Field Trips: Past & Future
The field trip reports below are for 2018 only. To see reports for previous years, select the year from the following list:
For information on forthcoming field trips, click here.
Field Trips: 2018
Rutland Water – 18th February – Report by Brian Lyon
Twenty-four Intrepid birders set off from Shirehall to Rutland Water NR for what promised to be an interesting day with Smew being the target bird for many. Arriving at approximately 10 am the first stop was to the Visitor Centre to get up to date news regarding the reserve. We quickly established that 5 Smew had been reported in the vicinity of the Plover hide, there were also reports of Scaup and Black Necked Grebe as well as possible Divers and White Wing Gulls. The party split into smaller groups with most of the groups heading towards the reported Smew, several species were seen on the walk to the first objective with Grey Wagtail, Song Thrush and Redwing making themselves known. The hedgerows on the way to the hide were intriguing with stops being required every few steps to check another sighting, with Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Dunnock being sighted as well as some of the more common Tit species. The resident Barnacle Goose flock were evident throughout the day as well as various Gulls flying over, mainly BHG.
Upon reaching the Plover hide there were a great many birds to look at with Wigeon, Coot, Pochard and Tufted Duck immediately obvious however, it was not long before 2 female Smew were sighted. Good views were achieved by all but where were the males. More time was spent searching the water with Egyptian Goose, Oystercatcher and GBBG’s being observed. The main party decided to walk to some of the other hides and find a place for lunch. Among the birds observed from the other hides were, Goldeneye, Shelduck, Shoveler and Pintail, lunch was had and we moved on to reports that Drake Smew had been observed from the Sandpiper hide. On arrival 3 Goosanders were seen as well as a solitary Redshank but no sign of the Drake Smew, a quick walk to the Dunlin hide produced a Green Woodpecker and a fly through by a Great White Egret before the Drake Smew were observed. There were a total of 7 birds eventually sighted with 3 Drakes, fantastic views of these birds were obtained by all before it was time to move on.
The walk back to the visitor centre where we could access the hides at the other part of the NR produced Red Kite and Bullfinch before a stop at the Feeder station outside the visitor centre. This station was a delight with various birds observed including, Redpoll, Siskin and Brambling as well as some of the more common birds. We then set off to our next target locations with Snipe and Mallard hides being the main aim due to the time for the coach departure rapidly approaching. These hides produced views of Teal, Curlew and Stonechat among other birds and the site of a Sparrowhawk sitting on a gate was a nice surprise. Other birds reported by other members included, little Egret, Water rail and Little Grebe. After a final attempt to wash the mud off our boots we made our way towards the coach when one of the Reserve staff ran out shouting that a Barn Owl had just flown past the Centre, despite lots of eyes, the bird was not observed by any of our party, although a strangely marked Sparrowhawk was seen
Overall an excellent day at Rutland Water NR with 58 species seen in total. More time or better planning by the birders would be needed to see all the Hides, the NR is well worth the £4 entry fee and a big thanks to Sue Brealey for organising the trip.
Colemere – 7th January – Report by Sue Brealey
On a very cold day, but dry, a small group of four, including a new member, started to arrive at Colemere for a half day walk. While waiting in the car park, Blackbird, Blue Tit Chaffinch, Great Tit, & Redwing were noted scurrying around the area, also a Kestrel hovering nearby. Once the group arrived after amount of time to see if anyone else would arrive, the walk was started to going round the lake anti-clockwise.
After going through the first gate, the group started to scan the lake. Along with the usual Canada Geese, Mallard, Coot and Black headed Gull, there were what was at first thought to be Tufted Duck, but on closer inspection the small group proved to a male with 2 female Goldeneye, looking really good in the light. The marshy area to the right, did not appear to show any other birds, and the group continued towards the wood. This appeared to be rather quite, possibly a result of the low temperatures and dog walkers. However, a Great spotted Woodpecker was spotted as well as Woodpigeon. A check of the nearby fields found nothing of note except for Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. The walk carried on through the wood, and then climbed up towards the canal, and the Yell Bridge. Again the woods were very quiet again, but going down towards the lake again a Robin was seen feeding on the ground. Further along a Song Thrush was seen. After going past the Little Mill, and in a bay, a large group of Goosander were seen, and then a group of Cormorant were seen fishing. A Grey Heron was seen on the far side of the lake.
Unfortunately for the rest of the walk proved that the number of birds around was really low. So after having enjoyed a nice walk, the group finished it and then went back home to our homes. A total of about 21.