Category Archives: Report

Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Willington Gravel Pits, Saturday 21 September 2019

Saturday 21 September 2019,  09.15 to 13.30 


Willington Gravel Pits is situated in the Trent Valley and is managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.  There are various viewing platforms and a hide overlooking the flooded gravel workings. The day was warm and sunny for our first visit here since 2016.

The first couple to arrive spotted a Marsh Harrier and we later saw a Peregrine and a couple of buzzards.  We had good, though fleeting, views of Hobbies and Kingsfishers. For most of our time in the hide, we had it to ourselves, keeping our eyes on the channels around the hide in case a Water Rail or Bittern should appear.  It wasn’t our day for those species but, in addition to those seen on and over the gravel pits, there was a steady flow of birds to the nearby feeders and to the wooded area surrounding them, including a Great Spotted Woodpecker.  We also heard a Cetti’s Warbler in the reedbeds.


Members participating:    7


Bird list (41 species seen and/or heard)

Little Grebe Hobby Robin
Great Crested Grebe Peregrine Blackbird
Cormorant Moorhen Cetti’s Warbler
Grey Heron Coot Chiffchaff
Mute Swan Lapwing Long-tailed Tit
Greylag Goose Black-Headed Gull Blue Tit
Canada Goose Lesser Black-Backed Gull Great Tit
Wigeon Greater Black-Backed Gull Magpie
Gadwall Woodpigeon Carrion Crow
Mallard Kingfisher Starling
Pochard Great Spotted Woodpecker Chaffinch
Tufted Duck Swallow Goldfinch
Marsh Harrier Wren Reed Bunting
Buzzard Dunnock


Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Padley Gorge – 18 May 2019

Date/Time: Saturday 18 May 2019,  09.30 to 12.30


Padley Gorge, as its name suggests, is a steep-sided valley, located to the north of Grindleford.  The gorge passes through mature woodland, either side of Burbage Brook.  It is an area well-known in birding circles for its population of Pied Flycatchers.  Several nest boxes have been placed in the trees to encourage these and other species to raise their young.

There were a few spots of rain as we were gathering but they soon cleared and the lack of wind enabled us to enjoy the birdsong unhindered.  We set off from the roadside parking area near the top of the gorge on the B6521 and headed across Burbage Brook to pick up the path that leads down the gorge towards Grindleford.  Before we entered the woodland we spotted a Grey Wagtail on rocks at the edge of the Brook.

There were a number of sightings of Pied Flycatchers and two of the group saw a Spotted Flycatcher.  It was encouraging to hear a Cuckoo and a Redstart, though neither were seen.  However, we had several good views of both Nutchatches and Treecreepers.

We ran out of time to investigate the moorland to the northwest of our start point but there is potential there for exploring a rather different bird habitat.

Members participating:    12

Bird list (22 species seen and/or heard)

Mallard Redstart Blue Tit
Sparrowhawk Blackbird Great Tit
Pheasant Blackcap Nuthatch
Woodpigeon Willow Warbler Treecreeper
Cuckoo Spotted Flycatcher Jay
Grey Wagtail Pied Flycatcher Carrion Crow
Wren Coal Tit Chaffinch


Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Macclesfield Forest – March 2019

Saturday 23 March 2019,  09.15 to 13.30


Macclesfield Forest is a popular area for families and dog-walkers.  It also provides good birdwatching opportunities, with a variety of habitats.  Although there is no public access to much of the forest interior, there are circular walking routes of varying length on well-maintained paths and tracks.  Very little road walking is necessary with footpaths often separated from road traffic by a stone wall.

We gathered in the layby alongside Trentabank Reservoir, from where we had good views of the heronry and 3 Cormorant nests.  The weather was good – bright and sunny if a little cool at first. During the course of our visit we saw all six resident crow family members, including a Jay in the woodland and a Raven soaring above us.  Both times we passed the Visitor Centre we saw a treecreeper searching for food in the stone wall on the far side of the road.

We completed a circuit of the Ridgegate reservoir, starting through woodland to the south where we heard more birds than we saw.  There were 5 female Goosander just out of the water on the stone bank of the dam at the western end of the reservoir.

Returning to our cars, we drove to the car park at the eastern end of the Forest.  From here we walked up towards the top of the forest on the south side.  It was from here that we saw the Raven and several Curlew.

Thank you to all who came and made this such an enjoyable trip.

Members participating:       14

Bird list (43 species seen and/or heard)

Great Crested Grebe Woodpigeon Blue Tit
Little Grebe Tawny Owl Great Tit
Cormorant Great Spotted Woodpecker Nuthatch
Grey Heron Grey Wagtail Treecreeper
Canada Goose Pied Wagtail Jay
Mandarin Duck Wren Magpie
Mallard Dunnock Jackdaw
Tufted Duck Robin Rook
Goosander Blackbird Carrion Crow
Sparrow Hawk Song Thrush Raven
Buzzard Mistle Thrush Chaffinch
Pheasant Chiffchaff Greenfinch
Coot Willow Tit Goldfinch
Curlew Coal Tit Siskin
Stock Dove


Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Attenborough

Saturday 26 January 2019,  09.15 to 13.45


Attenborough Nature Reserve is situated on the northern bank of the River Trent and is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.  There are four hides, including an elevated one that gives good views over the ponds.  The weather was cloudy, cold and mostly dry, with just a little rain as we approached the first hide.

Some of the group had caught the train from Matlock.  Those of us arriving by car couldn’t help but notice a group of birders with long lenses and bins peering into the hedge by the level crossing.  The focus was on a Firecrest although there were other birds flitting around, including a Goldcrest.

There had been reports of a Caspian Gull on the reserve.  We may have seen it but we had to acknowledge that it could have been a Herring Gull!  We had rather better views of a Green Woodpecker, a pair of Bullfinches, a Linnet and a Stock Dove.

Although we had to compete with cyclists, runners and dog walkers, it was a very enjoyable, friendly and worthwhile visit.  A site we shall return to without a doubt.

Members participating:    11 + 1 guest

Bird list (48 species seen and/or heard)

Great Crested Grebe Goosander Redwing
Cormorant Moorhen Goldcrest
Little Egret Coot Firecrest
Grey Heron Lapwing Long-Tailed Tit
Mute Swan Black-Headed Gull Blue Tit
Greylag Goose Lesser Black-Backed Gull Great Tit
Canada Goose Caspian Gull/Herring Gull Jay
Egyptian Goose Stock Dove Magpie
Wigeon Woodpigeon Carrion Crow
Gadwall Pied Wagtail Starling
Teal Green Woodpecker Tree Sparrow
Mallard Wren Chaffinch
Shoveler Dunnock Greenfinch
Pochard Robin Goldfinch
Tufted Duck Blackbird Linnet
Goldeneye Fieldfare Bullfinch


Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Rother Valley

Saturday 24 November 2018,  09.15 to 13.15


The Rother Valley Country Park, provides various outdoor activities for the public and includes a nature reserve.  There are no hides but it was a dry day (if rather dull) and not too cold.  We spent most of our time in the reserve but there were several birds to see on the main lake as well.

Early on a skein of some 25 Pink-Footed Geese flew over and we spotted a female Red-Crested Pochard that was hugging the shallows in front of the island on the main lake.  There were good numbers of Cormorant, Lapwing,Tufted Duck and Goldeneye to be seen.

Seeing the range of habitat on offer, there was general consensus to visit this site in early spring next time.

Members participating:       6

Bird list (43 species seen and/or heard)

Little Grebe Pochard Song Thrush
Great Crested Grebe Tufted Duck Redwing
Cormorant Goldeneye Mistle Thrush
Little Egret Moorhen Long-Tailed Tit
Grey Heron Coot Blue Tit
Mute Swan Lapwing Great Tit
Pink-Footed Goose Black-Headed Gull Jay
Greylag Goose Lesser Black-Backed Gull Magpie
Canada Goose Woodpigeon Jackdaw
Wigeon Pied Wagtail Carrion Crow
Gadwall Wren Raven
Teal Robin Starling
Mallard Blackbird Greenfinch
Shoveler Fieldfare Goldfinch
Red-Crested Pochard


Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Frampton Marsh – Saturday 27 October 2018,  10.15 to 14.30


Frampton Marsh RSPB Reserve borders The Wash in Lincolnshire.  There are reed beds, grassland and salt marsh, giving varied habitat.  In addition to the Visitor Centre, there are three hides.

A chilly, breezy day that stayed dry until lunchtime.  By the time we set out from the warmth of the Visitor Centre we had around 10 species listed and the list grew steadily through the remainder of our visit, culminating in the sighting of a Long-Billed Dowitcher in the afternoon that was busy feeding in the shallows, accompanied by a couple of Redshank.

There were good numbers of Wigeon, Shelduck and Brent Geese. Hightide was over two hours before we arrived and may explain, at least in part, why we saw fewer waders than we might have hoped.  Nevertheless, it was a very worthwhile trip.


Members participating:       18

Bird list (47 species seen and/or heard)

Little Grebe Goldeneye Herring Gull
Little Egret Kestrel Woodpigeon
Grey Heron Peregrine Falcon Skylark
Whooper Swan Moorhen Meadow Pipit
Greylag Goose Coot Robin
Canada Goose Avocet Blackbird
Brent Goose Golden plover Cetti’s Warbler
Egyptian Goose Lapwing Great Tit
Shelduck Snipe Magpie
Wigeon Long-Billed Dowitcher Carrion Crow
Gadwall Black-Tailed Godwit Starling
Teal Curlew House Sparrow
Mallard Redshank Tree Sparrow
Pintail Black-Headed Gull Chaffinch
Shoveler Common Gull Goldfinch
Tufted Duck Lesser Black-Backed Gull



Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Middleton Moor – Saturday 22 September 2018,  09.30 to 13.00


After a very wet Friday we were blessed with a dry spell for our visit to Middleton Moor.  The sun peeped through occasionally and the light improved towards the end of our circuit of the lagoons.

Middleton Moor is a site with a mixture of habitat, including open water, shallow scrapes, scrub, woodland and moorland edge.  There is a small hide overlooking the main lagoon.

For much of the walk there were Meadow Pipits to be seen in flocks of varying sizes, mostly flying south but some feeding in a field.  A few late swallows passed over too.  We had good views of a Wheatear and a Kestrel, both with the help of Ken’s scope.

Members participating:       7

Bird list (27 species seen and/or heard)

Grey Heron Redshank Chiffchaff
Teal Black-headed Gull Magpie
Mallard Lesser black-backed Gull Jackdaw
Tufted Duck Woodpigeon Rook
Sparrow Hawk Skylark Carrion Crow
Buzzard Swallow Starling
Kestrel Meadow Pipit Chaffinch
Pheasant Robin
Coot Wheatear
Golden Plover Song Thrush


Carr Vale trip 23rd September 2017


The Bakewell bird study group magic held as usual with the weather with no rain during the trip. The lighting was not best for identification but persistence paid off and we identified a total of 44 species.

This outing was a car share trip and although attendance wasn’t high it turned out to be a very pleasurable morning with plenty of activity in the trees and bushes on route. It was heard said “If only they would stand still for a minute I might be able identify them!”

The varied habitats in the Carr vale reserve make for a wide variety of birds as it is a mixture of open water, marsh, wet and dry grassland, scrub and trees. It was generally felt however that there should have been more waders down on the lake at this time of the year so a little mystery there.

All in all a great trip. Many thanks to Dorothy for organising the trip and to Stuart for passing on his special skills at identification.

The bird list is as follows:-

Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Buzzard, Pheasant, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, B.H. Gull, L.B.B.Gull, Herring Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch. Total 44 Species

Bempton Trip 10th June 2017

image1We all met up at Slack’s coach garage at the appointed time and it was nice to see a very near full coachload! The weather wasn’t the best with rain and wind forecast but clearing later in the day.

The journey was smooth and steady with a brief stop at a service station and took approximately 2 ½ hrs. The first bird we saw even before we got off the bus was a surprise, A cockatiel! Obviously someone’s pet that had escaped and found its way there.
The weather as it now seems usual for our trips defied all the odds and remained mainly dry and the wind was actually warm and not at all unpleasant. We left the visitors centre and made our way en mass around the cliff tops. We had a very good 5 hrs to study the cliffs including a stop for lunch and saw 30 different species in total. We don’t expect many at such a site so that was actually quite an impressive number. Stuart was on fine form as ever pointing out different birds and providing specialist knowledge for example correcting myself when I spotted a couple of pigeons tucked in a crack and told me they were actually rock doves and explained that they mated with ordinary pigeons and there were now very few true rock doves left.

The journey home was a mirror image of the journey out and ended at Slack’s garage in unfortunately a downpour!

All in all another great trip out so I am sure all those who attended will join me in thanking Dorothy for her time and effort in making the day a memorable one.

Bird list: Fulmar, Gannet, Cormorant, Grey Partridge, Pheasant, Herring Gull, G B B Gull, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill, Puffin, Rock Dove, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Corn Bunting, Common Crane, Cockateil.

Frampton Marsh 22nd October 2016

The day started a bit cold and misty and due to good planning everyone was picked up and whisked uneventfully to Frampton in around 2 ½ hrs.

While everyone was sorting out their coats and footwear the keen ones were already setting up their scopes and spotting in the field next to the car park, calling out to Dorothy to note down what they were seeing.

The RSPB site at Frampton is a large coastal wetland reserve with a large reed bed and fresh water scrapes. There is a visitor centre where you can buy snacks and hot and cold drinks and chat to the RSPB guides and find out “what’s about”.

We spent the first 1/2hr in the visitor centre before moving out to scan the reed beds. There are 3 good hides which we availed ourselves of and some of the high lights were sighting a Jack Snipe and a Long Billed Dowicher also a great aerial display by a flock of Finches late in the afternoon.

A few laughs were had over the light hearted argument as to whether a particular group of Godwits we were looking at were black tailed or bar tailed or indeed a mixture of the two!

The weather held out and a very pleasant sunny day was enjoyed with 52 different species being recorded by Dorothy.

A well deserved thank you goes to Dorothy for her organisational skills and to Stuart Slack who as ever called out the different species and pointed us all at their locations.


Species Seen:

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