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Trip Report - 2009

Clumber Park
3 January

Only 3 members turned out on a cold but bright and clear day at Clumber. The usual wildfowl were on the lake with 3 Goosanders, 4 Little Grebes, a female Goldeneye and 2 pairs of Mandarin ducks to keep us interested. There were a few small flocks of Redpolls around and a large flock of Chaffinches by the ford. All of the thrushes were noticeably absent and, despite failing to see a reported Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and a Water Rail, we still managed a respectable count of 51 species.

Ogston
12 January

Eight members braved the wet conditions hoping that an afternoon start would be dry (as forecast). It was still raining heavily when we left the Horse and Jockey at Wessington after an excellent lunch and headed for the members' hide. The rain continued all afternoon and with poor visibility we struggled to reach a total count of 36 species. Several Goldeneyes were present and 2 Pink-footed Geese were found between the hide and Brackenfield village. There were quite a few Snipes. The gull roost was building rapidly when we left soon after 3:30. Only Herring, Common, Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed gulls were recorded by then.

Chatsworth Park
11 March

Ten members set off from the Calton Lees car park in fine weather. We heard woodpeckers drumming on the climb up and had good views of 3 Buzzards and a couple of Kestrels. Some lucky folk also spotted a couple of Goshawks flying through. On the moor there were Reed Buntings, Skylarks and a displaying Lapwing. The ponds yielded Teal, Mandarin, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and a Goosander although a Wigeon and a Shoveler may have been present but remain unconfirmed. We also saw a Curlew and 7 Lapwings flying through over the woods. Two Buzzards were soaring over the house as we stopped for coffee by the hunting tower. On the river we saw the usual Coots, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks and Mallards together with a Grey Wagtail and a Dipper. The highlight of the trip has to be the pair of Oystercatchers snoozing on the riverbank. A total of 44 confirmed species were recorded before we all retired for an excellent lunch at the Eyre Arms in Hassop.

Derwent Valley
29 March

Only 4 members met at Fairholmes for the "Goshawk" walk - delayed for a day because of Saturday's poor weather and starting at 9:00 instead of 8:00 because of the change to summer time. The weather was perfect - frosty and clear - but that was the highlight of the walk. The only raptors seen were a pair of Buzzards and the total number of species recorded was only 25.

Clumber Park
25 April

Just 3 members ventured out for this early morning walk, for which the weather was dry and sunny, if a little too breezy at times. By the end of the day, 64 species had been observed. At least one, possibly two, Cuckoos were present, calling quite frequently. Large numbers of Redpolls (up to c. 100) were flying about and a pair of Crossbills was a treat. A Tree Pipit provided some memorable displays, but a solitary Woodlark gave all too brief bursts of song. Alas, apart from Swallows and House Martins, there were no Sand Martins or Swifts, nor were there any Terns seen. As well as Sedge Warbler, Linnet, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Wagtail and Redstart, the usual entourage of wildfowl, heath and woodland birds maintained Clumber's reputation for a good day's birding.

Whisby Pits
23 May

Only 3 of us managed this trip and were rewarded by perfect weather and an excellent day. The 2 major targets for the day (Turtle dove and Nightingale) were both seen - albeit very briefly. Six warblers were recorded but we failed to find Lesser Whitethroat this year. Little Ringed Plovers and Common Terns were both breeding. Sadly, the Sand Martin colony was entirely deserted and looks to have been disturbed (destroyed?) by badger activity. Highlights included a splendid adult Mediterranean Gull and good views of some common blue butterflies. In total 62 species were recorded.

Blacktoft Sands
10 July

We arrived before the reserve was officially open, so had Marshland hide to ourselves for a while. We had good views of Bearded Tits there, together with some summer plumaged Spotted Redshanks. Just as we were about to leave the hide, a Whimbrel dropped in to ensure a memorable start. The water level on all the pools was very low. Ousefleet was totally dry, as expected, but so was the pool at the eastern end overlooked by Singleton hide which is most unusual. Despite this, there were quite a few waders present with Lapwing, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Snipe, Ruff, Green Sandpiper, Avocet, Greenshank, Oystercatcher and Common Sandpiper. This gave us a total of 13 waders, 53 species in total, with no fewer than 5 Marsh Harriers.

Potteric Carr
10 August

Six members attended and were rewarded with a rather damp morning with several showers. It was good to see the Huxter Well Marsh area continue to develop. Over 400 Lapwings were there but only 2 other waders were found - Snipe and Common Sandpiper. Two Little Egrets were present and no fewer than 50 Little Grebes. There wasn't a lot to get excited about and only 49 species were recorded. The usual wildfowl seem to have had a good breeding season this year.

Blacktoft Sands
8 September

A good turnout; seven members braved a rather windy day. The wind limited the number of birds recorded with only 36 species being found. There were 9 wader species including about 25 Curlews at Ousefleet, where there were also a couple of Yellow Wagtails. Despite the wind, we managed to find a few Bearded Tits at the foot of the reeds from Marshland hide.

Old Moor Wetlands
14 October

Five members made this trip and enjoyed a pretty good day - overcast but warm and very still. We had a good count of 9 waders - Lapwing, Snipe, Redshank, Golden Plover, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper. The Golden Plover were easily disturbed but probably numbered between 500 and 1,000. A few of the locals insisted that one of the Dunlins was a Sanderling - but we remained unconvinced! We had quite good views of a Peregrine in a dead tree. It later seemed to be feeding perched on a distant electricity pylon - being carefully watched by a Mistle Thrush! We recorded a respectable total of 56 species. Some of us called in at Broomhill Flash while in the area for a quick visit. There was nothing of note to report apart from another Green Sandpiper and a group of Red-legged Partridge.