19th December 2017 – Brinsley Headstocks.
It was a cool bright day as we made our way along the old railway line. The very first sighting was a Goldcrest (the UK’s smallest bird) followed by many Blackbirds in the leaf litter along with the Robins. A little further along with Wood Pigeons in the fields a flock of Goldfinch arrived in the top of the trees and Chaffinch flying from tree to tree. As we approached a small area, designated as a nature reserve, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit were seen. The old rail track is lined with trees and it seemed that every other tree had a squirrel! Then we saw a flock of Siskins eating seeds in the tree tops and lower down there was a Nuthatch searching every nook and cranny on the tree. As we made our way back you could see the Carrion crows squabbling and a tree that appeared to hold many Wood Pigeon. One bird on the edge was a little different, and closer inspection showed this to be a Kestrel. As we approached the car park a bird calling with two soft notes could be heard. Scanning the trees and bushes we finally located the bird which was a male Bullfinch.
An excellent morning was had and spotting some of the rarer birds that were around. This was then followed with the group having an excellent Christmas lunch together.
Watch out for the up coming release of 2018 dates and venues. Paul and Christine Millington
16th November – Kings Mill Reservoir
Our visit to Kingsmill reservoir, near Mansfield, was undertaken in bright but chilly conditions. Meeting in the car park we walked clockwise around the reservoir which has been here since the 1800s in some form or other with the river Maun flowing into it. Greeting us were Canada Geese, Mallard, Greylag Geese, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Coots, Blackheaded Gull, and numerous Lapwings (Peewit) sitting on the sailing clubs pontoons. Continuing along the well made path towards the river Maun inlet the reservoir was a little shallower with reed beds (man made). Here were lots of Gadwell with Moorhen, Cormorants resting, Heron looking for lunch, Teal and 5 Snipe on the far bank. Walking along the path northwards the open aspect became more wooded where Blue Tit, Blackbird and many Goldfinch in the top of the trees were seen. Stopping along the way on observation platforms we added Little Grebe (Dab chick) and Lesser Blackbacked Gull to our list. Proceeding around the top of the reservoir it start to rain and the wind picked up. Of course there was no rain forecast for the day! Picking up speed we made our way to the Visitor Centre where hot drinks and food could be purchased. Still keeping an eye out, while trying to keep dry, a Pochard was seen along the way. Leaving the Visitor Centre, the rain had stopped and House Sparrows greeted us with their chattering. A good day for all. Bird of the day would have to be the Snipe. Paul and Christine Millington
August 17th – Colliers Wood and Willey Wood
Arriving at Colliers Wood car park in the rain, which wasn’t forecast. We began to ready ourselves when the heavens opened and the shower turned torrential. This soon stopped and we made our way to the pond. Here there were Mallard, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Canada Geese and Wood Pigeon. We made our way to the top of the park watching a charm of Goldfinch in the near by trees with Magpie on the ground. We heard a Green Woodpecker calling as it flew just above our heads on its way to the other trees. On leaving the park we came across a Long Tail Tit family in the top of the trees and a Coal Tit in amongst them. Young Blackbirds were also seen in the trees. We made our way to the old pit back road towards Greenhills Road. Splashing our way through the puddles we turn right towards Redgate Farm and its open fields. Amongst the stubble were Carrion Crows and Starlings gathering on the over head wires. Nearing the farm a Sparrow Hawk flew closely overhead and continued across the open field. Swallows were flying around the farm buildings, which was good to see. Making our way back down to the pond and a Herron had arrived since our earlier visit. Paul and Christine Millington
July 20th – Willington Gravel Pits and Calke Abbey.
Thursday 20th July saw us travelling on a very wet morning to Willington Gravel Pits. This being the first time we’ve not had good weather on our trips. Arriving at our destination we proceeded to get kitted out against the elements and made our way to the first observation platform with a Blackbird and Robin crossing our path. The rain started to ease and from the platform we saw more Coots than we’ve ever seen before. In amongst these were Mallard, Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebe with young. Continuing along the tree lined path we came to the hide and the rain had now stopped with the sun trying to shine. The regular birds were seen such as Canada Geese, Black Headed Gull, Lapwing, Tufted Duck, Black Backed Gull and Heron. On the island in front of the hide were several Little Egrets with Common Tern flying overhead, Pochard, Teal and a Little Grebe, or Dab Chick, just beyond. To the right was a sand spit and here amongst the regular birds was a Common Sandpiper. Directly in front of the hide were reeds and here we saw Reed Buntings swaying in the breeze. Then down at water level we had great views of a Reed Warbler, then two, the first fetching a carrying insects to feed the other young bird. Heading back to the cars the sun was out and we made our way to Calke Abbey.
Driving into Calke Abbey they were Jackdaws, Swallows and Magpie. We felt it only right to support the National Trust cafeteria so drinks and lunch were taken. Suitably refreshed we headed to the bird hide at the bottom of the car park. The mass of birds we saw was very welcoming to see including Great Tits, Blue Tits, Chaffinch all with numerous young birds visiting the feeders. Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Dunnock, and more Green Finch than we’ve seen for many years. Between the Grey squirrel visits there was also a Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch. As we left, adjacent to the hide were Fallow and Red deer. A very successful day out enjoyed by all. Paul and Christine Millington
15th June 2017 Skylarks Holme Pierrepont
Our numbers were a little depleted this month, due to holidays, on our visit to Skylarks reserve near Holme Pierrepont.
While still in the car park we heard a Cuckoo in the distance. Later we got a much louder “Cuckoo” but was still unable to see the bird. We saw reed buntings after just entering the reserve, which was the same location as last years visit. With Buzzard flying overhead looking over Blott’s pit we saw Little Egret, Oyster catcher, Mute swan, Great crested Grebe, Lapwing, Common Tern plus the usual ducks such as Mallard, Coots etc. Walking back to the car park we have fabulous views of a hunting Kestrel. Just before we reach the car park we walked through a lovely meadow full of flowers and in amongst these there was a Green Woodpecker feeding. Paul and Christine Millington
20th April 2017 Aldercar Flash Nature Reserve
The day was dry as were the ground conditions, with one exception.
Walking through the field over looking the flash we observed Mallard, Teal, a good number of Gadwall, Coot and mute swan. Continuing into the next field we came across a hatched song thrush shell on the path and Peewit flying over head. We then observed several heads popping up and down in the next adjacent field, these were found to be Greylag Geese feeding. As a Swallow flew overhead we could hear Skylarks, Wren, Peewit and Chiff Chaff. We traversed the marshy delta on the north side before crossing over the river Erewash. Here we saw a Wren plus Dunnock and Grasshopper warbler singing. Continuing around the flash, now past half way, Blue tit, Great tit were seen in the trees and in the reed bed was a Reed bunting. Looking out over the delta there were Black headed gulls, Common tern and a little further along was a Barn owl perched near a nest box, and playing hide and seek with us ! Almost back at the cars a Robin was seen as we heard a Black cap singing which was seen shortly after.
Next outing will be Carsington water May 18th.
Paul and Christine Millington
March 16th Idle Valley Nature Reserve
The bird watching group traveled on the 16th March 2017 to Nottingham National trust owned Idle valley, just north of Retford. Meeting in the visitors car park we proceeded along the Warblers walk, one of many routes within this 450 Hectare site. The start of the walk takes you along side Bellmoor lake where we saw the normal ducks of Coot, Tufted duck, Black headed gulls and Shoveler. Whilst we were looking over the lake another bird enthusiast spoke of the Garganey across the lake asleep on the bank in front of the visitor centre. Kindly letting us look through his scope we all had a good view. Walking further along a little egret was spotted as the trees changed from deciduous to evergreen where we spotted Blue tits, Great tits,Goldfinch and some small shy birds which we believe may have been Siskin. The walk then took us along the river Idle where we heard this seasons first Chiffchaffs. On the other side of the Idle were wallowing free range pigs, with Carrion crows on their backs, joined by Canada and Greylag geese. We then returned to continue our walk around Bellmoor lake spotting Magpie, Blackbird, Mallard. Moorhen, Great black backed gulls, and Heron. One of our party walked down to an observation platform next to the lake to be surprised by a creature that ran straight across her path. From the description is wasn’t a Stoat or Weasel. (Later in the visitor centre a ranger described this creature to the letter, and it transpired this was the local mink!!) Returning to the visitor centre for a well earned coffee/tea and cakes Blue tits and great tits were spotted on the bird feeders with Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin and Pheasant clearing up underneath. The centre had a display of scopes and binoculars for sale which we took the opportunity to use. Through the scope we saw Goosanders and while checking out the binoculars spotted a Snipe. You have to be lucky as a birdwatcher. Paul and Chrys Millington
February 16th Attenborough Nature Reserve
The Birdwatching group met at the Attenborough Nature Reserve in the visitors centre car park. It was a dry day with a cool wind, thankfully most of the reserve is sheltered.
We walked towards the elevated hide over looking Clifton pond, in hope of spotting Bittern and Water Rail. Along the way we saw Black Headed Gulls, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Robin, Moorhen, Cormorant, Oyster Catcher, Teal and Coot. As we approached Clifton Pond, in the sky we saw a mini murmaration of Lapwing. The elevated hide gave us panoramic views over Clifton Pond and the reed beds. Inhabitants on the pond were Cormorants, Gadwall, Black Headed Gulls, Shovelers, Mallard, Coot and Lapwing. Leaving this hide we back-tracked to a hide situated on the adjacent side of Clifton Pond. Here we saw Tufted duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Cormorants and Shovelers. After this enjoyable morning we returned to the car park seeing Robin, Great Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Egyptian Geese, Great Crested Grebe and Magpie.
Bird of the day would have to be the Goldeneye.
Paul and Christine Millington
January 19th Linby
The bird watching group met in Linby village on a grey damp morning outside the Horse and Groom. (Ideal for after the walk)
We had a quick detour along Quarry Lane to visit the SSSI which is at the end of the lane. While walking we saw Blackbirds, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon and flying overhead a flock of Canada geese. We then had a surprise as a wave of Pheasants and Partridges flew very close overhead. Indeed one bird almost knocked Christine and Barbara’s hats off. This we found was due to a dubious bird shoot, as it transpired later, with the land owners arriving to stop the shoot. There was no access to the SSSI so we made our way back to the village, spotting a small flock of Goldfinch along the way, and proceeded towards Papplewick village.
Leaving Linby we cut across the fields towards the river Leen and the head of the old mill pond. Here we saw Mallard and Coots. This part of the Leen was dammed in the 18th and 19th century and used for cotton mills. We then proceeded into Moor Pond Wood where we saw Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Robin. We came out of the wood on to Linby Lane opposite Castle Mill. This is the old cotton mill from the 18th century. We made our way back to Linby where refreshments were taken at the Horse and Groom. Love it when a plan comes together! See gallery for photographs