Annesley Pit Top Trip Report – 17/6/21

Initially the weather was quite cool and still, which didn’t encourage raptors to take to the air. Nonetheless 17 members enjoyed an interesting trip with plenty to see. All in all 52 bird species were identified plus an occasional dragonfly and 3 brown hares. On the walk round the lakes, we were serenaded with bird song allowing members to brush up on their listening ID skills of the different warblers; Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Whitethroats, and Reed Warblers plus Skylarks and Reed Buntings were notably present. Top spots for the water birds must go to the Black-necked Grebes and Little Ringed

Black-necked Grebe

Plovers which kept the group entertained for quite some time. As the morning progressed, it gradually became warmer and the wind picked up a little but other than a fleeting glimpse of a Kestrel, the birds of prey remained stubbornly absent until towards the end of the morning when a couple of Buzzards were seen over the woodland to the north

Ten of the seventeen Black-necked Grebe spotting

east. Sadly, though, no Hobbies. And then my phone rang – it was Nottinghamshire police wanting to speak to one of our members who had joined the trip but seemingly left her car door open. The kindly copper ascertained that she had her car keys before locking it. Right, back to birding!  Returning to the initial view over the lake diligence finally paid off when Dag Marshall picked up a Honey Buzzard at some distance circling on flat wings. Any doubts as to the ID of this bird were dispelled when it flew close by. How the early leavers must have regretted their premature departure.

Photos thanks to J Marshall

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Whisby – Langford Lowfields Trip Report 17/5/21

Eleven members enjoyed very pleasant conditions at Whisby and with great expectations, set off to find Nightingales. Pausing by the first lake, a scan of the noisy colony of Black-headed Gulls failed to find a single Mediterranean Gull so onward to the second lake where we were all rewarded with a sighting of the normally elusive Reed Warbler. Dag and Jenny Marshall then led the group to the spot where they’d seen a Nightingale the week before. After five minutes came the unmistakeable, powerful notes of a Nightingale which then made the briefest of appearances before going to ground. The group, not satisfied with this, stood their ground in silence and were rewarded 10 minutes later by a much improved performance with all getting a sighting and enabling David White to get this excellent photo.

NightingaleAppetite satiated, we set off on a short circular walk, seeing and/or hearing Blackcaps, and Willow and Garden Warblers before returning to the Nightingale spot to get another fix.
Lunch was taken just outside the visitors’ centre and then it was off to RSPB Langford Lowfields. Arriving at the car park, it was noticed that the sky was turning a purply black colour and that visitors already at the reserve, seemed to be fleeing to their cars. The

After the deluge had almost stopped

Ogston group, however, were made of sterner stuff and headed for the reserve, umbrellas held high! The heavens opened and the rain ‘tanked’ down so we huddled behind the entrance hut until the worst had passed. The sun came out and the drowned ‘rats’ emerged. Their resolve was then rewarded firstly by getting a couple of sightings of a Cetti’s Warbler and then getting grand stand views of up to nine Hobbies that put on the performance of a life time. Flying so close, binoculars were hardly necessary and easy to see them plucking insects from the air with their talons and passing the prey to their beak enabling Jenny Marshall to get this wonderful photo. Truly spectacular!

Hobby

As a finale, during the walk back to the cars, a couple of lesser Whitethroats put in an appearance.
All told, 44 species identified.

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Lawrence Field Trip Report 13/5/21

The trip started badly for two of the twelve members who had signed up, when their car broke down. In one way they were fortunate in that they were stranded next to some woodland and had views of both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers before the truck arrived to tow them to the garage. The remaining ten enjoyed good weather although a rather meagre diet of birds. The first of note to be seen was a Tree Pipit standing proudly atop a

solitary birch tree singing his little heart out and staying long enough for all to get a good view. Walking along the southern perimeter of the gorge we were serenaded by multiple Willow Warblers  but it was only upon arriving at the ramp descending to the stream, that we encountered our first Pied Flycatchers. A pair of them were using one of the boxes, posing frequently close by with the female occasionally carrying nesting material. Those who were lucky enough to turn round at the right moment also saw a female Sparrowhawk flash past.
A Cuckoo had been heard occasionally but only one member managed to see it crossing the moor accompanied by a posse of meadow Pipits. As compensation, all got to see the male, female and juvenile Stonechats.
Upon entering the woodland on the upper rim of the gorge, we were surprised to come

across a rather large Red Deer upon the narrow path. After checking us out and deciding that it didn’t like what it saw, it skedaddled.

Back at the top of the ramp all had excellent views of both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and one member had a fleeting glimpse of a Redstart. However, disappointingly, at no

stage did anyone hear either the song or calls from Redstart or Wood Warbler which were birds that we’d encountered on previous trips. In particular, the absence of Redstarts is perplexing.
In all, 27 species of bird were identified plus both Red and Roe Deer.
Photos thanks to Daniel Griffin, John Allsop and Martin Kaye

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Cutthroat Bridge Trip Report – 26/4/21

The first trip since the lockdown restrictions were eased benefitted from glorious weather, cloudless skies and only a gentle breeze. These factors probably resulted in 16 members turning up (a record number in recent years) and also perhaps, contributed to their enthusiasm to make the trip an all day affair and go with the leader’s suggestion to extend the walk to ‘about’ 5.5 miles. In spite of the sunshine, the air was distinctly chilly resulting in all donning ‘winter’ gear, which was later regretted as the temperature rose (especially on the uphill sections).  Note – in compliance with the rule of 6, three groups were formed.
Now in the past, the leader has been criticised for not delivering on the target birds but this time, his critics were silenced after about 100 metres with a sighting of a calling Ring Ouzel.

First Ring Ouzel

On the initial part of the walk we were surrounded by the song of numerous Willow Warblers, while up on the moor, this was replaced with that of the Curlew, Meadow Pipits and the occasional Skylark and Red Grouse. In addition, we had fairly close views of a

Wheatear

Wheatear and of a distant Raven. At the foot of Stanage Edge, another Ring Ouzel was spotted and a Twite and a Golden plover were heard by two of the party. The groups then made a gradual descent to the ‘Long Causeway’ track descending from Stanage Pole where refreshment was had

Stonechat survey

while watching a pair of Stonechats and a Buzzard circling on the thermals. A quiet section of road walking was enlivened with close views of Curlew, Tree Creeper and yet another Ring Ouzel, serenading us from the top of a prominent tree. Lunch was taken on Bamford

Ring Ouzel posing on Bamford Edge

Edge with stunning views over the Derwent Valley. Following the break, we again had excellent views of yet another Ring Ouzel while a couple of members also managed a distant sighting of a Goshawk cruising down the valley. As a final bonus toward the end of the walk, we

Stunning scenery from Bamford Edge

had good sightings of a Red Kite, Siskins and a single Lesser Redpoll.
Total 33 species plus a Common Lizard. Photos thanks to: Tracy Solman for First Ring Ouzel and Wheatear, Robin Potts for Bamford Edge Ouzel and Bill Padley for the people shots.

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OBC Hides reopened 2nd Dec

Coronavirus Pandemic. Second National Lock-down ends on 2 December 2020
Just at present things don’t seem to be getting any easier with the pandemic. The guidelines are unavoidably changing quite frequently. Let’s hope the news of the vaccines proves to be as good as it seems to be.
Our hides have been closed during the second national lock-down which ends on 2nd December 2020.  The Ogston Reservoir site is then to be within a Tier 3 area until further notice.
We have agreed with Severn Trent Water that we will make our hides available to members again, i.e. revert to the same basis as pre-lockdown 2 (although for the time being requiring members to be compliant with Tier 3 regulations, rather than Tier 2.) The regulations can be accessed by clicking this link, although bear in mind that they may change in the near future – Gov Regs. For our club this includes (but not exclusively) the rules relating to social distancing, wearing of face masks , hand sanitising and keeping hide doors and windows open when practicable, and maximum numbers of people who may meet  in a variety of circumstances.
No OBC gatherings in the hides are proposed. We do not encourage members to visit the hides if they feel they cannot do so safely or in a fully compliant way. We each need to think of our own safety and that of others. If more than one person or “bubble” is present at once, please talk to each other. The slider remains in place at the footpath entrance from the car park and should please be used diligently. If you don’t feel you can go in the hides and be safe and compliant, please exercise your discretion against going in.
I’m sorry it’s all a little fraught and I hope I don’t sound officious or patronising, but hopefully things can improve soon. Meanwhile your continued support and forbearance is really appreciated.
Bill Padley
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Report on Frampton Marsh trip – 16/8/20

Eight members for a Frampton trip might be regarded as disappointing but this was the first OBC visit since Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ was relaxed. Also, the weather forecast was decidedly dodgy. However, after a wet drive, the weather improved approaching the east coast and it remained dry but dull and cool for most of the time while we were there. In contrast, the birds didn’t let us down. There were 24+ Spoonbills and a 100+ Little Egrets were reported that day. All in all we clocked 61 species with the stars being a Temminck’s Stint (a ‘lifer’ for some of the party), 5 or more Little Stints, one Curlew Sandpiper (a good spot by Dag amongst all the Dunlin), several Spotted redshank, a Wood Sandpiper, Yellow Wagtails, a Kingfisher, a Whooper Swan and a beautifully plumaged Greenshank.
Thanks to Bill Padley for keeping the score. Photos courtesy of J Marshall and M Kaye

Green Sandpiper and Temminck’s Stint (yellowish legs not showing well on photo)

Greenshank looking splendid

3 members hogging the mound

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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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