Trip Reports - 2008
The weather was perfect for today's trip, warm in the sun and no wind. On
our arrival at 10:00 we decided to go straight to Piper Marsh hide where
Bitterns had been regularly reported. We weren't disappointed and one was
showing reasonably well when we arrived there. Another did a flypast in
front of the hide before we moved on. There was also a Kingfisher excavating
a nest hole. We knew the day couldn't get better! We struggled to find any
waders and only managed a to find Lapwing and Snipe with a fleeting glimpse
of a couple of Oystercatchers. The Huxter Well marsh area is still being
developed and it is now feasible to walk around the perimeter - if only
there was time. Three more hides are planned in that area. A good day was
spent with 48 species recorded although we failed to find the Dunlin or
Ringed Plovers which had been seen by others.
Seven of us braved the icy easterly wind and were well rewarded for the
effort. The feeders yielded great views of Bullfinch, Willow Tit, Yellowhammer
and Reed Bunting. Thirty or more Swallows were joined by a few House Martins
and Sand Martins over the water but failed to convince us summer was coming
soon. Waders were represented by 3 Redshanks, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, several
Lapwings and a pair of Oystercatchers. Other highlights included a Kingfisher
and a roosting Little Owl. The mound was surprisingly warm and sheltered
from the wind, unlike our usual lunch spot where we spotted a Sparrowhawk.
As we passed the sewage works on our way back at least 13 Pied Wagtails
were counted. Despite the cold wind, we managed a respectable count of 49
species with the added bonus of not getting wet!
Four members made the trip to the Goyt valley in glorious, hot and sunny
weather. The birds were vociferous but very tricky to see. Our experts helped
us identify Pied Flycatcher, Common Sandpiper, Tree Pipit and Redstart from
their calls. We did manage to see one or two Redstarts but missed seeing
the others. The hoped-for Wood Warblers were absent - or very quiet! After
a couple of hours we decided to head back to the car and try our luck at
Swallow Moss - to see if the Black Grouse were still there. On our way to
the car we had a probable Peregrine, possibly two. We recorded 29 species
in the valley. We spent an hour or so over lunch at Swallow Moss where we
discovered that the Black Grouse have been missing for several years. We
heard that Hobby and Grasshopper Warbler were quite active, but found neither.
There were, however, lots of Redpolls about and a very loud Whitethroat
and had a great view of another Peregrine. We returned to the valley via
Hartington and Long Dale, where we had excellent views of a Little Owl from
Rather cool but at least dry weather was enjoyed by 7 members. Disappointingly,
only a couple of members caught snatches of Nightingale song - evidently,
this was because they had paired up early and the males had fallen silent.
Plenty of other warblers were present including a magnificent Garden Warbler
and several singing Lesser Whitethroats, as well as Whitethroat, Blackcap,
Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. A pair of Little
Ringed Plovers had a nest and a lone Greenshank was actively feeding. All
in all, about 57 species were seen or heard. Some great views of a Four-spotted
Chaser and other dragonflies, as well as butterflies also made the day very
Although overcast and breezy, it remained dry and relatively free of
harvest flies! Astonishingly, there were no Avocets - evidently, Black-headed
Gulls predated the few nests that there were at the beginning of the breeding
season. Nearly a dozen species of wader were present, comprising: 3 Little
Stints, 3 Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper and numerous Snipes, Lapwings,
Dunlins, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and
Ruff. Several Marsh Harriers were also present, together with a Barn Owl
in a nest box. A Water Rail was also very obliging, stretching and sunbathing
at the edge of the reed beds. All in all, 49 species.
Four members enjoyed a visit to Potteric Carr - a popular change from
the published location of Old Moor. We started at Piper Marsh hide where
we struggled to identify a couple of non-descript Garganey before moving
on to the new hide on Huxter Well Marsh. We spent quite a while there and
soon spotted a juvenile Black-necked Grebe. It took a while longer to find
the more attractive but inattentive parent some distance away! The peaceful
scene was disrupted by a high speed peregrine tearing past the hide below
our eye level, spreading the residents far and wide. Other birds in the
Huxter Well Marsh area included 4 Greenshanks, 3 broods of Little Grebe
(3,3 and 5) with doting parents and a Little Egret. A distant Buzzard was
the only other raptor recorded. Later in the day we saw a Green Woodpecker
in flight from decoy hide. The reserve gets better and better - 48
species were recorded.
A glorious day was made all the better with a fantastic 65 species: no
mega-rarities but plenty of special birds. A slow flying Peregrine was a
fantastic sight, giving plenty of time to see this magnificent raptor; the
birds on the beach weren't as impressed though! Offshore, near the sand
banks, an Arctic Skua was harassing a Common Tern for its fish. Here are
some of the other highlights: Grey Plover, Kingfisher, Lesser Whitethroat,
Marsh Harrier, Pintail, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and Sandwich
A sunny day was spent at Blacktoft where the waders didn't disappoint.
There were Snipe everywhere - over 100 at least - with a handful of both
Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. There were hundreds of Redshank and at least
10 Spotted Redshank. The usual large flock of Lapwings with about 50 Ruffs,
4 Avocets and 25 Black-tailed Godwits completed the total of 9 wader species.
We failed to see any Dunlin or Curlew, but both had been reported on the
reserve. We are getting a little too used to seeing Barn Owl and Marsh Harrier
here, but no-one was complaining! We also had very good views of a Water
Rail in the 42 species recorded.
An unseasonably sunny and warm day that was rather poor for birds and
best summed up by one member as there being "more bird watchers than birds".
Nonetheless, a couple of the birds were quite special: a Redstart in the
hedgerow alongside Beacon Lane and a hungry Wheatear by the dunes. The total
for the day was 52 species.
The day started on a low note with rather dull weather and the first
bird hide being "replaced this week so not accessible". There seemed to
be few birds around but the final species count was a surprisingly good
59. Highlights of the day included a couple of Kingfishers briefly at the
cut hide, and memorable views of Black Swans. A pair with a cygnets swam
by before lunch and a few minutes later we had another fly by. None of us
had seen these birds as juveniles or flying. The wings look pure white when
in flight. There were flocks of Redpoll and Siskin around, a few Redwing
and a pair of Pintails towards the end of the day from Lin Dyke hide.
There was a slight breeze but otherwise the weather was sunny and quite
mild. Starting at the Allen and Eric Morecambe hides, there were good numbers
of water birds, including Pintails, Shovelers, Little Egrets, Greenshank
and Red-breasted Merganser but no godwits or Ruff. A Kingfisher was seen
very briefly by some as it perched in front of the hide. For a change, we
wondered down to the coast and, although there was little to see on the
sea, the huge flocks of Oystercatchers was most impressive! On the main
reserve, we didn't bother with the two furthest hides, but managed to see
Snipe, Buzzard and several wildfowl. All in all, a quiet day for birds,
although we did see 56 species.
The day dawned clear and cold without any wind. We started with 4 Meadow
Pipits from the car park before going directly to the Piper Marsh hide where
a Bittern soon appeared - but not for long! We spent quite a while at the
tower hide on Huxter Well Marsh where we saw the usual wildfowl and gulls,
but surprisingly only a couple of geese. The 8 species of duck included
Pintail, but no Wigeon. Snipe, Golden Plover and Lapwing were the only waders
present. There were a couple of Skylarks feeding on one of the islands.
Later, severe disturbance was caused by a passing Merlin. We had excellent
views of Water Rail at the feeders and some of us were lucky enough to see
a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the same area to finish an excellent day.
A total of 59 species were recorded.
Seven members spent an excellent day at Carsington with bright and clear
weather with no wind. A male Scaup was eventually discerned masquerading
as a Pochard from the Paul Stanley Hide. Whilst there, we also saw two Kingfishers
and a Buzzard. As usual for this time of year there were large numbers of
wildfowl, which included a few displaying Goldeneye in superb breeding plumage.
Over 300 Lapwings were around with almost 50 Little Grebes and 6 Redshanks.
Other highlights included a couple of Willow Tits, several Bullfinches and
towards the end of the day we had excellent views of a Great Northern Diver
off Stones Island. In total, 48 species.
Eight members made the journey to Martin Mere to witness the wildfowl
spectacle of Whooper Swans, Pintails, Wigeons, Pink-footed Geese, etc.,
but also in hope of seeing some other great birds. Among the 52 species
eventually seen (or heard), the more extraordinary ones were Buzzard, Water
Rail, Ruddy Shelduck (both feral, one a Shelduck x Ruddy Shelduck hybrid),
Barnacle Geese as well as one Red-breasted Goose and Tree Sparrow. There
was one Bewick's Swan present.