Important Ogston News re Access Arrangements

Severn Trent have re-opened some of the Ogston site public areas today (Wed 20th May).  This means we can visit the West Bank car park, provided that we observe Government guidelines regarding social distancing.  (Note – the electronic gate opens at 06:00 and closes at 19:30 – if this changes in the future, we will let you know.)

Unfortunately however, we have had to keep our hides and footpaths closed for the time being because we cannot ensure social distancing in our small hides with single doors and narrow access ramps, with sanitising etc..  This mirrors the approach of larger organisations including RSPB, the County Wildlife Trusts and Spurn Bird Observatory.

Similarly, the monthly Saturday walks and birding field trips listed on the website are cancelled until we get guidance that they can go ahead.

Please rest assured that the committee are very much keeping our eyes on the ball with the members’ interests in mind and hope to re-open the hides as soon as is practicable.  Further news to follow.

Bill Padley (Chair)

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Trip Report – Budby Common – 12th March 2020

Twelve members turned up on a beautiful sunny day but with a howling gale blowing across the common, birding was not going to be easy.  In spite of everything, the party managed to clock 48 species.  As we climbed the gentle hill from the parking spot, a couple of our keen eared members heard Crossbills but sadly we had no sightings and for the most part, the smaller birds were keeping their heads down.  In contrast, the resident Buzzards seemed to be tracking us throughout our stay and making their voices heard above the gale.  We walked to the far western end of the common where there was some shelter provided by a belt of conifers and there we were able to enjoy some respite and get good views of Yellow Hammers and Goldfinch.  On the return, the wind dropped briefly and gave most members a brief view of 5 Woodlark and hear the distinctive falling notes of their song.  Unfortunately, this was the briefest of lulls and with the return of the wind, the birds and their song disappeared.
Most of the group then drove over to the Welbeck Raptor watch point where those who were quick off the mark got good but brief views of a Goshawk which then didn’t reappear. As some compensation, a Red Kite did a slow fly past and a Peregrine flew across and then overhead giving everyone excellent views for several minutes.
After that the party decamped to the pub at Cuckney for some compensatory refreshment.
No photos this time – the photographers never raised a lens to the sky!

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.
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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

 

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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.

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