Report on Lawrence Field Trip 10/5/19

Raining at 08:00 didn’t bode well so it was much relief that it had stopped when we arrived at the roadside park above Padley Gorge.  Ten members then set off across Lawrence Field Moor in rather dull conditions hardly daring to comment upon the improving weather conditions. Unfortunately, the birds were clearly unimpressed and with the exception of the odd Meadow Pipit, they remained absent/hunkered down.
Arriving at the area near the gate at the top of the ramp descent into the gorge, our luck improved with frequent and excellent sightings of Redstarts (both male and female, the latter a first for some), Tree Creepers, Stonechats and Spotted Flycatchers. A

Sparrowhawk drifted across and a little later most of the group saw the Cuckoo fly over pursued by an ‘irate’ Meadow Pipit.

Unfortunately, sightings of Tree Pipits were difficult as they weren’t engaging in their flight displays, preferring to spend time feeding in the upper canopy. However, it was not until we descended into the gorge did we get to see Pied Flycatchers but then good views were gained by all.

After lunch, a much reduced group had a walk around the Longshaw Estate but typical of that time of day, with little birding success (a male Mandarin and a Blackcap) but the group were able to seek some recompense in the National Trust cafe.
40 species in total including all the target species except Wood Warbler.  Thanks to Martin Smith and Steve Walker for the bird photos.

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Budby Common Trip report – 5/4/19

Fourteen members met beside Budby Common and unlike the previous trip to the Upper Derwent Valley, didn’t suffer from high winds or interminable up hill sections. Indeed, the entire trip could be described as more or less flat. All in all 55 species were identified although we did miss out on the target species of Woodlark and Goshawk. Shortly after setting off, we heard the first Willow Warbler of the year but couldn’t find it. This set the pattern for the first 10-15 minutes when birds could be heard but not seen but it made good practice for honing rusty ID skills on bird song. Interesting birds that were seen early in the trip included a Grey Partridge, Fieldfare,


Linnets and a Yellow Hammer. We then headed for the trees at the edge of Sherwood Forest where a flock of Siskin and another of Lesser Redpoll kept the party entertained for some time. From there we headed into the forest in what proved to be a vain quest for a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker but as some compensation, we were able to watch a female Nuthatch fashioning the entrance to her nest hole

Nuthatch at the nest site

while the male scolded us from a nearby branch.  On the way back, the Siskins and Redpoll drew even more attention and in addition, it was

Mrs Marshall was just tired and not suffering from an infectious disease

thought that a Crossbill could be heard calling but unfortunately with no visual confirmation. Returning to the cars, the majority of the party then headed for Welbeck Raptor Watch Point where one member had a brief possible sighting of a Goshawk but then, other than Buzzards, the main entertainment was from the water birds on or near the lake.

Thanks to Steve Walker for the bird photos and Bill Padley for the group.

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Guided Walk – April 6th

April Guided Bird Walk.

On a pleasant Spring morning a group of 27 enthusiasts set off on a walk to Milltown Quarry.
This walk is the longest we do for our guided walks and soon the group were straggled over some 200 metres! Surprisingly, the fields and hedgerows were quiet and until we got to the quarry the only excitement we got was a few circling buzzards, which we, despite trying very hard couldn’t turn them into anything else! Eventually, the quarry provided lots of Chiffchaffs and singing (but rarely seen) Blackcaps as well as a couple of Sparrowhawks.
To summarise, beautiful scenery, good company but a little light on birds!

The full list –

Chiffchaff, Sand Martin, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Coot, Wren, Crow, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon, Rook, Song Thrush, Magpie, Mallard, Cormorant, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Robin, Greenfinch, Buzzard, Heron, Swallow, House Sparrow, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Long Tailed Tit, Sparrowhawk, Stock Dove, Gadwall, Moorhen, Dunnock, Greylag, Teal, Bullfinch, Brambling, Gt Crested Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Snipe, Tufted Duck.

Thanks to everybody for supporting.

The next walk will be on Saturday May 4th when we will get the Spring bounty we hoped for this time.

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Upper Derwent Valley Trip – 22/3/19

Nine members had a very energetic birding trip in the Upper Derwent Valley in fine but windy weather. Initially all seemed calm as we spent time by the Derwent Dam Wall waiting for folk to arrive while viewing across the reservoir. Here, a Kestrel showed particularly well as did a pair of Grey Wagtails. When all were assembled, we drove to the road end at the King’s Tree from where we continued on foot to the base of the climb up to our planned high point. As we ascended, the wind increased dramatically and in a misguided judgement, it was decided to go to the top where it was planned to shelter beside the small crags. Upon arrival we found that the only sheltered spot was in a tiny hollow into which everyone crowded. Sadly, this far, very little bird life had been encountered so we retreated to the valley floor where we caught sight of a lovely pair of Stonechats and the dawdlers in the party fleetingly saw a Red Grouse. In the woodland our luck improved with sighting of several small flocks of Siskins and a single Lesser Redpoll. Just before reaching the cars, we caught a brief glimpse of a raptor circling above the woods but what was it – female Sparrowhawk of a male Goshawk.  Too late it was gone. After lunch, 4 sane members of the expedition departed while the remaining 5 went for a second walk on to the moor above the nearby River Westend. The ascent was described by one individual as vomit inducing. But hey, we did get to see a pair of Peregrines carrying out their courting display.
All in all we clocked 24 species plus the unknown raptor and everyone got a lot of exercise in fabulous scenery. Disappointing not to see more, especially Goshawk but that’s birding.

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Guided Walk -March 2nd

On a morning which started grey before brightening up with blue sky and fluffy clouds, a group of 23 set off from the West Bank Car Park under the leadership of Paul Beard.
After heading North –West with Ashover Hay to our left we passed Chapel Farm and before reaching Milltown we turned East and through Dalebank before taking the wooded walk high above the river to Milltown Inlet at the North end of Ogston Reservoir.
The walk was enjoyed by all and the early Spring sunshine provided some welcome warmth. Whilst it is still a bit early for the nesting birds we strive to see, we still managed to achieve a grand total of 44 species!

Sightings –

Black Headed Gull, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Chaffinch, Coal Tit,
Coot, Cormorant, Curlew, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Gadwall, Goldcrest, Goldeneye, Goldfinch
G.S. Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greylag Goose, Jay, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull,
Linnet, Little Owl, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Pied Wagtail, Raven, Redwing, Reed Bunting, Robin, Rook, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk,
Stock Dove, Teal, Tufted Duck, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Yellowhammer

The next walk is scheduled for Saturday April 6th, same time, same place.

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Report on OBC trip to Rufford CP, Sherwood and Welbeck Raptor Watch Point – 15/2/19

Six members enjoyed a glorious day (albeit with a chilly start) and shortly after arriving, we were delighted to all be able to view through the scope our main target bird in the form of a female Hawfinch. During a trip round the park, we saw over forty different species but the highlights were the 21 Goosander on the lake, Siskins, and Marsh Tits.
Having completed a circuit we gave in to Bill’s moaning about his lack of breakfast by retreating to the cafe where plans were hatched for continuing the trip over at Sherwood in the hope of seeing Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers that had been reported the day before. For those that haven’t been to Sherwood recently, there’s now a big new car park on the east of the road with the fancy new visitor’s centre on the west.  (RSPB members park for free). While we all enjoyed a magnificent walk through the ancient woodland, it’s sad to report that we didn’t catch up with these rarely seen little birds, and even more galling was a chance meeting with another birder later in the day who had seen them 20 minutes after we’d left.
After that it was on to the raptor watch point at Welbeck where we had an excellent close view of a female Sparrowhawk, up to five Buzzards in the air at once, a Kestrel and three separate sightings of Peregrine Falcons but no Goshawk in spite of the conditions being perfect.
All told 51 species seen.
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Guided Bird Walk 2/2/19

This month’s Bird Walk was enjoyed by 18 hardy souls braving a very cold but bright morning. We walked along the West Bank hoping to catch sight of a busy heronry which unfortunately, was devoid of bird life. Hedgerows and bushes were full of the usual suspects as we walked into Brackenfield and down Carr Lane dusted with snow. It was here we started seeing a few winter thrushes but numbers were low for all species.
Then the group went off road, heading up towards Top Farm. Although almost at the end of the walk it was here we had most enjoyment, provided by up to 6 Yellowhammers skipping across the hedgerows as well as a couple of Mistle Thrushes. Raptor wise we also caught a distant glimpse of a single Buzzard way back towards Brackenfield Church.
A beautiful stroll on a lovely morning but nothing over-exciting birdwise. We’ll try again on March 2nd.
Thanks to Wendy Dyson for compiling the list of species seen.

Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Linnet, Black-headed Gull, Coot, Kestrel, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow, Lapwing, Blue Tit, Teal, Pheasant, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, Mallard, Lesser Redpoll, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Buzzard, Robin, Blackbird, Treecreeper, Dunnock, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Coal Tit, Starling, Wren, Reed Bunting, Long-tailed Tit, Rook, Song Thrush, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Fieldfare, Yellow Hammer, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Greylag Goose, Reed Bunting, Common Snipe, Canada Goose, BullfinchTwo participants on the walk also observed a Peregrine hunting at great speed over the reservoir giving a total of 49.

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Bird Walk 5/1/19

Thanks to Wendy for the list from the walk.

Gt Crested Grebe, Cormorant. Tufted Duck, Greylag Goose, Teal, Coot, Bh Gull, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal tit, Jay, Blue Tit, Gt Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Magpie, Wood Pig, Mallard, Crow, L Grebe, Pochard, L T Tit, Goldcrest, Dunnock, House Sparrow, FieldFare, Chaffinch, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Lapwing, Greenfinch, Willow Tit, L B-backed Gull, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Bullfinch, Gt B-backed Gull, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Twite, Moorhen, Yellow-legged Gull.

A very enjoyable walk in good weather for January over Ashover Hay.



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3/11/2018 bird walk

Greylag Goose, Cormarant, Buzzard, B H Gull, Gadwall, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Coot, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Mallard, Mute Swan, L T Tit, GT Tit, Great Crested Grebe, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Canada Goose, Teal, Little Grebe, Wood Pig, Robin, Dunnock, Magpie, Chaffinch, Redwing, Heron, Wren, GT Spotted Woodpecker, Pheasant, Fieldfare, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Tufted, Moorhen, Herring Gull, little Egret.



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Trip report – RSPB Frampton Marsh Tuesday 11/9/18

In spite of the rather dodgy weather forecast, this was a well attended trip with 12 members arriving at the allotted hour.  Half the party then retired to the visitors’ centre for hot drinks and a guided tour by the warden of the birds that could be seen through the windows. The more independent half of the group walked a few metres down the track and did the same thing but without the hot drink and free ID help. Both groups however, did spot a Little Stint, Ruff, 100s of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers and the 5000+ Black-tailed

One of the 5000

Godwits that had retreated from the Wash in the face of an extremely high tide.
Reunited, we all made our way down towards the sea wall anxious to get a view of the Long-billed Dowitcher (North American vagrant). On the way we got excellent views of 4 elegant Spotted Redshank. This delayed us somewhat so that when we arrived at the spot from where the Dowitcher could be seen, it unobligingly went and hid in the rushes.
In a state of considerable disappointment, the team then trekked along the sea wall where we were rewarded by a ‘hoard’ of Yellow Wagtails. On to the East Hide where lunch was taken and then to the Reed Bed Hide where a Water Rail was Spotted and then to the 360 Degree Hide. Two of the group, driven by the call of nature, had in the meantime, retreated to the visitors’ centre. On their return, they diverted to the Dowitcher view spot and were able to phone through to the rest of us that it was showing well. Immediately scopes were shouldered and it was amazing to see how fast folks could walk with the possibility of seeing a ‘Lifer’. All the effort was then rewarded with excellent fairly close views.

Long-billed Dowitcher with Common Snipe

As we were returning to the Visitors Centre, a female Marsh Harrier put in an appearance. It drifted lazily across the reserve causing consternation where ever it went. In all 53 species were identified, the stars of the show other than the Dowitcher being the Spotted Redshanks, Little Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers, a Hobby and a Black-necked Grebe. As we drove away, we were well entertained by a female Sparrowhawk which flew along in front of us  for several hundred yards rarely more than a metre above the ground.

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