The weather forecast for the previous weekend was horrendous with high winds and blizzards. We decided to postpone to the following weekend. As it happened the bad weather missed us.
We met up at Newstead, two car loads and made our way to Cromford were we eventually had good views of 4 Hawfinch in the car park area.
With some of the gentlemen going to the loo we arranged to meet on the bridge over the river Derwent to look for Dipper. We had marvellous views and decided to then go on to Carsington when we realised that Jackie was missing. Minutes later my phone rang. It was Jackie asking where WE where. I asked where SHE was – out side the gents’ loo waiting for us, (so she said). Jackie eventually joined us and soon had Dipper on her list. Trip list now stood at 13 for the day.
We arrived at Sheepwash Car Park (the free one) at Carsington Water and made our way to the hides. We soon added Oystercatcher and Great Spotted Woodpecker to the list along with our target bird of Great Northern Diver. We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time as a herd of Whooper Swan had arrived that morning. Also seen of note were Curlew and Redshank while Raven was heard.
We made our way to the Wildlife Centre calling at the feeding station on the way. Here we added stunning views of Bullfinch, Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting and Willow Tit. The list now stood at 38 plus Grey Squirrel.
At the Wildlife Centre we added Barnacle Goose – about 50 – plus Ruddy Duck and Goosander. Tony found a Water Rail on the far bank that proved difficult for some of the group to see. A Little Owl was also seen in the hedgerow at the rear of the centre. We were told by a Ranger that that was the first one for quite a while. With the list now standing at 46 we made our way back to the cars and lunch during which we added Common and Herring Gull.
On the same trip last year we called at Swallow Moss and saw a male Hen Harrier so it was decided to go there again. What a disappointment. The only birds seen apart from a few distant hens were two flocks of Starling and one Fieldfare.
Having consulted the maps it was decided to call in at Tittesworth Reservoir – just over the hill. I decided that it would be quicker to go over the hill instead of round it. We got to the top, above the snow line, and a road disappeared. We ended up almost were we had started so we did go round the hill in the end.
On arriving, eventually, at Tittesworth we were greeted by up to 7 Redpoll. We walked to the two hides. Between the hides we were treated to the evocative calls of a flock of over 80 Curlew coming in to feed on the far fields. Lapwings were also seen along with one Common Snipe that was behaving like a Jack Snipe.
As the setting sun shone on the Roaches the Curlew, split now into smaller groups and giving their haunting calls, flew off towards the setting sun.
The days total was 61 plus 2 mammals. The yearly total is now 82 compared with 71 in 2009. The mammal total is 5 compared with 3 last year.