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CBC trip to NWT – Attenborough Nature Reserve – 21st January 2024

 Posted by on January 24, 2024  Carsington Bird Club, Events, Member Reports  Comments Off on CBC trip to NWT – Attenborough Nature Reserve – 21st January 2024
Jan 242024
 

A group of seven CBC members made the relatively short journey to the Attenborough Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Reserve on Sunday 21st 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 a good total of 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

CBC Newsletter – No 4 – November 2023

 Posted by on November 24, 2023  Carsington Bird Club, CBC Newsletters  Comments Off on CBC Newsletter – No 4 – November 2023
Nov 242023
 

As Christmas approaches and the nights draw in, the daylight available for wildlife watching slowly diminishes, and since early October it’s been a fairly bleak prospect, anyway, with the succession of Atlantic storms bringing extremes of wind and rain and damage to a number of areas of Derbyshire.  Getting out there is half the battle, but westerly ‘blows’ can bring some interesting birdlife (as, indeed, they have this year) – and Carsington Water will always be one of the best sites to see them.  So, put an extra layer on, grab your ‘bins’ and pop along.  There’s always a warming cup of coffee, or even lunch, at the end of a walk there.

A brief visit by a Glossy Ibis proved to be this year’s only brand new species so far. Over 77,000 Woodpigeons, mostly flying south, were counted on six days in early November when the recorders settled down for visual migration (vismig) watches, which had also produced a site record Stock Doves and a single-day count of over 18,000 Redwings in late October.  There were a few more surprises, too, but go to page two for our full report of bird activity at the reservoir.

Last month we also witnessed a milestone in the proposed new Sheepwash hide development, as the old one was dismantled and taken away.  The path down to that area is still sealed off, but hopefully a new hide design will soon be decided upon and work commence.  If this was promising news for the birders, good news for the birds was the resumption of bird feeding at the reservoir, following the diminished threat of Bird Flu after a lengthy period without any cases at Carsington.

Our activities away from the reservoir’s edge continued as the 2023-24 season of talks got underway, as usual in the Henmore Room.  We had, though, to change the October date by a week due to non-availability of committee support, and then that meeting was jinxed further by a spate of parking fines, which had to be investigated as theoretically they should not occur.

Our events programme was further thwarted when we heard that RSPB St Aidan’s was under a considerable amount of water following incessant rains following Storm Babet.  The forecast leading up to the Sunday in question didn’t look too clever either, so we reluctantly decided to postpone … only for it to be sunny that day!  You can’t win!  We will, though, reschedule this as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we had some very sad news that Dorothy Evans – one of our longest-standing members and a willing soul that undertook several committee roles in the 1990s and 2000s passed away in late August.  She dedicated much of her spare time to the practical support of multiple wildlife organisations including Carsington Bird Club and, latterly, the Bird Study Group in Bakewell, where she lived and was still undertaking committee work at the time of her death.  Dorothy had many friends in CBC and a wide network beyond, and will be greatly missed by all.

Gary Atkins

 

JOIN US AT OUR UPCOMING INDOOR MEETINGS

Our 2023-24 series of indoor meetings is well underway, and below is the list of remaining scheduled talks, which all take place on the third Tuesday of the month, in the Henmore Room, beginning at 7.30pm except for the March meeting when we’ll hold our AGM (7pm start) …

19 December:  Andy Parkinson describes ‘A Year in the Life of a Wildlife Photographer’

16 January:  Craig Round will take us around ‘Scottish Highlands and Islands’

20 February:  Nigel Slater shows us the wildlife of ‘Botswana and Zimbabwe’

19 March:  Andy Broadhurst details the ‘Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project’

LOTS OF BIRDS ON THE MOVE … BUT A FEW RARITIES DROP IN

Over the late summer and early autumn, it’s been a case of regular species making the headlines by their huge numbers just as much as the rare birds that turned up in single figures. 

Five Spoonbills – the largest group ever at Carsington – and a site-scarce Garganey boosted August’s monthly total to 125, which was the most species ever recorded at the reservoir in that month.  The following month saw the only brand new species for the site (so far this year, at least), when a Glossy Ibis dropped in briefly on 25 September, and also a Manx Shearwater, the first since October 2019.

Then, in October, the first Hen Harrier for 17 years graced the reservoir on the 22nd, and another site-scarce species, a Shag turned up eight days later.  By now, huge flocks of migrating birds were heading south, notably the humble Woodpigeon whose numbers swelled further still in November; the maximum day count was 32,570, but a grand total from half a dozen ‘vismig’ counts in the first half of the month was over 77,000 birds.  A site record of 89 Stock Doves were counted on 10 November, mostly flying south – except for one bird whose radar seemed off as it headed north.

Up to 1,000 Starlings were counted leaving their regular roost in the Hopton end reedbed on a number of mornings, and other arriving species did so in huge numbers, too, notably Redwings, over 18,000 of which were logged in just a few hours on 9 October.

Gulls joined the party, too, with 7,000 Lesser Black-backs counted on 27 October, along with 5,000 Black-headed and 1,000 Common Gulls.  Again, the scarcer species were of just as much interest, as the long-staying Caspian Gull remained, and up to four Yellow-legged and a few Great Black-backed Gulls were seen often, while Mediterranean Gulls were noted on two dates in August.  The tern passage was light, but Black, Arctic and Common were recorded, the latest being a single Black Tern on 10 September.

Waterfowl numbers grew, as usual, as the year progressed: there were 1,144 Coot on the reservoir in early November, along with 338 Pochard. In the previous month or so, 950 Canada Geese, 285 Tufted Ducks, over 150 Teal and Mallard, more than 80 Gadwall and smaller quantities of Shoveler, Goosander and Wigeon were recorded.  Goldeneye were proving more elusive.

The opposite happened with waders – as August proved to be a bumper month, with 17 wader species noted including Ringed, Little Ringed and Golden Plovers, Ruff, Whimbrel, Jack Snipe, Green and Common Sandpipers, Turnstone, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit.  Since then, not helped by the steadily increasing water levels over the late summer, there’s been something of an exodus, as only seven wader species were logged in September, and six in October, although a Woodcock was spotted at Millfields on 12 November and a very late-staying Oystercatcher was still being seen as late as 14 November.

Summer visitors hit their departure dates roughly the same as usual, leaving a small smattering of Chiffchaffs that may be considering overwintering at the reservoir.  Swifts and Pied Flycatchers were not seen after August, while Lesser Whitethroat, Garden, Willow and Sedge Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers were all last seen on various dates in September.

While Redwings and Fieldfares spearhead the winter arrivals, a few other species more often seen at this time of year have been showing up.  Six Crossbills were noted on 30 October and 11 November, a Hawfinch was logged on 10 October, and there have been a few sightings of Brambling and more regular records of flocks of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.  Come on you Waxwings!

Apart from the Hen Harrier, two Marsh Harrier sightings and single Ospreys seen on four dates in September, it’s been an unexceptional time for raptors, although up to five Red Kites were seen on selected days in September and October, and Hobbies were seen throughout the late summer, the final one logged on 25 September.  Up to four Tawny Owls have been heard during several early-morning visits to Hopton end in recent weeks, but better still was the Barn Owl seen around the dam wall on 12 November.

 

TALKS REFLECT ON LOCKDOWN BIRDING … THEN ESCAPE TO BRAZIL & MALAYSIA

Our 2023-24 programme of indoor meetings got underway in September with a talk by Tony Slater describing how the Covid lockdowns gave him the chance to look much more closely at the very familiar birds we see every day.  With a multimedia combination of excellent photos and videos set to music, it proved to be an entertaining evening.

Brazil was the destination for our next meeting in October. This was our traditional annual joint meeting with members of the Derbyshire Ornithological Society (DOS), who joined us for the evening.  One of their members, Sally Oakes, gave a very interesting talk on the incredible biodiversity and birdlife found in the state of Minas Gerais in southern Brazil.

We continued our travels at the November meeting, when Chris Lamb kindly stepped into the breach at very short notice as a replacement for Louise Sykes who, along with husband John, were scheduled to speak to us about their exciting tour of prime birding sites in peninsula Malaysia.  Chris reset the compass 4,000 miles east south east to Tasmania and a discrete look at its varied and often-endemic wildlife.

For our final talk this year on Tuesday 19th December, we will welcome award-winning Derbyshire-based wildlife photographer Andy Parkinson to talk to us about a year in the life of a wildlife photographer.  Andy’s stunning work appears frequently in magazines such as National Geographic and BBC Wildlife, as well as in countless books and other publications.

Looking ahead to the new year, our indoor meetings continue with destinations as far apart as the Scottish Highlands and southern Africa, then returning closer to home with a look at the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project at our final meeting of the season in March.

 

ST AIDAN’S TRIP POSTPONED BUT WILL HAPPEN SOON

One disappointment on the events front was the reluctant decision we took to postpone our planned trip to the RSPB St Aidan’s reserve in Yorkshire that had been due to take place on 29 October.  We had to take into account some feedback earlier that week from the reserve that indicated some sections and paths were impassable due to flooding caused by Storm Babet’s unremitting rainfall that had left few areas of the country unaffected.

The forecast was for more rain later in the week and, as the reserve has no hides in which to take refuge, we opted to err on the side of caution.  Ironically, and rather gallingly, the Sunday itself brought plenty of sunshine, but the reserve itself was still rather soggy in places.  We plan to monitor the weather and try again – and hope, when we get there, that things have improved and the whole reserve will be available to us.  We’ll notify members as and when a new date is decided.

Following the advice of members, we are trying shorter, sharper trips and have had one more local walk (see immediately below) and also plan to visit Wyver Lane, on the outskirts of Belper, which in recent weeks has suffered similar fortunes to St Aidan’s in being very wet.  Again, we hope to get there soon and will alert members to any date that emerges.

Another more local trip we expect to undertake in the new year will be to Attenborough.  The goal is to get our bird lists off to a healthy start good and early, so we hope to pop over into our neighbouring county as soon as possible in the new year.  Again, keep your eyes and ears open.

 

CHOICE OF ‘LOCAL’ WALK IS VERY CLOSE TO HOME!

We stayed quite close to home for our first outing of the autumn, with a walk at Carsington Water on Sunday, 24 September. The monthly Birdwatching for Beginners walks, which are attended on a regular basis by some of our members, traditionally follow a route around Stones Island and on to the Wildlife Centre, so we thought we would start our walk by exploring a different end of the reservoir to see what we could find there.

Setting off from the Sheepwash car park on a wet, murky morning, we followed the path along the northern edge of the reservoir.  Unsurprisingly, various species of ducks made up most of the birds we initially saw, with good numbers of Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck.  A single Grey Heron was observed patrolling the shoreline surrounded by a multitude of Coots.  A colourful male Mandarin Duck was found in Brown Ale Bay by two members of the group.

Coming back to the Paul Stanley hide to shelter from the increasing drizzle, we added Great Crested and Little Grebes to our list, along with a handful of Cormorants, Mute Swans and Canada Geese.  The sizeable flock of gulls on Flat Island were mostly identified as Black-headed or Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

As we continued our walk past the Bombing Tower towards the Lane End hide, a section of trees and bushes next to the path proved particularly productive with a variety of birds flitting between the branches, including a Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Great and Blue Tits, as well as a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest.

The Lane End hide didn’t really offer up anything new, so after a while for most of us it was time to call it a day.  Two members of the group, however, did carry on to the Wildlife Centre where they were rewarded with more birds for our collective list for the morning, including Red-crested Pochard, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and great views of a Willow Tit.

In all, the 45 species that follow were recorded by the group, which was a pretty good total considering the somewhat damp weather:  Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Mandarin Duck, Teal, Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Heron, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Chris Lamb

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Committee Post

Name

Telephone

Email Address

 

Chairman and Publicity

Gary Atkins

01335 370773

garysatkins@aol.com

Treasurer / Membership

John Follett

01332 834778

johnlfollett@virginmedia.com

Recorder

Rob Chadwick

07876 338912

rob.chadwick322@gmail.com

Events co-ordinator

Chris Lamb

01629 820890

cflamb@yahoo.co.uk

Secretary

Louise Sykes

01335 348544

louise.sykes5065@gmail.com

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

Webmaster

Richard Pittam

n/a

Contact Richard via the website

         

 

Carsington Water Walk – Sunday 24th September 2023

 Posted by on September 28, 2023  Carsington Bird Club, Features, Member Reports  Comments Off on Carsington Water Walk – Sunday 24th September 2023
Sep 282023
 

We stayed quite close to home for our first outing of the autumn, with a walk at Carsington Water on Sunday, 24 September. The monthly Birdwatching for Beginners walks, which are attended on a regular basis by some of our members, traditionally follow a route around Stones Island and on to the Wildlife Centre, so we thought we would start this walk by exploring a different end of the reservoir to see what we could find there.

Setting off from the Sheepwash car park on a wet, murky morning, we followed the path along the northern edge of the reservoir. Not surprisingly, various species of ducks made up most of the birds we initially saw, with good numbers of Mallard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. A single Heron was observed patrolling the shoreline surrounded by a multitude of Coots. A colourful male Mandarin Duck was found in Brownale Bay by two members of the group.

Coming back to the Paul Stanley hide to shelter from the increasing drizzle, we added Great Crested and Little Grebes to our list, along with a handful of Cormorants, Mute Swans and Canada Geese.  The sizeable flock of gulls on Flat Island were mostly identified as Black-headed or Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

As we continued our walk past the Bombing Tower towards the Lane End hide, a section of trees and bushes next to the path proved particularly productive with a variety of birds flitting between the branches, including a Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Great and Blue Tits, as well as a party of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest.

The Lane End hide didn’t really offer up anything new, so after a while for most of us it was time to call it a day.  Two members of the group did carry on to the Wildlife Centre though, where they were rewarded with more birds for our collective list for the morning, including Red-crested Pochard, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and great views of a Willow Tit.

In all, the 45 species that follow were recorded by the group, which was a pretty good total considering the somewhat damp weather:  Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Gadwall, Mandarin Duck, Teal, Tufted Duck, Common Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Heron, Pheasant, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Willow Tit, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

Chris Lamb.

N0. 3 – August 2023 CBC Newsletter

 Posted by on August 27, 2023  CBC Newsletters  Comments Off on N0. 3 – August 2023 CBC Newsletter
Aug 272023
 

Welcome to the latest newsletter.  I hope you’ve been enjoying the ‘summer’ so far.  We’ve had some decent weather, and even extreme temperatures in short doses but it’s been inconsistent to say the least.  The birds are still around, though, so let’s hope we’ve all had a good birding year.

This edition gives you plenty of potential activity later in the year, with a trip to Yorkshire and a couple of more local walks planned, plus the start next month of our 2023-24 series of indoor meetings, kicking off on Tuesday, 19 September.  Immediately below are some dates for you to scribble into your diaries.  The usual report details the highlights on and around the reservoir and Chris Lamb has provided more detail on the upcoming events.

One thing discussed at out most recent committee meeting earlier this month – and something we will be consulting with members on in the near future – are our plans to spend some of the growing club funds presently in the bank.  The balance sits at more than its traditional level due to a number of factors: firstly, the brilliant fund-raising by our secretary Louise Sykes and her husband John, secondly a donation of £250 from the Severn Trent Volunteer Rangers who have wound up their own accounts and wanted funds to go to like-minded nature loving organisations, and thirdly money from the general public, via the collection box in the Wildlife Centre, which Severn Trent has said we can use for the benefit of the local birdlife.

Certainly one thing we want is to improve feeding facilities at Paul Stanley hide and, most probably, at Sheepwash as and when that hide is replaced.  If there are any budding carpenters among our members, do let us know! These goals may dovetail nicely with another desire – to create a meaningful memorial to long-time club recorder Roger Carrington, who passed away last year. 

Severn Trent’s Carsington Site Supervisor, John Matkin, has recently indicated that the Sheepwash activity – demolishing the old hide and installing a new one – is still on track to begin this autumn … and that bird feeding around the site will resume when the Avian Flu outbreak is deemed to be under control locally, which will allow us to begin feeding birds in that area of the site.

Gary Atkins

 

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

Below are the dates of upcoming events.  Don’t forget that all indoor meetings are on the third Tuesday of the month in the Visitor Centre’s Henmore Room – and begin at 7.30pm:

** TUESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER ** – Talk: Lockdown and Unlocked; Tony Slater contrasts birding during the pandemic, focusing on local species, with the thrill of visiting places farther afield once again.

** SUNDAY, 24 SEPTEMBER ** – A walk at the less-often-visited ‘Hopton’ end of Carsington Water, with its two hides and woodland paths

** TUESDAY, 17 OCTOBER ** – Talk: Birding in Minas Gerais, Brazil.  Our annual joint meeting with DOS welcomes Sally Oakes, who will describe this highly biodiverse state with its 123 endemic bird species.

** TUESDAY, 21 NOVEMBER ** – Talk: Malay Peninsula.  Our very own well travelled couple, John and Louise Sykes will present their wealth of exciting finds and ‘lifers’ encountered during a recent south-east Asian holiday.

** Watch out, too, for another more local outing we’re planning in November – to Wyver Lane, Belper; a wetland site alongside the Derwent that often produces surprises.  Details will be announced nearer the time, on the website and at our indoor meetings.

DILIGENT MONITORING PRODUCES TWO MONTHLY RECORDS – AND SPOONBILLS!

Species have been turning up in droves, contributing to two new monthly site records, and probably the main highlight was a visit on 4 August by five Spoonbills – only the fifth Carsington record for this elegant bird (which like most white herons seems to be moving ever more northward) and the first to involve more than one individual.

June’s total of 102 species proved to be the highest ever for that month since records began in 1993, while the 110 species recorded the following month equalled last year’s record for July.  We’re yet to work out the total for August, but it’s sure to be a healthy number.

A Caspian Gull, affording good views and seen almost daily at the reservoir since the end of July, is thought to be the same bird as the sub-adult noted both here and at Ogston last winter.   Another gull highlight were the single Kittiwakes that dropped in on two dates in June, while Yellow-legged Gulls were reported on six dates in July, when a Mediterranean Gull added further interest on the 17th.  A Little Gull flew over Stones Island early on 7 August, the day before 2,350 Lesser Black-backs dropped into the roost. 

Nine Black Terns and 11 Arctics were counted through on consecutive days in early June, and up to five Commons Terns have been recorded on several dates in June, July and August.

Counts of water birds were sparse in June and early July but began to increase in recent weeks as 455 Coots, 917 Canada Geese and 150+ Mallards and Tufted Ducks were logged in late July.  The Teal complement rose to 87 by 20 August, when 51 Gadwall were also counted.  A scarce Garganey turned up in July, with another in August, when 13 Pochard and three Red-crested Pochard were spied together near the sailing club on the 21st.  Little Grebe numbers have been improving and a stealthy pair, with four young in attendance, was found in Wildlife Centre Creek.

A pleasing total of 24 Moorhens were found on 26 July, though the group was reduced by one when a Peregrine was seen predating an adult in mid-August. Little Egrets were only making occasional appearances until 5 August when 10 were recorded, along with the first Great Egret for a while. 

Nine Sanderlings, seven Black-tailed Godwits and single Whimbrel seen on two dates were among the June wader highlights, though 14 species were logged in July, including a Greenshank on the 28th and Turnstone on two dates, with another seen around Stones Island on 15 August.  Another good August record was a Golden Plover on the 7th.

Red Kites continued to make regular appearances, with up to four on any one day, but the scarcer Marsh Harriers perhaps represented the raptor highlights recently with good views of individuals on 30 July and 8 August.  Two individuals were the only Osprey sightings, again in July and August , but Hobbys were more regular, seen on five occasions in July, then two over pastures on 1 August and a couple more singletons speeding around on a couple more August days.

Various species have been having a busy time raising new families, including many of the smaller birds on site.  Kingfishers seem to have done quite well, the Marsh Tit presence has resumed between Paul Stanley hide and Sheepwash car park and a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher was noted near Paul Stanley Hide on 9 August. Five days earlier, both Spotted and Pied Flycatchers were seen at Sheepwash; this is the latest record for Pied Fly at Carsington, the first in August. 

The Wildlife Centre creek fields also seem to become busy at breeding times, and lately have been a good source of sightings of Redstart, Common and Lesser Whitethroat and, on 15 August, a Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and a fly-over Tree Pipit.  Garden Warbler was also logged there on 21 August, and Yellow Wags have been seen fairly regularly in the vicinity.

The reservoir, particularly around Stones Island, has become a favourite for Sedge Warblers, 16 of which were counted on 16 June, and a healthy complement of nine Reed Warblers were noted on a single day the following month.  Two site-scarce Crossbills were recorded in mid-July, and despite the Swift’s acknowledged decline (see later article), 57 of these impressive scimitar-winged birds was a decent count on 30 July.  If anything, hirundines have been more thinly spread this year.

 

LET’S GET BUSY – MEETINGS, WALKS AND TRIPS ON THE NEAR HORIZON

We have now got most of our winter programme of indoor presentations firmly established and, following the advice of our membership, have begun to sprinkle some shorter-range outings to local reserves or birding spots into our programme in order to increase the regularity of CBC activities.

We kick off the 2023-24 season of indoor meetings with our first indoor meeting on Tuesday, 19 September. Tony Slater’s talk describes how lockdown gave him the chance to look much more closely at the very familiar birds we see every day.  Moving on to when the restrictions were lifted, and he was able to get out and visit nature reserves and local wildlife sites again, Tony describes that feeling of excitement catching up with other birds not seen for much longer.

At our next meeting on Tuesday, 17 October, we head down to Brazil with Sally Oakes.  The state of Minas Gerais in south-east Brazil contains incredible biodiversity and birdlife, including 123 endemic bird species, more than any other state in this huge country.  Sally’s talk introduces us to some of the wonderful birds and other wildlife there.  This will be our traditional annual joint meeting with members of the Derbyshire Ornithological Society (DOS), who will join us for the evening.

Continuing our virtual travels, the November meeting (Tuesday 21st) will see us take a tour of some of the most productive Malaysian birding sites, courtesy of our own members, John and Louise Sykes, who visited the Malay peninsular recently. On this exciting holiday, they experienced many spectacular birds, including Pittas, Broadbills, Buffy Fish Owl, Gould’s Frogmouth, Hornbills and Trogons and so much more.

For our final talk this year on Tuesday, 19 December, we welcome award-winning Derbyshire-based wildlife photographer Andy Parkinson to talk to us about a year in the life of a wildlife photographer. Andy’s stunning work appears frequently in magazines such as National Geographic and BBC Wildlife, as well as in countless books and other publications.

Moving on to outdoor activities, we have a list of walks and outings that we are firming up.  We start the autumn with a walk at Carsington Water on Sunday, 24 September, meeting at the Sheepwash car park at 9am. The monthly Birdwatching for Beginners walk, which are attended on a regular basis by some of our members, traditionally follows a route around Stones Island and on to the Wildlife Centre, so we thought we would start this walk by exploring a different end of the reservoir to see what we can find there.

Then on Sunday, 29 October we plan a longer-range sortie – heading up to West Yorkshire to visit the St. Aidan’s RSPB Reserve, near Leeds.  Formerly an opencast coal mining area, this is now a haven for wildlife and promises to be a great day out.  The brother of one of our members is a volunteer warden at St. Aidan’s and has very kindly offered to act as a guide for us, so that should really add to what we get out of our visit.

We will meet at 10am at the reserve’s visitor centre. The address is Astley Lane, Swillington, Leeds, LS26 8AL.  Toilet facilities as well as hot drinks and light refreshments are available at the reserve, but bringing a packed lunch is recommended.  If you are intending to make the trip please let Chris Lamb know, either by phone on 01629 820890 or by email at cflamb@yahoo.co.uk.

More information can be found on the RSPB website at: https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/st-aidans/

In November we will be staying closer to home once again, with a visit planned to the Wyver Lane, a Derbyshire Wildlife Trust Reserve on the fringes of Belper. The precise date, time and meeting place for this walk will be advised on the website and at our indoor meetings beforehand.

 

A SWIFT CALL TO ACTION

By August, many chicks and adult Swifts have already left for Africa after what looks to have been a mixed breeding season across the UK, with some colonies further south doing well while others seem to have fared badly due to the cold, wet weather.

Where these conditions have been prevalent, the insect food stocks have been poor and adults have had to either favour a particular chick or abandon broods altogether, leading to the numerous reports of desperately starving and underweight swiftlets found in recent weeks.  The species needs help, so if you find a young Swift out of the nest bring them indoors and arrange a source of warmth (such as a hot water bottle filled with warm water and wrapped in a tea towel). But please don’t feed them. Then find an experienced rehabber from this list: 

  • If you live in or near Sheffield call Chet Cunago, an expert carer on 07850 799891
  • Ashford’s Animal Rescue, Bakewell (07853 987378)
  • Overdale Vets, Buxton (www.overdalevets.co.uk)
  • Pet Samaritans, Chesterfield (www.petsamaritans.co.uk)
  • Bev Rhodes, near Ilkeston (via Nick Brown: nbrown@derbyshirewt.co.uk)
  • Swift Conservation has a list of UK rehabbers, plus useful advice about what to do when a Swift is found (www.swift-conservation.org)
  • Online/social media via www.facebook.com/groups/swiftsos/?ref=share

And appropriately enough, just a few weeks before next year’s Swifts begin to arrive back in Derbyshire (hopefully in droves), we have Andy Broadhurst from the Derbyshire Swift Conservation Project guesting at our indoor meeting on 19 March 2024 to update us on this project and suggest how people can get involved to help this fabulous species.

 

BIRDS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

We have all probably felt the well-being benefits of a walk involving nature spotting, and that notion is now being harnessed by the medical profession who are trialling ‘nature prescriptions’ in Derbyshire, following a successful pilot in Scotland.

Birdsong is one of the specific aspects highlighted by the scheme being led by the RSPB and Peak District National Park Authority, which are working with two social prescribing services in the High Peak that receive referrals from 13 GP practices in the area.  “Evidence is emerging that time outdoors is good for our health,” says Buxton GP Tom Miller, who is involved in the project.

The nature prescriptions trial includes a leaflet and a calendar giving people ideas of when and where to connect with nature as a means of boosting their health and well-being.  The approach is believed to help reduce stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression, and is straightforward in being self-led by individuals from home, on their own or in organised groups.

 

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

 

 

 

 

Committee Post

Name

Telephone

Email Address

 

Chairman and Publicity

Gary Atkins

01335 370773

garysatkins@aol.com

Treasurer / Membership

John Follett

01332 834778

johnlfollett@virginmedia.com

Recorder

Rob Chadwick

07876 338912

rob.chadwick322@gmail.com

Events co-ordinator

Chris Lamb

01629 820890

cflamb@yahoo.co.uk

Secretary

Louise Sykes

01335 348544

louise.sykes5065@gmail.com

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

Webmaster

Richard Pittam

n/a

Contact Richard via the website

         

 

 

Plight of the Swift

 Posted by on August 17, 2023  Carsington Bird Club  Comments Off on Plight of the Swift
Aug 172023
 

Now we are in August, many chicks and adult Swifts have already left for Africa after what looks to have been a mixed breeding season across the UK, with some colonies further south doing well while others seem to have fared badly due to the cold, wet weather.

There have many reports of desperately starving and underweight swiftlets found in recent weeks as adults have been unable to find enough insects in the cold and rain, and so have either favoured a stronger chick or  abandoned the brood altogether.  If you find a young Swift out of the nest bring them indoors and arrange a source of warmth (such as a hot water bottle filled with warm water and wrapped in a tea towel). But please don’t feed them. Then find an experienced rehabber from this list: 

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