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Trip Reports - 2024

The Field Trips Report for earlier years are still available.

Clumber Park

6th January

Eight members met up at the main car park at 9:30, rather surprised to find that it was almost full of cars. I guess the number of folk there should not have surprised us as it was the first dry and sunny day for what seems like a month of wind and rain. The ground off the main paths was saturated so we stayed on the track around the lake after a short detour past the bird feeder hide. There were very few of the smaller bird species present with only Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch and a single female Great Spotted Woodpecker recorded there. We had lunch near the reed bed where some of us heard a Cetti's Warbler singing for a very short time. The only ducks present were Mallard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Goosander. There were good numbers of gulls on the lake with Black-headed far outnumbering the others which comprised 20 or more of both Common and Lesser Black-backed and a much small number of Herring Gulls. From the ornamental bridge we were please to spot a Great Egret but the bird count by the end of our walk was only 36, the least we have ever recorded at this site.

Beeley Moor & Chatsworth

10th February

It looked rather grim as we set off from the valley in rather thick mist but as we climbed out of Rowsley towards Beeley Moor (the road up from Beeley village remains closed), we emerged into bright sunshine and a clear sky and were above what seemed to be an inversion. Eight of us convened at the corner above Beeley village and set off over the moor towards the woodland above Chatsworth House. Sadly, as we descended to the only slightly lower elevation there, we dropped back down into the mist once again. On the way down we had views of Skylark but there was little else of interest, Once into the woodland bird numbers picked up a little and there were lots of Nuthatches to be heard and seen. On the ponds visibility was very poor but several Mallard, Tufted Duck, Coot and Goosander could be just about seen through the murk, together with what appeared to be a single drake Mandarin duck. The group split up somewhat as we left the woodland so only one of us managed to see the male Hen Harrier which was apparently near where we'd recorded one on last year's visit and was the only raptor detected. As we neared the cars, 3 Reed Buntings made fleeting appearance and we heard a Raven calling. The final total for the morning was 25 species.

Ogston

9th March

Six members met at the west carpark on a rather cold, overcast day. We visited the public hide where we were greeted by the sight of 25 Whooper swans across the reservoir. There had been reports of a Red-breasted Merganser, but we failed to spot it, although there was a good mixture of water birds including displaying Gt. Crested Grebes. Our next stop was in the members hide where we added to our list of birds before walking along the road towards Brackenfield church, past the very active Heronry. Our aim was to see the Hawfinch that had been reported and had been seen just before we arrived. We spent some time scanning the Yew trees to no avail but luckily Lyla hadn't given up and she spotted the Hawfinch just before it flew over our heads and landed in a tree nearby. It then proceeded to flit about on the branches giving us some excellent views. We strolled back to the car park hoping to see a Little Owl but despite not being successful with the Owl we finished with a bird count of 38.

Chesterfield Canal

20th April

Six of us turned out and we set off just before 9:00 on our walk along the tow path from Tapton Lock towards Staveley. It was bright and sunny but a little bit nippy to start with. Water birds were very thin on the ground with only a couple of Moorhens and a small number of Mallards including a couple of pairs with very small ducklings. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs in song and several Blackcaps too. There were only a few Willow Warblers but the highlight was finding a Lesser Whitethroat in song, as usual being difficult to see for most. We turned back at the Hollingwood Hub where some of us enjoyed a snack at the café. There were a small number of Sand Martins around the café and they seemed to be nesting in holes in the brick wall which once formed an abutment to a long gone railway bridge nearby. Peter Feetham educated us about bees as we watched a Garden Bumble Bee on flowers by the café where there was also a Bee Fly and a possible early Bumble Bee. There were lots of Orange Tips on the wing and also a Brimstone butterfly. We were back at the cars soon after 1:00 having recorded a reasonable total of 31 species.

Dawn Chorus - Blackamoor

11th May

Eleven members were up bright and early and met at the car park off the A6187 near Stoney Ridge Road before 5:00. The weather was perfect for our first visit here, warm sunny and still. From the car park we could hear Chiff Chaff and Willow Warbler, soon joined by Robin and Wren. Will led the way through the woodland heading for a spot where he had heard Wood Warbler in the past. On the way we heard Red Grouse and a Curlew flew overhead. A Garden Warbler and a Pied Flycatcher were heard as we dropped down. We stopped for a while at the spot where we'd hoped for Wood Warbler but none were to be found. On the return to the cars we heard Cuckoo quite often and as we approached the cars we get decent views of one of the two we had heard calling. By 7:30 we had recorded 24 species and headed home for breakfast.

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