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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Helping the BTO with Breeding Bird Surveys in Derbyshire

Simon Roddis has recently taken on the role of BTO Regional Officer for Breeding Bird Surveys in Derbyshire. In order to get as much survey work done as possible, he is looking for volunteers.
Full details can be found below:


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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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Frampton Marsh Trip Report 13/8/23

A group of 9 assembled at the Visitors’ Centre at 09:00 prompt and headed off for the sea wall. On the way our attention was drawn to a Green Sandpiper close to the path and then a small flock of Yellow Wagtails, many of them juveniles.

From the mound, a sharp eyed member managed to pick out a Little Stint from the small group of juvenile Dunlin.

Little Stint

There was then very little else until we were walking along the sea wall from where we saw lots of Ruff, huge numbers of Avocets (folks remarked that they’d never seen so many), Black-tailed Godwits and the star of the marsh, a Black-winged Stilt.

Walking north along the sea wall, a wandering Marsh Harrier caused mayhem bringing up hundreds of birds except the ‘lazy’ Spoonbills that didn’t even raise a bill.
From the crowded East Hide, we were able to see between all the heads, Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank plus both adult and juvenile Black-winged Stilts.
A trip to the Reed Bed Hide came up with the resident Whooper Swan and a couple of juvenile Pintails which at the time caused a bit of discussion as to their true identity. A walk round the reed bed came up with a Sparrowhawk and finally, the other star of the show, a Water Vole.

52 species for the day thanks to Bill Padley our recorder. Photos – John England and Martin Kaye

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Lost & found – walking stick JMNR

If you have left a walking stick at Jim Mart, it can be found leaning against the bench below the butterfly bank.

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Blacktoft Sands Trip Report 19/7/23

A relatively small group of 8 arrived at Blacktoft to decent weather having suffered a foul journey in torrential rain. 47 bird species were identified by the group but it was by no means the stand out trip that it was last year at this time. The stars were without doubt the Spotted Redshank, one of which, a male, was in breeding plumage. The supporting cast

Spotted Redshank – the one on the right in breeding plumage

included Green Sandpipers, a single Snipe, a few Ruff and Black-tailed Godwits still largely

Ruff in the centre surrounded by a cast of Redshank and a Lapwing

in breeding plumage. Then of course there were the ever present Marsh Harriers patrolling

Green Sandpipers

the reed bed and we also had a few sightings of Bearded Tits but with high water levels across the reserve resulting in very little exposed mud, views were very distant. Also

Female/juvenile Marsh Harrier

present were a couple of Great White Egrets on Singleton’s lagoon and a pair of Mute Swans with 9 well developed youngsters – pretty impressive parents.

Apologies for the quality of the photos – compact camera and digiscoping!

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Nightjar trip report 24/5/23

The Flash Lane crepuscular trip for Nightjars, Woodcock and Tree Pipit took place on 24th May enjoyed by a group of 22 souls. A fine but rather chilly evening, Nightjars eventually churring but only a brief view. Perhaps too cool and a bit breezy for display flights. Certainly, the vegetation is getting rather tall which doesn’t make for an enjoyable experience, However, roding Woodcock were plentiful. Twenty plus sightings of Woodcock were observed but, unusually, just a couple of Tree Pipits.

The dark quickly descended and the temperature went in the same direction as the hardy gaggle left for home.


Steve Slack

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Annesley Pit Top trip report 14/6/23

16 folk enjoyed a gorgeous morning at Annesley, sunny but not too hot. This relatively new reserve seems to get better with every passing year. All told we Identified 50 species of bird of

Black-necked Grebe

which the best were the Black-necked Grebes, a Little Ringed Plover, a Kingfisher and a small number of Hobbies. Sadly we failed to see the Wood Larks which had been seen by others who had arrived earlier. In addition to the birds, many of the group were interested to see the Emperor dragonflies, Black-tailed

Black-tailed Skimmer

Common Blue Damselfly

Skimmers and Common Blue damselflies. The reserve is rightly well known for its wild flowers of which Common Spotted, Early Purple and Bee Orchids got the most attention.

Common Purple Orchid

Thanks to Joyce Sawford, David Griffin and Philip Buxton for the photos. 

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Guided Walk Saturday June 3rd

12 of us set off on a beautiful sunny morning, along the West Bank, through Brackenfield, down to the Amber, over the railway (unusually quiet due to strike action), through the fishing lakes and across the fields and back.

Species seen –

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Mallard, Coot, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Magpie, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Black-headed Gull, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Oystercatcher, Wren, Chaffinch, Swift, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Stock Dove, Robin, Linnet, Jay, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw


Nothing outstanding birdwise but the hedgerows and meadows were at the finest, full of still fresh Hawthorn blossom and buttercups.


40 species in all


Steve Slack

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Whisby and Langford Lowfields – May 17th 2023

Rather down on numbers this week but glorious weather for a stroll looking at birds. It can be a hard life at times!

First stop Whisby Nature Park. Target species – the beautiful Nightingale, once heard, never forgotten! However, there has been no records here for the last two years so we didn’t hold out much hope. And this turned out to be the case. However, we did enjoy the stroll around the park with the May blossom at it’s best.

As you might expect, the lakes were not short of a noisy Black-headed Gull or two but once we’d crossed the railway line, their squawking had faded and we could enjoy the song birds. Great sightings of many Whitethroats showing off, the Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Garden Warblers really helps towards separating the warbler songs, particularly the latter two.

Nothing particularly exciting to add but 23 sightings in all. A lovely walk and on a day like this it must be good for our wellbeing if not our yearly bird tick lists.

Lunch at the picnic tables before departing to Langford Lowfields.

I always find the walk from the car park rather long and tedious but once on site we weren’t let down by our avian friends. Common Tern provided the initial entertainment until after a 30 minute wait we finally got sight of the target bird, the Hobby. At one point, 6 were spotted in the air although with the bird’s speed and our aging eyes all looking in different directions but with overlapping fields of view,who knows!
Another 30 minutes and we caught a brief glimpse of a Bittern. And it was brief. Nothing like the flypast we had last year. But, a tick is a tick as they say.Apart from the reed dwellers like Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Little Egret and Sedge Warbler the only other bird of note was a soaring Sparrowhawk which seemed set for a duel with one of the Hobbies before parting company. Spoilsports.

Another 25 species added to the list, bringing the days total to 48.

Happy Days!

Steve Slack

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