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Trip Reports - 2004


13 January

A dedicated group of seven members braved the elements to start 2004's field trips at Ogston. Fortunately, the weather improved throughout the day after a very wet and windy start. Despite being a little too windy 46 species were still recorded. Fantastic views of a Willow Tit were gained as it approached to within 2 feet of a hide to feed. A Little Owl was found near Brackenfield church. The usual ducks and gulls were present together with a mixed flock of Goldfinch and Linnet, forty or more Cormorant, a single Redshank and a lone Meadow Pipit.

Clumber Park

24 January

A frosty start quickly gave way to a pleasant sunny day. The walk around the Chapel and lakeside provided sightings of the expected woodland and wildfowl, including several Goosander and Ruddy Duck. There were dozens of Mistle Thrushes and Redwings, a solitary Fieldfare and a couple of Grey Wagtails in the Cow Pastures. The weir and ford were rather quiet except for splendid views of two soaring Buzzards. Several spectacular Mandarin drakes and ducks were seen between Clumber and Carburton Bridges, and a flock of Siskin and a Kingfisher were seen near the latter. As we were departing, having seen 53 species, a single Hawfinch made a farewell appearance and finished off an excellent trip.

Worlaby Carr

15 February

The day started with a diversion to Grimsby to see the long staying American Robin. Worlaby Carr was very quiet apart from dozens of singing Skylark and a few representatives of a dozen other species. Discussions with the estate manager revealed that there had been few wintering birds owing to the mild weather. The next stop was Blacktoft Sands where 34 species were recorded, including the usual wildfowl and waders.

Derwent Dale

27 March

The morning was rather overcast but the birding was off to a great start with Siskin by the Fairholmes car park, and by the time we had reached Derwent Dam we had seen about 20 species including Grey Wagtail, Treecreeper and Goldcrest. A flock of 34 Whooper Swans were on the reservoir and later the same flock splashed down behind Howden Dam while we were having coffee and savouring the excellent views of Goshawk and Buzzard. About 30 species in total were seen or heard.

Carr Vale

22 April

A good day was spent at Carr Vale where over 60 species were recorded. Several "firsts" for the year were seen including Swift, House Martin, Whinchat, Little Ringed Plover, Yellow Wagtail and Whitethroat. The views of a pair of Yellow Wagtails were great. A skulking Sedge Warbler was heard but failed to put in an appearance. The day finished with a pair of Buzzards being "buzzed" by a Sparrowhawk and an excellent, albeit short, view of a Whitethroat. Yellowhammers were also seen.

Clumber Park

25 April

Our ears were overwhelmed by the dawn chorus and we quickly had more than half of the day's total of 69 species including Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Cuckoo, Blackcap, Yellowhammer, Tree Pipit and the usual water and woodland birds. Woodlark, Redpoll and Redstart were seen and heard near Five Thorns Plantation.

Padley Gorge

11 May

The Pied Flycatchers remained elusive, but the evening's walk through Padley Gorge and the Longshaw Estate were rewarded with good views of Stonechat and several encounters with Cuckoos. A pair of Little Grebe were on the pond, and a Green Woodpecker and Redstart were heard calling. About 28 species were observed.

Whisby Nature Park

5 June

Whisby is renown for Nightingales and Turtle Doves, and we were not disappointed. One of the first birds to be heard was a singing Nightingale and, just before midday, a purring Turtle Dove was also heard. Among the 57 species were good numbers of leaf warblers, buntings, tits, finches, hirundines and wildfowl. During lunch, in one of the hides overlooking Grebe Lake, breathtaking views of a low-flying Hobby added to the day's excitement.


17 June

Despite frequent showers, the walk from Calver was pretty good, as was the pub lunch at "The Bridge". On the river were several Grey Wagtails and we had brief glimpses of Kingfisher and Dipper, but best of all was a female Goosander with 3 youngsters. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Garden Warblers and Blackcaps were still calling loudly and in the woods below Curbar edge we had good views of Whitethroat, Redstart and Yellowhammer. In total the 6 of us managed to identify 41 species during the 2½ hour walk.


3 July

Bempton gave excellent views of Puffins to the 4 brave souls that ventured into the blustery showers, though the Swallow family nesting just inside the entrance to the visitor centre provided as much enjoyment. Other seabirds included Gannet, Razorbill, Guillemot (including at least 3 "bridled" types) and Kittiwake, but no Fulmars. By the time we reached Blacktoft in the afternoon the rain had passed though the wind increased. Marsh Harrier and Cuckoo were seen from the Singleton hide, but most of the waders were at Marshland: Avocet (aboutp 50 birds), Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff and Snipe. Total count for the day was 52 birds.

Gibraltar Point

22 August

Were we fortunate to see the long-staying Long-billed Dowitcher? Yes! This North American wader (photo: bird on right) is a rare vagrant to Britain and resembles a Snipe, but with a hint of Godwit (bird on left). Among the 60 species seen were: Stonechat, Wheatear, Whitethroat, Common Sandpiper, Sandwich Tern and Whimbrel.


11 September

A rich diversity of species - 71 in total - made a glorious day even better. This year's highlights included several Little Stints and a couple of dozen Curlew Sandpipers among the Dunlins, Knots and Ringed Plovers, a flotilla of Common Scoter at sea and Arctic Skua harassing terns and gulls. While we were having lunch, sat among the sand dunes, a Wheatear quite literally dropped at our feet and searched for food. Also, an Egyptian Goose was spotted as we were leaving. Of course, Sammy, the Black-winged Stilt, is the real star, now in his twelfth year.

Blacktoft Sands

23 September

A strong wind limited bird numbers. However, there were lots of wildfowl and waders at Ousefleet and many waders at Xerox but the other pools were very quiet. Good views of Bearded Tit and Water Rail, and a Marsh Harrier appeared later in the day. A total of 45 species were recorded.

Spurn Point

2 October

A very blustery day kept most of the small birds out of sight, but the larger water birds were unperturbed. A Little Owl was roosting in hawthorns at the edge of fields along Beacon Lane, and in the same fields were a couple of Wheatear, but no sign of the Barred Warbler that had been seen the day before. Brent Geese, Grey Plover, Sanderling and Knot were among the many birds at Beacon Ponds. At the point, Scoter and Scaup were on the choppy River Humber. Practically no birds were seen among the scrub except for a Dunnock and a fleeting glimpse of Woodcock (though it could equally well have been the reported Jack Snipe). Total count for the day was 49 species.

Potteric Carr

6 October

Another rather poor day for small birds owing to the wind, and both construction and habitat work around the reserve meant that many of the water birds were also keeping low. Just under 40 species were seen, however, the highlights being Kingfisher and Willow Tit. A good many pairs of Gadwall were to be seen among the Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Wigeon and Teal.


9 November

Despite constant drizzle there was no wind and so 6 members enjoyed good views of the many waterfowl. There were no rarities but 50 species were recorded including Kingfisher, Redwing, Dunlin, Willow Tit and Redshank.

Fairburn Ings

27 November

Sunshine eventually broke through the grey clouds but the birds were then often silhouetted. As expected there were lots of wildfowl but very few geese, including Little and Great Crested Grebe, Goldeneye, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard and Ruddy Duck. A breathtaking view of a Green Woodpecker outside one of the hides was surpassed only by that of a Kingfisher perched in a shrub for more than quarter of an hour. Hundreds of Fieldfare seemed to be roosting in hawthorns and dozens of Redwings were seen around the site. At the end of the day 56 species had been seen or heard.

Old Moor

9 December

The weather was excellent and the highlight of the day was the superb views of the Golden Plover - estimated at over 5,000 birds - which kept moving around all the time. The usual winter wildfowl were present together with 4 species of gull. Waders were represented by Redshank and Dunlin in addition to the usual Lapwings. The garden area continues to improve and was very busy with numerous Greenfinches and Tree Sparrows. Apart from an early Sparrowhawk, raptors were absent despite the huge number of birds present. In total, 46 species were recorded.

Martin Mere

19 December

The winter sun provided very good viewing conditions of 56 species, mostly water birds as would be expected, but the day's highlights were several buzzards, peregrine and hen harrier, including inter-species aerial combat. Other birds included thousands of Whooper Swans and Pink-footed Geese, 500 Shelduck, 2 Bewick's Swans, Goldeneye, Barnacle Goose, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, Tree Sparrow, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, and Redwing.

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