Field Trip Reports 2024

Field Trip Reports: Ynys-Hir: Sunday,19th May 2024 (Mim & Jock Elliot-Smith)

On a sunny warm Sunday morning, 13 members met at RSPB Ynys-Hir, immediately greeted in the car park by the sounds of Cuckoo, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Chiff Chaff.   We were also welcomed by the Site Manager, Dave, who informed us that the “iconic” site species: Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler and Redstart were around and just waiting for us to find them.  We were also told that the Marian Mawr hide was closed due to refurbishment (although a screen had been put up for viewing instead), and the Domen Las hide was closed due to the close proximity of a pair of nesting Red Kites.

The first part of the day was spent walking the Saltmarsh Trail via the screen at the Marian Mawr hide, from where we were able to see a couple of pairs of Canada Geese and Mallard, together with a Lapwing and Heron.  A walk further along the Saltmarsh Trail provided good views of a number of passerines, notably Garden Warbler and Chiff Chaff in the wooded area.  Then down on the saltmarsh itself, a Sedge Warbler sat high in a shrub singing heartily and giving us all the chance to see it very clearly.  A Little Egret and Great White Egret were also sighted, as was a Red Kite at some distance across the estuary.

The sunny weather also brought out Damsel and Dragonflies, and we had close views of Azure, Red and Common Blue Damselflies, as well as Broad-bodied and Four-spotted Chasers.  A singing Willow Warbler never seemed far away.

After lunch the group walked through the Wetland and Woodland Trails, adding Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and the briefest of sightings of a Pied Flycatcher to the list.   From the Feurig Hide, Redshank, Teal and Cormorant were also added, plus the final bonus of a Marsh Harrier seen by a few members of the group from the Visitor Centre in the afternoon, bringing the final total to 44 bird species.

Not a huge number, but it didn’t really seem to matter on such a beautiful day in such a lovely reserve.  Unfortunately, Wood Warbler and Redstart were not seen, but it was good to know that they were, at least, there.

Field Trip Report: Carsington Water Sunday, 11th February 2024 (Mim & Jock Elliot-Smith)

This field trip to Carsington Water was a first for the Society.  We planned the visit to avoid other activities which take place at this popular Severn Trent reservoir situated in South Derbyshire between Ashbourne and Wirksworth.  Carsington Water is large, with a circumference of 7.5 miles.  Activities include sailing and fishing, as well as walking, running and cycling.  However the birds seem to have adjusted to all this human activity, and viewing was not a problem.

Despite a very foggy drive over to Derbyshire, reasonable visibility greeted us as we arrived at Carsington Water Visitor Centre.  Our enthusiastic group of 9 were greeted by Gary Atkins, Chair of Carsington Bird Club and also Simon one of their main recorders who was doing a WeBS count that morning.  They gave us a quick run down of what to see and where, and then Gary led us out to Stones Island, where a quick search revealed the Great Northern Diver – a long way away, but identifiable using a scope.  Other birds seen on the water included Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe (displaying), Goldeneye, and Common, Black Headed and Lesser Black Backed Gulls.  Coot were particularly numerous on the causeway, as were the ubiquitous Mallards.

Whilst moving on  to the welcome comfort of the heated Wildlife Centre hide, we were treated to a flypast by 20-30 Barnacle Geese (a feral flock), and the trees and hedges on the way revealed Blue Tits, Great Tits and a single Siskin.  From the Wildlife Centre – through inevitably misted eyepieces – a number of Pochard were seen, and the Ranger pointed out a pair of Ravens displaying at a great distance, although not actually seen by the group (and therfore not included in the count).

We drove to the Sheepwash car park and walked on to the Paul Stanley hide where another pair of Great Crested Grebe entertained us with their elaborate (but not quite complete) courting display.  More duck were seen including Goldeneye, also displaying, a quick glance of a speeding Peregrine, and a single Heron flew in to add to the list.

After a drive on to Millfield car park, publicly filled and maintained bird feeders were hosting Blue Tits, Great Tits and a bevvy of Long Tailed Tits, and we were delighted to see a couple of Tree Sparrows – a great way to round off the day – our list finally totallng 39 species (including 7 Duck species).

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