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
If your visiting the Idle Valley NR why not stop off at the Coffee Shop & Little Wildlife Shop at the Rural Learning Centre at Bellmoor. Now open seven days a week. You can have a hot drink and a bite to eat then browse the huge selection of newly arrived 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.
Recent bird sightings from the centre building have included Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Barn Owl, Snipe and Goosander to name just a few. A Roe Deer has also been seen from the windows in the last few days.
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.