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Trip Report - 2019

The Field Trips Report for earlier years are still available.

Linacre Reservoir
8th January 2019

Five members enjoyed a morning walk around Linacre reservoirs in surprisingly fine weather with clear skies and little wind. Only 28 bird species were recorded but there were good numbers of those that were there. All four of the common tits were well-represented and Nuthatches seemed to be everywhere. Three Treecreepers were spotted. The reservoirs had lots of Black-headed Gulls, Mallards, Tufted Ducks and Moorhens with only a few Mandarin and Coot and single Little Grebe and Cormorant. Both Great Spotted and Green woodpecker were present but finches were noticeably absent with only a single Chaffinch seen.

Rother Valley
13th February 2019

Six of us attended Rother Valley Country Park where the weather was warmer than might be expected for mid-February. A mix up about where to meet meant we ended up in two parties. A walk around the nature lakes area was a good start to the day, although it was the muddiest part too. As expected there were plenty of wildfowl and around 20 Cormorant loafing about there. Several displaying male Goldeneye were present together with small numbers of Pochard, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Gadwall, Shoveler and Teal. We were delighted to find a female Smew on the smallest of the 3 pools. We then walked around the main lake where there were larger numbers of Coot, Tufted Duck, Wigeon Canada Goose, Great Crested Grebe and Mute Swan. Raptors present were Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. The smaller birds were few but included several Bullfinch and Goldfinch but not a single Chaffinch. Even so, by the time we retired for a lunch time snack at the cafe, we had recorded 45 species.

Langsett
20th March 2019

Nine members convened at the Langsett Barn car park and enjoyed a good walk in excellent weather. We started over the dam wall where a pair of Oystercatchers were sleeping by a drake Mallard. Once over the dam, we walked through woodland over to the south bank of the reservoir. Many of the birds were in full song including Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Blackbird and a few Goldcrest too. A single Brambling, a male almost in breeding plumage, was a good spot. The reservoir held a Great Crested Grebe, unusual for this site, together with the usual Canada Geese, Mallard and a pair of Greylag Geese. Once on the moorland, the Meadow Pipits were numerous and were demonstrating their parachute display flight. Red Grouse were everywhere but Skylark were absent. On the river at the north west corner was a Dipper. By the time we were back at the cars we had recorded 38 species, including a small flock of Crossbills, which flew over heralding their presence with their chipping calls. All of us retired for a well-earned lunch at the Polka Dot cafe.

Old Moor Wetlands
11th April 2019

Six members started the day in the hide at Broomhill Flash before moving on to Old Moor. The work outlined by Old Moor manager Graham Figg at our last winter meeting was very visible with bulldozers and mechanical diggers at work at Wombwell Ings and on the meadows purchased by the Garganey Trust. It didn't seem to bother the birds at Broomhill unduly and we recorded 30 species there. There is now a small island in front of the hide. Those early enough saw a pair of Red-legged Partridge with the usual residents at this time of year. The weather was bright and sunny and the icy easterly wind seemed to disappear during the day. The main lagoon at Old Moor was heaving with Black-headed Gulls which were also spread widely around other parts of the reserve and a count of over 2000 was estimated. Waders were represented by several Lapwings, a few Redshank and singles of both Snipe and Green Sandpiper. The garden feeders were very quiet but the Tree Sparrow Farm feeders were better with Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Dunnock, Brambling and the usual tit species all present. Wildfowl were still well represented with 7 duck species still resident. The Sand Martin wall was not yet in use but one distant hirundine may have been a possible. An excellent day was had by all with the highlights occurring at the last hide visited where a booming Bittern strolled out into view before flying off to another part of the reedbed and a single Avocet dropped in. PLUS a few of us heard a Cuckoo calling. A total of 57 species were recorded at Old Moor making our total for the day 59.

Camphill Gliding Club
16th May 2019

Nine members were up and about at dawn and convened in the club car park at 5:00AM. The small wood there held a few singing birds before we started our walk. The lack of trees on the field itself meant that the chorus was quite limited but the extremely fine morning and the spectacular views from the field perimeter track made up for that. There were a pair of Lapwing and Curlew on the field, both likely to raise young and we were surrounded by Skylarks which gave us some excellent photographic opportunities. The woodland at the far side of the field gave us our best birdsong, which included a nearby singing Cuckoo together with several warblers including Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. Redstart and Goldcrest were also recorded. We were surprised to find a family of Ravens, very clearly unhappy about our presence near their nest site. We finished the morning with a first class breakfast in the club dining room after a very enjoyable morning walk.

Somerset Weekend
18th-19th May 2019

Saturday Seven members and a guest met at Ham Wall RSPB reserve in fine weather and spent the morning there. The highlights were the excellent sightings of Bittern together with a certain 3 booming males, and the many views of Great Egrets - we recorded at least 10 during the morning. Warblers were in fine song with Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Reed Warbler recorded in good numbers. Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat were somewhat less common. Raptors were represented by Marsh Harrier, Buzzard and Red Kite. Wildfowl present included good numbers of Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck and Pochard with a pair of Wigeon and a single Greylag Goose also recorded. By the end of our visit, we had recorded 46 species. After a short break for lunch we the crossed over the road to Shapwick Heath NNR where we spent the afternoon. Unlike on our last visit there, we failed to find any Cattle Egrets this time around. Cuckoos were in fine voice here as they had been at Ham Wall too. The highlight of the afternoon was undoubtedly the frequent sightings of Hobby hunting dragonflies over the reed beds - there must have been at least 3. A Red Kite was seen once more together with a number of Buzzard and at least a further 3 Marsh Harriers. Once again we had grand views of Bitterns making quite lengthy flights. We added Shoveler to our wildfowl tally and by the end of the day our bird total had reached 50.

Sunday Eight members and our guest convened at 9:30 at Steart Marshes, a relatively new reserve created and managed by the WWT. The reserve lies next to the river Parrett and covers an area of peninsular along the Severn Estuary to the south of the river. The sea defences have been breached to allow salt water onto the reserve, developing a salt marsh at high tides. Wader scrapes have been created and there is also a freshwater area. There were around 80 Avocet with at least 6 young. Our group split up for much of the day and some of us left early. Those who stayed longer (and walked further!) recorded 52 species. The reserve has an interesting mix of habitats including some farmland with grazing cattle and hedgerows as well as the marsh, reed beds and estuarine mud. Around 200 Shelduck were on the reserve. Warblers included Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Cetti's Warbler in good numbers with a few Blackcap, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff too. Waders were represented by Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher in addition to the Avocet. This reserve is probably best visited before and during a high tide but seems to hold much of interest at any state of the tide.

Wyming Brook and Redmires Reservoirs
13th June 2019

Only four members ignored the weather forecast and convened at Wyming Brook for 9:00. Luckily, the weather stayed dry for almost the whole walk. There was a heavy drizzle shower soon after we set off around the reservoirs. Blackcaps were singing throughout the woodland and there were lots of Willow Warblers singing on the moorland. On the tops were Curlew and Lapwings, the latter with young. Around the reservoirs were both Pied and Grey Wagtails, both with recently fledged young. Canada Geese and Greylag Geese were on the top reservoir with small goslings and there were a few Mallard families too. The Little Ringed Plovers were tricky to find but they too had at least one youngster. Despite failing to find common birds such as Blue Tit and Dunnock, we still recorded 47 species, reflecting the varied habitat we'd visited before we got back to the cars around 1:00.

Bretton Clough
17th July 2019

As our usual June evening walk down Bretton Clough was cancelled because of the bad weather, we decided to try again for our July field trip. Seven of us convened by the Barrel Inn in fine and warm weather. A couple of Yellowhammers were spotted briefly soon after we set off together with a few Linnets. As expected the birds were largely very quiet and we struggled to identify several as they were glimpsed bouncing around in the trees. The usual June birds normally spotted from their songs were well hidden so we failed to find Tree Pipit, Redstart or any of the chats. Strangely, on a morning where several paragliders were enjoying the thermals, not a single raptor seemed to be around. Even so, by the time we were back at the car, we had recorded 27 species including a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Jubilee plantation and a Curlew on Sir William Hill. As ever at this time of year there were quite a few butterflies in flight mainly ringlets and meadow browns. In addition, we also saw 3 dark green fritillaries, some small heaths and an unidentified skipper. Four of us enjoyed a really good lunch in the pub before setting off for home.