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May 302023

Idle Valley NWT Reserve & Lound Gravel Pits – Sunday 28th May 2023

A little closer to home than some recent trips, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve at Idle Valley was the destination for our most recent members outing on Sunday 28th May. This is a venue we had not visited before as a group, but with a network of lakes, wetland, grassland and scrub it promised to deliver a wide variety of birds.
Meeting up in the Visitor Centre with its panoramic views overlooking one of the lakes, we were able to pick out a pair of Red-crested Pochards among the numerous Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Gadwall and Coots. Lesser Black-backed Gulls seemed to be the dominant gull species on offer, with a smaller number of Black-headed Gulls also present.
As we set off on a circular walk around the lake, the trees and bushes along the path were alive with birdsong. A male Greenfinch perched on top of a bush proved a popular sighting, and afforded very good views for those of us with cameras. Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers and Reed Warblers were all heard and in many cases seen, and even that most elusive of birds, a Cetti’s Warbler, appeared briefly flitting between bushes. Walking along the banks of the River Idle, we kept a keen eye-out for a Kingfisher, and one was eventually seen by a few members of the group as it darted between trees by the river.
After lunch we drove up to the nearby Lound Gravel Pits, a large area of lakes and scrapes to the north of the Idle Valley reserve.  Most of the water bodies held more of the same wildfowl species we had seen earlier, but Common Pochard, Wigeon, Shelduck and Shoveler were added to our list of ducks. Perhaps the most unusual, but impressive, sight was a count of over 100 Mute Swans on one of the lakes. Waders were in rather short supply though, with just a few Lapwings, Oystercatchers and a single Redshank noted.
Possibly one of the highlights of the day was not two-legged but four-legged, as a very handsome fox came out into full view for several minutes at the edge of one of the lakes, no doubt on the hunt for any eggs or chicks it could find.
An enjoyable day resulted in an impressive total of 60 species recorded by the group:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Wigeon, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Woodpigeon, Cuckoo, Swift, Moorhen, Coot, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch
Chris Lamb

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