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Trip Reports - 2006

Clumber Park

7 January

A dull, damp day didn't stop us from searching for the elusive Hawfinches or achieving a final list of 50 species, but it was hard work finding the birds. The highlights were: a Water Rail in the Cow Pastures by the lake, and lots of Marsh Tits, Goldcrests and Treecreepers. And no, we didn't see the Hawfinches.

Blacktoft Sands

5 February

A calm day prevented the mist from clearing properly, but this only hampered very distant observations. Among the 45 species seen, the highlights were a couple of female "red-head" Smew, at least 5 Harriers, including at least 3 Marsh Harriers and 1 Hen Harrier, and a couple of sightings of a Bittern.


15 March

A cold easterly breeze failed to deter a small group of us. They were rewarded by superb close up views of around 30 cormorants, many in superb breeding plumage. There were few wildfowl around, but at least 12 Goldeneye and over 40 Grey Herons were present. A Little Owl was found near Brackenfield churchyard. Other highlights included good views of several Bullfinches and at least two Buzzards. It seemed to be very quite, but we still managed to record 46 species.

Derwent Walk

18 March

An icy north-easterly wind didn't provide good conditions for raptor watching so we weren't too disappointed to get only brief views of a buzzard and a fleeting glimpse of a probable Goshawk from our usual watch point by Howden Dam. There wasn't much activity but a pair of Goldeneye and a male Red-breasted Merganser were found below Fairholmes on our return. We discovered a new heronry on the island below Howden dam having seen 9 Grey Herons flying up the reservoir to their nests. In total, 27 species were recorded including at least 5 Treecreepers.

Carr Vale

21 April

Seven of us decided the poor visibility and frequent drizzle wasn't enough to keep us away. We were rewarded with good views of Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and our first House Martin of the year. There were numerous Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs calling (with many clearly visible). In all, 44 species were recorded. We retired to the Arkwright Arms in Ducmanton for lunch soon after noon. The drizzle had become heavy rain after lunch, so the planned visit to Pleasley colliery was cancelled.

Clumber Park

29 April

The 3 members venturing out on this early morning walk were rewarded with a total of 72 species. One of the region's first Spotted Flycatchers was observed (and later reported to BTO), along with the usual summer visiting warblers, hirundines and swifts. A brief masterclass in identifying distant Arctic and Common Terns was gratefully received from some of the park's regulars. Stunning and prolonged views of a singing Woodlark and brief sightings of a singing Redstart were the icing on the cake.

Whisby Pits

3 June

A hot, sunny day and 64 species may the day out at Whisby Pits more than worthwhile. Whisby Pits is a good place for Nightingale and Turtle Dove, and both species were seen and heard. Grey Partridge were heard calling and close views of male and female Lesser Whitethroats provided all with new year's ticks.

Bempton Cliffs

9 July

A breezy and overcast start at Bempton was followed by a stop-off at Blacktoft Sands. The usual sea birds were seen along the cliffs, but a highlight were several pairs of Fulmar. A Grasshopper Warbler was "reeling" near the visitor centre, bringing the total to 19 species. A couple of Spoonbills was the attraction at Blacktoft and, unlike previous years' sleeping beauties, these birds were quite active, feeding and flying about. Among the 41 species seen here, were Green Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier, Barn Owl, Spotted Redshank and a couple of Bearded Tits.

Clumber Park

11 July

The Nightjar display was something else this year. Just as we were becoming worried that it was staying light too long, a Nightjar called. Soon afterwards, it flew over our heads and landed 15 yards away on a branch and continued its churring for several minutes. Earlier, a Kingfisher, 9 Common Sandpipers and 47 other species had ensured a memorable evening.

Spurn Point

23 September

As we arrived the mist descended, but within an hour or so it had lifted. A rather meagre 52 species were seen, which continues the recent run of poor experiences at Spurn.

Potteric Carr

10 October

Although rather overcast, a good selection of woodland and water birds were seen. Of the 50 species seen, a Stonechat was the most unusual - evidently, only the second time one has been recorded at Potteric Carr.

Leighton Moss

21 October

Over 60 species were seen or heard. Eider and Scoter were visible at sea with thousands of Oystercatchers being pushed ashore by the high tide. There were a couple of sightings of a Kingfisher whilst watching the hundreds of Knot, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing, and 3 Greenshank. Wildfowl included Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Wigeon and a pair of Pintail, but the Lesser Scaup had moved on. Several Buzzards and a couple of Ravens were seen. A couple of visitors, including one club member, both heard what they thought was a booming Bittern. Bearded Tit were heard but not seen.

Rutland Water

2 December

Just two members went on this trip, which was rescheduled owing to inclement weather. Wow! What a day it was for wildfowl! Among the 66 species observed were about 20 species of wildfowl and a dozen waders or gulls. The highlights among the wildfowl were a Slavonian Grebe, hundreds of Goldeneyes and Great Crested Grebes. Willow Tit, Little Egret, Water Rail, Buzzard, Redwing, Barnacle Goose and singing Song Thrushes were among the supporting cast.

Martin Mere

17 December

Fewer than ever Bewick's Swans are wintering at Martin Mere this year - only one is known to be present and the 4 of us were lucky enough to see it. The sunlight was superb and made for perfect viewing conditions of the wildfowl in all their splendour: Pintails, Wigeon, Pink-footed Geese, Teal and, of course, the Whooper Swans. Among the more unusual were several Barr-headed Geese and a Red-breasted Goose associating with Barnacle Geese - all were presumed to be escapes. Sadly, Barn Owl and Hen Harrier were not seen this year, but remarkable views of a Merlin, Peregrine and several Buzzards made up for this. The day more or less closed with lengthy views of a stunning Kingfisher.

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