planning for the reservoir got underway in the 1960’s it wasn’t
opened until 1992 (by the Queen). Water is pumped into it from the
Derwent during the winter months and the level was low for our visit.
We parked at the Sheepwash car park and had two groups of six
members set off from there, with the second lingering longer at the
car park. The list above is a compilation of what the two groups
It was encouraging to have a good number of members turn out. There was a bit of drizzle when we arrived and more towards the end of our visit but for most of the time it was dry with just a brief glimpse of the sun. Lapwing were active over the reservoir and foreshore as we assembled and there was a group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls further out on the water. In one creek we had good views of a flock of 20 or more Goldfinch and towards the end of our stay a flock of Redwing came in and were twittering away in the trees. Some members saw a Willow Tit at the bird table down towards Lane End Hide.
Event Date: Saturday 26 September 2020, 09.30 to 13.00
Attenborough Nature Reserve is situated on the northern bank of the River Trent and is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The hides were closed because of the pandemic but we still managed to get good views over the ponds and River Trent. The sun was in and out and the cool breeze was only felt in the more exposed spots.
It was noticeably quiet on the bird-front in most of the wooded areas. The smaller species were not numerous and only tended to show up where food had been put out for them. Nevertheless, considering the time of year, we were pleased with our tally of 35 species. We had a good view of the Kingfisher (helped by having a scope); it was clinging on to a bent reed over one of the ponds.
Once again we had to compete with cyclists, runners, dog walkers and families enjoying a day out but the reserve is big enough for that not to be a major issue.
The Middleton Lakes reserve comprises a mosaic of wetlands, meadows and woodland in the Tame valley, near Tamworth. Our previous visit was three years ago, also in November. Maps were provided by the very friendly and helpful husband and wife team volunteering at the cabin.
The forecast for the day wasn’t brilliant but the weather turned out rather better. We had a decent dry period for much of our stay although the rather overcast skies and poor light made identification at a distance somewhat tricky. The woodland paths gave us close up sightings of the tits, nuthatches and chaffinches. We also had a brief view of a Twite. Over the lagoons there were numerous Greylag Geese and a Great White as well as Little Egrets – plenty to see while we demolished our sandwiches in the comfort of the Lookout hide. All in all, it was a most enjoyable day and we look forward to revisiting the reserve in the future.
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.
Many of us feed the birds in our gardens, latest estimate is that we spend 200 to 300 million pounds each year on bird food and this has had a remarkable effect on bird populations. We are used to hearing about the difficult times birds are having, particularly farmland birds, so it is encouraging that gardens are increasingly important for birds and the number of species visiting gardens has increased dramatically over the last 40 years. In the 1970’s bird tables were dominated by house sparrows and starlings but now thanks to the increasing variety of foods available there are many more species, siskin, long tailed tits, woodpeckers, nuthatches to name but a few as well as the more common chaffinches, robins and blue and great tits.
People often ask what the birds are in their gardens and a good way of finding out more is to come to our meetings on the second Monday in the month from September through to April. We start with a call over of sightings of local birds and then a guest speaker entertains and informs us on a subject close to his or her heart. In recent years we have had talks on migration, conservation and reports of visits to exotic locations from northern Norway to Sri Lanka. The talks are always accompanied by digital slides of very high quality. Definitely a good night out! In addition we organise field trips on the third (or fourth) Saturday in the month e.g. to RSPB reserves and other interesting locations, sometimes coastal, where more experienced members can assist with identification of both birds and birdsong.
We meet at the Friends Meeting House at the end of Chapel Row off Matlock Street in Bakewell next to the Methodist Church DE45 1EL. Park in the market square. Our autumn programme commences at 7.30 on Monday September 9th with Nick Martin ‘Secret Wildlife of the Cairngorms’. He reveals some of the special animals and birds of the Scottish Highlands from elusive Pine Marten to cryptic Ptarmigan and finds out how these highland specialists exist in the most remote yet beautiful parts of Scotland. The Cairngorms recently featured in Springwatch.
Why not come to our first meeting and join the group? It’s only £15 per annum and for that you get seven talks and a similar number of field trips. Alternatively it’s £3.00 on the door for non-members. Meetings are listed in the Peak Advertiser and at Bakewell Tourist Information Office, this website, or call 07768 928432.
The event in Youlgrave on Tuesday night drew 23 people, a great turnout considering it had been pouring hard all day, just ceasing as we assembled at 7.30.
The walk round the village visited several properties where Swifts (and house martins) were nesting. At the property shown in the photo, where the owners clearly loved their swifts, parent birds flew in and out just above our heads as we stood watching, presumably feeding their chicks.
The walk was followed by a talk in the reading room and a display of boxes and literature.
(Many thanks to Ian Weatherley for organising this event and to Bakewell Bird Study Group for their support.)
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.
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.
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.
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.