Trip Report: Carsington Water, 25th February 2024

Wildlife Centre hide, Carsington Water
The Wildlife Centre hide offered welcome shelter for our lunch.

Richard Stephenson lead our trip to Carsington Water. Mark Dean has provided this report.

Weather: Mist on tops on way, 3 to 6 degrees, wind 15 mph westerly. Plenty of sunshine, along with a wicked chill factor at times.

Three cars arrived at the Visitor Centre car park from Marple with a further 3 meeting up with us there, making 14 attendees altogether.

We headed towards Stones Island in anticipation of seeing our main target bird, the Great Northern Diver. Looking towards the Sailing Centre we saw 7 Goldeneye, some displaying, and 2 Oystercatchers were spotted amongst the many Coot, BH Gull, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Canada Geese and Moorhen. We carried on, hearing Song Thrush and Robin singing as we walked. A Chiffchaff was spotted, the first of the year for many. Looking out from the hide side were GC Grebes, plenty of Cormorants and more Goldeneye but still no sign of the GND we were hoping for. Redwings were spotted in the trees as we headed towards the dam wall towards Millfields.

Two Mistle Thrush were spotted in the fields opposite before we again scanned for the GND, this time we were rewarded with distant views. We carried on and at Millfields got better views of the GND, and we then looked around for the Red-crested Pochard which had been reported and after seeing a few Common Pochard it was seen, quite close in. We had great views of it, a female. We headed back for lunch in the Wildlife Centre hide, in the knowledge it provided a warmer place to sit. On the way we saw about 30 Barnacle Geese amongst the 100 or so Canada Geese. At the hide 20 Pochards, 2 pairs of GC Grebe, of which one pair were head shaking but not completing the full weed dance. On the feeder were the usual Chaffinch and Great Tits. On the ground we noted four Pheasants, Dunnock and Mallard.

We walked on towards Sheepwash and saw two Redshanks on the shore, a Goldcrest in the hawthorn, and the flock of Barnacle Geese flew over us. We stopped at the screen feeder where Nuthatch, Robin, Coal Tit and Great Tit were seen. In the trees here a Willow Tit was seen but some missed it as it stayed in the background. We then called at the Lane Ends Hide where we had good views of the GND which showed very nicely.

We then headed for the Paul Stanley hide. As we approached it, three Siskin were seen in an alder tree. From the hide we saw twenty Wigeon, lots of BH Gulls, two pair of Goldeneye, Teal, and a Common Buzzard. A Grey Heron was also on the edge of the water. Then an Egret flew across the other side of the water, some reported seeing some orange on it, so we reckon it must have been the Cattle Egret which had been reported near here. A Willow Tit was also seen outside the hide by some. We headed back and two Curlew flew over calling. We stopped briefly at the screen feeder hoping for another Willow Tit sighting but it did not show. We then got back to the car and heard that some had also seen Common Snipe during the day. A few decided to drive back to Millfields to see Willow Tit on the feeders which proved successful. We all agreed it had been a good day, seeing the target birds and we thanked Richard for leading.

Report by Mark Dean

Photographs by Robert Ready & Richard Stephenson (the RCP)