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’s New Season

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.

National Swift Awareness Week – 22nd – 30th June 2019

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.)


Nick Brown

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


Bakewell Bird Study Group’s New Season 2018/19

Many of our birds will have had a difficult time this summer, especially those newly fledged youngsters, coping with the record breaking temperatures and dry conditions we have all been experiencing. Only time will tell what effect it has had on them. It is good that a great many of us feed the birds in our gardens, helpfully putting out both food and water.

Are there times you wish you could identify some of the less common birds that visit or when hearing one singing hidden from view amongst foliage have wished you could tell what it is from its song? The Blackcap shown in our photograph is one of those birds that is often heard but not often identified. Or maybe you regularly walk in the countryside observing the birds as you go and can identify most of them, or are already a seasoned birder.

Whatever the depth of your knowledge Bakewell Bird Study Group is sure to have something in their programme to interest you.

On the second Monday evening of each month from September through April members and interested visitors meet at the Friends Meeting House off Matlock Street in Bakewell for presentations on bird related subjects. These are given by invited individuals, experts in their fields, accompanied by beautiful photography.
Walks and trips are organised throughout the year to interesting locations, sometimes coastal, where the more experienced members will assist with identification of both birds and birdsong.

Our autumn programme of meetings commences at 7.30 on Monday September 10th with Nigel Slater giving a talk on Bird Migration. Nigel gave us a very entertaining and informative talk in 2017 and he is back by public demand. He will explain how birds know where they are going when they haven’t been there before and how they find their way. He looks at record breakers and the recent developments in technology which allow individual birds to be monitored continuously even when in Africa. Not to be missed!

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 outdoor walks. Alternatively it’s £3.00 on the door for non-members. Meetings are listed in the Peak Advertiser and at Bakewell Tourist Information Office or visit the BBSG web site at or call 07768 928432.