Trip Report – Rutland Water – 26/1/20

Thirteen members assembled in the car park at the allotted time and because we were so numerous, got a reduced rate for entry to the reserve.  Starting birding upstairs at the visitors centre overlooking lagoon 1, it was not long before Trevor spotted the star attraction – Smew!

Stars of the show – Drake Smew

Not just one but 6, 3 drakes and 3 females, right in front as close as they could get. Also seen from there were several Gt White Egrets, some magnificently

Gt White Egret

plumaged Pintail and lots of other more common species.  Indeed, we had clocked up 30 different species before we left the warmth of this most civilised bird hide.

Mr elegant – Pintail in beautiful breeding plumage

The morning was fine as we made our way north looking out for winter thrushes on our way which were notable by their complete absence.  However, just before arriving at Lagoon 4 we did get a brief glimpse of a hoped for Green Woodpecker.  At the Shoveller Hide a diligent search by Dag amongst the distant big ‘raft’ of Tufted Duck and Pochard came up with a female Scaup. There was initially doubt about the sighting until a number of others with scopes confirmed that there were at least two present.  The last hide of the morning was the Lapwing Hide which sits on an exposed peninsular.  A few hide windows having been opened resulted in a fierce and very chilly gale funnelling through, freezing the occupants and driving them away after only the briefest of stays, back to the visitors’ centre where we were allowed to eat our lunch while viewing lagoon 1 again.

Cheeky Stonechat

After the break, it was off to the south end of the reserve to the Teal Hide hoping to see the Red-necked Grebe.  Precisely as forecast, it started to rain just as we were entering the hide.  The search for the grebe was even harder than that for the scaup but not because it was mixed within a crowd of other water birds but because it was diving for long periods of time, it was now very dull and because it was alone on a large sheet of wave torn water.  Persistence paid off and for some, was the star spot of the day.
After that we moved to view the north arm from part way along the Hambleton Peninsular, hoping to see both Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes.  Sadly, even a determined effort gave one member only the briefest of views of a ‘Slav’ but nothing of a Black-necked.  As compensation though, 6 Red-crested Pochard were quite close.  Now, thoroughly wet, we departed Rutland but the day was not yet over as one of the group reported that there was a Slavonian Grebe and a Whooper Swan at Attenborough, close to the Visitors’ Centre.  Not sure whether that part of the trip could be described as a twitch but both birds were spotted bringing our day’s tally to 62 and a very happy group of Ogston birders.

Photos courtesy of T Solman and M Kaye

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Trip Report – Rutland Water – 26/1/20

Trip Report – Frampton Marsh Sunday 25th August 2019

Well, who’d have thought it?

With our regular trip organiser away on holiday, two ‘volunteers’ stepped up to the plate to lead our merry gang of birders around the ever delightful Frampton Marsh Reserve. There was little pressure on our deputy leaders as, traditionally, we NEVER normally get our target species!
OK, a little harsh. We seldom get our target species. Better?

Egyption Goose

So the 9 of us met up at Frampton about 9 ish and within 20 minutes we had ticked off Curlew Sandpiper, Egyptian Goose, Dunlin, Yellow Wagtail, Blackwit, Shoveler, Snipe, Ruff, Ringed Plover and Garganey.  Onto the sea wall and we quickly picked up Long Billed Dowitcher, Spotshank, Little Stint and then the Buff Breasted Sandpiper.

By this time, the temperature was in the mid twenties so after a bit of lunch (and welcome shade) we went on to get Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Pintail and many more.

At the end of the afternoon, we decided to try for a Turtle Dove which thanks to an obliging berry picker along the hedgerow, we all managed to tick.

Turtle Dove

Finally, the reservoir didn’t let us down by showing up at least 3 Black-Necked Grebe.

64 species we mustered in total. So, we all had a good day.

Some say the deputy leaders were just lucky. All target species ticked, glorious sunshine and no wind. Others say ’twas the fact our regular leader is jinxed. You decide.
Bye for now.

Photos courtesy of Doug Aston

The full list –

Avocet Herring Gull Ruff
Black Headed Gull House Martin Sand Martin
Black Necked Grebe House Sparrow Shelduck
Black Tailed Godwit Kestrel Shoveler
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Kingfisher Skylark
Canada Goose Knot Snipe
Carrion Crow Lapwing Spoonbill
Chaffinch Little Egret Spotted Redshank
Collared Dove Little Grebe Starling
Coot Little Ringed Plover Swallow
Cormorant Little Stint Teal
Curlew Sandpiper Long Billed Dowitcher Tree Sparrow
Dunlin Long Tailed Tit Tufted Duck
Egyptian Goose Magpie Turnstone
Gadwall Mallard Turtle Dove
Garganey Moorhen Wigeon
Golden Plover Mute Swan Willow Warbler
Goldfinch Pied Wagtail Wood Pigeon
Great Crested Grebe Pintail Wood Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper Redshank Yellow Wagtail
Grey Heron Reed Warbler
Greylag Goose Ringed Plover

Posted in Trip Reports | Comments Off on Trip Report – Frampton Marsh Sunday 25th August 2019

Tues 13 August 2019

4 Mute Swans, 4 Shelduck, 28 Mandarins, 12 Gadwall, 120+ Tufteds, Little Egret, Osprey from 0900-10 at least (for its sixth day), ad Yellow-l-Gull, 63 BHGulls through, c30 Swifts, c110 House Martins & c80 Goldfinches.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tues 13 August 2019

Report on Trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands – 25th July 2019

Fourteen members turned up on this the hottest day of the year so far. (On the return journey, my car clocked 38 deg C.)
While there weren’t many birds about, perhaps as a result of the heat, nonetheless, the group managed to ID 47 different avian species and in addition, plenty of big dragonflies and good views of a stoat and a water vole. Of the birds seen, the highlights were closeup views of a Red Kite right in front of the Marshland Hide, a small flock of Bar-tailed Godwits which flew off immediately the kite appeared overhead, great views of adult and juvenile Marsh Harriers, adult and juvenile Yellow Wagtails and finally 11 Spoonbills in front of the Singleton Hide. Dragonflies included Southern and Brown Hawkers and Emperors.
Photos courtesy of William Radford, Tracy Solman and Martin Kaye.

Lunch in the shade

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Report on Trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands – 25th July 2019

Nightjar Trip Report 23rd July 2019

This is by far the latest date in the year that we’ve run a Nightjar trip and it proved to be a mistake. A full complement of members attended what proved to be the most disappointing birding trip thus far. The weather was fine but s late in the year, bird song was at best very limited which minimised the opportunities of catching up with the warblers. Our disappointment was most profound at the Nightjar viewing spot where not only did we neither see nor hear any Woodcock, but had only one instance of a nightjar churring and no sitings.  Such a contrast with the earlier three trips. All told 35 species ID’d.
Oh well you live and learn.

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Nightjar Trip Report 23rd July 2019

Nightjar Trip Report – Tue 16th July 2019

Ten members of the club joined the leader for another Nightjar evening in Clumber Park.  We were all pleased to welcome a nice mild evening, a change from the last trip. Many in the  party were quietly excited, they had never seen, or heard Nightjars.
As usual with this event we headed off in convoy for Hardwick Village. Some time was spent at the ford where we had a Kingfisher. We moved on to the weir.  The species count was mounting; were we in for the highest yet. The leader using his knowledge of the evening had his doubts, time was running out unless something special turned up. Time to go to our chosen site for ‘the main event’, Nightjars. Arriving at the designated spot at  just after 9pm there were no sightings of anything. and doubt was setting in!  Then with considerable relief we heard the call of a Woodcock then a sighting, then a Tawny was heard. We spoke to a couple of locals who declared that it would be half an hour yet! Then at 9:40pm a churring Nightjar was heard, relief!!  This was followed by much churring and amazing sightings of a pair of Nightjars.  Our count for the evening was at 43. Not bad.
Leaving the park on his way home the leader saw a Barn Owl sitting on a fence by the roadside. He ‘pulled rank’ and increased the evening’s count to 44.
Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Nightjar Trip Report – Tue 16th July 2019

Nightjar Trip Report 26/6/19

The forecast was that it would stop raining at 17:00 and then remain dry for our evening trip. At 16:30 it was still raining persistently so a quick phone call to the trip leader John Parlby and the trip was cancelled. The next phone call to one of the members discovered that they’d already set off and didn’t want to be put off.  A subsequent phone call to another member representing three others, established that nobody wanted the trip cancelled!!!! Trip back on. As trip organiser, I can only blame the others for what turned out to be an evening of persistent light rain and low cloud.
In spite of the damp and gloom, the spirits of the party of ten remained remarkably high and when the two recorders lists were amalgamated, an amazing total of 42 species had been clocked up.
Some of the highlights early evening were a family of Grey Wagtails, sightings of Sedge Warblers feeding their young and the enormous numbers of Swallows, Swifts and House Martins arrowing through the air at all levels. Raptors were unsurprisingly, largely absent but we did get close to a female Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel and Buzzard were seen at some distance.
At 20:30 we set off for the Nightjar watch point where we were rewarded by a churring male at 21:20 (no doubt the gloom brought on this early awakening). After that there was a fleeting sighting of the bird in the trees accompanied by its yelping call but the icing on the cake was the extended view that we all got of a Nightjar flying across the clearing. But sadly, that was its final appearance and from then on we had to be satisfied with a few calls and churrs. However, unlike the earlier Nightjar trip, we did get excellent and numerous views of  Woodcock. All in all, maximum pleasure was rung out of a foul evening.

Enthusiasm undimmed, hopeful observers wait for the Nightjar to put in an appearance


Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Nightjar Trip Report 26/6/19

Report on Annesley Pit Top trip 21/6/19

Eight members assembled at the car park in, for this year, unseasonably, warm and sunny weather. Mind you, when the wind blew in some of the more exposed parts of the reserve, it still felt decidedly chilly. A first time visitor might well be put off because of the semi-industrial approach to this reserve and indeed, feel even more uneasy after passing the fenced off, vandalised ex-visitors’ centre. However, this reserve is maturing and becoming a real gem for wildlife of all kinds. The wild flowers clearly benefit from the impoverished

Breath-taking flower meadow

soil/pit spoil and at this time of year provide a riot of colour. The star bird was undoubtedly the Black-necked Grebe.

Black-necked Grebe (poppet or what)

In addition to the grebe, there was a supporting cast of Reed and Sedge Warblers, a lot of Reed Buntings dominating with their repetitive little ‘song’ and a few Common Whitethroats

including 2 juveniles. Also of note was a flock of 25+ Long-tailed Tits and a few Little Ringed Plovers.

Little Ringed Plover showing the yellow eye-ring

All told, 40 species were clocked up. In contrast to last year when the summer was sensational, very few damselflies were observed and only one Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly.
Credit for the bird photos to Dave White and his Nikon Coolpix P900.

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Report on Annesley Pit Top trip 21/6/19

Report on evening trip to Clumber 22nd May 2019

A full complement of 10 members enjoyed a warm evening in Clumber Park. Beginning in Hardwick Village, the group first heard a Cuckoo calling and then were incredibly lucky to see it posing at the top of a bush, long enough for all to get a close view through the

Posing Cuckoo

scope. Over the next 30 minutes we had several sightings of it flying around the area and perching. At the ford, there was lots of warbler interest with views of Sedge, Reed and, amazingly a Cettis Warbler which posed for a moment atop a hedge a few feet away.

8:45 pm Clumber Lake

Just before 9:00 pm, with expectations high, we drove to the area for viewing Nightjars and at 9:30 pm our patience was rewarded by the first churring of the evening. Shortly after that a Tawny Owl put in a brief, silent appearance. A few minutes later we caught a glimpse of 2 Nightjars flying side by side, wing clapping and then a little later, a single bird swept over the clearing. After that we had to make do with some prolonged periods of churring and the odd call. Also, rather surprisingly, we saw no Woodcock.
All in all the group identified 39 species – not a lot but who can complain with Cuckoo, Cettis, Tawny and Nightjar?

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Report on evening trip to Clumber 22nd May 2019

Report on Trip to Whisby & Langford Lowfields 17th May 2019

Nine members assembled in the car park at Whisby with the organiser counting his blessings that it had stopped raining and was actually brightening up. Walking through the early part of the reserve, an early disappointment at the lack of Mediterranean Gulls was made up for by the surround sound of warblers on full volume. However, that was where the organiser’s luck ran out because there was no sign of the main target species, the Nightingale. In spite of revisiting the expected site five times, there was no sight or sound of the little tinker. In addition, there was also no sightings of the other hoped for bird, the Lesser Whitethroat.  The attention of some of the members who had threatened the organiser with a ducking in the lake for this poor showing, was briefly diverted with the sighting of a lot of small black moths (later to be colourfully identified as Chimney Sweepers) and later by our botanical expert Jenny Johnson who was intrigued by a plant that she didn’t recognise (later identified as Spindleberry). Sadly the dedicated birders weren’t mollified for long.

After lunch, we moved to RSPB Langford Lowfields where the organisers luck changed for the better. For a start the sun had come out and then at Avocet Lake not only were there 6 Avocets but also several Redshank and a Wood Sandpiper (a lifer for some). High overhead, 10 Hobbies were out chasing insect food.
On the main body of the reserve, the good luck continued with sightings of a Bearded Tit, Sedge and Reed Warblers, good views of three Black Terns and the sound of 2 booming Bitterns.

All in all it turned out a great trip in spite of a disappointing beginning – 56 species identified. Photos T Solman & M Kaye

Posted in Trip Reports, Trips | Comments Off on Report on Trip to Whisby & Langford Lowfields 17th May 2019