Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Redmires – Thursday 16 May 2024

Summary

The promised rain held off until 11.45 enabling ten of us to complete the walk to the bridge over the conduit before cutting back to the car park. A very grey day made bird spotting difficult but Merlin helped identify some very faint calls which many of us found difficult to hear. Like last year the reservoir was full to overflowing making life difficult for the Common Sandpipers but we did see one skimming across the water. Two families of Grey Lag Geese provided some photo opportunities before we set off along the conduit. Lapwings were well down on the 23 seen last year and only one chick was spotted – very worrying. A pair of Curlews feeding in the field accompanied by three leggy chicks was probably the highlight of the day. Meanwhile great views were being had by some of the group of a handsome male Linnet on the path. Several Skylarks were singing overhead and a pipit with food in its beak was photographed which at the time was identified as a Meadow but may have been a Tree. No peeping Golden Plovers were heard so perhaps we were too early for chicks but eventually one adult was spotted on a tussock. No Red Grouse were seen or heard – very surprising on a Grouse moor – but we had a good view of a Cuckoo flying low over the ground pursued by at least four pipits.
We arrived back in the car park just as it started to pour.

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Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Potteric Carr YWT Reserve – Saturday 11 May 2024, 09.15 to 15.15

Summary

We last visited this reserve in January 2020, just before covid struck.  This time round the species list was similar, despite the difference in season and, once again, the almost total absence of waders was noted.  On this latest visit the exception was a solitary Lapwing (plus an Oystercatcher only identified subsequently from one of Martyn’s photos).  There is a good visitor centre and café and, for those interested in buying a new pair of binoculars, there is a modest range on sale that you can try before you buy.  The main paths are good and there are several hides available, mostly overlooking one or more of the lagoons.

There was plenty of bird song as we made our way from the Visitor Centre along a wooded path to pick up the ‘Blue’ route round the main lagoons.  As at Coombes Valley earlier in the month, actually spotting the birds was tricky.  However, from the hide at Piper Marsh we then had clear views of a Grey Heron, Little Egret and Pochard among other species.  Further on we saw a Marsh Harrier over the reeds and a number of Black-headed Gulls circling around but rarely landing. After a while we spotted a Coot with 6 chicks, braving exposure as they moved into a less dense area of reeds.  All of a sudden, the adult Coots started squawking furiously as one of the gulls swooped in and then flew off with one of the chicks.  A sobering moment!

Having heard from other birders which hide might give us views of a pair of Black Terns we pressed on towards the Duchess Hide and were not disappointed.  They were flying backwards and forwards the far side of the lagoon and then settled on a wooden stump jutting out of the water; a surprise sighting that made a good day’s birding in the sunshine even more enjoyable.

Members participating:    5
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Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Coombes Valley – Thursday 2 May 2024, 09.30 to 13.00

Summary

The day began cool with mist and grey cloud but the sun soon came through.  It then became pleasantly warm and sunny – a good Spring day for lingering and listening.  The birds were definitely singing as we followed paths through this RSPB reserve in Staffordshire.  Seeing them was more tricky and we perhaps ended up with a higher proportion than usual of birds heard but not seen.  Clearly in view, though quite high in the sky to the East, at least four Buzzards were circling.

Our early views of Pied Flycatchers were fleeting but sightings improved as the walk progressed.  We were somewhat surprised to see young Grey Wagtails being fed by their parents where the path passes over Coombes Brook at a bridge; it seemed rather early in the year to see juveniles so developed although they were much paler than the parents and their tails rather shorter.

Bluebells were showing well and a few butterflies were around, mostly Orange Tip.  There was no sign of Redstarts at Clough Meadow Cottage on this visit but we did get good views of one on the Valley Woodland Trail before we stopped for a lunch break.  It was also on this trail that we had the best sightings of Pied Flycatchers – a pair that had occupied a newly-erected nest box were particularly active.

As the visit came to an end, a Red Kite came down low over the Visitor Centre, probably looking for more than the ice creams that were being consumed by our members below.

Members participating:    8

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Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Wyver Lane, Belper – Thursday 18th April 2024, 9.30 to 13.15

Summary

Our regular April visit to Strutt’s North Mill and Wyver Lane did not disappoint.  The day was dry and sunny, especially early on.  A Peregrine was conveniently perched in the sunshine below one of the curved balconies at the right end of the mill.  There was little to see around the weirs and even around the cottages at the top of the lane.  It was only at the end of our trip that a couple of Grey Wagtails were seen on the tarmac in front of the mill.

Further down Wyver Lane there was plenty to see and hear.  A few species were heard but not seen, including Raven, Green Woodpecker and Pheasant.  The Merlin app was useful in confirming some of the birdsong.  From the hide we could make out a Grey Heron, half-hidden in the reeds.  A pair of Mandarin Duck were grazing in one of the grass fields to the left as we walked down the lane.  The field boundary was wooded and a Song Thrush was spotted there, apparently attempting to sing, but no sound came out whenever it opened its beak.

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Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Middleton Lakes RSPB Reserve – Thursday 4 April 2024, 10.00 to 15.30

Summary

The Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve comprises a mosaic of wetlands, meadows and woodland in the Tame valley, near Tamworth.  The morning was cloudy with a few spots of rain but the cloud broke up and there were some brief sunny intervals in the afternoon.  Most of the group travelled there with Stewart Abbott of Derbyshire Bird Tours; others by car.  Parts of the reserve were quite muddy following the rain of recent months.

There was plenty of activity around the feeders near the entrance, including Greenfinch, Goldfinch and House Sparrow.  The heronry was busy too, with both Grey Heron and Little Egret present.  More noisy was the rookery a little further on.

A pair of Treecreepers were busy nest-building in a crevice behind bark that had partially peeled away from the trunk of a tree.   Their hard work was being partially negated by a Great Tit that was throwing out nest material stored in the same crevice.  A lone Red-breasted Goose (normally a winter visitor) was seen feeding among a flock of Canada Geese in a field and a Bittern was heard booming occasionally, hidden somewhere in the reeds.

Overall there was a good selection of species, though we were somewhat short on waders – perhaps because water levels in the lagoons were higher than usual.
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Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Attenborough – Thursday 12 October 2023, 09.30 to 14.00

Summary

Attenborough Nature Reserve is extensive, situated on the northern bank of the River Trent and is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.  The day was cloudy with occasional hints of the sun but not a breath of wind.

The highlight of the trip came towards the end of our visit when a Water Rail was first heard and then spotted quite close to the path.  For at least 3 of the group this was a first ever sighting. If the Reserve list of species seen was accurate, ours was the first sighting this month.

Previously we had good views of three birds from the heron family; both the Little and Great Egrets were perched with the yellow feet (often under water) of the Little Egret contrasting with its black legs.

The Swans were abundant, as were the Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe and Black-headed Gulls.  Noticeable by their absence were any raptors.

Members participating:    7 (for main session) + 2 (afternoon)

Bird list (38 species seen and/or heard)

Little Grebe Mallard Mistle Thrush
Great Crested Grebe Tufted Duck Cetti’s Warbler
Cormorant Water Rail Blackcap
Little Egret Moorhen Long-tailed Tit
Great Egret Coot Blue Tit
Grey Heron Lapwing Great Tit
Mute Swan Snipe Jay
Greylag Goose Black-headed Gull Magpie
Canada Goose Lesser Black-backed Gull Carrion Crow
Egyptian Goose Woodpigeon Chaffinch
Wigeon Kingfisher Goldfinch
Gadwall Wren Reed Bunting
Teal Robin  
A body of green water, with a  swan in it and a church in the background

Church view, Attenborough

a robin sat on a branch in a tree or bush

Robin by Martyn Grandy

A swan on a body of water

Mute Swan by Martin Grandy

Picture of Water Rail amongst branches

Water Rail by Chris Byrne

Picture of Water Rail amongst branches

Water Rail by Martin Grandy

 

Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to RSPB Old Moor – Saturday 16 September 2023, 09.30 to 13.30

Summary
After a rather wet visit to this RSPB reserve in October last year, it was good to have a dry day, if somewhat cloudy. The site is mainly grassland and shallow lagoons but there are also some young wooded areas. Again we saw three Spoonbill and it was good to have Little and Great Egret close together for comparison.
We had a Marsh Harrier jumping around in the grassland beyond the main lagoon before taking off into the longer grass and reeds. Both Common and Green Sandpiper were present, with the Green unmistakable as it flew off to our left. All-in-all, we had a good day’s birding, making good use of the available hides, as well as the café at the end of our stay. For most of the birds our binoculars gave us good enough views but we were also grateful for members’ scopes for those further away.

Members participating: 7

Bird list (44 species seen and/or heard)

Little Grebe Shoveler Feral Pigeon
Cormorant Marsh Harrier Woodpigeon
Little Egret Kestrel House Martin
Great Egret Pheasant Pied Wagtail
Grey Heron Moorhen Robin
Spoonbill Coot Chiffchaff
Mute Swan Ringed Plover Goldcrest
Greylag Goose Lapwing Long-tailed Tit
Canada Goose Dunlin Blue tit
Egyptian Goose Ruff Great Tit
Shelduck Green Sandpiper Magpie
Wigeon Common Sandpiper Jackdaw
Gadwall Black-headed Gull Carrion Crow
Teal Lesser Black-backed Gull Starling
Mallard Stock Dove  

Photos

Egyptian Goose by Theo Lindebaum

Grey Heron by Martyn Grandy

Green Sandpiper by Theo Lindenbaum

Great White and Little Egrets by Theo Lindenbaum

Canada Geese and various waders by Martyn Grandy

 

Dorothy Evans

It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of our former indoor meetings organiser Dorothy Evans. Over the years Dorothy has taken on many roles within our committee, her tremendous support will be greatly missed. We send our sincerest condolences to her family, not least to her grandson David who continues to give us his help hosting and updating this website. Alongside her unstinting involvement with Bakewell Bird Study Group she had also been treasurer of the Mid Derbyshire Badger Group, and was a founder member and some years earlier a committee member of Carsington Bird Club.

Her funeral will be held at 11.10am on Wednesday 27th September at Chesterfield Crematorium.

Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Lathkill Dale – Thursday 1st June 2023, 9.30 to 13.15

People walking through a valleySummary

It was a rather chilly June morning as we entered the Dale from the top end.  There was plenty of birdsong to greet us but not as many birds to see as we had hoped.  A few members were trying out a phone app to identify which birds were singing.  Accuracy of the app was difficult to prove as not many of the birds we saw were singing or calling!

Hare on the rocks

While still in the upper part of the Dale we saw a Red Kite overhead and later a Buzzard and a hovering Kestrel.  In addition to the birds, we had good views of a Brown Hare and enjoyed the colourful patches of Jacob’s Ladder and a few remaining Purple Orchid.

Members participating:    16

Bird list (20 species seen and/or heard)

Mallard Great Spotted Woodpecker Chiffchaff
Red Kite Grey Wagtail Treecreeper
Buzzard Wren Magpie
Kestrel Robin Jackdaw
Coot Redstart Carrion Crow
Black-headed Gull Blackbird Chaffinch
Woodpigeon Whitethroat

 

 

Bakewell Bird Study Group visit to Carsington – May 4th 2023

On arrival we were treated to a marvellous display of hirundines – swallows, house martins and even a few sand martins – over the field in front of the car park.  Many of us were then treated to a garden warbler singing in the wood even before leaving the car park. The reservoir was full to the brim so little to be seen from the hides apart from great crested grebes and the ever reliable great northern diver.  A noisy pair of oystercatchers added to the list and a male reed bunting just as we were leaving. Songbirds were in good form so a good chance to brush up on song thrush, blackbird and the warblers.  A sedge warbler was heard (with help from ‘Merlin’) and seen near the wildlife centre, a first for some, and a bullfinch was a nice spot in the top of the waving branches.  11 members enjoyed a fine warm day.

45 species  seen/heard

 

Canada Goose Buzzard Coal Tit Bullfinch
Greylag goose Coot Long Tailed Tit Siskin
Mute swan Moorhen Magpie Blackbird
Mute swan Oystercatcher Jay Song Thrush
Mallard Lapwing Carrion Crow Mistle Thrush
Tufted duck Swallow Jackdaw Robin
Gadwall House Martin Wood Pigeon Dunnock
Cormorant Sand Martin Black Headed Gull Wren
Great Crested Grebe Blue Tit Chaffinch Chiff Chaff
Great Northern Diver Great Tit Goldfinch Willow Warbler
Black Headed Gull Blackcap Garden Warbler Sedge Warbler
Pheasant