2024 FEES

Just a reminder that the membership fees are now £15 for a single member and £20 for a joint

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Nightjar Trip Report – 30/5/2024

On a cold, breezy evening, 22 members arrived at the Flash Lane parking spot, fortunately, most dressed in their winter birding gear. At 9 pm we set off to walk the few hundred metres to the viewing spot. Disappointingly, with the exception of a couple of Black Birds, the place was silent except for the sound of the wind in the trees. Not put off by this lack of avian life, the assembled multitude stood alert and patient and this was eventually rewarded at about 9:30 pm with the appearance of a couple of Woodcock flying above the trees. We then had fairly frequent sightings of Woodcock although it was impossible to know whether it was the same bird doing circuits or different ones. At about 9:45 pm, the sharp of hearing picked up the first churring sounds of a nearby Nightjar. Subsequently, we were entertained by a number of fly passes, more churring and also occasionally the yapping type call of the Nightjar. On one occasion, one bird perched on the top of a nearby dead tree trunk. Based on sound alone, there were two males in the near vicinity. At just gone 10:00, our leader, Steve Slack called time and sent us home to defrost. A very successful trip and very well attended too.

No photos – too dark!

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Trip Report – May 15 2024 – Whisby and Langford Lowfields

A small but perfectly formed group of members met at a wet Whisby to stroll around the park lamenting the absence of the Nightingale. Nonetheless, we took in a nice stroll and picked up a decent list.

The site is always good for warblers and we got Willow and Garden Warblers, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff. We heard distant cuckoos and a Green Woodpecker cackling (probably laughing at us as the rain continued). A Sedge Warbler teased us from the reeds whilst a Buzzard and a Kestrel were the only raptors showing. Heading back to the cafe for a warm drink, a muntjac deer showed itself to us before somehow disappearing in front of our very eyes. 32 species for Whisby.

Off to Langford we went and as the rain eased we we were hopeful of  a decent showing.  For most of us, lunch was the most important first activity. The mound at Langford allowed us to eat and birdwatch at the same time. It wasn’t long before a couple of Hobbys appeared. Although higher than we have seen in previous years they gave us a good display. We saw a maximum of 4 Hobby’s in the air at any time. Around us there was the ever elusive Cetti’s Warbler, a Sedge or two and, of course, several Willow Warblers.

We saw quite a few Common Tern looking for somewhere to nest with the Black Headed Gulls having occupied the rafts first. We heard but didn’t see any Bittern and in the distance we picked up at least two Great Egrets. A bedraggled Red Kite came over us as we packed away our lunch boxes.

Social media reported a sighting of a Grey Plover, again in the distance at the southern end of the reserve although it was much too far to spot. This did, however, encourage us to get a little closer. This meant we needed to take a circular walk back to the carpark. Having never walked this path, the group put their trust in yours truly to use the OS Maps app to work out the path.

The path was ultimately disappointing, not giving us the views we were hoping although we did spot a Greenshank. But it was a good free 2.6 miles of free exercise, something the group really appreciated (not!).

22 species at Langford, making a total of 54 for the day. A grand day out.

 

Steve Slack

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Trip Report – Jan 13 2024 – Frampton, Deeping, Willowtree

A promise of a bit of winter sunshine saw 14 of us set off for Frampton Marsh. Surprisingly, the weather forecast was absolutely spot on with a cloudless sky and little wind. We started down by hunting down the long staying Lesser Yellow Legs. Always obliging, this busy little wader showed well in the sunshine. The group then split into two with some choosing to take a clockwise walk around the reservoir and along the sea wall. The others took the direct lane from the visitor centre. Highlights included Ringed Oliver, Peregrine, Whooper Swan, Pintail, Avocet and, at least for me, 3000 plus Golden Plover. Disturbed by the Peregrine, the Plover took to the skies and danced and shimmied, filling the deep blue sky like a shower of golden glitter ( I need to stop now, I’m filling up).

Having dried my tears, we set off for Deeping Lakes with the promise of a Long Eared Owl. A pleasant stroll led to us into a hide where we met a fellow birder who eagerly pointed out our target. Five, yes five metres to the right of the hide window sat a very relaxed owl. A magnificent sight.  We took a circular walk back and up onto the river bank and crossed paths with a local couple who kindly pointed out the Glossy Ibis! What a day we were having.

Willowtree Fen was the next stop. The small car park was busy as we arrived with birders awaiting Common Crane returning to their roost. Sure enough, and as the sun started to leave us, in they came. We saw 5 in all. Great views for a few minutes of failing light. Five Marsh Harriers then came in to add to the late display. Someone decided that one of them was a ringtail Hen Harrier but the light was virtually gone by that time so I can’t say I saw it.

A couple of our group bypassed Deeping Lakes and so, unfortunately, missed out on the Long Eared Owl and the Ibis but their early arrival at Willowtree got them a Barn Owl and a Short Eared Owl. Not a bad consolation prize.

A great day, which, hopefully can be a regular on the Club trip list.

 

Steve Slack

 

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Lawrence Field Padley Trip Report – 8/5/24

  1. 16 members enjoyed a successful trip on a very pleasant day with very little wind making it ideal for hearing and identifying bird calls and song. Very quiet as we made our way across the moor but upon reaching the edge of the woodland, Willow Warblers dominated the variety of sounds. For a bit of a change a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew past and a most handsome male Stonechat posed atop a tiny birch.

A fine male Pied Flycatcher

Traversing above the wood, the first of the target species was seen in the form of a male and female Pied Flycatcher. Moving on, with the temperature increasing, a Tree Pipit stirred itself sufficiently to perform a single song flight.

At last the Redstart was located

At the corner gate, we heard a Redstart for the first time, singing close by but couldn’t locate it. Dropping down into Padley Gorge, we saw a few more Pied Fly before being drawn to the singing Redstart which was located eventually, posing at the top of a tree. The show off bird continued to perform, mesmerising members who showed no inclination to move on. Eventually they

Treecreeper with food approaching the nest

were prized away after hearing that a Treecreeper’s nest had been located. On our way out of the valley, a very pretty Grey Wagtail entertained.

Grey Wagtail

After Padley it was off to Barbrook where Andrew promised us a Whinchat and being a

Whinchat

man of his word, delivered one on top of a small bush. Later in the woodland, another Redstart was seen and a further two Pied Flycatchers.

Redstart at Barbrook

29 species identified – photos by David Griffin Rob Simmons and Martin Kaye with the group by Bill Padley.

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Cutthroat Bridge Trip Report 11/4/24

This trip was rescheduled at the last minute from the Wednesday to the Thursday which sadly meant that a number of folks couldn’t go.  However, it did prove to be a good move because the weather on Thursday was excellent.
Two members who had signed up for Wednesday and couldn’t change, nonetheless, braved the weather and did see all that we’d hoped for minus any raptors but the rain started at 11:00!
The trip – while waiting in the car park for all to assemble, we saw a number of different

Someone’s taking Ring Ouzels too seriously

species including a close view of what was for some, the season’s first Willow Warbler. After we set off up Jarvis Clough, it was immediately apparent that we’d had an extremely wet winter with even the normally dry parts very muddy. However, the day’s fine weather with a fair breeze did bring out the raptors with sightings of first a Red Kite, then a Buzzard and Kestrel and finally a Peregrine flew overhead and all that in the first 15 minutes.
At the head of Jarvis Clough, a pair of Ring Ouzels were spotted (a lifer for one of us) although at 300 metres, they didn’t look very big even in the scope. From there, the group made its way towards Stanage Edge, entertained by the evocative sounds of the many Curlews, the occasional Red Grouse and plenty of Meadow Pipits.

The early start brought on the lunch stop before midday, sitting on convenient gritstone boulders just below the Edge. As is often the case, staying still for a while allows you to see more than if you’re continuously on the move, and so it was; with Ring Ouzels, Wheatears and Meadow Pipits popping up all around us. In addition, we were further entertained by the appearance of 5 Ravens and a Red Kite being remorselessly harassed by crows. And as the icing on the cake, a Peregrine circled overhead giving members neck ache for a couple of minutes.
At the end of the trip, one of the party popped over to the moor on the north side of the A57 and saw a Ring Ouzel in the side valley a couple of hundred metres up the track and also heard a Snipe ‘chipping’.

Summary – 7 members saw 29 species – an excellent trip!
Photos thanks to Dave Griffin and Martin Kaye.

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53rd Annual General Meeting and Speaker

All members are cordially invited to our AGM at 7:30 pm on the evening of Wednesday 1st May 2024.

The evening will comprise the business of the AGM, a free raffle and refreshments followed by an illustrated talk by DOS Birder:

Tony Davison

‘The Wildlife of Shetland’

Venue
Ashover Parish Hall Events Centre
Milken Lane
Ashover
Chesterfield S45 0BA

Ashover Parish Hall

Details of the business of the AGM have been circulated to members by email and through a notice in the Main Hide

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Budby Common Trip Report 6/3/24

Seven members met up at Budby Pumping Station on a cold misty morning but fortunately there was no wind.  During the walk from there to the Common, we encountered typical woodland birds including Jay and a small flock of Siskin while in the field to the left of the track, Red-legged Partridge were spotted.  Once on the heathland area, it was very much a case of bird with one’s ears rather than eyes.  A Buzzard was heard ‘mewing’, a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming and a Song Thrush gave a distant operatic performance from a hidden perch.  To really rub it in, at least one Green Woodpecker was ‘yaffling’ from just out of sight every few minutes as we completed our circuit of the Common.  While we should have been pleased that at least this year, we could hear some bird song (last year it was as silent as the grave), it was nonetheless dispiriting to think that we weren’t going to see Woodlark. And then, just the faintest hint of that tell tale descending set of notes. We paused and listened, and it came again. We

Woodlark spotting

were onto it. Arriving at a strategically placed seat, we stopped.  The weather was improving as the clouds began to part allowing the sun and a bit of warmth to filter through.  Initially distracted by a Green Woodpecker posing at the top of a nearby tree, one of the party noticed a potential Woodlark at the top of an oak.  Sadly scoping it came up with Meadow Pipit instead, but then a couple of sharp eyed individuals saw a couple of Pipit type birds drop down onto some bare earth.  This time, the scope revealed two stunning Woodlark and everyone was able to feast their eyes on them. Then to cap it all,

one of them gave the full singing display rising higher and higher into the blue sky. The cloud then closed in and all went quiet upon the Common so we left for Welbeck.
Here, the sun never truly burnt off the mist and while we saw up to 6 Buzzards and 2 Red Kites in the air at a time, there was little else of note.

All in all, 39 species. Group photo B Padley, Green Woodpecker & Woodlark M Kaye using a toy camera on a scope.

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Rufford Welbeck trip report 7th Feb 24

This trip was brought forward by a day and thank goodness it was because it snowed quite heavily most of the following day.
5 members ‘enjoyed’ an early start, meeting inside Rufford Abbey Park at 07:30. After a 10 minute wait we got a brief view of 3 Hawfinch and a much longer sighting of a drumming Gt Spotted Woodpecker. On the way to the lake via the walled-garden, we had good views of a Song Thrush and several Redwing, On the lakeside path, we witnessed intriguing

behaviour from a Buzzard. Seemingly oblivious of our presence and only 20m away, it flew repeatedly from low perches onto the woodland floor presumably after worms. It must have been still hungry, because on our return 20 minutes later, it was still engaged in the same activity. On the lake we counted an impressive 31 Goosander and a few Pochard,

while a small number of Lesser Redpoll were picking seeds from the silver birch. One of the party had gone back early to the car park where they had a further brief view of a single Hawfinch.
After that it was off to the Welbeck Feeder Station where we were lucky enough to see a male Goshawk which flew from the distant trees then right over our heads. Moving on to the Raptor Watch Point proved to be a little disappointing. Perhaps the lack of wind didn’t encourage birds of prey to fly although, we did have a close fly by from a male Sparrowhawk and eventually 2 Red Kites took to the air. Also of note were 4 Jays and a Gt White Egret flying past.
At about midday, frostbite had started to set in so the party broke up. However, Rob lunched back at the feeder station where he was able to catch up with a Marsh Tit while Martin, having been alerted by RBA that a Gt Grey Shrike had been seen on Budby Common, headed off there where he was rewarded by excellent views of this very attractive bird.

46 species for the trip.
Photos courtesy of Maureen Shearer, Rob Simmons and Martin Kaye

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North Cave/Blacktoft Trip Report 29/11/23

The gang of 12 minus the photographer

On a bitterly cold but sunny, still day, a goodly turn out of 12 members met at North Cave to enjoy a walk round the increasingly extensive reserve. All in all, 50 species were seen, nothing particularly unusual but a flock of 20 Curlew, a Sparrowhawk that flew alongside the party, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Dunlin, Tree Sparrows (now seemingly absent from Blacktoft) and a Pochard were all nice to see. Then it was off to Blacktoft where the species list was increased by a measly 7, but included several flypasts by the resident Kingfisher, up to 8 Marsh Harriers in the air at one time, a distant Barn Owl and 4 Bearded Tits.
The 2 good photos thanks to Rob Simmons – the blurry one by Martin Kaye and the group by Bill Padley.

Marsh Harriers ‘mucking around’

Male Marsh harrier

Proof we saw a Bearded Tit

 

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