Welcome to the Carsington Bird Club website, containing information about the club, Carsington Water, latest bird sightings and much more!


 Posted by on September 28, 2020  Carsington Bird Club  Comments Off on CBC TALK – OCTOBER 20TH: WE’RE VIRTUALLY IN MONGOLIA!
Sep 282020
Dear fellow CBC member – the ‘rule of six’ restriction has unfortunately put paid to our plans for group events for the time being.  However, we can all still enjoy wildlife talks and fantastic photos courtesy of Zoom meetings.
Our joint meeting with DOS was planned to welcome Brian Shaw to Carsington, but Brian would prefer to postpone and deliver his talk face-to-face.  DOS has, however, managed to obtain another excellent speaker – Tony Davison (who we know well from previous talks) – to tell us about his experiences earlier this year on a trip to Mongolia.
Tony’s obsession with Snow Leopards had led to two trips to this remote corner of the world; the first failed to result in a sighting, and the second was timed for March 2020 – the date when Covid-19 first raised its head on a global scale – and his mission this time proved to be more adventurous than he anticipated on a number of levels.
If you want to find out how it all turned out for him, join us on your computer, laptop or tablet for Tony’s presentation on Zoom at 7.30 on 20th October.  To do so, please visit the DOS website, click on the “information” tab, then “meetings and trips” (https://www.derbyshireos.org.uk/meetingsandtrips.php) and scroll down to the Tony Davison meeting.  There you can buy a FREE ticket from Eventbrite, an online booking facilitator that makes the whole process easier for us.  Tickets are ‘on sale’ from 1st October.
The booking process is described in detail on this page of the DOS site, along with Zoom protocols for such online meetings.  If this all sounds complicated, don’t worry, it isn’t.  Have computer (or tablet), will travel – even to Mongolia.  Hope you can join us, virtually, on the 20th.
Back to our overall programme of events, even if we continue to be unable to meet in the coming months, we hope to be able to stage a few more Zoom presentations during our ‘indoor’ season – depending on which of our planned speakers are ‘Zoom-able’ and assuming we’re able to accommodate Zoom technology under our own steam.  Watch this space!
We also hope to be able to stage REAL trips to good birding locations, because we are able to spread our presence in a large outdoor space much more easily than indoors and we tend not to move around as one single group (we often don’t get more than half-a-dozen people attending trips, anyway).  Again, watch this space.
Hope you can make it.
Gary Atkins


 Posted by on September 16, 2020  Carsington Bird Club  Comments Off on “ALL-DAY WATCH” AT CARSINGTON – 7th SEPTEMBER 2020
Sep 162020

In 2019 some of the regular Carsington birders had the idea of spending a whole day – well, dawn to dusk – at the site just to see what we might spot.  On 21 May we recorded 81 species and the same number again on 10 September. For obvious reasons we were unable to repeat the spring ‘big sit’ this year but we have just repeated the exercise, with at least one observer present from 05:45 to 20:00, and with five observers for part of the day – for the record, they were Roger Carrington, Alan Stewardson, Neil Moulden, Andy Butler and myself.

The first areas that we covered were Hopton reedbed and Brown Ale Bay, which yielded Hobby, Reed Warbler and five Tawny Owls but disappointingly few wildfowl.  At Millfields, three Yellow Wagtails were among the Pieds on the dam wall, a Kingfisher put in an appearance, while fly-over Crossbill and Siskins were useful additions.  

With the total at 60, I joined Roger on Stones island, Neil arriving shortly afterwards and promptly finding a Common Scoter out on the water, while Andy had walked the dam wall and seen single Wheatear and Skylark.  The weather went a little bit downhill at this point, with low cloud and heavy drizzle, but the total nonetheless soon rose to 73.

New birds kept appearing and a pair of Shelduck spotted by Neil took us to 76, while two Red Kites that appeared took us beyond last year’s total, still with much of the day remaining.  Just after midday the probable highlight of the day, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, flew the length of the reservoir and took the growing tally to 85 species.

At least one of us remained on Stones island at all times while others checked other areas of the reservoir, and constant scanning and listening yielded Swift, a single flying Red-crested Pochard, a Willow Warbler, a surprise flock of four Lesser Redpoll that dropped into Wildlife Centre creek and then, to take us to the 90 mark, a distant Pheasant – something of an anticlimax to reach that milestone but hey, birders can’t be choosers!

It was inevitable that further additions would be slow to come, but a Common Gull appeared in the early evening, the only one of the day.  Just two of us remained to watch dusk fall and count the incoming Lesser Black-backed Gulls (2,300 in total by the time we left).  

But finally, just as we were about to finish for the day, a Great White Egret flew over Stones island and headed north-east across the reservoir.  


Great White Egret – library image

This was certainly a quality end to a very enjoyable day – and hoisted our day’s total species list to 92.

Simon Roddis


 Posted by on September 15, 2020  Carsington Bird Club  Comments Off on LATEST NEWS !!
Sep 152020
Carsington Water reopened to the public on Wednesday, 3rd June – although there are some restrictions to be aware of when visiting.   The car parks are open, but for the time being the bird hides remain locked. 
For the latest news and situation for the facilities at the Visitor Centre, please check the STW “Carsington Water” web pages – HERE
And remember, social distancing ‘rules’ should be observed throughout the site.
For those with annual parking permits, they will be automatically extended by 71 days – the period the site has been closed.

Future meetings to be arranged

Cancelled Events

 Posted by on September 9, 2020  Carsington Bird Club  Comments Off on Cancelled Events
Sep 092020
Dear fellow CBC member — it is with huge regret that we must cancel our previously advertised events this month as a result of the government’s latest rule change, reducing the size of public assemblies (inside or out) from 30 to 6.  This effectively means we can stage no indoor meetings at the Carsington Visitor Centre or club trips until further notice.  This is a great shame as we had negotiated to hold indoor meetings in the New Leaf restaurant, a huge space compared to the Henmore Room that would have given us ample scope for social distancing.  As well as Ian Newton’s originally-scheduled talk on the 15th, we will also have to cancel (or hopefully postpone) our trip to Old Moor on the 20th.
We will update you on any changes in this status (an occasional check on the website is advisable) – either to confirm further cancellations in the coming months or, more hopefully, to inform of any resumption in events as and when things change for the better.
All the best … and keep on birding.

No 3 / August 2020

 Posted by on August 22, 2020  Carsington Bird Club, CBC Newsletters  Comments Off on No 3 / August 2020
Aug 222020


There’s a bit more to smile about since the last newsletter in May, firstly with the reopening of Carsington Water to visitors in early June (albeit with restrictions), and along with that the resumption of bird recording by our faithful band of observers – though we do also remain indebted to John Matkin and his team of Severn Trent rangers who kept a note (reported in the last newsletter) of what they were seeing during their guardianship of the reservoir during the early stages the Covid clamp-down, between March and May.

A number of the site’s facilities are also now up and running; including the restaurant and snack outlets for those planning to make a day of it cycling, walking or, indeed, birding around the reservoir.  The Wildlife Centre has reopened, complete with knowledgeable volunteers on certain days, although anyone wanting to visit there must wear a face mask and follow a one-way system for the time being.  A few of the activities are also resuming, including the Birdwatching for Beginners walks (just as much fun for non-beginners!), which are led by STW volunteers but I usually pop along to help out.  The first of these should be on 6 September.

Best of all, we are proposing a resumption of some of our own regular club activities, including the autumn/winter indoor meetings programme … though, importantly, we have negotiated a change of venue as the Henmore Room was deemed much too small and constricted to accommodate the typically-sized audience in comfort bearing in mind current Covid regulations.

Instead, we have negotiated with New Leaf Catering to use the site’s restaurant; this relatively huge space – with its high ceiling and airy environment – will offer an area that meets and beats the current Covid regulations (even with just one person or a couple at each of the well-spaced tables or fixed-point booths).  We are not planning to serve drinks and biscuits, so we suggest attendees bring their own refreshments; bring along face masks, too, if you wish.  The first meeting is on 15 September (see ‘dates’ panel below for details).

We also plan to hold an autumn club trip to old favourite Old Moor, the RSPB’s South Yorkshire reserve that invariably yields a good array of birds, and the odd surprise, particularly during migration.  Toilets and some hides at this reserve will be open, so we should enjoy a productive day – that day being 20 September.  Come along if you can; and please let Chris Lamb know if you intend to do so.

Gary Atkins



Below are the dates of upcoming events; all indoor meetings begin at 7.30pm:

** TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15 ** – Talk: We have Ian Newton travelling north from his home patch to tell us about the wildlife highlights of Lesvos, the Greek island that is a true birding haven.

** SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 ** – Outing: After a 12-month absence, club trips resume with a short journey to the RSPB reserve at Old Moor, generally an excellent site with a good range of birds and the occasional surprise.  Meet 10am and bring own refreshments.  If you intend to come along, please inform Chris Lamb (phone 01629 820890 or by e-mail at cflamb@yahoo.co.uk).

** TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20 ** – Talk: Our annual joint meeting with DOS will feature a fascinating talk by on the creation and maintenance of a private wildlife sanctuary, along with some of the delightful creatures he has attracted there.

** TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17 ** – Talk: Nigel Slater returns to describe his visits to the Scilly Isles and show us some of fabulous wildlife he has encountered during island-hopping sorties.


When Carsington’s car parks reopened to the general public in early June, the wildlife might have been expected to keep a low profile having roamed the site pretty much unseen and unhindered for over two months, but not so. 

As the hoards of cyclists and walkers quickly resumed their massed perambulations of the reservoir (on good weather days, at least), so did the regular recording by CBC’s dedicated band of observers, and what they experienced were two record-breaking months in June and July, and a healthy start to August.

Both of the new records topped the 100 mark and, while there were no more Spoonbills (one of numerous species recorded by Severn Trent staff during the lockdown), a Great White Egret was seen in July and there were plenty of Little Egret records, showing the continuing drift northwards of these attractive white herons.  Meanwhile, Grey Herons logged another landmark when a pair raised young for the first time at the Carsington site (see separate article on next page).

Two summer plumage Black-necked Grebes were rather a surprise on 7 July, joining briefly a healthy flotilla of up to 55 Great-crested and 22 Little Grebes.  By August, the slow build towards the usual autumn influx of wildfowl was underway, with 107 Teal, 218 Tufted Ducks, 183 Mallard and 557 Coot counted, and much smaller numbers of Shoveler, Pochard and Wigeon.  Eleven Common Scoter viewed on two dates in July was another duck highlight.

On the water’s edge, waders were well represented during mid and late summer with single Avocets seen on 10 and 19 June, Whimbrel noted on five dates across July and August and Common Sandpiper seen in various quantities each month.  Black-tailed Godwits showed up on several dates in June and July, when Sanderlings were also recorded, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers popped in fairly regularly, while a Greenshank called in on 12 June, two Turnstones on 30 July and a single Green Sandpiper was logged in both July and August.

It’s been a relatively quiet time for gulls, the main highlight being a trickle of single Mediterranean Gulls through and two on 16 July, two Yellow-legs on several dates, and a Caspian type 3rd year specimen in August.  The maximum number of Lesser Black-backs was 375 during this period, with similar numbers of Black-headed Gulls around – including a sizeable proportion of young birds of which 300 had been counted on Millfields Island in June.

Other breeding was mixed as 12 Mallard, 11 Great-crested Grebe and 10 Canada Goose broods represented the most successful breeding species until mid-August, though eight Greylag Goose and Coot, five Little Grebe, four Moorhen, Gadwall and Tufted Duck and single Barnacle Goose families were also being raised.

There had been signs of Oystercatcher, Redshank, Lapwing and Little Ringed Plover broods, too, but in the final event these species seemed to have failed.  The cause was thought most likely to be predation by corvids or gulls.

Red Kites seem to be an increasingly regular sight in the vicinity of Carsington, with several records over the summer, while Ospreys called in on two dates in June and another in July.  A Hobby was around on 20 June, two more were seen on 2 August, and one individual was speeding through on the 17th.  Other raptor sightings centred mostly on the more common Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk, though Peregrines also showed up on several dates, including two young birds on one day when they chased Lapwings (catching but then losing one which wisely dropped into a bush!) then each other.

Away from the water, passerine species have been busy breeding, too, and as many as 10 Spotted Flycatchers were counted in late July, and up to 40+ Chiffchaffs, 17 Blackcaps and single figure numbers of Willow, Garden, Sedge and Reed Warblers have been recorded daily, along with nine Redstarts, including young, that are often viewed in fields fringing Wildlife Centre creek.  Earlier, the haunting reeling call of a site-scarce Grasshopper Warbler was heard on 21 June.

Another scarce visitor to the site is Green Woodpecker, but one of these attractive birds was encountered on dates in June and August.  Tree Pipit was noted on three dates in July and another in August, as many as 60 Pied Wagtails have been seen at one time, along with five Grey Wagtails on several dates and three Yellow Wagtails were around on 14 July.

Hirundines have been evident in some profusion over the summer, as up to 100 House Martins were skimming the water in early June, more than 200 Sand Martins were counted a month later, and 200 Swallows were observed on 4 August.  A healthy number of 105 Swifts were also recorded moving through on 26 July.

Twenty-two Ravens seen on 10 July was a highly impressive sight, and the occasional visits of Crossbills – often heard rather than seen – continued with a maximum of four logged on 14 July.



A particular 2020 Carsington “first”, now firmly proven, had begun with some random observations before and during the Covid alert that restricted access to the site for over two months.  As time went on, however, the evidence grew that Grey Herons were nesting and raising a brood for the first time on site. 

While not on the immediately accessible circuit around the reservoir, the secretive herons chose to build their nest in a tree on Severn Trent land only about 50 metres or so from the main path though largely obscured from general view.  The first hint that something was afoot came in early February when a heron was seen carrying a stick, and the observer (one of the club’s regular recorders) wondered if this could indicate nest building.

On closer inspection of the area ten days later, herons were observed on the nest and, the following day, one was viewed laying flat on the nest.  Did this indicate the parent was incubating eggs?  A week later a single heron was once again seen sitting, then three weeks later, during the second week of March, the club’s observer returned and – though good views were limited – he believed there to be young in the nest.

The site then closed and travel was not permissible, but by early April Severn Trent staff (having been tipped off about the earlier sightings), who remained working on site throughout the initial lockdown, visited the location and confirmed that there were three young herons in the nest.  Twelve days later, they returned and found that the youngsters had fledged. 

So, even Covid could not prevent nature continuing to do its thing – nor allow the story to be told by meticulous observation, interpretation and communication through the joint efforts of CBC and STW personnel.



KNOW YOUR COMMITTEE – Here are the club officials and their contact details……..





Committee Post



Email Address


Peter Fletcher

01332 383682


Treasurer / Membership

John Follett

01332 834778



Clive Ashton


01629 823316




Publications / Indoor Meetings

Gary Atkins

01335 370773



Events co-ordinator

Chris Lamb

01629 820890



Roger Carrington

01629 583816


…..and the website address   –   http://www.carsingtonbirdclub.co.uk


Richard Pittam


Contact Richard via the website

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