North Cave & Blacktoft Trip Report – 18/11/21

At the end of the day, 13 members said that they’d enjoyed the trip which surprised the leader a bit considering how quiet Blacktoft had been. We started at North Cave in glorious sunshine and between us, visited all the hides during the morning. The best viewing however, was from the covered picnic area opposite the butty van. Here, amongst the numerous lapwing we had excellent views of Common Snipe, Ruff, a Black-tailed

Ruff

Godwit and Redshank. Subsequently on our walk round, in addition to more common birds, we got a great view of a female Yellow Hammer. At lunchtime, rather sadly because we probably hadn’t spent enough time at North Cave, we headed off for Blacktoft. The early arrivals there were treated to a close view of a single Fieldfare looking magnificent in the sunshine. However, we were all keen to see the anticipated star of the show, the White-tailed Lapwing so an enquiry to a ‘bazooka’ toting photographer elicited that it was showing from Xerox Hide. Indeed it was and a very elegant bird in its subdued colours

White-tailed Lapwing – very rare migrant – breeds Central Asia as far west as Iraq

(except for the yellow legs). One member remarked that it had a rather kind face. However, that was the only bird on this lagoon, definitely a case of ‘Billy no mates’. And that pretty much summed up Blacktoft – no birds. Slight exaggeration but the Ousefleet Hide was the only one where a substantial number of birds were found and then not much variety. Towards the end of the afternoon, we arrived at the Singleton Hide hoping for a Marsh Harrier bonanza but here, while getting quite close views, there were only three

Marsh Harrier

birds in the air at any one time – a far cry from the eleven seen some years ago.
43 species in total not including a male Brimstone Butterfly at North Cave.

Photos thanks to Joyce Sawford and Martin Kaye

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November Guided Walk

For this months stroll we took in a full circuit of the reservoir on a dry, mainly overcast but still reasonably bright day.

8 soles were rewarded with a pleasant total of 42 species!

Redwing, Cormorant, Long Tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Tufted Duck, Teal, Blue Tit, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Black Headed Gull, Gadwall, Jackdaw, Robin, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Jay, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Goldfinch, Wood Pigeon, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Magpie, Fieldfare, Dunnock, Great Tit, Coot, Kestrel, Pink Footed Geese, (70+) Canada Geese, Brambling, Sparrowhawk, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Shelduck

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October Guided Walk

14 hardy members took to the October guided walk along the reservoir West Bank, around Brackenfield, behind Carr Wood and sensibly avoiding Top Farm. A total of 36 species were recorded.

Blackbird, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Greylag Goose, Grey Heron, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, House Martin, Jackdaw, Jay, Lapwing, Long- tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Swallow, Teal, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon, Wren

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Old Moor Trip Report – 28/10/21

Eleven members had a rather abbreviated trip due to the leaders inability to make the earlier, insane time of 07:30 (which many seemed quite pleased about). Instead, we met just before 10:00 and after a brief chat to the reserve’s manager who explained some of the developments that were in progress, we got onto the reserve and headed for the Reed Bed Hide where Jack Snipe had been seen in previous days. The wind was unfortunately quite strong which might have been good for the local turbines but rubbish for spotting Bearded Tits. From the hide we had good but distant views of a Green Sandpiper and a juvenile/female Marsh Harrier put in an appearance to which a pair of local Crows objected too most vigorously. Then one of the ‘locals’ spotted a Jack Snipe. After a few anxious minutes, everyone managed to get a sighting of this skulking bird. However, as time passed it did emerge from the reeds and gave good views of the dark stripe down the centre of its head and its split supercilium. Turning its back on us revealed the broad and very bright yellow back stripes.

Jack Snipe showing split supercilium

‘Jack Sniped’ out, we moved on and while some went back to the cars to collect lunch, the rest of us moved to the brand new family hide. Here we had sighting of a single Pintail but

Pair of Shovellers and a sleeping Pintail

the main entertainment came courtesy of a juvenile Peregrine which made a number of failed assaults on the surrounding bird life on the Mere. On one occasion, as it passed over the distant trees, a couple of angry Buzzards flew up and flashed their talons at it.

Juvenile Peregrine feeling a bit down hearted

Fed and watered, the group moved on to the Wath Ings Hide where sadly, and rather surprisingly, there was little of note although one sharp eyed spotter picked up the flash of a Kingfisher.
All in all, a bit quiet although with some memorable highlights – 44 species all told.
Photos taken by Joyce Sawford and Martin Kaye

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Guided Walk 4th September 2021

The walk was well attended by 14 people. We did the loop around the reservoir which took about three hours. Thirty three species were seen, the highlights being a large flock of Hirundines over the car park, mainly Sand Martin and House Martin, plus 5 Swift’s. Along the route, two of the group saw a Spotted Flycatcher while other varieties spotted were mainly woodland species.

J Marshall

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Frampton Trip Report – 15/8/21

Seventeen folk enjoyed Frampton Marsh in glorious warm sunny weather. On the way to the sea wall, the first bird of note was a Curlew Sandpiper in almost full breeding plumage and this held up proceedings for a while delaying the ‘main meal’ of the day, the Pacific

The Ogston team on the sea wall

Golden Plover.  Easy to find by first locating the line of scopes and cameras. The main differences between this species and the Golden Plover when seen at a distance, is that the

former has more white over the eye, down the neck and a bulge of white on the upper breast.  In addition, the back is more coarsely patterned. However, it would need to be a very knowledgeable birder to make the ID. In addition to the Plover, there was a supporting cast of a Short-eared Owl, Kestrels, a Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and great White Egret. As a consequence it was difficult to drag the group away to explore the rest of the reserve.
Continuing north along the sea wall, we had sightings of both Ruff, Avocets, Little Ringed

and Ringed Plovers, 12+ Greenshank, 15 Spoonbills, a juvenile Scaup, Snipe, Yellow Wagtails and Common Terns. From the East Hide, we got close views of the massed ranks

Guardian of the marsh

of Black-tailed Godwits interspersed with Knot, some of which sported their brick red breeding plumage. Surprisingly, there was little to see from the 360 hide except a large flock of Linnets. In the afternoon, we concentrated on the Reed Bed part of the reserve, getting excellent views of.a male Scaup, huge numbers of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Green Sandpiper. In addition, this part of the reserve was alive with butterflies including a Holly Blue.

A very enjoyable day with 57 bird species recorded.
On the return home, some members took a diversion to Freiston Shore and their luck held with views of the Black Stork.

Black Stork – Freiston Shore

Photos courtesy of Steve Sutcliffe, Joyce Sawford and the mediocre ones of the Pacific Golden Plover – Martin Kaye.

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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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