Field Trip Reports 2024

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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Page updated: 21/02/2024