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Trip Report - 2011

Potteric Carr
22 February

A select group of only 3 members managed this trip. We arrived just after the site opened at 9:00 and found the reserve very busy with visitors. The weather was fine for a change, but there was nothing to get us overly excited! The feeders were busy with the usual finches, buntings and tits, including Willow Tit. There were hundreds of Lapwings on Huxter Well Marsh and about 70 Golden Plover among them. The usual wildfowl were in the usual places with a single lonely Wigeon from Piper Marsh hide - but no Bitterns were seen. Highlights included a couple of Treecreepers, a small flock of Redpolls, several Bullfinches and a Goldcrest. A respectable total of 46 species were recorded.

Linacre
23 March

A select group of five enjoyed a warm and sunny spring morning taking a clockwise path round all three of the Linacre Reservoirs. Many of the resident songsters were in full voice and the Chiffchaffs were the only summer migrants to have arrived. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed away within earshot of the car park and we saw a second one which almost deafened us on the far side of the reservoir. It had found a dead branch which resonated and amplified the sound exceptionally well. We saw and heard most of the usual woodland birds with several views of Nuthatches and Treecreeper but we didn’t find a Willow Tit. A Cormorant perched high in a tree directly overhead, an unusual view, we could see it’s big black feet wrapped round the thin branch as it swayed gently up and down with a yo-yo motion. On the water there were both Little and Great Crested Grebes with their resplendent headgear but we couldn’t find any Mandarin, either we weren’t looking in the right places or perhaps they had moved off for the summer. A Canada Goose had paired up with a goose of mixed parentage so who knows what their offspring will look like. Buzzards mewed overhead but were difficult to see through the canopy and a pristine Grey Wagtail searched for food on the reservoir outfall. From memory we saw at least 33 species though we didn’t assiduously list them as we went along and we rounded off an excellent morning with a good Pub Lunch in Barlow.

Derwent Valley
2 April

The weather wasn’t great for finding displaying Goshawks, so the six members who attended weren’t surprised when they failed to appear. It was overcast with a strong southerly breeze and frequent showers. It gradually improved during the morning and we recorded 34 species. The only raptors found were Kestrel and Buzzard but there were a few other surprises along the way. These included 3 Sand Martins, a pair of Greylag Geese, a couple of Oystercatchers and at least 4 Teal. The morning finished on a sad note as a car drove over a drake Mallard in the Fairholmes car park.

Carr Vale
22 April

This visit was memorable because of the perfect weather (hot, sunny and still!) and for the number of warblers we recorded. Spring has definitely sprung! In addition to the usual Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers there were at least two Grasshopper Warblers reeling, a Garden Warbler singing and at least two Whitethroats. Oystercatchers and Little Ringed Plover pairs were sorting out nesting sites. On and around the feeders were the usual culprits which include Yellowhammer, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting here. Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins were over the ponds but no Swifts as yet. A first Yellow Wagtail for this year completed an excellent list of 54 species.

Clumber Park
31 April

Only two members managed to brave the almost perfect weather for an excellent morning at Clumber Park. We were ready when the gates automatically opened at 7AM, listening to a Great-spotted Woodpecker nearby. The lake was full to the brim with Tufted Ducks; there must have been around 300 of them. The Coots and Great Crested Grebes were busy with nests, as were the Greylag and Canada Geese. As we walked the lakeside we were surprised to flush a Greenshank which left rapidly calling clearly. The sound of warblers was coming from all sides and we recorded Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. Other highlights included excellent views of Green Woodpecker, Cuckoo in flight close by, Yellow Wagtail and Yellowhammer. Other summer visitors found were Redstarts and Tree Pipits. The big disappointment was failing to find any Woodlarks. Let’s hope the hard winter hasn’t removed them from Clumber for good. Despite also missing out on Clumber regulars such as Song Thrush, Treecreeper, Kestrel, Marsh and Willow Tit, we still managed to record a very respectable 65 species!

Whisby Pits
14 May

A promising start weather-wise was spoiled by a bone-numbing breeze, but this did not stop two members from enjoying some quality birds. The first highlight was a handsome male Garganey on Thorpe Lake, together with a couple of Little Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers. Alongside most of the paths, Willow Warblers, Garden Warblers and Blackcaps were singing. In the more wooded areas, there were also Chiffchaffs, and the scrubby areas it was Whitethroats. At least 3 Lesser Whitethroats were singing. The next surprise was at Redland's Old Yard, where we flushed a couple of Grey Partridge. The next highlight was a magnificent male Black-necked Grebe in its resplendent breeding plumage on Willow Lake. A male Gadwall was lurking on the Dragonfly Lakes. Before leaving, we sauntered around Coot Lake and - to our relief and delight - managed to listen to two Nightingales giving short bursts of song. All together, 63 species were seen or heard.

Padley Gorge
7 June

Six members enjoyed a record breaking walk around Padley Woods in the morning, finding 30 species. For once we saw pretty much all of the target birds. A Cuckoo could be heard form the woods near the car park. On the way from the car park across the heath to the wood, we had good views of a male Stonechat and were treated to a displaying Tree Pipit and several dozen Meadow Pipits. The wood was full of singing and birds feeding young - both in and out of nest boxes. There were lots of Pied Flycatchers and Redstarts busily feeding young in nest boxes. Both Blue Tits and Great Tits were feeding fledglings, and a Treecreeper had young we failed to find. A pair of Jays were giving a grey squirrel a very hard time, or was it the other way around! One member found us a pair of Wood Warblers busily feeding young in their nest with a Spotted Flycatcher visiting a probable nest nearby. To cap that, there was also a Great Spotted Woodpecker nest close by, with an obliging youngster showing well at the hole with both adults waiting for us to retire to shut the blighter up for a while! On the heath above the wood as we left, we found a pair of Whinchats with a 3rd higher up near the main road. We spent a truly memorable few hours and followed it with a well earned pub lunch at the Grouse Inn.

North Cave
5 July

Five members enjoyed a good morning at North Cave. We were greeted by a pair of Avocets with a youngster on the new wetlands being developed on the other side of the car park from the existing reserve. There were many other broods of young water birds this year including Mallard, Great-crested Grebe, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Shelduck, Black-headed Gull and Common Tern. There were also several more Avocets with some well developed young. The weather was fine but got a little breezy later. Even so we had excellent views of a Corn Bunting singing on the hedge to the north where we also found Yellow Wagtail. The only raptor seen was a distant Buzzard and the waders were absent apart from a lone Green Sandpiper and the usual Lapwings. After lunch we popped over to South Cave where once more we were treated to a Red Kite drifting in from the west - within 10 minutes of our arrival! We recorded 54 species at North Cave before adding the Kite together with Linnets and Yellowhammer at South Cave. There are some excellent maps on the hide walls at North Cave which show how the reserve will be expanded once the sand and gravel extraction taking place to the west and south is finished. One new hide is almost completed and the reserve will more than double in area with several new pools and large expanses of wetlands being created.

Tansley Dale
13th July

Just two members were on the walk down Tansley Dale on a fine but breezy morning. As one would expect at this time of year birds were not very evident as the breeding season was almost over but we did see several young Redstarts flitting around the shrubs on the hillside in Cressbrook Dale and a Raven appeared briefly over the skyline. Many Swallows hawked for insects over the pastures near Litton and there were numerous House Sparrows. In general there weren’t any surprises but the day had it’s compensations as there were plenty of wild flowers and butterflies. In the sheltered dale were several species of butterfly. Meadow Browns were very common and in one area five Small Heaths flitted together. A stunning Small Copper settled long enough for us to marvel at it’s markings and a Brown Argus stopped to be photographed. Common Blues, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-Veined and other Whites were also seen. The banks of the dale were brightened with Wild Thyme, Rockrose and several other species including Wild Onion. The creamy flowers of Dropwort, related to the Meadowsweet, but favouring the drier bank sides, as opposed to the damper valley bottoms, were showing well in several places. On a wooded bank we found a dozen or more fine examples of Nettle-Leaved Bellflower standing almost a metre high, but the highlight was the Orchids. A single Pyramidal Orchid and hundreds of Fragrant Orchids graced the bank. Bending down to sniff their heady scent was well worth the effort. It was a rewarding morning, the flowers and butterflies more than compensating for the lack of birds.

Clumber Park
19th July

Four members found the weather was near perfect for our evening visit to Clumber. We met at 7PM so wandered near the lake and the woods for an hour or so before driving over to the Nightjar spot. The water birds have had a good breeding season and young of Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose and Tufted Duck were all in evidence. It clouded over later so it began to get dark quite early and we heard our first Nightjar churring soon after 9:30PM. There followed a half hour during which we were treated to some superb display flights by one bird which conveniently flew across open sky many times but also showed his true colours by occasionally dropping down to give us good views of the plumage against the dark of the background trees. This bird was later joined by a second and just as we left, a third bird joined these two for a few minutes before it became too dark. Sadly the woodcock failed to appear this year – but we weren’t too bothered!!

Hatfield Moor
5th August

Only 3 members set off for the club’s first visit to Hatfield Moor. We left the valley in drizzle but when we arrived at the Boston Park entrance it was sunny and very warm. From the hide, there were several families of Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe. The peace and quiet was disturbed by over 150 Canada Geese and almost as many Greylag. Waders were represented by a few Lapwings, an Oystercatcher and a Common Sandpiper. Away from the Lakes, birds were few and far between but there were plenty of dragonflies and damselflies to keep us amused. As we returned to the car park a pair of Buzzards soared overhead. After lunch it had become a really hot day. We drove over to the Ten Acre Lake car park and walked to the other end of the lake. There were even more dragonflies in this area alongside the peat fields. These were almost totally dry despite the heavy rain earlier this week. Here, there were more Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe families but even fewer birds on the moorland fringes. We recorded 34 bird species including Yellowhammer, Linnet and Tree Sparrow during a very pleasant day.

Blacktoft Sands
31st August

The weather was perfect for the five member who made the trip – it was warm with no wind at all. The wader species count was very good with a total of 14 which included a Wood Sandpiper, a Little Stint, 7 Ringed Plovers and at least 3 Curlew Sandpipers together with the usual suspects – Lapwing, Ruff, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit and Snipe. The Tree Sparrow flock is doing well with recorded numbers in the high teens. It has been a good year for Water Rail with at least 7 present including a number of juveniles. Other highlights included at least 8 Yellow Wagtails. Those who stayed for the walk to the totally dry Ousefleet area were rewarded by a Hobby hunting Swallows over the river. The final species count was 51.

Far Ings
19th September

The trip to Far Ings seemed disappointing, probably because most of the more interesting birds were seen from such a distance. The waders comprised Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Snipe, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit but they were all so far away! We struggled to identify a few others which may have been Grey Plover. The tide was very high when we arrived and our walk along the river bank gave us very few birds. Other highlights included Goldcrest, Treecreeper and a distant Yellow Wagtail. We were surprised to find that the species count reached a very respectable 53. On our way home we called for a short while to see what could be found at Read’s Island near South Ferriby. We were rewarded by good views of a hunting Peregrine and a couple of Marsh Harriers drifting over the island on which we were surprised to see a small herd of fallow deer!