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Trip Report - 2018

The Field Trips Report for earlier years are still available.

Clumber Park
6th January 2018

Only two members managed the traditionally first field trip of the year. The weather was bright with just a couple of showers. The highlight of the trip was finding Hawfinch, the first here since our visit in 2013. There were 3 in the woods by the church and at least one other as we reached the bottom end of the lake. There were huge numbers of birds on the main lake, with at least 100 Mute Swan, 500 Coot, 200 Tufted Duck and 150 Mallard together with almost 500 Black-headed Gulls. Many of the regular birds were absent (no woodpeckers) but Bullfinch, Goosander, Goldeneye and Grey Wagtail were good finds for our list. Marsh Tits were with the other Tits on the feeders. The final tally was 43 which included feral Muscovy Duck!

Potteric Carr
6th February 2018

Only two members braved the cold weather and headed up the M18. Although very cold, there was no wind and it was bright for most of the day until gentle snow started during the afternoon and we made our escape! We started the day at Willow Pool hide where the feeders were strangely quiet. Among the tit flock was a single Willow Tit. We then headed for Piper Marsh hide and once again the pool was very quiet with no sign of any Bittern. We spent much of the rest of our visit at Huxter Well Marsh where there was a host of wildfowl. All the usual suspects were there in good numbers - Mallard, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler and Gadwall were present together with a large flock of Lapwing. As we left the last hide on Hawthorn Bank, a Bittern appeared and flew off very quickly giving only a fleeting glimpse. Other highlights included a pair of Stonechats, a Green Woodpecker and a Whooper Swan. A Cetti's Warbler broke into song for a few seconds as we had our lunch in the Roger Mitchell hide. By the time we left soon after 2:30, we had recorded 46 species.

Carsington Water
6th March 2018

On this the third field trip of the year, for the third time only two members made it. The weather was much improved after last week's brief visit from the "Beast from the East" with very little snow to bother us. We were greeted like long lost friends by the locals as we entered the first hide where the wintering Great Northern Diver was rapidly pointed out, together with a more recently arrived Scaup - a good start to the day! Several Goldeneye were soon spotted and on the shore, Redshank, Oystercatcher and a well-hidden Linnet were added to the list. The numbers of wintering ducks such as Teal and Wigeon were relatively small and even the resident Coot and Tufted Duck seem to have had hard times with the recent shocking weather and their numbers too were limited. On the bird feeders Willow Tits were still to be found with the other four more common tit species but the usual Bullfinch were absent. As we walked to the visitor centre, we could hear Curlew calling from the surrounding fields and there were more Oystercatchers with the Lapwing flocks. Many birds had started singing, including Mistle Thrush, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and, of course, Robin. Maybe spring isn't so far away after all. We were a little dismayed to see the volume of vegetation clearance that has taken place here. It seemed that great swathes of brush had been entirely removed, to what purpose we wondered? The resident Tree Sparrows were very thin on the ground. As usual there were lots of Great Crested Grebes but the usual Mute Swans were missing. There was also a marked absence of gulls with only a few Black-headed and a single Great Black-backed to be found. Despite that and also the absence of common birds such as Starling, we still managed to record 53 species - being a fairly normal figure for this site.

Derwent Dale
8th April 2018

Eight of us met on a warm, bright and still morning, which was much appreciated after the recent lengthy spell of cold, wet and windy weather. Our first raptor of the day was a Peregrine as we walked under the dam wall - a good omen for the rest of the morning. As we headed for our usual watch-point at Howden Dam, John spotted a Goshawk flying quite low on the far side of the reservoir before it headed quite rapidly into the woods, giving poor views to just a few of us. A fine male Goosander flew by, heading north, and a drake Mandarin also flew over. At the watch point we saw two Goshawks circling and climbing very high in the sky, much too high for any display flight. There we also had good views of a male Kestrel and more views of the Goosander on the water. Four of us extended the walk and went a little way up Howden Clough where we added Buzzard and Meadow Pipit to our list but there was no sign of the hoped for Ring Ouzels. The only warblers found were a couple of Chiffchaffs. In total 34 species were recorded.

Carr Vale
19th April 2018

Four members made this trip on what was certainly the warmest day of the year so far, it was very HOT, with bright sunshine and a clear blue sky. Unsurprisingly, after the shocking spring weather so far, the migrant warblers were very few, although we did hear a very distant Grasshopper Warbler reeling and an equally distant Lesser Whitethroat singing, both heard from the mound. Decent numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing but there were very few Willow Warblers and neither Reed nor Sedge Warblers were heard. On our walk in, we heard a loud Cetti's Warbler, which is now regular here. The feeders were rather quiet although we had good views of Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting. No fewer than 6 Buzzards were seen soaring together from the mound, and a Red Kite drifted over the M1. The only waders present were a pair of Oystercatchers and a few pairs of Lapwings. The highlight of the morning was definitely a sighting of 3 Common Cranes, which flew over the site from the north and left towards the south west as we made our way towards our regular lunch spot on the old railway line. Just before the crane sighting, we watched a bird flying west which looked to be a very probable Cuckoo. The group's conviction on this varied from 50% sure to 90% sure - sadly it was flying low and swiftly away from us but it does seem to be very likely. Only a couple of Sand Martins were spotted and a single Swallow. Everything is arriving very late this year. Despite this, we still managed to record 52 species, a very reasonable figure for this trip. We also recorded decent numbers of butterflies this year with Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange Tip, Brimstone and an unidentified white all present - Brimstone and Orange Tip were in very good numbers.

Padley Gorge
17th May 2018

It was a fine morning for the five members who met at Grindleford station. It was a cool start but the birds were in fine song as we climbed up into Padley Woods but strangely quieter inside the wood. Warblers were well represented with lots of Willow Warblers, two Wood Warblers but single Chiffchaff, Blackcap and a Whitethroat near Surprise View. John spotted a Tawny Owl fly through early in our walk. There were a dozen or more Pied Flycatchers but no Spotted Flycatcher. Both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were heard as were a few Redstarts. On the moors between the wood and Surprise View there were fewer birds than usual. Red Grouse and Curlew were both heard but there were few Meadow Pipits, no Tree Pipit or Whinchat and only a single Stonechat. It was a most enjoyable walk during which 35 species were recorded.

As we crossed the railway bridge at Grindleford Station as we returned to the cars we just caught sight of a Lancaster Bomber as it flew quite low down the valley.

Wirral
19th-20th May 2018

Over a quarter of our membership took part in our weekend visit to the Wirral and 14 of us and a guest convened at RSPB Burton Mere at 9:30 on a beautiful day with loads of sun and no wind. Once more the Avocets here are successfully fledging young and we had good views of some youngsters from the reception area at the reserve. We split into two groups for the day and met up for lunch at the viewpoint overlooking the Dee valley. Apart from the Avocets, other waders present included Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing and a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits. The heronry was very busy with large numbers of both Grey Heron and Little Egret feeding young. There were also a pair of Cattle Egrets in there but none of us managed to find them. Warblers were busy singing with Willow Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff present. Other highlights included Little Gull, a splendid male Garganey and a Hobby later in the afternoon. It was after 4PM when we left by which time at least 59 species had been recorded.

The weather on Sunday was very similar as we gathered outside the locked gateway to drive nearer to the reserve entrance at Woolston Eyes. The parking spot wasn't straightforward to find, not helped by the satnav guiding you NOT to the correct place. After a slight delay, our guide for the morning, Brian Martin, took us over the locked footbridge onto the reserve after first explaining some of its history. We visited a few of the hides on bed 3, the main part of the reserve, and eventually managed reasonable, if distant, views of a pair of Black-necked Grebes, complete with a pair of youngsters riding on the back of one of them. This bird is the main draw for this reserve but it is well worth a visit in its own right. Brian stayed with us until just after noon and then explained how we might visit bed 4 on our own. By then we had added Lesser Whitethroat to the weekend's tally of warblers. By the end of our visit we had recorded 48 species there. There were few birds to be found on our afternoon visit to Bed 4, even though we took a longer route than planned to get to the hide.