trip. The day started well as Mark quickly found the legendary little owl of St Aidan’s. It lives among the redundant sleepers and machinery of the long gone mine. As does a pair of kestrels which nest there every year.

This site has become well known for having breeding black-necked grebes. These birds were one of our main targets of the day so we headed out to a spot advised by the RSPB volunteer. On the way we saw sedge warbler, reed bunting and common tern and Noel spotted an overhead red kite. We soon came across a female red-necked grebe with a chick, close enough to photograph.

We set out along the main circular path, surrounded by the constant calling of reed buntings, reed warblers and black-headed gulls when through the clamour, some of us picked up the reeling of a grasshopper warbler. We couldn’t see the bird but did manage a fleeting view of a Cetti’s warbler as a bonus.

A few yards further on Tracy shouted and pointed to the channel where, to everyone’s amazement and delight, a bittern had risen and flew low, away from us. This was several people’s first sighting of this iconic reed bed bird.

It wasn’t to be the last however as we had two further views of this bird through the day.

As lunch approached we saw great-crested and little grebes, grey heron and marsh harrier. Then among the wild flowers we noticed several Marbled white butterflies. These are usually chalk land specialists so we were surprised to see them here.

As we strolled back towards the Visitor Centre both Wendy and Noel announced a calling cuckoo, Noel had followed the bird into a distant birch tree so we managed to get the scope on it for everyone to see.

On the return we saw teal, pochard, redshank and oystercatcher.

It had been a great day and some lifers for several people.

Amanda Palethorpe

43 species

Collared dove,  wood pigeon,  magpie,  little owl,  feral pigeon,  black-headed gull,  kestrel,  tufted duck,  coot,  reed bunting,  greylag goose,  lapwing,  skylark,  common tern,  great-crested grebe,  red kite,  sedge warbler,  starling,  willow warbler,  Canada goose,  mute swan,  grasshopper warbler,  Cetti’s warbler,  goldfinch,  cormorant,  crow,  bittern,  reed warbler,  swift,  grey heron,  little grebe,  gadwall,  marsh harrier,  little egret,  shoveler,  lesser black-backed gull,  cuckoo,  teal,  oystercatcher,  pochard,  herring gull,  redshank, great tit.

Black-a-moor walk 7 June 2023

Stonechat – Robin Potts

16 of us met in the car park. The weather was once more disappointing, cloudy and cool.

A chiff chaff sat above us on the wire singing away and blackbirds zipped back-and-forth in the undergrowth. By the stream we saw a song thrush, searching for insects  under the leaves. Willow warblers were singing all around and a garden warbler was close by but we didn’t manage to see it.

A female red deer was spotted and many of the group managed to see it. A brief call from the cuckoo was unfortunately all we managed , a bit disappointing. The sound of skylarks filled the air as we progressed across the moor. Swifts were flying around in  small groups. We had lots of sightings of tree pipits and also curlew flying and calling. 

A few birds were having a bath in a trickle of water at the side of the path. When we eventually got a good sight of them, they were linnets. 

4 buzzards were soaring high in the sky. 2 birds of prey went really high, We were treated to a wonderful display of the birds stooping  and catching small birds. We were privileged to see peregrines. 

A lovely walk, enjoyed  by all.

Wendy Dyson 

Blackbird, chiff-chaff, swift, song thrush, chaffinch, blackcap, skylark, lapwing, crow, meadow pipit, reed bunting, kestrel, magpie, stonechat, tree pipit, goldfinch, jackdaw, linnet, willow warbler, wren, pied wagtail, buzzard, peregrine, swallow, wood pigeon, great tit, jay.

Cuckoo and garden warbler heard

Nightjar walk at Flash Lane 12 May 2023

tree pipit – John Lower

It was a nithering 8 degrees when 18 of us met up on Friday evening, not very spring like. It would be an hour until dusk when we were hoping to see woodcock and nightjar so we explored the fields and forest around the Woodspring forest clearcut.

In the field behind the car parking a hare was spotted and some mistle thrushes, then in the paddock was a curlew and pied wagtail as well as a pair of mallards.

There was still plenty of birdsong including several willow warblers, blackbirds and chiffchaff.

We arrived at the viewing spot and saw a distant small bird perched on a tall stump, we hoped it was a tree pipit but it wasn’t singing. Fortunately a photo from Graham clearly identified the bird as a tree pipit.

As we began to lose the light we saw and heard our first woodcock as it flew overhead. There were several more sightings including two birds together.

Unfortunately as darkness fell we didn’t hear any nightjars churring, disappointing, but we had all enjoyed the evening nevertheless and agreed a return was in order when the conditions improved.

Amanda Palethorpe

15 species

Blackbird,   crow,   chiffchaff,   curlew,   goldfinch,   great tit,   mallard,   mistle thrush,   pied wagtail,   swallow,   tree pipit,   willow warbler,   woodcock,   wood pigeon,  wren.

PS A repeat trip led by Wendy Dyson on 19 May did manage to see a nightjar!

DWT Avenue Washlands 10 May 2023

sedge warbler – John Lower

13 people met at DWT Avenue Washlands on a sunny morning. The new car park was back in action and bird song could be heard all around in the hedgerows. The abundance of fresh greenery signalled spring’s arrival but made the birds more difficult to spot. We managed to track down dunnock, whitethroat, chiff-chaff, stonechat and reed bunting in the foliage. We could hear skylarks but searching the sky was fruitless, eventually we found one sitting on a fence singing away! Two buzzards were high in the distance and then one came closer being bombed by a crow. Willow warblers were singing loudly but it took us some time to actually see one. On the ponds we saw coot, grey heron, Canada goose, mallard, tufted duck, gadwall and little grebe. We had good views of both reed and sedge warblers in the reeds and lapwings with their young were on the field near Mill Lane. Swallows, swifts and house martins were spotted during the walk but there were no sand martins around their wall. Blackcap and yellowhammer were difficult to track down but on the way back we saw a blackcap in some willow trees and a lovely yellow male yellowhammer was sitting singing in the hedgerow near the car park making a total of 41 birds seen by the group. And we made it back before the rain came!

Dunnock, whitethroat, chiff-chaff, stonechat, magpie, reed bunting, carrion crow, willow warbler, buzzard, collared dove, jackdaw, skylark, goldfinch, woodpigeon, coot, grey heron, swift, Canada goose, tufted duck, gadwall, moorhen, mallard, stockdove, long-tailed tit, reed warbler, robin, little grebe, sedge warbler, starling, jay, lapwing, blackbird, lesser black-backed gull, pied wagtail, blackcap, house martin, yellowhammer, swallow, bluetit, great tit, wren(h)

Barbara Lower

Padley Gorge and Burbage 22 April 2023

pied flycatcher – John Lower

It was a grey drizzly start at the top of Padley but two colourful Mandarin ducks lifted our spirits. The river was in full flow, nevertheless Noel spotted a Dipper and a Grey wagtail soon followed downstream. The first of many Pied Flycatchers was seen in the tree tops then a pair was seen inspecting a nest box nearby.

The weather began to brighten up and we picked up Nuthatch,Treecreeper, Coal tit and other small birds.

As we made our way carefully down the gorge the Pied Flycatcher sightings became more numerous and their song prominent, two colourful jays chased around the trees.

We climbed towards Lawrence field and a group of three raptors were spotted circling and interacting, two were definitely buzzards but the third bird was different but unfortunately defied identification. A Redstart could be heard singing along the wall line, we tried to find the bird but it was eventually seen only by the walk leader before it flew out of sight. There were plenty of Willow warblers singing but no Tree pipits were heard or seen.

We returned to the cars for lunch and three of us carried on over to Burbage. It was very busy by now and no Ring Ouzels were seen. We did, however, record Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Kestrel and a Red Grouse.

Amanda Palethorpe

30 species

Blackbird,  blue tit,   buzzard,   carrion crow,   chaffinch,   chiffchaff,   coal tit,   dipper,   goldcrest,   great tit,   grey wagtail,   jay,   kestrel,   long-tailed tit,   mallard,   mandarin duck,   meadow pipit,   mistle thrush,   nuthatch,   pheasant,   pied flycatcher,   red grouse,   redstart,   robin,   sparrowhawk,   stonechat,   treecreeper,   willow warbler,   wood pigeon,   wren.

NWT Idle Valley Reserve 12 April 2023

oystercatcher – Martin Beaumont

The weather forecast had threatened strong winds and heavy rain but maybe not until lunchtime so 9 of us met at Idle Valley visitor centre in a fairly calm dry spell.

We set off across the walkboards and up through the woods with a song thrush being spotted early on. On our first view of the lake we saw mallard, tufted duck, coot, lapwing and oystercatcher but then walked up through the woodland away from the lake. Chiff-chaffs were everywhere and we eventually had a good view of a pair.

Looking out over the fields by the River Idle we saw swallows, house martins, a sparrowhawk and the red of a male pheasant. A pair of linnets stood out well in a group of alder trees. As we reached the lake again it was becoming more windy and the water was pretty choppy so we decided against going right round but it was worth going a little way as we saw a nice pair of great-crested grebe. Heading back to the visitor centre we scanned the island again and were lucky to see a pair of red-crested pochard. Those of us with packed lunches took refuge on the picnic tables by the feeders which were out of the wind. We were treated to a red kite flying over and then a charm of goldfinch with over 50 birds flew up out of the trees making a good end to our morning.

Barbara Lower

Song thrush, greylag goose, mallard, tufted duck, carrion crow, great tit, oystercatcher, lapwing, coot, woodpigeon, Canada goose, chiff chaff, robin, magpie, wren, herring gull, swallow, dunnock, long-tailed tit, sparrowhawk, pheasant, linnet, bluetit, goldfinch, blackbird, buzzard, great-crested grebe, lesser black-backed gull, red-crested pochard, moorhen, black-headed gull, red kite, chaffinch, cormorant, jackdaw, gadwall, house martin

RSPB Fairburn Ings Reserve 18 March 2023

The group at Fairburn Ings – Ann Bateman

A beautiful bright warm spring morning, birds singing, chiffchaff calling from the hedges  close by and a green woodpecker heard.

We called at the visitor centre to see what and where things had been seen. The bird feeders hadn’t been filled so no small birds around in the garden. 

 We proceeded to the pick-up hide. A few  small birds seen on the way, but nothing much on the water 

Onto the screen but sadly no kingfisher.

 At the first lake on the way up the hill we saw lots of blackheaded gulls and a few common gulls.

At the top of the hill we went right as this was where the the spoonbills had been seen. Little Grebes, calling from the reeds, were lovely to hear. Skylarks were whizzing up from the scrub and singing high up in the sky – a great sign of spring. A buzzard and a red kite appeared overhead, then a flash of the green woodpecker nearby – very vocal but disappeared out of sight.

As we got to the second lake we could see lots of birds roosting in the trees, cormorants and herons. At the very end of the roost was a very sleepy spoonbill, with his head tucked under his wing. We sat and had lunch to enable us to see it properly and it did eventually show itself well.

We also managed a good view of the green woodpecker after all the calling it had been doing all the way around the site.

It then started raining which turned to a torrential downpour. We made our way back to the visitor centre with the intention of going out again if it stop raining.

A snipe had been seen in the pickup hide so we went back down there and also got willow tit and great spotted woodpecker.

We watched a pair of spoonbills flying around the hedge looking as though they were going to mate, they disappeared in the undergrowth.

We called it a day at that because the rain came down again.

A very enjoyable walk!

Wendy Dyson.

Chiffchaff, blue tit, blackbird, dunnock, reed bunting, great tit, buzzard, coot, wood pigeon, cormorant, robin, goldfinch, magpie, chaffinch, red kite, black-headed gull, grey heron, little grebe, goldeneye, mute swan, great crested grebe, skylark, stockdove, green woodpecker, meadow pipit, willow warbler, Canada goose, greylag goose, shelduck, spoonbill, gadwall, shoveler, goosander, willow tit, great spotted woodpecker, long-tailed tit, snipe, lapwing, mallard, tufted duck.

Somersall Park, Chesterfield 8th March 2023

kingfisher – John Durkin

After arriving at the car park Noel set the scope up on a perching kingfisher and several early folks managed to see this lovely bird before it flew upstream. More arrived and eventually 22 plus Noel and I were gathered. Before leaving the car park we also saw grey wagtail, redwing, magpie, greenfinch, blue tit, nuthatch and woodpigeon.

We walked slowly alongside the River Hipper in the hope of seeing a dipper and perhaps another view of a kingfisher.  We stopped to view a Treecreeper then moved along slowly, the group had become quite strung out when the lucky people at the front witnessed  a dipper, a kingfisher and a grey wagtail all fly past having been flushed by a dog! One or two managed a flash view but at least it meant that there was definitely a dipper on the river.

A sparrowhawk soared overhead as we continued into the wood which was fairly quiet but then a pair of mistle thrushes were spotted, already nest building.

When we reached the dam we were delighted to find a pair of mandarin ducks, the male in spectacular breeding plumage. We ticked off the other common water birds then stood to admire a song thrush in full voice.

We returned along the river again spotting a buzzard being mobbed by a crow but didn’t see the dipper again unfortunately. We had a good view of a goldcrest though and a large flock of siskins in the car park.

35 species seen

Amanda Palethorpe

kingfisher,   grey wagtail,   redwing,   magpie,   greenfinch,   wood pigeon,   nuthatch,   blue tit,   goldfinch,   blackbird,   robin,   wren,   treecreeper,   grey heron,   great tit,   chaffinch,   dipper,   long-tailed tit,   sparrowhawk,   coal tit,   mistle thrush,   mandarin duck,   mallard,   coot,   moorhen,   black-headed gull,   lesser black-backed gull,   song thrush,  tufted duck,   Canada goose,   crow,   pied-wagtail,   goldcrest,   buzzard,   siskin.

RSPB Old Moor Reserve 18th February 2023

Reed bunting – Malcolm Webb

Around 13/14 of us met at Old Moor on the 18th February. The day was fine and there were plenty of birds around. Wendy Dyson led a breakaway group at the beginning of the walk, with the hope of seeing Bearded Tits and Bittern, sadly for them it proved fruitless. This left 4 of us to do the walk as I had planned it, going first to the right via the Family, Wader Scrape, Wath Ings and intermediate hides, returning via the new path along the lake. Lunch was taken at the Visitor Centre and then the ‘official group’ continued to the Bittern hide and the Reed Bed hide. In all around 51 species were recorded.

Frank Wharram

Robin, coot, greylag goose, tufted duck, cormorant, carrion crow, stockdove, pochard, magpie, gadwall, black-headed gull, mute swan, peregrine, Canada goose, great-crested grebe, little grebe, oystercatcher, lesser black-backed gull, bluetit, lapwing, mallard, herring gull, moorhen, shoveler, teal, shelduck, common gull, woodpigeon, buzzard, pheasant, wigeon, linnet, goosander, little egret, sparrowhawk, dunnock, blackbird, house sparrow, great tit, chaffinch, goldfinch, greenfinch, long-tailed tit, reed bunting, great-spotted woodpecker, songthrush, grey heron, goldeneye, bullfinch, Cetti’s warbler(h).

RSPB Sherwood Forest 8th February 2023

lesser spotted woodpecker – Martin Beaumont

As people began to arrive in the car park we spotted a kestrel perched on a post and a male stonechat. We then made our way to the meeting point at the visitor centre.

A large group of 21 met for our trip to hopefully find a Lesser-spotted woodpecker. These small and hard to see birds breed in Sherwood Forest but they are notoriously difficult to find. February is a good time to try as the birds are preparing for the breeding season by drumming and calling making them easier to locate.

As we made our way towards the Major Oak the group became spread out so great spotted woodpeckers and nuthatch were not seen by everyone, a treecreeper was though together with a large flock of redwings.

Wendy and Noel were up ahead and suddenly stopped and beckoned, they had heard drumming and calling and found a female bird working its way up a Silver Birch stump. The rest of the group approached quietly and we all watched with delight as she carried on moving slowly upwards.

After a celebratory coffee break we walked a triangular route in the forest. There was an abundance of goldcrests, often at eye level, and the feeding stations were busy with blue, great and coal tits as well as nuthatches and chaffinches. Also coming to feed were Marsh tits, a less common woodland specialist but a regular in Sherwood Forest.

We returned to the Major Oak having had no further sightings of the lesser spotted, but all agreed it had been a very successful morning.

Amanda Palethorpe

28 species

Woodpigeon.  Sparrowhawk.   Buzzard.   Lesser-spotted woodpecker.  Great-spotted woodpecker.  Green woodpecker( heard).  Kestrel.  Magpie.  Crow.  Coal tit.  Marsh tit.  Blue tit.  Great tit.  Long-tailed tit.  Goldcrest.  Wren.  Nuthatch.  Treecreeper.  Mistle Thrush.  Redwing.  Blackbird.  Fieldfare.  Robin.  Stonechat.  Dunnock.  Chaffinch.  Lesser redpoll.  Goldfinch

YWT North Cave Reserve 21st January 2023

whooper swans – Martin Beaumont

A very cold icy day with a brilliant clear blue sky was how the day started.

After putting on many layers of clothing and ordering our bacon butties, we went onto the platform that overlooks the Island lake. Most of the lake was frozen which meant the birds were all in a very small area.

Without moving we  managed to get a tally of 24 birds, which included the birds on the feeders at the side of us and and the water birds.

In the east hide we overlooked the same lake as before and didn’t expect to see an awful lot more but we were wrong: A mixed flock of redwing and fieldfare were moving from bush to bush demolishing the berries. The wigeon and snipe came out of the water to graze on the field along with greylag and Canada geese. A huge flock of lapwing went into the air .

We walked along the cliff road track and there was a line of alders which were full of all different types of birds: Siskin, greenfinch, goldfinch, song thrush; we stood ages marvelling at all these different birds. Close to the path was  a redwing turning over the leaves, not at all bothered by our presence.

At the feeder screen we had lots of tree sparrow, chaffinch, bullfinch and greenfinch.

On the track to the turret hide we saw a goldcrest working its way up and down and thistles eating the seeds.

In the Turret hide most of the water was frozen and we didn’t expect to see an awful lot .

Volunteers were working at the side cutting down the reeds disturbing most of the birds but we did see reed buntings. Looking across towards the snipefield a few stonechat kept popping up.

As we walked along by the fields towards the reedbed lake we saw a common gull.

At the corner looking towards the phase 2 extension a tawny owl in the fork of a tree was pointed out to us. It looked great with the sunshine on it.

By the time we reached the Crosslands hide it was really foggy and we couldn’t see anything so we had lunch by which time the fog had lifted.

We walked down to the phase 3 section.

A pair of pintail swam under the bank making them difficult to see. We then saw them flying above our heads, counting 46-in all, brilliant to see so many at once.

To the main lake we went, a pair of swans flew in, noticing their yellow beaks we dashed out to see them land in the water making their wonderful call, a pair of whoopers.

We walked back to the Turret hide to see if we could spot the bittern, but our good fortune had run out and we didn’t see it .

All in all a great day’s birding.

Bluetit, robin, little grebe, cormorant, teal, tufted duck, black-headed Gull, long-tailed tit, heron, gadwall, redshank, redwing, magpie, mute swan, blackbird. pinkfooted goose, herring Gull, woodpigeon, coot, goldfinch, crow, fieldfare, greylag goose, pied wagtail, rook, shelduck, greenfinch, bullfinch, tree sparrow, stonechat, siskin, song thrush, dunnock, goldcrest, jackdaw, treecreeper, kestrel, reed bunting, wren, common Gull, pintail, pochard, buzzard, curlew, chaffinch, whooper swan, lesser black backed Gull, great tit, snipe, mallard, shoveler, wigeon, stock dove, lapwing, moorhen, tawny owl.

Clumber Park 11th January 2023

Male Pochard – John Lower

Our first group walk of the year was in Clumber Park and 16 of us met in the main car park.  

It was a bright sunny morning with rain forecast later so we set off to walk through Lincoln Terrace in the hope of seeing the elusive hawfinches. Along the way we saw a pair of stock doves sat on a roof of some buildings also a few jackdaws about. Some Canada and greylag geese along with black headed gulls and a moorhen were on the lawns in front of the chapel area. From here we added mute swans, mallards and tufted ducks. A kestrel was having a dog fight with a couple of jackdaws around the chapel steeple. As we walked along we did get our hopes up  for a hawfinch but it was only a greenfinch, the only one we saw. Walking through the terrace area we saw quite a few blue, coal and great tits, plus blackbirds and robins, also a beautiful goldcrest feeding very low down so everyone had good views of it. We continued along by the lake where we saw a grey heron, cormorants, male pochards, goosanders, lots of coots and a little egret. On the lings ponds we saw some shovelers. As we then walked along to make our way to the hide we had a brief view of a sparrowhawk. At the hide we saw a lovely male great spotted woodpecker who was busy feeding, also added a nuthatch and chaffinch to our list and we had a swift visit from the sparrowhawk. We made our way back to the main lake again where we saw some bigger gulls after some deliberation and looking at Martin’s photos we added lesser black backed gull, common gull and herring gull to our list. Wendy had a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher and some members also saw long tailed tits. So again no hawfinches but overall a good morning and we did see some nice birds.  

blackbird, carrion crow, jackdaw, woodpigeon, blue tit, stock doves, chaffinch, greenfinch, Canada geese, greylag geese, mute swans, black headed gulls, moorhens, robins, kestrel, coal tit, great tit, long tailed tit, magpie, goldcrest, teal, great crested grebe, mallards, tufted ducks, grey heron, cormorants, pochard, goosanders, little egret, coot, shoveler, sparrowhawk, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, kingfisher, lesser black backed gull, common gull, and herring gull.    


Carsington Water 7th Dec 2022

Songthrush – John Lower

14 met at the main car park in sunny but freezing conditions. We headed towards the Wildlife Centre and were delighted to come across a mixed flock containing lesser redpoll, siskin, goldfinch and bullfinches.

We all steamed in the warmth of the Wildlife Centre but saw a good number of species including songthrush, redwing and mistlethrush. The feeders gave us tree sparrows, willow tit, great and blue tits.

A flock of meadow pipits landed on the shore along with pied wagtails providing a kestrel and a sparrow hawk with an opportunity for a meal.

We walked around to Lane End Hide, greenfinch and jay being seen. The view from the hide was disappointing but scopes picked up great crested grebes, wigeon and a drake goldeneye.

A large flock of lapwings greeted our return to the centre where a Christmas lunch followed.

Amanda Palethorpe

48 birds seen

Dunnock.  Robin.  Goldfinch.  House sparrow.  Mallard.  Tufted duck.  Teal.  Coot.  Greylag goose.  Canada goose.  Crow.  Magpie.  Jackdaw.  Kestrel.  Sparrow hawk.  Great tit    Blue tit.  Willow tit.  Siskin.  Lesser redpoll.  Bullfinch.  Chaffinch.  Little egret.  Blackbird.  Pied wagtail.  Meadow pipit.  Wren.  Tree sparrow.  Pheasant.  Cormorant  Little grebe.  Gadwall.  Moorhen.  Song thrush.  Mistle thrush.  Redwing.  Blackcap.  Greenfinch.  Jay.  Buzzard.  Black-headed gull.  Great crested grebe.  Wigeon.  Lesser Black-Backed gull.   Goldeneye.  Lapwing.  Long-tailed tit. Woodpigeon.

RSPB Blacktoft Sands 19th November 2022

Fieldfare – John Lower

While travelling on the motorway to Blacktoft we had heavy rain but within half an hour of reaching the site the rain had stopped and we even had some sun later in the day. 14 members met at the small visitor centre for a hot drink before setting off for the hides. From here we saw our first marsh harrier, little grebe and mute swans.

Looking down the hedges and over the fields, there were large numbers of fieldfare enjoying the red berries, flocks of starling and lapwing and quite a few pheasant. We also added reed bunting, magpie, robin, dunnock and pied wagtail.

We followed the path to the Ousefleet hide where we had good views of snipe on several of the islands, some teal in the water and a pink-footed goose on the bank. Stonechats were flitting through the reeds and a kestrel came and hovered just outside the hide. Shoveler and shelduck flew over but there were very few ducks on the ponds. The warden told us this was because they had dried out in the summer leaving a layer of salt on the ground which, when the ponds refilled, made the water too salty. Walking back towards Marshland hide, there were lots of small birds in the trees including bluetit, great tit, chaffinch, goldfinch, wren and Cetti’s warbler. At Marshland hide there were more snipe on the islands and also a redshank.

We ate our lunches in the visitor centre where they had a nice warm stove. After lunch we made our way along the hides to the east adding more ducks in flight as well as cormorant and black-tailed godwit. The furthest hide is Singleton and from here you look across to the Rivers Ouse and Trent where big flocks of birds were gathering. We had lovely sunlit views of male and female marsh harriers both in flight and perched in a nearby bush before making our way back to the car park.

Starling, woodpigeon, magpie, reed bunting, marsh harrier, lapwing, mute swan, fieldfare, pheasant, pied wagtail, robin, dunnock, little grebe, carrion crow, songthrush, black-headed gull, wren, goldfinch, pink-footed goose, snipe, teal, kestrel, stonechat, shoveler, shelduck, bluetit, great tit, chaffinch, redshank, Cetti’s warbler, greylag goose, blackbird, gadwall, mallard, long-tailed tit, lesser black-backed gull, moorhen, black-tailed godwit, cormorant

Barbara Lower

Carr Vale 9th November 2022

willow tit Martin Beaumont
female reed bunting John Lower

15 of us met in the Peter Fiddler car park on a sunny calm morning.

We took the lower path towards the reserve entrance and saw several different tit species at the feeding station. We continued along the path beside the filtration systems when male bullfinch was spotted feeing on blackberries. At the next feeding tray we were delighted to see a Willow tit and some at the tail end found a chiffchaff, these birds are frequently overwintering in the UK now.

We arrived at the scrapes and set up the scopes on the mound There were large numbers of Canada geese and Black-headed gulls but in-between we managed to find Wigeon, Gadwall, a solitary Teal and Grey Herons. The feeder on the mound gave good views of Reed Buntings and another Willow Tit. A Stonechat was seen and distant Buzzards. The chipping call of a woodpecker alerted us to a female Great spotted in the top of a tree behind us.

On our return path, Dawn spotted a beautiful Grey wagtail beside the river. The hawthorn bushes were surprisingly quiet but we managed to see 38 species in total.

Amanda Palethorpe

Robin,   goldfinch,   cormorant,   woodpigeon,   great tit,   long-tailed tit,   coal tit,   blue tit,   bullfinch,   chaffinch,   blackbird,   wren,   willow tit,   chiffchaff,   gadwall,   Canada goose,   mute swan,   reed bunting,   dunnock,   great spotted woodpecker,   wigeon,   grey heron,   moorhen,   black-headed gull,   magpie,   greylag goose,   jackdaw, crow,   starling,   stonechat,   lesser black-backed gull,  teal,   mallard,   lapwing,   Cetti’s warbler (h),   pheasant,  buzzard,   grey wagtail,  pied wagtail (heard and flyover)

Attenborough 22nd October 2022

Robin Potts
Robin Potts

16 people met on the car park of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Attenborough reserve in pleasant sunshine. We set off along the main path leading to the River Trent and made very slow progress as we spotted lots of different water fowl on the lakes. It was good to see the ducks back in their breeding plumage – mallard, tufted duck, gadwall, wigeon, shoveler and teal. There were cormorants demonstrating synchronised swimming techniques and a great white egret stalking at the far side. In the trees alongside the path we saw a selection of tits and finches and regularly heard a Cetti’s warbler but never spotted it. From the Tower hide, there was buzzard, stonechat and sparrowhawk in the scrubland. We were told red-breasted merganser had been seen recently but when we thought we had found it, it was a female goosander! Along the river, a kingfisher was spotted on a low branch and Canada, greylag and Eqyptian geese were on the far bank. On our way back we returned to the Tower hide and were rewarded with views of snipe, pintail, jay and a water rail who lingered in one of the muddy channels.

Lapwing, magpie, coot, tufted duck, mute swan, black-headed gull, mallard, cormorant, great-crested grebe, Canada goose, woodpigeon, little grebe, robin, great white egret, moorhen, gadwall, wigeon, shoveler, greylag goose, long-tailed tit, carrion crow, herring gull, teal, starling, grey heron, great tit, chaffinch, bluetit, little egret, dunnock, greenfinch, lesser black-backed gull, buzzard, stonechat, sparrowhawk, goosander, goldfinch, pied wagtail, blackbird, coaltit, kingfisher, wren, kestrel, goldcrest, Egyptian goose, snipe, pheasant, pintail, jay, water rail, Cetti’s warbler(h)

Barbara Lower

Ogston 12th October 2022

15 of us met in the car park. As we scanned the reservoir we saw cormorant, tufted ducks and mallards. We went into the public hide , the water levels were very high and the light made it difficult to identify the birds. The shovelers were quite easy to spot as they swam past and there were lots of coot. A kestrel was being mobbed by crows.

There was quite a bit of disturbance in the area as the members’ hide was having lots of work done with a big JCB.

We headed down the west bank, and bumped into a few Ogston birders. They pointed out the Caspian gull sat on one of the buoys.

Our walk continued to Brackenfield church. It seemed very quiet in the area. We walked the loop, spotting more birds and a few butterflies.

By the time we returned to the car park, we had seen 37 species. A good and enjoyable morning walk.

Cormorant, tufted duck, mallard, lesser black backed gull, crow, great crested grebe, kestrel, coot, magpie, black-headed gull, woodpigeon, blackbird, little grebe, buzzard, shoveler, robin, long-tailed tit, Caspian gull, grey heron, lapwing, teal, wren, gadwall, goldfinch, nuthatch, chaffinch, coal tit, bullfinch, mistle thrush, great tit, wigeon, greylag goose, little egret, pied wagtail, linnet, herring gull, house sparrow.

Wendy Dyson

Old Moor RSPB Reserve 24th September 2022

Martin Beaumont

5 members had a wonderful day birding at Old Moor seeing 53 species:

Mute swan, cormorant, Canada goose, greylag goose, great crested grebe, little grebe, mallard, shoveler, pintail, gadwall , wigeon, black-headed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, coot, moorhen, grey heron, great white egret, little egret, green sandpiper, dunlin, lapwing, ringed plover, little ringed plover, snipe, black-tailed godwit, pied wagtail, marsh harrier, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, buzzard, carrion crow, magpie, wood pigeon, stock dove, chiffchaff, greenfinch, goldfinch, great tit, blue tit, long-tailed tit, house sparrow, dunnock, robin, starling, pheasant, blackbird, spoonbill, kingfisher, common sandpiper, house martin and teal.

Frank Wharram

St Aidan’s RSPB Reserve 23nd July 2022

A group of 6 met in the car park of this Yorkshire reserve. Previously an opencast coal mine it is now a wetland nature reserve managed by the RSPB since 2017. We began at the Visitor centre lookout which has panoramic view of the whole site. It is largely pools and reedbeds surrounded by scrub and pasture and bordered on the west by the river Aire. We immediately spotted 3 large white shapes and using scopes identified 3 great white egrets, with some little egrets alongside for a handy comparison. Overhead a family of kestrels were practising their flying skills then a larger bird, a red kite joined in.

Following the circular trail we saw common terns swoop and screech then a group of 8 flying birds were identified as black-tailed godwits, they circled around but we couldn’t see where they landed. The reeds were quiet although we heard an occasional reed warbler and a sedge warbler was briefly spotted, LBJ’s flitted about defying identification! The pools held the usual ,coots, moorhens and mallards but eventually we spotted a small, skinny-necked grebe, a bird we were all hoping to see. This site has been attracting black-necked grebes for a number of years with increased breeding success. This year 17 pairs were recorded by the Swillington bird group survey.

We continued around the perimeter path coming across a mixed flock of tits and warblers, then a row of benches with a view provided the ideal place for lunch. A pair of Great Crested Grebes also fed their chicks.

We crossed the causeway to the reedbeds and there we came across the  wonderful sight of 4 adult Black-necked Grebes and their young. Most still in breeding plumage and close enough to get great view in the scopes and even some photos. We all agreed this was the highlight of the day and couldn’t be bettered so we headed back.

Amanda Palethorpe

42 species seen and heard

Woopdpigeon.  Blackbird.  Kestrel.  Magpie.  Canada goose.  Swan.  Great white egret.  Coot    red kite.  Tufted duck.  Greylag goose.  Little egret.  Crow.  Great crested grebe.  Black-headed gull.  Common tern.  Mallard.  Moorhen.  Lapwing.  Swallow.  Lesser black-backed gull.  Starling.  Marsh harrier.  Cormorant.  Pochard.  Black-necked grebe.  Black-tailed godwit.  Sedge warbler.  Reed warbler.  Herring gull.  House martin.  Wren.  Swift.  Willow warbler.  Blue tit.  Long-tailed tit.  Goldfinch. Gadwall  Shoveler.  Sand martin.  Buzzard.  Reed bunting

Martin Beaumont

Avenue Country Park   13th July 2022

This Country Park on the edge of Chesterfield was created from the restoration of The Avenue Coking Works. It is adjacent to the Avenue Washlands Nature Reserve, both sites being managed for wildlife by The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. Work was completed in 2019 and already large numbers of wildlife species have been recorded on site including nationally protected Great Crested Newts.

Ten of us began the morning recording swifts and singing skylark while goldfinches were numerous among the thistles. The first two ponds held a variety of waterfowl including gadwall, moorhen, heron, little egret and little grebe. A buzzard circled above us and a stock dove was spotted flying through.

The fishing ponds were quiet except for a coot family but sedge warblers could be heard and swallows and house martins swooped for insects while a sparrowhawk circled up with its characteristic flap, flap glide.

We heard several yellowhammers and finally saw one perched, it was carrying food so we moved away.

 The ponds at the nature reserve were disappointingly quiet and no sand martins were around the bank. Suddenly a streak of bird flew across our view, Hobby. It was quickly lost to view but then reappeared to hunt right above us, swooping and hawking for dragonflies. What a bird!

We started our return, catching a brief glimpse of two bullfinches but the heat of the morning kept the birds hidden. Nevertheless, 32 birds seen and heard.

Amanda Palethorpe

Skylark,  swift,   pied wagtail,   magpie,   wood pigeon,   crow,   dunnock,   goldfinch,   moorhen,   gadwall,   sedge warbler,   grey heron,   Canada goose,   little grebe,   cormorant,   house sparrow,   little egret,   lapwing,   swallow,   mallard,   stock dove,   black-headed gull,   coot,   blackbird,   sparrowhawk,   whitethroat(h),   grey wagtail,   house martin,   yellowhammer,   hobby,   bullfinch,   blue tit.

Blackamoor. 8th June 2022

5 of us met in the carpark, the weather wasn’t brilliant but much improved on the forecast. As we got out of the cars, a chiffchaff was singing away on the phone wires overhead. The wooded area was full of bird song, but none to be seen.

The cuckoos were calling in the distance. A grey wagtail was flicking about in the little stream.

The walk up to the edge of the moor added  blue tit, blackbird and lots of warblers singing. We stood for a while by the wall before entering the moor. There were lots of mistle thrush, redstart and stonechat.

The beautiful call of the curlew was all around. We again heard the cuckoo.

The views up on the moor are breathtaking, with cotton grass waving in the wind. The curlew were flying backwards and forwards, lapwing on the top of the moor and a buzzard high in the sky. Swifts kept appearing darting around, and then disappearing quickly.

We walked through the plantation and added robin and treecreeper. We had a heavy rain shower for a while as we started our decent, but it soon cleared up again. The tree pipits were entertaining doing the parachuting, then back into the tree tops. We once again heard the cuckoo but still no sighting.A kestrel hovered overhead.

A very pleasant walk but disappointment in not seeing the cuckoo.

List of birds seen

Chiffchaff, grey wagtail, blue tit, blackbird, willow warbler, goldfinch, curlew, crow, stonechat, kestrel, mistle thrush, wood pigeon, redstart, buzzard, magpie, swift, meadow pipit, lapwing, swallow, tree pipit, whitethroat, robin, treecreeper, blackcap.

Wendy Dyson 

John Lower

Padley Gorge.   11th May 2022

Despite the rain 9 of us met up at the top of the gorge. A cuckoo was calling across the valley and a grey heron flew low upstream.

Our first pied flycatcher was seen very early but it was distant and flitting, not everyone had a view. We continued carefully down the gorge and heard more flycatchers calling as we approached the wall. Another male bird was seen plus a treecreeper and nuthatch. A pair of Mandarin ducks flew upstream surprising us all then Wendy spotted a dipper flying downstream but it quickly disappeared.

At the money tree we came upon a female redstart, tail quivering, then a male arrived and showed beautifully. Yellow wagtails were on the river and a pair of jays were in the tree tops.

We climbed slowly to the top but there were few birds to be seen, only a willow warbler was singing.

It was till pouring so we decided to call it a day, we’d all had great views of pied flycatcher and redstart.

23 birds seen /heard

Mandarin duck,   mallard,   grey heron,   jay,   crow,   blue tit,   great tit,   swallow,   long-tailed tit,   willow warbler,   chiffchaff,   wren,   nuthatch,   treecreeper,   song thrush,   blackbird,   robin,   pied flycatcher,   redstart,   dipper,   grey wagtail,   cuckoo,    pied wagtail

Amanda Palethorpe

Norman Crowson