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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