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Saturday 26th-Sunday 27th May - Farne Islands and Northumberland coast. This weekend trip will leave Retford at 5:00am on the Saturday and returning around mid-evening on the Sunday. so far 6 places have been booked but if anyone is still interested there are places still available. Weather permitting we will go to the Farne Islands on the Saturday leaving Seahouses at 10:00am and returning at 4:00pm. Overnight accommodation will need to be booked independently in Seahouses if you want to go. The Sunday will be spent birding along the coast primarily looking for any rare or scarce birds that may be around. This itinerary may be the opposite way round if the weather is poor on the Saturday. There are potentially 2 places free in the two cars that are already travelling.
Updated on Tuesday 1st May 2018 at 12:50pm.
Hello to all my fellow birders from your former Lound Bird Club chairman.
This is not bird related but I hope you will all be interested. This summer I’ll be taking on the Yorkshire 100k Challenge, a 62 mile walk in 24 hrs! We are raising funds as a team for Blind Veterans UK and hoping to raise at least £3000 for what I’m sure you will agree is a very worthy charity. If anyone would like to donate I have a www.justgiving.com page here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuart-davenport where you can pledge a donation quickly and securely in the knowledge that the money will go directly to the charity.
Many thanks in anticipation of your support.
Posted on Friday 16th March 2018 at 13:20pm.
Those who visit the Rural Learning Centre will have noticed that NWT have been busy landscaping the area on the lakeside next to the Rural Learning Centre. This is part of the final phase of getting the boardwalk and the spoil area created when it was first dug completed. The new wetland allows birds to wander right up the the centre moat and closer views of birds will be allowed. Oystercatcher, ducks, Moorhen and Coot have been investigating the area today. Here is a photo of it but go and see for yourself. Gary Hobson.
Posted on Wednesday 21st February 2018 at 13:20pm.
Please enter the following ‘core count’ dates into your diaries for 2018. Once again could we ask that you try to get involved in the local WeBS counts which are a key part of our recording of the Sutton & Lound Gravel Pit WeBS site which includes the Idle Valley NR. If everyone in the club just helped on a couple of dates throughout the year it would make the task a little easier for the regular participants who give their time up and do really need the help. The recording area holds significant numbers of many wetland bird species and counting them as accurately as possible is our main goal so with a little help this can hopefully be achieved. Thanks.
Posted on Thursday 8th February 2018 at 01:50am
Due to heavy farm traffic currently along Chainbridge Lane please avoid parking along the field side of the river bank track just NE of the River Bridge at Chainbridge Lane. Please park vehicles right next to the river edge of this track or along the wider part of Chainbridge Lane opposite the metal gated entrance to Chainbridge Wood NR. Farm vehicles need plenty of room to manoeuvre around the bend at the bridge as crops are being drawn back to Sutton Grange Farm. Sadly, its birdwatchers that are usually targeted as the main culprits of the parking problem here but it is more likely that dog walkers, with far greater numbers now parking here and walking dogs along the river bank nowadays are actually the main problem. Once again we find that the lack of provision of a car park for the northern half of the reserve is causing issues.
We need a northern area CAR PARK Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust!
Thanks for your cooperation in this instance.
Posted on Wednesday 22nd November 2017
NWT are carrying out improvement works to Neatholme scrape. This includes some scrub removal, dangerous tree removal and improvements to the two screens and paths. Therefore whilst this works is in progress some of the screens and paths will be closed. There will be machines operating on these paths and around the screens. This works will be completed by the end of December. If you would like further info. Please contact myself or NWT.
Martin Fisher (Reserve Officer)
Posted on Sunday 22nd October 2017 at 17:00pm
Adult male Wheatear at Tiln North, 27th April 2017 ©Keith Robinson
Male Barn Owl at Bellmoor Lake, 25th March 2017. ©Keith Robinson
Total species collectively for our Big Bird Day event was a record breaking 111 with both Start Davenport & Gary Hobson also both getting 103 which was also a personal record for them both. Thanks to all who came along and joined in the days birdwatching. This event itself proves that under-watching any site will obviously see many birds being missed. With more coverage and more eyes looking we can all fairly easily make a big day list which we have done yet again. Hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. See full list in next box below.
Gary Hobson (LBC - Website Administrator)
Updated by Gary Hobson on Monday 8th May 2017 at 17:30pm.
Illegal fishing continues on the reserve on several waters as anglers continue to defy the rules. NWT does not allow fishing on any part of the Idle Valley NR. If you do see anyone fishing on any part of the reserve then please ring the Reserve Officer Martin Fisher 07989535350 who can deal with this either himself or by one of the assistant wardens, Ian O'Brian or Ian Baxter. Do not get embroiled in arguments with the fishermen just take the registration of their vehicle, number of individuals and location. Ringing the Police is another option though this may just take more time as it would not be classed as a priority.
Posted by Gary Hobson on Saturday 7th January 2017 at 22:50pm
If your visiting the Idle Valley NR why not stop off at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Coffee Shop & Little Wildlife Shop at the Rural Learning Centre at Bellmoor. Now open seven days a week 10am til 4pm. You can have a hot drink and a bite to eat from the extensive menu then browse the huge selection of books, wildlife themed gifts, t-shirts, hats, optics and not forgetting a large selection of bird food and feeders. Something to suit all ages and you will be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to buy. Remember to make use the toilets while your there as there are none to be found around the rest of the Nature Reserve.
Recent bird sightings from the centre building have included Cattle Egret, Kittiwake, Ruff, Tree Sparrow, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Barn Owl, Snipe and Goosander to name just a few.
Lots of birds on the bird feeders and you can view and read the recent sightings on the Lound Bird Club display board in the corner of the atrium.
Posted by Gary Hobson on Tuesday 13th December 2016 at 00:30am
The winners of the 2015 Photo Competition are as follows:-
Best Bird Image - Image no 1 Goldcrest taken by Mike Vickers (6 votes)
Best (non-bird) Wildlife Image - Image no 9 Common Frogs taken by Christine Booth (7 votes)
Best Landscape Image - Image no 7 Windsurf Pool In Reflection taken by Gary Hobson (9 votes)
Best Own Favourite Image - A tie in first place with - Image no 13 Kingfisher & 15 Bittern both taken by Alec Bonser (4 votes each)
All our winners will receive a trophy and prize to be presented at the AGM in February 2016.
LBC - Committee
Posted on Tuesday 2nd February 2016 at 22:45pm.
On behalf of the Lound Bird Club committee can I wish all our members and website visitors a very Happy New Year!
New Recent Bird Sightings and Bird Year List 2016 pages have now be added above. You will also find last years Bird Sightings 2015 now put under the Bird Sightings Archive tab above.
Gary Hobson (Website Administrator)
Posted on Friday 1st January 2016 at 21:00pm.
Lound Bird Club members enjoying the Xmas Celebration Event at the Rural Learning Centre on 17th December. ©Paul Hobson
Posted on Saturday 26th December 2015 at 22:30pm.
For some of the aviation lovers amongst us here's two photos taken by club member Mike Vickers of the Avro Vulcan B2 serial number (G-VLCN) XH558 'The Sprit of Great Britain'.
She was observed for several minutes circling over the Clayworth Common area with a Jet Provost 'camera ship' late Sunday afternoon as she was coming to the end of her two day farewell tour of Great Britain on the 10th & 11th October.
This bird will hopefully still be up in the skies for a couple of weeks yet so keep a look out for her. She has been a regular sighting over the reserve for past few years now whilst based at nearby Robin Hood Airport (formerly RAF Finningley) which was her home for a number of years when not based at either RAF Scampton or RAF Waddington.
Visit the vulcantothesky.org website and click on the Displays/Tours tab for more details.
You might want to check out this change.org petition to help keep her flying into the future!
LOUND BIRD CLUB – Celebrating our 25th Year!
Big Bird Day – held on Saturday 29th August.
The event that took place yesterday was a resounding success and everything including the weather was good to us. Many club members and several visitors took part in the three planned bird walks throughout the day and the ringing demo which Adrian Blackburn and his volunteer ringers put on for us.
A complete day total of 101 species once again puts the Lound Bird Club recording area and the Idle Valley NR on top of the list of best birding sites in the county of Nottinghamshire.
A huge thank you to all those that joined in with the days events, to the visitors who were happy to share their bird sightings with us throughout the day, to Adrian and his volunteer ringers and to the staff at the Rural Learning Centre who fed us and kept interested members of the public updated.
It was good to see both old friends and a few new faces with some of the newer members of the club joining in.
Here are just a few images from the days events.
All images ©Janet Nyland (top) & ©Paul Hobson (bottom two)
Posted on Sunday 30th August 2015 at 18:00pm.
LOUND BIRD CLUB – Celebrating our 25th Year!
Summer Barbecue – held on Sunday 12th July.
Fabulous food, fabulous company and fabulous weather are how I would sum up this event at the weekend. And a huge thanks you to Mike and Larisa Vickers for not only hosting this event in their beautiful garden, but also working non-stop throughout the day to make it such a success.
Before everyone arrived, Stuart, Gary and Paul (see below), three of the founder members of the group put up the celebratory banner and posed for a photo beneath it! What an amazing achievement – keeping our Bird Club going for twenty five years.
Luckily for us it was a lovely, sunny, summer’s day and as everyone arrived, they were greeted with a glass of Pimms, or orange juice or lemonade for the drivers! Everyone sat around chatting whilst the barbecue was lit and Mike got busy with the bangers and the burgers (not to mention the chicken and kebabs). It was lovely to see so many members and everyone sat looking very relaxed and chatting away as they ate.
Main course finished, it was time for the desserts and another thank you here to everyone who contributed food in the way of an amazing variety of salads, puddings, fruit salads, cakes etc, etc. The food was lovely. We were even served tea and fresh coffee at our tables to finish our feast and as we finally stopped eating and drinking, Paul got up to thank everyone for coming. Stuart reminisced a little about how the Club began 25 years ago and related anecdotes about how they used to get on their bikes and cycle at top speed to the nearest public phone box to spread the word when a rare bird was sighted. How times have changed! But what hasn't changed over the 25 years he said, is the company and friendship that the Club brings.
As people were about to depart, we gathered everyone together for a group photo in another part of the garden as a suitable reminder of the day.
Incidentally, Mike and Larisa’s garden is a nature reserve in itself! After the photos, several of us spent quite some time looking at the newly emerged dragonflies on the pond, together with the dragonfly nymphs, not to mention a frog and a newt! Fascinating!
I am sure everyone who attended will agree that it was a most enjoyable event. Thank you to everyone who helped organise the barbecue, and once again, thank you to Mike and Larisa for hosting this event – very much appreciated.
Christine Booth (LBC - Secretary)
Following a huge downpour and thunderstorm during the night and with the rain still falling as I got up, I did wonder whether anyone would turn up for the walk around Clumber Park this morning, so although we were a small group, it was lovely to see Lesley Noar and Peter Kenworthy arrive in the car park to join me!
It was extremely misty to start with but our walk got off to a great start as we walked past the Church and out on to the lawn where a Green Woodpecker was pecking in the grass and behind us a Great Spotted Woodpecker was feasting on the Red Hot Pokers!
Great Spotted Woodpecker ©Peter Kenworthy Green Woodpecker ©Christine Booth
Also on the lawn were the usual Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Pied Wagtail as well as hordes of Canada and Greylag Geese only just visible in the mist. As we set off walking by the lake we came across a group of swans all having a good preen and sat amongst piles of feathers as they pulled them out. Must be the moulting season! A kestrel flew overhead and on the lake itself there were several Coots nests and chicks of varying sizes. A swan glided by us accompanied by her two cygnets and we spotted several pairs of Great Crested Grebes as we continued our walk.
Mute Swan family at Clumber. ©Christine Booth
In the trees to our left we saw Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, a Blackbird feeding on a Cherry Tree and a Nuthatch hanging upside down on a log. Wrens and Blackcaps were singing in the nearby trees. We had to tread carefully as we wandered round as there were so many tiny froglets hopping on all the pathways. Lesley and Ken were identifying all the wild flowers we came across, and we also noted the butterflies and damselflies that were hovering around. Another lovely Swan pair were gliding around with their almost grown up family of seven cygnets with a Grey Heron standing around in the background.
By now the sun was starting to come through and we had reached the coffee stand near to the weir so we stopped for a leisurely coffee and a chat whilst watching the Swallows skim the surface of the lake for insects. Almost time to go now, but we managed to add Jay, Reed Bunting, Mistle Thrush, Stock Dove and Dunnock to our list whilst walking back through the wood to our cars.
A lovely morning out and thank you for your company Lesley and Peter.
Christine Booth (LBC - Secretary)
Posted on Monday 6th July 2015 at 23.30pm.
We arrived at Frampton just as the centre was closing but this didn't deter us because the reserve and hides are generally still open even after closing time. From the car park we saw a small flock of Brent Geese, two Little Egret, Teal and a few Avocet in a nearby flooded field and by the visitor centre a single Yellowhammer was noted on the bird feeders. Whilst a couple of the group took a quick toilet break we all got ready for our walk around the reserve. First of all we were all amazed at the feeding actions of a very close Little Egret, the yellow legs very obvious to those in the group including Kerry who hadn't seen this feature at such close hand before.
Little Egret at Frampton RSPB reserve, 9th May 2015. ©Christine Booth
A couple of Great Crested Grebes were feeding close to the path as we headed out onto the reserve and the air was full of birds as we walked. With Frampton being a popular spot for club visits in recent years most of us were now familiar with the layout and knew where to expect to see different species. We had a few Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers in the reed covered ditches as we walked towards the 360 degree hide and passing the scrapes on either side of us we saw Skylarks, nesting Avocets, a few Ringed Plover and a small gathering of brightly mixed coloured male Ruffs on a distant island. Common Terns were seen in small numbers obviously nesting on the reserve and more Brent Geese were moving over the salt marsh in the distance. Over the back of the reserve we noted up to 4 Brown Hares which was nice to see amongst the Lapwings and Godwits nearby. As we approached the hide we noted more Ruffs, a large flock of Dunlin, Redshanks and at least 200+ Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the brackish marsh north of the hide.
Summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit at Frampton RSPB reserve, 9th May 2015. ©Janet Nyland
Pochard and Shoveler were noted flying over and we also became aware of the presence of Little Ringed Plovers. On entering the hide we began looking through the array of waders surrounding the hide. Neil had his scope soon trained on the flock of Dunlin and picked up an odd looking slightly smaller and smaller billed wader not like all the summer plumage Dunlin that were nearby. There had been a Temminck’s Stint reported on the reserve so was this it. Gary had a look and suggested it was the Temminck’s but another birder suggested that it was a Sanderling. Interesting! We grilled it further and although it was shorter billed than the Dunlin both Neil and Gary suggested it was an immature Dunlin? It certainly didn't look like a Sanderling to us but on reflection was not short-billed enough or short legged enough for a stint either. The hide was alive with activity with members of the group moving from one side to the other as we saw more new species for our day list. Janet, Peter and Christine were happily photographing some of the close by waders including the Little Ringed Plovers that were often displaying. A single Curlew flew over the far side of the reserve and an unusual sighting for May of a single Pink-footed Goose (perhaps injured?) on the far bank. Both Gary and Neil began giving instruction to the group on the features that you could easily identify some of the birds by. The Black-tailed Godwit with their white rump and white wing bars in flight, the yellow eye ring and plain wings in flight on the Little Ringed Plover and the white triangles on the trailing edge of the Redshank wings as they flew. All good stuff! Gary then found two very small waders on a distant island and these were soon confirmed in the scope as Little Stints, both now in full summer plumage. Eventually the two stints crossed over to the other scrape to be seen a close range and now being more easily identifiable. The Little Ringed Plover kept the photographers amongst us happy as we continued to scan for new birds. A huge flock of a few hundred Brent Geese then began to arrive from the salt marsh presumably to roost on the reserve overnight. Common Terns were noted regularly and so to were the flights of the breeding Avocets all around the hide.
Avocet at Frampton RSPB reserve, 9th May 2015. ©Christine Booth
The colourful male Ruff were still dancing around the smaller and much duller female Ruffs and we were still enjoying the 'spectacle' of the reserve when it was time to leave and head off home. We left the hide and headed back to the car park watching the nearby large Black-headed Gull colony to see if any Mediterranean Gulls were around – no such luck this time! We watched the Great Crested Grebes again and saw a pair of Wigeon on a far distant island. On reaching the car park we all said our goodbyes and all three cars headed off home in the knowledge that we had all enjoyed the day, seen some good birds and experienced two fantastic nature reserves. Pretty much our last bird was a Pied Wagtail as we drove away from the reserve so from my notes and from memory I reckon on a total of 84 species were seen at both reserves and whilst travelling there and back.
A Barn Owl weather vane near Frampton, 9th May 2015. ©Peter Kenworthy
A huge thank you Janet, Christine, Brenda & Neil, Kerry, Peter, Christine & Alan. I hope you all enjoyed the day and reading this account of the trip itself.
Gary Hobson (LBC - Website Administrator)
Posted on Monday 25th May 2015 at 23.00pm.
First of all, thank you to the Blue Bell Inn at Lound for allowing us to park our cars there for the duration of the race. Much appreciated.
We didn't have the biggest turn out for our ‘Mini Bird Race’ there being just myself, Gary Hobson and Paul and Emily Hobson, but we decided to go ahead with the race nevertheless and split ourselves into two teams; Paul and Emily versus Gary and myself. Nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to ensure a keen competition! Rules finalised, we set off on foot in opposite directions to see what we could find. The weather was fine, sunny and warm to start with but a bit breezy and becoming cloudier as the day went on. Our first species was a Jackdaw perched on the roof of the Blue Bell Inn.
I don’t know about Paul and Emily but Gary and I set off at quite a pace! Gary was a hard taskmaster and was stopping for nothing, except to teach me a bit of bird song as we identified the likes of Turtle Dove by call alone. We very quickly clocked up quite a lot of the common woodland species and then stopped for a few moments to take in the sight of a Little Grebe swimming in and out of the reed beds with her three little chicks. Between us we spotted lots of young throughout the day, including some gorgeous tiny Long-tailed Tits flitting from branch to branch amongst the trees. Both teams managed to see the Black-necked Grebe at Neatholme Pit at different times during the race - this was a life tick for myself and a bird I know I would not have spotted had I been on my own so it was lovely to have it pointed out and to be able to see it through a scope. It was not a day for photographs as there was no time for standing trying to get the shot; however the exception was a scarce Nottinghamshire visitor, the Temminck’s Stint which was still present at Tiln North and spotted by both teams during the course of the race. It would have been a shame to leave without getting at least a record shot and this was another life tick for me – turning out to be quite a day.
Temminck's Stint - Tiln North, 17th May 2015. ©Christine Booth
After walking and walking, and more walking, we all met up at the Visitor Centre to compare notes and have a quick coffee (and I mean quick! It had to be gulped down) as time was running out and there were still birds to be found. Some of the more common species still eluded us –Kestrel, Treecreeper, both Woodpeckers and Meadow Pipit to name but a few. At this point Paul and Emily were in the lead by just one or two birds so there was still everything to play for! We set off again at quite a pace and Gary and I were rewarded quite quickly with Red-crested Pochard, Goldcrest and two Egyptian Geese. By this time, new ticks were few and far between and we were overjoyed to see a Kestrel hovering above us – another one that had eluded us so far.
At the appointed time, we returned to the Idle Valley Visitor Centre to tot up the scores over a much more leisurely cup of coffee. There were “oohs” and “ahhs” as we went through the list to see what one team had seen that the other hadn't! At one point Gary and I thought we had gone into the lead only to find that Paul and Emily hadn't yet ticked a couple of birds off their list. Oh no!
The two teams drew with a grand total of 81 species each (86 different species between us all) which we thought was a fitting end to a very competitive day. Gary then found a Barn Owl outside the Visitor Centre which we all saw and made a grand total of 87 species between us.
It was such fun – I was a bit tired towards the end (especially having had to almost jog back to the Visitor Centre so as not to miss the finishing deadline!) but I would happily do it all over again.
Full species list: Blackcap, Blackbird, Black-headed Gull, Black-necked Grebe, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Common Gull, Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Dunlin, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Feral Pigeon, Gadwall, Garden Warbler, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Black-blacked Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, House Martin, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Jay, Kestrel, Lapwing, Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Ringed Plover, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Meadow Pipit, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Ringed Plover, Robin, Rook, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Shoveler, Skylark, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Swallow, Swift, Temminck’s Stint, Tufted Duck, Turtle Dove, Whitethroat, Wigeon, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren, Yellow Wagtail, Yellowhammer and Barn Owl.
Christine Booth (LBC - Secretary)
Posted on Friday 22nd May 2015 at 22.35pm.
Nine members of the bird club attended the recent visit to Lakenheath Fen RSPB reserve on the Norfolk and Suffolk border. We all arrived safely and in good time and the weather, though fairly dull still over the reserve was looking like it could clear as the day progressed. This was our third visit so expectations were high with recent Golden Oriole sightings and the presumption that the Common Cranes were still around. Expected birds included Bittern, Bearded Tit, Cetti’s Warbler, Hobby and Marsh Harrier and we were not to be disappointed.
Our walk began with one of the volunteer wardens giving an introductory few minutes explaining where to go and what to look out for. The reserve staff members here are always very accommodating especially to groups such as ours. We began by looking out from the small yet sufficient visitor centre building onto a small reed fringed pool where we saw Shoveler, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sand Martin, Swallow, Mallard, Moorhen and Coot. Exiting the centre we soon heard Chiffchaff and Reed Warblers calling and nearby as we began to head onto the reserve we heard a Cetti’s Warbler giving a few short but distinctive bursts of song. More Reed Warblers were singing, Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock were noted then we saw a Sedge Warbler, a single Jay and a cuckoo was heard calling in the distance. Walking a little further we came upon a fairly spread out Rookery, the Rooks were all busily taking advantage of the ‘thinning’ canopy as the Poplars here are now in decay and some are falling into the woodland floor – is this the reason why Golden Oriole is quickly disappearing from this reserve? Amongst the many fallen stumps we saw a wonderful Wren singing happily at the top of an uprooted Poplar. Everyone stopped and gazed at this lovely little bird – giving its all to attract a new mate or to hold on to its territory.
Further on we arrived at the New Fen viewing shelter. Here we again heard Cetti’s Warbler singing loudly from the ditch behind us. Our most recently enrolled new member Kerry Waplington, who was also here on her first visit, briefly heard the distinctive ‘booming’ sound from a nearby calling Bittern. Most of us missed this initially because we were either talking or concentrating on other singing birds though just a short while later we all heard it again. From here we could see the air was full of Swift, House Martin, Sand Martin though only a few Swallow were noted which seemed odd. At least two or three Marsh Harriers were soon on show over the reed bed and we also saw Stock Dove, Common Tern, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Gadwall and Magpie from here. A short while later we saw two Hobby initially flying distantly around the river bank area with one bird soon bolting over and out of view behind us. The same Cetti’s Warbler was singing again and a nearby Whitethroat and Wren added to the repertoire of bird song in our ears.
We moved on along the reserve track and were given the welcome sight of a male Cuckoo flying right over our heads, some in our group saying it was their best view ever of a Cuckoo. Reed Warblers abound in this part of the reserve and walking further we heard yet another Cetti’s Warbler and a few singing Reed Buntings. A strange “bubbling” sound in the midst of the nearby Poplar woodland indicated the presence of a female Cuckoo. A few Canada Geese were noted and now there were even more and more Swifts feeding in the area. We had almost reached the Poplar woodland were the recent Golden Oriole had been heard when the heavens opened and it began to rain, not heavy but still not nice to get on a spring day in May. By now though a huge belt of rain cloud was straddled directly over the reserve in a line headed west to east but despite this we were still enjoying the reserve and its birds. Gary heard a Water Rail calling and as we approached the Joist Fen Shelter at least two more Cetti’s Warblers were in the bag. From this viewpoint, a favourite of ours from past trips, we saw two Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, a single Lapwing in a distant cow field, a single Black-headed Gull, a couple of Reed Buntings, Reed Warblers and a Gadwall or two. Swifts were still in good numbers but the weather turned poor with squally rain showers hampering our progress and our bird list. Still we had our lunch break and waited to see if the weather would improve.
The Lakenheath reserve looking from the Joist Fen shelter.©Peter Kenworthy
Janet and Christine were by now getting a little agitated by the lack of photo opportunities and talk of leaving here and heading to Frampton surfaced and this was discussed amongst the group. Gary and Neil suggested we wait a little to see if this weather would lift as it looked like the band of rain was slowly drifting south with clear blue skies approaching from the north. In just a matter of a few minutes our prayers were answered and the sky became clear, the sun shone and the temperature rose significantly. We quickly headed for the river bank and began to walk west along the reserve boundary. Here we saw another Little Egret, Redshanks, Cormorants, a few Swallows and an Oystercatcher. Walking a little further Gary found the two of the resident Common Cranes feeding in and reed fringed cow pasture in the reed bed on the reserve. We had great views and the photographers now got their chance to get some better photographs in better weather. Whilst the group watched the cranes others started noting more and more Hobby as they had now arrived en-mass to predate the Swifts and insects that were now feeding over the reeds. Marsh Harriers were soon in amongst it all and counts of at least 13+ Hobby and up to six Marsh Harriers were made here.
Common Cranes with a female Marsh Harrier looming overhead. ©Christine Booth
Everyone was in awe of the spectacle of all the Swifts being chased by the Hobby. Both Neil and Kerry came up trumps again by being observant and having brief views of a single Bittern flying a short distance over the distant reed bed. Gary had to make do with just a very brief glimpse as it alighted again. Both Alan & Christine Ollerenshaw were also on their first visit to Lakenheath and the look on their faces told us that they were both enjoying the recent upsurge in the numbers of birds now that the sun was out and blue skies were all around. Peter Kenworthy, Neil & Brenda, Janet and Christine all had a little time for a few more photos’ of the cranes plus many frustrated attempts to photograph the Hobby whilst the others in the group looked around for more new birds. We saw Tufted Duck, at least two Buzzards, a Grey Heron and another Little Egret before we began our march back to the centre. We heard another Cetti’s Warbler, saw a couple of Blackcaps and Whitethroats and saw a couple of Goldfinch singing merrily as they flew over us. A brief stop again at the Joist Fen shelter revealed another ‘Booming’ Bittern and with further counts of Hobby now totalling up to 15+ birds it was becoming a very successful trip.
Hobby at Lakenheath, 1st May 2015. ©Ann Miles (image used with permission)
We set off again and as we all walked back along a different track we were spoiled with absolutely amazing views of a single Hobby which came close enough to have the woodland as its backdrop and everyone could clearly see it was an adult bird with the full ‘red trousers’ , its clearly striped belly and its blue grey upper parts. It leisurely flew around for about five minutes and in that time repeatedly caught and ate several insects, passing them quickly from its talon to it bill then continuing its forage as more and more Swifts were doing the very same thing nearby. At least two more Cetti’s Warblers were heard though only very brief glimpses were made, a couple of Oystercatcher was seen along the river and quite a few Greylag & Canada Geese were on nearby farmland. The Rooks continued to pass back and forth to their little Rookery in the woodland that we saw earlier. Returning back past New Fen again we didn't hear any Bittern but we saw another five or so Hobby hunting amongst the swifts for insects. Nobody saw any Hobby take a Swift but at least there were seemingly enough insects around to feed everyone on this occasion. Arriving back at the reception we had chance to have a drink, make the obligatory toilet stop then we all rallied at the car park chatted about how good it had been then we and headed off to Frampton RSPB reserve near Boston, our next port of call on what was turning out to be a very productive days birding. The only negative point was that nobody saw or heard any Bearded Tit which is certainly another speciality bird for this reserve. Oh well you can’t win the all as they say.
Part 2 will be posted soon…………
Posted on Monday 18th May 2015 at 21.30pm.
It wasn't very spring like at all for the start of our walk, in fact it was pouring it down with rain to begin with and despite being dressed in rain coats and waterproof trousers, we decided it might be best to do a bit of “car bird watching” first. As there were just four of us, we all fitted into Gary’s car and set off on our travels – first stop Doughty’s Pond where we saw Red-crested Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coots, Moorhen, Swallows, Shoveler and Shelduck.
Moving on to Chainbridge Lane, the trees were filled with the sound of singing Blackcaps, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers and from Chainbridge Lane Viewing Point we saw Teal, Pochard, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, Cormorant to name but a few.
As we drove over the river bridge and past the Conservation Lake we saw one very soggy male Sparrowhawk sat on a post and all managed great views of it. The sight of several Reed Buntings perched on top of the oilseed rape was a beautiful scene – so many colours.
Reed Bunting - male, Clayworth Common, 4th May 2015. ©Christine Booth
I had left my camera at home (didn't want it to get waterlogged!) and so the photos were taken the following morning when I retraced this part of the trip in the sunshine! Just a little further down the lane several Meadow Pipits were getting all loved up! This one was very obliging and posed for ages on the fence post!
Meadow Pipit - Tiln North, 4th May 2015. ©Christine Booth
Five Egyptian Geese were on the field by the conservation lake and four Pink-footed Geese flew overhead.
By now, we were ready for a warm up and a coffee so we headed back to the Idle Valley Centre Café for refreshment, stopping on the way for good views of a Little Owl perched on a tree branch. As we were sat in the Café, we had fabulous views of a Barn Owl flying past the window on the way back to its nesting box.
By now it had stopped raining, so we decided to leave the car behind and go out on foot for the second leg of our walk. We set off around Bellmoor Pits and Bunker Wood and saw plenty of birds including Goldfinch, Song Thrush, two Jays, Linnets, Goldcrest, Reed Warbler on the lake edge and a Cuckoo was calling repeatedly in the background. We spent a further couple of hours walking round the site – a different day by now with the sun shining at last. All in all, we had a good mornings birding and a very respectable total of 65 species.
Full species list: Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Wigeon, Swallow, Swift, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Wren, Dunnock, Sand Martin, Cormorant, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Skylark, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Black-headed Gull, Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gull, Common Gull, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Golden Plover, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Sparrowhawk (male) Egyptian Goose, Pink-footed Goose, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Jay, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Cuckoo (heard), Linnet, Pheasant and Long-tailed Tit.
Posted on Thursday 7th May 2015 at 6:50am
First of all, thank you to everyone who came on the walk on Sunday morning – it was good to have your company and lovely to meet new members, Kerry, Janet, Alan and Peter.
There was definitely a flavour of spring to our walk as we wandered around Rufford Park. Plenty of birds were very busy building their nests. In the woods the Bluebells were just starting to open and will soon be carpeting the forest floor and clumps of cowslips and wood anemones were in bloom amongst the grass.
We started off by walking along the woodland path towards the Ice House, stopping to admire a pair of Red-legged Partridges on the grass. Two Jays were flitting from branch to branch high in the trees. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and it wasn't long before we saw it visiting its nest hole in a Silver Birch tree.
Nuthatch at Rufford. ©Peter Kenworthy
A Nuthatch was seen collecting leaves and mud from the path and flew with them back to its nest hole too. Goldcrests were spied amongst the Fir trees and a Robin was seen with breakfast in its beak!
Robin at Rufford. ©Christine Booth
Upon reaching the lake it was becoming rather breezy, although this didn’t bother the ducks! We saw the usual suspects – Greylag and Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Mallard, as well as a Great Crested Grebe. The Black-headed Gulls were conspicuous by their absence today!
Crossing the bridge, we spotted a pair of Treecreepers running up and down a tree trunk, one with a feather in its beak. Further around the lake was a Common Pochard and, tucked away in one corner, a pair of Great Crested Grebes building their nest. Apparently Grebes have nested in this spot for the past fifteen years. As we stood watching one Grebe sitting and one Grebe out collecting twigs, the Grebe on the nest stood up and turned the one egg that was there (I went back today – now two eggs!)
Great Crested Grebe at Rufford. ©Christine Booth
Back in the Courtyard we saw a couple of early Swallows on the rooftop investigating last year’s nests under the archway, with one swallow flying in with bits of grass - a lovely finish to the walk. There was just time for a cup of coffee, and for some, a bite to eat before going our separate ways. A thoroughly enjoyable morning.
Full species list: Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Jackdaw, Starling, Dunnock, Robin, Buzzard, Red-legged Partridge, Wren, Jay, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Pheasant, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Blackcap, Swallow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck, Common Pochard and Great Crested Grebe.
Posted on Tuesday 14th April 2015 at 19:30pm
We had a great day out at Titchwell Marsh and Frampton RSPB reserves on Saturday 14th March. A nice early start meant that we arrived at Titchwell by 9.15am. We took a few minutes to sit and have a cup of coffee and watch the garden birds on the feeders before setting off around the reserve. Contrary to the weather forecast, the sun put in an appearance for much of the time, although the wind was a bit chilly to put it mildly!
Common Teal at Titchwell RSPB Reserve, Nortfolk, 14th March 2015. ©Janet Nyland
There was a brilliant variety of ducks and waders on the fresh and saltwater marshes: Redshank, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Avocet, Knot, Dunlin and Turnstone to name but a few, whilst in the fields on the way down to the beach, we encountered Linnet, Stonechat and Skylarks singing, as well as a large flock of Brent Geese. The beach was fairly quiet, but a Common Scoter was sighted offshore and a lone Sanderling was running up and down the tideline.
Sanderling at Titchwell RSPB Reserve, Norfolk, 14th March 2015. ©Christine Booth
One very tame Black-headed Gull was standing by our feet looking up expectantly until we gave in and gave it a few crumbs! Not daft are they! It was rather breezy on the beach so we made our way back to the Visitor Centre and sat outside to eat our picnic lunch, the tables being in a much more sheltered position.
En route for Frampton, our second reserve, we recorded Red-legged Partridge in the field, as well as two Muntjac Deer at the side of the road and two instances of Brown Hares in the fields. We had another coffee stop at Frampton before heading off round the reserve.
Large groups of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler and several Pintail were on the lake and right outside the 360 degree hide two or three Skylarks were pecking through the grass giving us great close up views. Ruff, Redshank and Bar-tailed Godwit were jostling for position on the waters edge whilst above Brent Geese were treating us to flying displays across the sky. Time was running out so we didn't manage to go round the whole reserve, but nevertheless we managed to see more than 70 species of bird over the two reserves.
A really enjoyable day was had by all and can I say a big thank you to Neil and Peter for driving us around all day – much appreciated!
Full species list:
Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Pheasant, Wood Pigeon, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Tufted Duck, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Shoveler, Brent Goose, Curlew, Dunlin, Pochard, Cormorant, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Avocet, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Wigeon, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Knot, Ringed Plover, Common Scoter, Sanderling, Linnet, Stonechat, Skylark, Song Thrush, Gadwall, Carrion Crow, Red-legged Partridge, Buzzard, Kestrel, Magpie, Lapwing, Collared Dove, Whooper Swan, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Little Egret, Ruff, Goldeneye, Cetti's Warbler, Pintail, Reed Bunting, Rook, Red-crested Pochard. Mammals seen included a Wood Mouse, Muntjac Deer and Brown Hare, oh and not forgetting a white plastic bag!
Posted on Thursday 19th March 2015 at 20:35pm.
I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came on the trip to Potteric Carr on 15th February. It was great to have the support for my first trip, especially as, despite my best efforts, I was actually late arriving myself due to road closures, diversions etc. Thank you Gary for starting the walk for me!
It was a foggy morning and not particularly good for photographs, but we saw plenty of birds starting with Goldfinch, Song Thrush and Bullfinch at the entrance to the reserve. We spent a few moments watching two Treecreepers climbing up and around silver birch trunks, fascinating little birds, and a couple of Jays flew overhead. We also had a very good view of a Roe Deer in a nearby field before it disappeared into the trees. Further along the path we came across two Willow Tits and a Blue Tit loudly foraging amongst the bracken. The feeders viewed from the Willow Pool hide were very busy with Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinch, Coal Tit, up to 5 Reed Bunting not to mention Pheasants.
Male Reed Bunting at Potteric Carr. ©Christine Booth
Time now to visit the Kingfisher Tearooms to refuel! Several of us had bacon or sausage sandwiches with our tea and coffee – highly recommended! Raring to go again, we set off to do a circuit of the scrapes and lakes. The sun was just starting to break through the fog and there were Coots aplenty, fighting amongst themselves.
Male Gadwall at Potteric Carr. ©Paul Hobson
A substantial number of Snipe, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochard and Tufted Ducks were present on the Huxter Well Marsh along with the many Black-headed and Common Gulls and it wasn't long before we were treated to the sight of a female Marsh harrier quartering over the reed beds. We also saw a fleeting Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard sent hordes of gulls and Lapwings into the sky. By the time we reached the next hide it was nap time for the Teal and Shoveler. A group of five Little Egrets were also to be seen roosting at the edge of the reeds.
A pair of Shoveler at Potteric Carr. ©Christine Booth
We arrived at Piper Marsh were also lucky enough to spy a Kingfisher in the distance, perched on a broken tree stump. And no trip would be complete without the obligatory Robin! A personal favourite of mine because not only are they beautiful to look at but they are happy to sit still and pose for a half decent photograph!
Robin at Potteric Carr. ©Christine Booth
At the end of a lovely five hours or so some of us stopped at the Kingfisher Tearoom again for a final cup of tea and a chat before making our way home. Another lovely day out with plenty of birds and lovely company.
Full species list:- Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Treecreeper, Robin, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Mallard, Snipe, Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Marsh Harrier, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Coal Tit, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Wigeon, Carrion Crow, Shelduck, Little Egret, Song Thrush, Jay, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Shoveler, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, Cetti’s Warbler, Magpie, Jackdaw, Great Crested Grebe, Pheasant, Blackbird and Wren.
Updated on Tuesday 17th February 2015 at 20:10pm
The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust are coordinating the International Whooper and Bewick's Swan Census on the weekend of the 17th & 18th January 2015. Please go to the link here for further details. There are a small number of Whooper Swans around the Idle Valley at the moment do if you see any please record them including numbers, ages, location (the grid ref if known) times and any marked (colour rings or neck collars) birds. Please send them to us or to WWT via the address info in the link.
Posted on Saturday 167h January 2015 at 12:29pm
All winners will receive their winners trophy and prize at the Annual General Meeting in February.
Posted on Thursday 1st January 2015 at 11:10am
A big thanks to the new Nottinghamshire Birdwatchers Events Organiser Samantha Haworth for this very seasonal representation of our very owl Little Gull logo.
It does remind you of the illustrations in Bill Oddie's - Little Black Bird Book.
Posted on Friday 28th November at 21:00pm
We had a 6.30am start from Retford for this trip as we wanted to arrive in good time to see the hundreds of water birds leave their roost. It was quite misty on the journey down and at one point we were beginning to wonder whether we would actually be able to see any birds, but as luck would have it, the mist started to lift almost as soon as we arrived and we had glorious views of hundreds of waders on the lagoon at Freiston. For the most part they were Redshanks and Oystercatchers but with smaller groups of Turnstone, Godwit, Knot and Dunlin amongst them.
Mixed waders at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
We sat and watched them for quite some time – such a beautiful sight and we were amused when one of the sheep that had been grazing on the far shore decided to take a stroll amongst the Oystercatchers. Some seemed to be oblivious, but many took to the air and the skies were full.
Sheep with Oystercatcher at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
Having heard that there was a Grey Phalarope on another section of the reserve, we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss and made the walk down another path to the viewing screen where the men in our group spotted it immediately. Upon asking whereabouts I should look, Neil replied, “It’s behind a Godwit!” As the photo shows, there was one or two to choose from! Although really too far away for photos, we had clear views through the scope and it was fascinating to watch as the Phalarope spun round and round in the water just as it says in the text books!
Winter plumage Grey Phalarope with Black-tailed Godwits at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
We then returned to the lagoon and by now groups of roosting birds were starting to take to the air which made for a beautiful sight as they flew off. The ladies amongst us spotted a couple of Stonechat and a Wheatear hopping about the fence posts, the Stonechat being another ‘first’ for me. Time was passing on now and as it was approaching mid-day and we also wanted to visit Frampton, we had a quick cup of coffee and then set off. We were quite hungry by now, and although a little chilly, it was pleasant enough to sit outside the Visitor Centre and picnic, with good views of Teal, Wigeon and Grey Heron as we ate.
Stonechat at Freiston, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
Our first mission was to try and find the Glossy Ibis that has been residing there all summer and having been told it was showing well along the lane, we set off in search of it, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen. We made our way to the 360 degree hide. There were not as many birds there as there often are, as the lake had all but dried up, but we had great views of Shelduck and Little Egret and on the way out flocks of Lapwing, gulls and Golden Plover wheeling around in the sky.
Golden Plover and Lapwing at Frampton, 15th October 2014 ©Christine Booth
The fields were full of Goldfinch flocking together on the thistle heads and made a really charming sight. Time was becoming short and Janet decided to go and have another look for the Glossy Ibis whilst the rest of us wanted to try and see a group of Little Stint that had been reported further round the reserve. We walked round to East Hide, but no luck. We spent a while watching the skies for any unusual visitors and also the Meadow Pipits at the edge of the water. As it was now time to leave, we took one last look at the field opposite the hide. Success! Neil and Peter spotted not one, but four Little Stints right at the back of the field. Again, too far away for a decent photo, but we had clear views through the scope and a lovely way to end our trip. And when we returned to the Visitor Centre for a final coffee before making the journey home again, we discovered that Janet had also achieved her ambition and had found the Glossy Ibis! Brilliant!
Glossy Ibis at Frampton, 15th October 2014 ©Janet Nyland
All in all, it was a really enjoyable trip – two reserves that I would happily visit time and time again.
Thanks to Peter Harrison for supplying me with a full species list as follows:-
Grey Phalarope, Glossy Ibis, Wheatear, Stonechat, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Shelduck, Little Grebe, Magpie, Rook, Jay, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Turnstone, Mallard, Little Egret, Tufted Duck, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Starling, Kestrel, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Moorhen, Ruff, Snipe, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Swallow, Peregrine, Curlew, Robin, Grey Plover, Goldfinch, Grey Heron, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Golden Plover, Pintail, Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Greenshank, Buzzard and Pheasant.
Edited and Re-Posted on Monday 20th October 2014 at 23:45pm
There can't be many amongst us who remain either unaware nor disgusted with the continuing slaughter of this wonderful and supposedly fully protected raptor in the name of protecting the hunting rights of a few individuals. There should be around 300 pairs of this species breeding in the uplands of England whereas this year there are a mere 3 pairs. Not only are we being denied a fabulous bird for the sake of a very dubious "sport" - Red grouse being driven towards a few wealthy men who somehow derive pleasure from shooting down as many as possible; but the collateral damage is also unwarranted, massive amounts of Carbon Dioxide being released into the atmosphere due to heather burning to create ideal conditions for grouse. Roads are being built and prime habitats damaged just to facilitate easier access for this minority pastime. Traps and poisoned baits for predators are also indiscriminately killing many other species of wildlife. I've personally witnessed Ring Ouzel and Red Squirrels lying dead in traps and this is by no means exceptional. As taxpayers we are funding this totally unsustainable and peculiarly British industry but there are now moves underfoot to try and ban it completely.
Sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65627
You can also support the campaign to boycott the grouse industry and hotels, restaurants and businesses associated with it - Click here for more details with this extensive pdf format information sheet.
On the 10th August there are 5 national events taking place to support Hen Harrier day and details can be found on http://markavery.info/blog/
I also recommend reading the August edition of Birdwatch for more details.
Posted on Sunday 10th August 2014 at 21:30pm
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LBC - Web Site Administrator
Posted on Saturday 7th June 2014 at 22:50pm.