The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: 
England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654


Programme of Field Trips and Reports from 1 January 2010
to 31 December 2010

Most Field Trips are on Sundays and depart at 0800 from Paternoster Row by coach. The Sunday car share trip to Potteric Carr on 17 January 2010, meet at the reserve field centre at 0900.  

 1. The CAR SHARE trips meet at the reserve at 1000. Offers of car shares appreciated and requests for lifts - arrange through Paul.
  2. Changes to prearranged dates or abnormal dates are shown in RED.


For those of the membership yet to experience a field trip, can I extend an invitation to come along and join the regulars. But please be aware that you should be suitably equipped for the field trip. Stout boots, hat, gloves, warm and waterproof clothing are all advisable, because no matter how much I pray for good weather, they will be needed when the weather turns for the worse. Some reserves we visit have restricted Café facilities, so a packed lunch and a hot drink would also be advisable.

Seats on Field trips are bookable, accompanied by the fare, at any indoor meeting or by contacting Paul Goodwin 0114 201 7089, at 132 Swanbourne Road, Sheffield S5 7TQ or by e-mail -

     I would be grateful if members using cheques to pay for field trips, or weekend trips, would make cheques out to; “Sheffield RSPB Local Group”, rather than to myself.

Reports on completed Field Trips are now shown on this page.


     I will be taking bookings, as usual, for the trip to Gibraltar Point, on the 26th September, at the September Indoor Meeting. In an attempt to make the trip to this popular reserve even more attractive, the reserve entry charge will be included in the overall cost of the trip, which will again be £13.00. I hope this will go some way to attracting another high turnout.   

      The trip will run from Monday 9th May to Friday 13th May, visiting the Kent area, and staying in Hotel accommodation in Canterbury. Reserves that are ear marked for visiting are; Hanningfield Reservoir, Stodmarsh, Elmley Marsh, Dungeness, and Rainham Marsh.      
    Interest in the trip to Kent in 2011 is already running high, especially with regards to Single Rooms, which could be filled 3 times over. With this in mind, the allocation of single rooms will be made via a “Names out of a Hat” draw, rather than the usual first come first served basis. I feel with the high interest, this will be the fairest way of allocating the single rooms. More details will be released at the September indoor meeting.




Sunday 17th Potteric Carr (Car Share)
Details of the site at:-
     Following the recent blasts of winter, the weather behaved better on Sunday 17th January, for the annual curtain raiser to the 2010 field trip programme. On an overcast, dry, cold day, 14 hardy souls turned out, hoping to get their New Year's list off to a flying start.
     A quick stop off at the nearby Lakeside produced good sightings of Grey Partridge, Little and Great Crested Grebe, and large numbers of Canada Geese and Cormorant. Lakeside also produced what the majority of Potteric’s pools could not, namely unfrozen water!
     With much of Potteric frozen up, it was left to the Huxter Well Marsh to produce freestanding water, with good views of Common Gull, Teal, Shoveller, and Lapwing. Elsewhere on the reserve, patience was the name of the game at Piper Marsh hide, not only for sightings of Bittern, but also getting the photographers to move on!! Sightings of the Bittern were far more forthcoming than getting the photo crazed mob to move, with the entire group getting a glimpse, at least, of a Bittern.
     The story was the same at the Willow Marsh hide, with space at a premium, due to some ridiculously large lenses taking up room. Then when the Water Rail did put in an appearance, there followed an almighty dash to try and get even closer to the bird, just how close do photographers want to get that close up shot????
     Despite the lenses a good day was had, with the tick list eventually including Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Siskin, Redpoll, and both Green and Great Spot Woodpecker. Not a bad start to the year, now onto Whisby, in Lincolnshire, to keep the list ticking along.

George Pardy stocking up on calories!

Water Rail and Moorhen from Willow Pool Hide 
(by Paul Goodwin
Sunday 21st Whisby Nature Park  
      It is incredible just how much a landscape can change within a short period of time, as the morning of the Whisby trip proved. Up early, and eager, for the short trip to Lincoln, the slight dusting of snow outside didn’t look threatening at all! How wrong can you be!! In just over 60 minutes the slight dusting quickly turned into about 3 inches of snow, and still it was falling!
     Did this put off our intrepid birders? Will this report end suddenly here. Of course not, the Sheffield Local Group members are made of sterner stuff, and will not be put off by the odd inch or two of snow. And so 21 brave souls followed the tramlines in the snow all the way to Whisby, even seeing the odd gritting lorry on route.
     On arrival at Whisby, the snow had stopped, leaving just a couple of inches on the ground, no problem! Not even the warden’s comment of; “you should have been here yesterday, it was like a summer’s day” could dampen the spirits.
     The day was not a disaster, with the weather, if not warming up, becoming brighter, with the odd peek of Blue Sky, and even the sun! The group members were rewarded with a very respectable number of 55 species, this, with most of the water frozen, was a very good return for the day. Where water was free of ice there were large numbers of Goldeneye, Pochard, Gadwall, and Greylag Geese, showing well. While in the wooded areas, good views were seen of Bullfinch, Siskin, Fieldfare, Redwing, and both Green and Great Spotted, Woodpeckers.
     Here’s hoping for a snow free day for our next field trip, on the 28th March, when we visit Brandon Marsh, near Coventry.

White-out at Whisby
Details of the site at:-
Sunday 28th Brandon Marsh
Details of the site at:-

          A coach party of 28 made the relatively short journey to the Brandon Marsh reserve, just outside Coventry. For those of you still to visit Brandon, don’t leave it too late, this is a little gem of a reserve, not too big and not too strenuous. Gone were the snows of the group’s last outing at Whisby, the day proved to be very good weather wise.
          Despite several reports of Bittern being seen on a daily basis, this was one bird that proved elusive for the group on this visit. What were seen, in large numbers, were Buzzards, using the warmer temperatures to soar over the reserve. There were also signs that the winter troubles were being left behind, with several sightings of summer visitors. Large numbers of Sand Martins, with the odd House Martin, were seen flying overhead. While good views were had of Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, and Swallow. Even the normally hard to see Cetti’s Warbler, was not only heard, but spotted out in the open. In total  63 species were seen by the group, which also included; Great Spotted, and Green, Woodpecker, Redpoll, Nuthatch, and Kingfisher.
         All in all another good day for the group, on, what to me, is a reserve well worth the visit. The only down side to the trip was the delay in getting back to Sheffield. Due to a precarious pylon next to the M1, forcing its closure, the coach didn’t land back in Sheffield until 9.00pm! 

Friday 16th - Sunday 18th Wales Weekend - Aberystwyth
Details of the sites at:-
Lake Vyrnwy
Bwlch Nant y Arian   
16th April Lake Vyrnwy.
     Having seen the weather reports for the weekend ahead, our group of 37 birders left Sheffield with high hopes for what lay in store on the Wales weekend. Despite some nifty navigating by our driver, the group didn’t arrive at Lake Vyrnwy until noon, largely due to approach roads to the Lake being too coach friendly. No sooner had we all got off the coach than we were back on it, heading for the top end of the Lake, where most bird sightings had been made. The Lake certainly took me by surprise, not visiting it before, I just hadn’t anticipated its size. The Lake can be walked all the way round, for those hardy enough, but arriving when we did, meant this was not possible, without a good steady pace.
        The scenery and setting of the RSPB reserve were absolutely breathtaking, improved further by the clear bright weather. The group stayed until 5.00pm, by which time a total of 33 species had been seen. The birds weren’t making things easy, and the group really had to work for their ticks. Birds that were seen included; Buzzard, Peregrine, Redstart, Tree Pipit, Siskin, Treecreeper and Raven. Away from the birds some of the group were lucky enough to have good views on the lake of an Otter.

17th April Ynys-hir
           The base camp for the weekend was the Marine Hotel in Aberystwyth, about 30 minutes away from the Ynys-hir reserve. This meant the group could devote more time and effort in exploring this absolute cracker of a reserve, for me this reserve is a must to visit. This was very nearly not the case, however, as the tight approach road to the reserve almost proved to be impassable. Our coach driver, Alan, deserved praise of the highest order, in not only getting into, but also, out of the reserve. What an excellent display of manoeuvring a coach, well done that man!!

            Once in the reserve, boy what a day! Once again prayers were answered, with temperatures rising after a cool start, and the day was as clear and bright as could be hoped for. Where do we start, on a day that saw the tick list peak at 62. The wooded area just behind the reserve centre was most people’s start point, and what a start point! Blackcap, Willow Warbler, and Chiffchaff all competing and singing away in the tops of the trees, joined by Great Spotted Woodpecker, many Nuthatch, and don’t forget the tiny Goldcrest. But even these sightings were bettered by Pied Flycatcher, and Redstart, who once we got a bead on them, practically shone in the sun, magnificent!
             More evidence of summer’s arrival was made, when some of the group were lucky enough to hear Cuckoo, but were unable to make a sighting. Sightings of Brimstone and Peacock butterflies grew more and more frequent as the day wore on. While on the wood floor the odd Bluebell was to be seen amongst Primrose and Wood Sorrel, enjoying what sun they could get.
              Away from the woods, the reserve gave us sightings of the group’s first Red Kite for the weekend, joined by Grasshopper Warbler, Common Sandpiper, Red-breasted Merganser, Stonechat, and Skylark. The large number of Canada Geese on the reserve, seemed to be on the up, with several Geese seen guarding eggs on the nest.
              There’s the saying, “doesn’t time fly when your having fun”, well that certainly applied to the wonderful day spent at Ynys-hir. Although the group left later than usual, the day just didn’t seem long enough before we were on our way back to the hotel. That’s the second time I’ve visited Ynys-hir, never have I been disappointed, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Just be careful though, if you are travelling by coach!!!  

Exhausted after a good days birding!

18th April Bwlch Nant Yr Arian
                 The group left the Marine Hotel, more of which later, on another clear, bright, and sunny day, for the short drive to Bwlch Nant Yr Arian. This isn’t a bird reserve, more an adventure playground run by the Forestry Commission, appealing to Walkers. Mountain Bikers, Orienteerers, and, dare I say, Moto-Cross Bikers. But having said all that, and probably putting some people off, it proved to be another enjoyable day. Someone at the Forestry Commission had obviously planned the lay-out here very well indeed. With dedicated footpaths for the differing bodies visiting the centre, keeping each away from another. On arrival, we saw 6-7 Moto-Cross bikers gearing up for the day, and feared the worst. But once they had set off we neither saw, nor heard, them again for the rest of the day.
                   For us birders, and walkers, there are a series of paths around the centre, all differing in difficulty; most of our group chose the severe Red route. We were rewarded with breathtaking Welsh scenery, accentuated in the sunny weather. Like Lake Vyrnwy, we were again made to work for our ticks, managing to catch good sightings of; Raven, Linnet, Siskin, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Lapwing, and Wheatear.
                  What Bwlch Nant Yr Arian does very well, daily at 3.00pm, is to feed the birds, and one bird in particular; the Red Kite. By 1.00pm you could see the odd Red Kite circling overhead, by 2.00pm this number had risen to probably 50 waiting for the man with the bucket. Come 3.00pm all there seemed to be in the air were Red Kites, there must have been close to 150, all hoping for a titbit from the bucket, an incredible sight and end to the weekend.
Waiting for the Red Kite feeding
                 I’m almost done; I can’t leave without mentioning the Marine Hotel, our base camp in Aberystwyth. The Hotel may have had its rough edges, but boy could they feed you, especially those who returned for a second helping, mentioning no names!! The breakfast truly set you up for the day, why can’t bacon always be cut a quarter of an inch thick? Breakfast was followed by Saturday’s evening meal, which was once again bountiful, and most enjoyable.
                The Hotel is right by the sea front, which turned up some excellent views of Sanderling, Turnstone, Common Gull, Oystercatcher, and Common Tern. On the morning of the group’s departure, on a flat calm sea, we were treated to excellent views of not only a Seal, playing with its catch, but, right before departure, a group of 3 Porpoise travelling across the bay. What an end to our stay!

Sunday 23rd RSPB Saltholme
Details of the site at:-


     A nuclear power station, 2 large refuse tips, an asbestos-contaminated French aircraft carrier, the "Clemenceau", being slowly broken up, and countless chemical works, are just a few of the delights on offer if you take a 360 degree sweep of the horizon at TS2 1TT in Middlesbrough. Not the most glorious location our field trips have visited, but 29 birders did, to see what one of the RSPB’s latest reserves had to offer.
     Unlike the landscape, the new Saltholme Reserve was a lot more pleasing on the eye, and with the weather once again behaving, the group arrived with high expectations. After an introductory talk from our guide for the day, we were soon let loose on the new £7 million reserve, and it didn’t disappoint.
     Amongst the 60 species seen throughout the day, were good sightings of Marsh Harrier, Common Tern, Sand Martin, both Little-ringed, and Ringed Plover and Whitethroat. There were good signs of a successful breeding season on the reserve, with Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Canada Goose, and Grey Lag Goose all seen with young fledglings in tow.  But the bird of the day award had to go to the Yellow Wagtail, a wonderful sighting, made all the more better in the bright sunshine.
     Away from the birds, some of the group were rewarded with good sightings of a young Fox, several Great Crested Newts in the smaller ponds, and a wonderful display, albeit a little late, of boxing from 3 Brown Hares. A quick visit, before returning home, to a smaller Nature Reserve, just up the road from Saltholme, was rewarded with sightings of Avocet, with young, and several Common Grey Seals.
     From the day spent at Saltholme it was clear the £7 million was money well spent, with the reserve, and its staff, providing an excellent days bird watching, a reserve well worth the visit. It was also good to see several new faces on the field trip, hope we see them again!

A bright sunny day at Saltholme
Sunday 13th Flamborough Head and RSPB Bempton Cliffs
Details of the sites at:-
Flamborough Head - query with Google.
Bempton Cliffs

     What a marvellous trip, not just because of the birds on display, nor the fact that we managed to avoid any torrential down pours. This popular RSPB reserve managed to attract the group’s largest attendance, for a trip, for a long while. The coach left Sheffield, with a 40 strong group, with several new faces amongst the usual suspects, just what the Organiser wished for!

On the whole the weather did behave itself, most of the day, and could have been a lot worse on a reserve where shelter is almost none existent. Our brief stay at Flamborough produced good sightings of Yellowhammer, Whitethroat, and Skylark, but no sign of the recently seen Brown-Browed Albatross.

Onto Bempton, and the expected collection of sea birds, by the dozen. The cliffs were once again packed with Kittiwake, Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet, and Puffin, all amazingly clinging to the cliffs, and many sharing the ledges with this year’s youngsters. Away from the cliffs the group were rewarded with good sightings of Barn Owl, Yellow Wagtail, Corn Bunting, Linnet, and Tree Sparrows. In all a total of 57 species were ticked off our list, on a most enjoyable day.

Thank you everyone for your attendance, especially to the new faces, I hope that you will continue to come along on our trips. One knock on effect of this support is that I was in a position to drop the cost, from £13 to £11, that’s not easy for a tight fisted Yorkshireman to give money away!!

Seabird City at Bempton

Sunday 26th Gibraltar Point
Details of the site at:-
See "FIELD TRIP NEWS UPDATE" above for bookings details for this trip.
Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th Scotland Weekend - Dumfries
Details of the sites at:-
Talkin Tarn 
RSPB Mersehead
WWT Caerlaverock   
Sunday 21st RSPB Frampton Marsh
Details of the site at:-
Sunday 12th Tophill Low
Details of the site at:-

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