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

Feb 132024


I’ve elevated the annual reminder about renewing annual CBC membership subscriptions – apologies to all who have already remembered to do so. 

For those that have not, we like to give a gentle nudge!  Treasurer and membership secretary John Follett will be delighted to hear from anyone wanting to renew (at the long-standing rates of £7.50 for single and £10 for family membership); either send him a cheque to 8 Buckminster Close, Oakwood, Derby DE21 2EA or you can pay by bank transfer if you contact John first either by phone on 01332 834788 or e-mail at johnlfollett@virginmedia.com

So, come on!  Where were all those folks who loudly proclaimed in last year’s trips survey they would attend our club outings if they were a bit closer to home? ???? … We staged just such a trip last month – to the Wildlife Trust Attenborough reserve just 10 miles or so from the centre of Derby – and a grand total of seven people turned up! 

We realise the weather forecast could have been a factor, but it turned out to be a glorious morning, with 45 species seen.  You can read Chris Lamb’s report a little later in the newsletter – and find out about another pretty local trip planned for next month, to DWT Wyver Lane on the outskirts of Belper.

We are delighted to see that work is now under way on construction of the new hide at Sheepwash.  The access path has been widened to allow access and the first phase is to install a stone base – impervious to the water during periods of high levels – onto which the wooden structure will be assembled.  It could be ready for use by or before the middle of the year.  This is great news as the location of this hide has always been regarded as one of the best for observing the reservoir’s birdlife.

Please note, among the diary dates below, that our Annual General Meeting (when a new proposal for spending Club funds will be presented to the membership) will precede the March indoor meeting, so if you’ve anything else you wish to raise or comment upon, please turn up half an hour earlier – at 7am – for that opportunity. 

Something else that should be complete by the time the next newsletter comes out, in May, is the Annual Report, which several people (including me) are beavering away on presently.  As ever, it will contain a comprehensive overview and detailed record of the birding year at Carsington Water in 2023, along with club officials’ reports and some interesting articles.

Gary Atkins


20 February (7.30 pm) – talk by Nigel Slater on the wildlife of Botswana and Zimbabwe

17 March – local Club trip to the DWT’s Wyver Lane reserve, meet Bridge Foot car park in Belper (9.30am)

19 March (7pm) – talk by Andy Broadhurst on Derbyshire Swift Conservation; the earlier start is due to accommodate our AGM to which all are welcome

28 April – Spring Birdsong Walk at Carsington Water, led by Simon Roddis (meet 9am, Visitor Centre)



The annual return of the Great Northern Diver got off to a false start on 23 November, when a bird flew in but it was found to be a juvenile, and did not stay around for long.  Eventually, it was over a month later – on 28 December – when ‘our’ bird flew in; an adult that did not seem inclined to go anywhere else, and within a few weeks had lost its flight feathers so definitely was not.

Winter ducks arrived in decent numbers, particularly the diving ducks like Pochard that registered 551 individuals on 1 February and 25 Goldeneye, which was a good return, though there were fewer ‘dabblers’ around than usual with just 72 Wigeon and 51 Teal being the maximum counts.  Coot exceeded 1,000 on 17 December, when 386 Canada Geese, 232 Mallard and 138 Gadwall also boosted the waterfowl presence.  Up to four Red-crested Pochards added to the variety and Mandarins were noted on six dates in December, January and early February.

Seven Egyptian Geese on Boxing Day represented a site record, and Whooper Swans graced the reservoir in both December and January, when a group of 10 were recorded.  With high water levels, waders were at a premium and only four species were logged in December, including three Woodcock and Snipe, though numbers edged up in January when Curlew were noted on four dates, 110 Lapwings were seen and the first Oystercatcher arrived back on 26 January, growing to 12 by 11 February.

As usual, gull numbers remained healthy during the late autumn/early winter period, most particularly Common Gulls that reached an outstanding 3,250 on 10 December – a record not just for Carsington but for Derbyshire.  A Caspian Gull was seen several times each month, a Yellow-legged was found on 30 December, then three times in January and a single Great Black-backed Gull, recorded no fewer than 18 times in December must have called his friends along as seven were seen on 30 January.

Diligent recording by our regular contingent was reflected in the number of species registered in November, which at 102 was the joint second highest ever for that month, while in January 98 species equalled the previous year’s highest ever January species total for Carsington.

Raptors were unspectacular during this damp and cold period, though there were seven Red Kites aloft on 30 December.  Owls on the other hand were more evident than usual, with up to six Tawny Owls recorded on individual days and a Barn Owl noted on six dates in January and early February.

Among the smaller birds on site, the highlight had to be the Shore Lark found on 29 November, which was the first of this attractive species at Carsington for 20 years.  Winter visitors were around in fair numbers, 250 Fieldfares being seen on 16 December, and up to 200 Redwings the following two days, while a healthy 245 Siskin were around on 29 January, Lesser Redpoll were noted in twos and threes and single Bramblings were logged on 11 December and 19 January.

The decline of Tree Sparrows continues with a maximum count of just five in December.  Willow Tits are regularly seen, as is a Marsh Tit recorded on 14 dates across December and January.  A Stonechat was a good find on 16 January and, while Pied Wagtails don’t seem to be enjoying the high water levels, two Grey Wagtails were recorded on several dates.



A group of seven CBC members made the relatively short journey to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Attenborough on Sunday 21 January for our first outing of the year.   It literally was a case of the calm before the storm, as we enjoyed a dry and bright morning before the strong winds and heavy rain of Storm Isha swept across the country later in the day.

Given the recent rainfall, it was no surprise that all the lakes were very full, though some still had ice around the edges from the cold snap of the previous week. Ducks, geese and swans were naturally seen in numbers, including Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and a couple of male Pochards.  At least 10 Goosanders were noted during the morning, some affording very good views close to the paths, and several Goldeneyes were also seen.

Our collective gull identification skills were put to the test as we tried to pick out the adult Caspian Gull (successfully we think), which had been present on the reserve for a while. In among the large numbers of Black-headed Gulls a handful of Common Gulls were identified, and from the Tower hide, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull were also found.   Waders were in short supply given the water levels, with just a handful of Lapwing present and later in the morning a single Curlew flew over the path by the river. A couple of Grey Herons were spotted in the distance on the edges of the lakes, but perhaps surprisingly no egrets were seen.

Apart from the ubiquitous Blue and Great Tits, it seemed to be a relatively quiet morning for passerines, though a pair of Reed Buntings did show well near one of the feeding tables. A couple of Redwings perched obligingly on the tree tops, and a lone Fieldfare was seen later on the cricket pitch in Attenborough village.  Still in the village, a Goldcrest and a flock of Long-tailed Tits were observed in the churchyard towards the end of our walk.

By the end of the morning 45 species had been recorded by the group, namely: Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Caspian Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Starling, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting



For our next walk on Sunday, 17 March we will once again be closer to home, so let’s give it a try.  We will be visiting the Wyver Lane Derbyshire Wildlife Trust reserve in Belper, lying alongside the River Derwent.  This is one of DWT’s most important wetland reserves and has a good variety of resident birds, as well as winter visitors which should still be around on the day of our visit.  We will meet in the East Mills car park, Bridge Foot, Belper at 9.30am, then walk along Wyver Lane towards the reserve.

Then, the following month, you can join us on Sunday, 28 April for our ever-popular annual Springtime Birdsong Walk at Carsington Water.  It will once again be led by one of our very experienced bird recorders, Simon Roddis, who will help us to help identify species we encounter by their songs and calls.  Most of our summer visitors will have returned to the site by this date and should be present in good numbers.  The walk will last a couple of hours or so, starting from outside the Visitor Centre at 9am.

Chris Lamb



So many members and guests flocked in to our last two indoor meetings in December and January that we almost ran out of chairs – and did struggle to find enough cups during the refreshment breaks – but all agreed it was well worth it with some fabulous photos in stunning locations around the world

For our final meeting of 2023, in December, award-winning Derbyshire-based wildlife photographer Andy Parkinson described a year in his life as a well-travelled wildlife photographer.  Andy’s work appears frequently in magazines such as National Geographic and BBC Wildlife, and we were treated to some stunning photographs he had taken of birds and animals on his travels around the world.

We kicked off the new year at our January meeting with a tour of the Scottish highlands and islands in the company of professional birding and wildlife guide Craig Round.  Craig has been leading tours in Scotland on behalf of Speyside Wildlife for many years, and his talk featured the spectacular scenery and many of the specialist species only to be found in that area.

Looking forward to next week, we will travel down to warmer climes – to southern Africa for our next meeting on Tuesday, 20 February.  The rich biodiversity of this part of Africa makes it home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna and our speaker, Nigel Slater, takes us to Botswana and Zimbabwe to show us some of the amazing birds and other wildlife he has experienced there.

Our final meeting of the 2023-24 programme is on Tuesday, 19 March and has a much more local theme.  Andy Broadhurst tells us about the Derbyshire Swift Conservation project, which was formed in response to the massive decline of Swifts across Derbyshire.  These iconic scimitar-winged summer visitors are in trouble and need our help, and Andy explains how we can get involved.


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





Committee Post



Email Address


Chairman and Publicity

Gary Atkins

01335 370773


Treasurer / Membership

John Follett

01332 834778



Rob Chadwick

07876 338912


Events co-ordinator

Chris Lamb

01629 820890



Louise Sykes

01335 348544


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


Richard Pittam


Contact Richard via the website



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