December 2019 – Brinsley Headstocks
Weather forecast was rain for our walk along Brinsley headstocks on the 19th December. Thankfully we didn’t see any. It is only a short walk along the old train tracks but this time of year with the trees having lost their leaves it makes for some good bird spotting. After just a short while we had seen Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Blue tit, Great tit, Long tailed tit, Chaffinch and wood pigeon. Further along we spotted a bird climbing a tree trunk. As we approached closer it proved to be a Tree creeper and shortly followed by a Nuthatch. Along with the many grey squirrels was a Song thrush, once a very common site, but not so now. A flock of Goldfinch was heard and seen high in the trees eating their winter fruits. As we returned a Goldcrest (Englands smallest bird) started flying around us examining the lower nooks and crannies of the trees. We also spotted a Kestral and Buzzard high in the trees a couple of fields away. Making our way to Brinsley lodge we had a delicious and enjoyable 3 course Christmas lunch. Altogether a most rewarding end to our season
Paul and Chrys Millington
November 2019 – Kings Mill Reservoir
We were greeted with over cast weather on our visit to Kingsmill reservoir in November. There were many Canada geese, Mute swan, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Tufted duck and Black headed gull along the shoreline near the Boating club. The jetty going out into the reservoir was covered with sitting Peewits/Lapwings. As we continued around the reservoir Gadwell, Shoveler, Teal, Cormorant and Little grebe/Dab chick were seen. As we crossed over the brook entering the reservoir a group of ducks were seen. Amongst these a Ruddy duck was spotted. This is a none native species from America and several years ago an effort was made to remove them from the wild as they were cross breeding with our Tufted duck. As we continued through the trees Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great tit and Coal tit were seen. Approaching the cafe for lunch Tree creeper, House sparrow, Heron, Great black backed gull were seen along with rats and three rabbits. Lunch was simple but delicious.
25 species seen. Paul and Chrys Millington
September 2019 – Dearne Valley Old Moor
Our visit to Dearne valley old moor, just west of Barnsley, proved to be an excellent day all round. This is a RSPB site with plenty of hides to view from. The weather was sunny and warm on this September day. Earlier reports were many waders being present, and we were not disappointed. We saw our normal ducks and geese along with Lapwing, Linnet, Pied wagtail, Mute swan, Heron, Little grebe, Gadwell, Pheasant, Wood pigeon, Magpie, Little egret, Cormorant, and Kestrel. Waders we don’t normal see were Greenshank, Dunlin, Ringed plover, Green sandpiper, Common sandpiper. After a great morning bird watching we headed back to the centre for well deserved drinks and lunch.
22 species. Paul and Chrys Millington
August 2019 – Potteric Carr
15th August saw our group visiting the Yorkshire wildlife trust at Potteric Carr, near Doncaster. On the centres bird feeders we saw adult and young Goldfinch feeding. They were also seen feeding in the grasses around the centre. Little Grebe were seen diving as we passed the first lake and made our way to the hide. Here we saw many of our normal ducks along with Pochard, Gadwell, Mute swan, Swallow, Great crested grebe, Pochard, and Shoveler. At the next hide two Marsh Harriers were seen flying in the distance. These birds are on the endangered list. Walking up the ramp onto the centres decking, in front and blow us we saw a small round light brown freckled bird in the grass. We watched quietly trying to discover the species. Turning our heads to the right, two yards to the side was a female Pheasant, with more babies, watching us. They then all ambled off into the undergrowth.
We all had a lovely lunch sitting outside in the sun on the raised decking. As we made our way back to the car park a flash of rich chestnut ran across the path just in front of us. The give away was the black tip on its tail. It was a Stoat, in its lovely summer coat.
15 species were seen Paul and Chrys Millington
18th July 2019 – Skylarks Reserve
It was a lovely warm and sunny day as we set off across the open meadow towards the gravel pits. There was a great variety of wild flowers which attracted butterflies, moths and many insects. As we continued Magpie, Carrion crow and Blackbird were seen. We approached our first gravel pit and there weren’t any birds to be seen. Then a Common tern swept across but that was it until a little further on we heard a Grasshopper warbler singing in the grasses. Looking over the second pit we saw all our normal ducks plus Black headed gull, Little egret, Lapwing, Great crested grebe, Herring gull, Tufted duck and Heron. Adult and young Cormorants could be seen with out stretched wings drying off from a fishing trip. Suddenly all the birds took off and our eyes immediately looked skywards for the reason. There, flying by was the culprit, a Sparrow hawk. On our way back we saw Greenfinch and a female Reed bunting. We also heard a Sedge warbler singing amongst the bushes. We noticed there was ragwort around (Listed in the weeds act 1959) which was covered with the orange and black striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar month. Yet another enjoyable meeting with our birdwatching friends.
Paul and Christine Millington
20th June 2019 – Carsington Reservoir
On the 20th June 2019 we visited Carsington Reservoir with a bright weather forecast and only 17% chance of rain. As we approached the Sheepwash car park it started to rain. At the appointed meeting time it stopped raining and we all strolled to the first hide, Sheepwash. Here were saw all our regular ducks and geese along with Great crested grebe (performing their mating dance), Tufted duck, Mute swan, Teal and what look like Sand Martins swooping across the water. We had another shower whilst in this hide which stopped when we continued on to the Paul Stanley hide. Here we saw Reed buntings, Black headed gull and Little grebe (Dabchick) . Whilst walking in the surrounding area we also saw Buzzard, Carrion crow, Robin and Coal tit.
The sun was now shining and we had a lovely lunch on the upstairs veranda at the visitors’ centre overlooking the reservoir.
Paul and Christine Millington
18th April – Langford Lowfields
We were greeted with glorious sunshine for our visit to Langford Lowfields on the 18th April 2019. This site is a commercial gravel extraction business where by the old extraction pits are then adopted by the RSPB, and other funding bodies, to return to nature for the benefit of wild life.
From the car park we walked through a small woodland, along a path with hedge rows to the RSPB site. Along the way we saw Blue tit, Chaffinch, Black cap, Blackbird, Robin, Magpie, Great tit, Reed bunting, and Longtailed tit. Six Avocet were seen in the ‘Avocet Lagoon’. These birds were once extinct in the UK. Around the gravel pit site we saw all the normal regular ducks along with Heron, Cormorant, Shelduck, Gadwell, Widgeon and Marsh Harrier. On our way back to the car park there were Garden warbler, Goldfinch, Song thrush Willow warbler, Swallow and House martin. Along with our sightings we also heard Cettis warbler, Chiff Chaff, Wren, and a ‘booming’ Bittern (mating call). Again the Bittern has just returned to Britain and is slowly increasing in numbers. The total bird species seen this morning was 30.
We were impressed by how many glorious butterflies they were with 4 or 5 species seen. After a lovely morning we headed for a well deserved drink and lunch at the local garden centre.
Birds of the day would be the Marsh Harrier and Avocets.
Paul and Christine Millington
21st February 2019 – Wollaton Park Lake
We met at Wollaton park on 21st February 2019. Once again a lovely sunny morning. We walked through the old stable block and onto the far lake. On the lake we first saw all the usual resident ducks plus Black Headed Gulls along with one or two hybrid ducks.Walking clockwise a little further on we saw the Heronry on the island, with Herons nesting in the trees in readiness for breeding. A little further on there were Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe and Tufted Duck. As we continued around the top end of the lake through the woods there were Blue Tit, Carrion Crows, Blackbird and Jackdaw. As we passed the old boat house we saw in the woods, between the lake and houses, 7 Grey squirrels, 5 of them on the tree trunk facing downwards, and they appeared to be sun bathing. Also a lone Ring Necked Parakeet was seen in the same area. As we approached the other side of the heronry, on the banks of the island were Egyptian Geese and Mandarin Ducks. As we came to the end of our walk around the lake we had close up views of Jays in the woods. We made our way back to the old stable block for a lovely lunch. Paul and Chrys Millington see gallery for Heron photos.
17th January 2019 – Shipley Park
We all met in the visitors car park and were greeted with a bright and sunny crisp winters day. Walking past the visitor centre and on to Derby Lodge we saw Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Dunnock, Magpie, Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow. We arrived at the old house ruins behind Derby Lodge in the hope we might see Hawfinch. Alas this was not to be, but not to be outdone a male Bullfinch in the top of a yew tree was sitting there in the sun, dazzling us with its radiating red chest. This was followed by a Greenfinch glowing in the sun with its yellow/green chest. The Greenfinch then suddenly seem to disappear before our very eyes, but it had just turn its back towards us. Tea and coffee were enjoyed at Derby Lodge in front of the lovely wood burner. We moved on to Osbourne’s reservoir seeing Song Thrush and all the normal ducks Canada Geese, Moorhens etc. plus a Muscovy duck. Finishing back at the car park after a memorable morning. Paul and Chrys Millington