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Trip Report - 2017

The Field Trips Report for earlier years are still available.

Clumber Park
7th January 2017

Five of us made the annual pilgrimage to start our year list at Clumber once again. The weather was fine and not too cold for a change. The first hour was excellent and we soon had good views of Goldcrest and Treecreeper which often prove quite elusive. On reaching the lake we saw quite a few Goosanders fly through which were later found loafing about near the weir. Graham introduced us to a new hide overlooking some feeders in the woods which provided a very welcome place for a coffee. The walk back to the cars in the afternoon was disappointing after such a good start. There were unusually large numbers of Shoveler and Moorhen but we failed to find such common regulars as Starling, Pheasant, Collared Dove, Kestrel and Buzzard. As a result we only managed to record 48 species to start our year.

Carsington Water
6th March 2017

We were blessed with fine and sunny weather for this trip after what has felt like weeks of rain. Four of us started as usual at the Sheepwash car park and heard Willow Tit on the way to the first hide; the first of several heard today. The feeders by the hide were filled while we were watching and we soon saw our first Willow Tit of the year there. The water level was surprisingly low considering the level of the Derwent at present in the Hope Valley. Duck numbers were quite low but there were still a few Goldeneye, Wigeon and Teal to be found together with the resident Mallard and Tufted Ducks. Pochard and Gadwall were both absent. Numbers of both Great-crested Grebe and Little Grebe were very high. All three of the large gulls were present in small numbers together with around 300 Black-headed and 70 Common Gulls. The only waders present were Curlew (7), Redshank (2), Oystercatcher (4) and about 20 Lapwings. From Sheepwash Hide we had great views of a male Stonechat. Other highlights included several Goldcrests and Bullfinches and a single Pink-footed Goose (apparently now resident although quite fit). Sadly, we failed to connect with the Great Northern Diver which is still wintering there. We all enjoyed an excellent walk recording 55 species along the way.

Derwent Dale
2nd April 2017

Seven of us enjoyed a good walk in sunny and almost warm weather looking for raptors along the east-side of the reservoir as far as Howden dam. Sadly, we failed to find any Peregrine or Goshawk, although there were at least 4 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk. A few of us walked further on and a little way up Howden Clough where we found a pair of Ring Ouzels and a Skylark singing. We recorded a total of 35 species but some were noticeably absent and others were very few. There are normally over 100 Mallard but numbers were well below that. Siskin were missing too as were Pied Wagtail and Great Spotted Woodpecker. On the plus side there were at least 2 pairs of Mandarin, a pair of Teal and a pair of Ravens flew over the dam. There was a Greylag Goose with the Canada Geese whose numbers were still very high. The weather was fine and the views over the still water early on were stunning.

Carr Vale
20th April 2017

Five members enjoyed a fine walk around this DWT reserve. Most of the expected warblers had arrived and there were record numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap in song. There were quite a lot of Willow Warblers and a few Sedge Warblers but only single representatives of Reed Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Cetti's Warbler, which all remained unsurprisingly unseen. The feeders gave grand views of Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer and Bullfinch. The artificial Sand Martin wall was very busy and it appeared that almost every hole was in use. The only waders seen were Lapwing, Oystercatcher (on a nest), Snipe and Common Sandpiper. The hoped-for Little Ringed Plovers were still absent. Other absentees included Yellow Wagtail, Whitethroat and Willow Tit, which are found most years. Despite that, we still managed to record a very respectable 56 species.

Whisby Pits
6th May 2017

Only four of us made our annual pilgrimage to record Nightingales. The weather wasn't promising with overcast sky and a keen and cold easterly breeze. The day started well with a quick spot of a Mediterranean Gull on the first island where there were over 1,000 Black-headed Gulls too! It also ended very well with a Little Ringed Plover seen from the cafe balcony as we supped afternoon tea. Sadly, we struggled to hear any Nightingales and it was almost lunch time before we heard the song very briefly. That wasn't so surprising as the weather wasn't great and there are only 4 singing males on site this year. The remaining cast really made up for that with record numbers of several species recorded - being Black-headed Gull, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Robin, Chiffchaff, Canada Goose, Moorhen, Magpie, Reed Bunting, Swift, Gadwall, Song Thrush, Skylark, Goldfinch, Teal, Common Gull and Egyptian Goose. We also saw several birds for the first time here in 14 years' of visits. These were Lesser Redpoll, Grey Wagtail, Garganey, Common Sandpiper and Mandarin Duck. The main highlight of the day was the large numbers of singing warblers, despite the lack of sun and warmth. No fewer than eight warbler species were present. Other highlights included both Grey and Red-legged Partridges, Yellowhammer and Tree Sparrow. A memorable day with 68 species recorded.

Padley Gorge
18th May 2017

Eight early risers met near Grindleford station at 5:00 am for our first local dawn chorus walk. The weather was very kind to us with the first dry start to the day all week. There was plenty of bird song as we walked up into Padley Woods, but once there the song seemed rather muted. The usual woodland birds were there in good numbers including Treecreeper, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and Nuthatch. After an hour or so in the woods, we climbed up onto the moor and walked across to Surprise corner. Up there we were rewarded with a family of Stonechat and fine views of a Cuckoo - that was being severely harassed by several Meadow Pipits. We also recorded Whitethroat, Linnet and Tree Pipit up there. Five of us stayed longer in Padley Woods on the return trip where we caught up with a few Spotted Flycatchers, more Pied Flycatchers and views of a perched Buzzard well-inside the wood. We managed to delay our return to the cars until almost 9:00 by which time the station cafe was open to supply a very welcome breakfast! We recorded 33 bird species in total.