of Field Trips and Reports from 1 January 2010
to 31 December 2010
2. Changes to prearranged dates or abnormal dates are shown in
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
1. The CAR SHARE trips meet at the reserve at 1000.
Offers of car shares appreciated and requests for lifts - arrange
1. 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.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
TRIP NEWS UP DATE 17/06/10.
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
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.
TRIPS PROGRAMME 2010
Carr (Car Share)
of the site at:-
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.
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
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.
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
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
George Pardy stocking up on calories!
Water Rail and Moorhen from Willow Pool Hide
(by Paul Goodwin
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
this put off our intrepid birders? Will this report end suddenly
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
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.
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.
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
of the site at:- http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/reserves/whisby/index.php
of the site at:- http://www.warwickshire-wildlife-trust.org.uk/Brandon/brandon.htm
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.
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
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!
16th - Sunday 18th
Weekend - Aberystwyth
of the sites at:-
Lake Vyrnwy http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/l/lakevyrnwy/index.asp
Nant y Arian
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.
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!!
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
the 60 species seen throughout the day, were
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
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.
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
Head and RSPB Bempton Cliffs
of the sites at:-
Flamborough Head - query with Google.
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!
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.
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.
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
of the site at:-http://www.lincstrust.org.uk/reserves/gib
TRIP NEWS UPDATE" above for bookings details for this trip.
22nd - Sunday 24th
Weekend - Dumfries
of the sites at:-
RSPB Mersehead http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/mereshead/index.asp
of the site at:- http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/f/framptonmarsh/index.asp
of the site at:-
created by Tina
as part of the n project