Tag Archives: events

Mothing at Netherfield Lagoons – 12th June 2010

June, the month for moths. This is the month when most species and numbers of moths are usually recorded. The blocking High Pressures over the Atlantic produced a stubborn northerly airstream with cool nights. This has led to frustratingly poor mothing nights. Last Saturday the weather appeared a little warmer.

We had two lights operating and decided to trap along the Lower Path. There were lots of Green and Silver-ground Carpets. Then came in the Snouts with their large brown triangular wings and curved proboscis. Moths were numerous and a series of moths came in. New moths such as the little yellow Strawdot, lots of the day flying Latticed Heath, a Common Quaker, and the scarce but relatively common in Notts Cream-bordered Green Pea. Towards the end the very beautiful Buff and White Ermines.

Meanwhile the other trap captured the spectacular huge Privet and aptly named Eyed Hawk-moths.

I will keep you posted when the next mothing night. Hopefully it will warm up!!!

Elephant Hawk-moth

Eyed Hawk-moth


Pale Tussock



Buff Ermine

Clouded Border


Celypha lacunana

Cyclamen Tortrix

Phlyctaenia coronata


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Wirral trip report – 28th March 2010

Six men in two cars left Newstead at 7.15 am for the Wirral. On the way over we stopped briefly at Goyt Moss to look for Red Grouse. We had hardly stopped when Tony found at least one. Meadow Pipits were also seen. Continuing on our way we arrived at our first stop at 9.30 as arranged with Stuart Taylor, one of our earliest members who now works for the RSPB at Lake Vyrnwy, mid-Wales. The trip list was now on 10 as Raven, Jay and Sparrowhawk were seen en route.

After a short break to stretch our legs we set off to our first watching point – Heswall Banks. Stuart T, not confusing him with Stuart Pryor, suggested a short walk here but on seeing the high tide (9.1 metres) told up that was impossible as the pathway was under water. We settled down to watch the marsh as the tide was still coming in and moving the birds in front of it. Over 1000 Redshank, along with hundreds of Shelduck and other waders were being forced up the marsh by the advancing tide. A female Hen Harrier was seen as was a Grey Plover and many Little Egret. Around the area we also saw and heard Chiffchaff. With the list now on 29 we headed back up the Wirral to Parkgate, a well known watch point on the marsh when there are exceptionally high tides of over 10 metres. These happen about twice a year but not today. (I’ll have to sort a trip out for that).

Similar birds were seen here as at Heswall Banks but Stuart T, had inside information that there was a Spoonbill further up the marsh so we walked up and had superb views of an adult. Buzzard was also seen. A Marsh Harrier was seen by some of the group.

With the list now standing at 38 we moved on again, this time to the RSPB Inner Marsh Farm. This is a fairly large reserve but at present with only one hide and a very small car park.

Treecreeper was heard in the car park by Steve and Pete heard our first Willow Warbler of the year, good views of which were had later on. We had good views of Raven, Buzzard and Peregrine Falcon. We also saw Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Ruff.

There was a distant group of Sand Martin and I managed to see one House Martin among them. Three Spotted Redshank and a single Greenshank were also seen. As we made our way back to the car park some of the group thought they had heard a Lesser Whitethroat but it couldn’t be located. There was a large herd of swans in the distance and it was reported that there were Whooper and Bewick’s among them but we couldn’t make them out. Rabbit and Grey Squirrel were seen on the way to the car park taking the years Mammal list to 5.

We had had a wonderful day in good company and were looking forward to the next trip.

The day list stood at 66 with 28 of these being added to our annual trip list. That list now stands at 111 compared with 85 this time last year.

Carsington Water – Sun, 7th March 2010

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.

Spurn Trip 25th October 2009

The wind had been blowing from the east for almost three weeks with migrants down the east coast from Scotland to Kent. I decided, upon consultation with the three other people who had shown an interest in the trip – Pete, Jackie and Deryck, to bring the trip forward a week from 1st November to 25th October.

After checking what was about it was decided to call first at Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve as there was a Red-flanked Bluetail that had been there for two or three days. There had been an influx on the Yorkshire coast for the past 10 days with three reported from Spurn at the same time earlier in the week.

We arrived at Bempton in quite a strong westerly wind to be told – yes it had been seen that morning. We search for almost 2 hours but eventually gave up. We did manage to see a distant Red-backed Shrike, Rock Pipit and Rock Dove.

We left Bempton to go to Spurn calling at Hornsea on the way were 7 Red-Breasted Merganser was seen.

Approaching Spurn 2 Roe Deer were seen in the fields near Kilnsea.

Arriving at Spurn we decided to drive to the point. On the way Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone were seen on the mud. In the dunes early Redwing were seen.

Before leaving we called at the hide hear the reserve entrance where we were treated to two Jack Snipe and Water Rail.

Overall 64 species were seen with eight added to the trip total that now stands at 165.

Skua & Shearwater Cruise, Sunday 20th September 2009

We left Nottingham later than usual at about 8.30 as the boat didn’t sail until 4.00 p.m.

It was decided that we went first to Flamborough Head to see what was there. We arrived at about 11.00 am after a short stop on the way. We had heard that there was a Barred Warbler in the area but were not sure where about. We made a few enquiries and we soon looking at a splendid Barred Warbler.

Three of us decided that we would take a walk round the headland to see what else was about. Brian went back to the car as his leg was still in plaster after breaking it.

We had good views of Red Admiral and Painted Lady butterflies along the road before turning off to go across the fields. It was a hot still day and there was not a deal about until we reached the cliffs were Shag and a few waders were seen. As we walked along the cliff top path we noticed a group of birders looking into the field on our left. Upon reaching then we realised a juvenile Great Skua was sitting in the middle of the field. After a search of over half an hour we found singles of Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting.

After lunch in the car park we made our way to Bridlington for the boat, hoping to see Purple Sandpiper on the harbour walls but to no avail. As we were waiting to board the boat we were surprised to be joined by Pete Smith and his wife, Chris.

The boat trip was very quiet with only a single Shearwater that was not seen by most people but a single Great Skua that gave us great views of how it chased and harried birds for them to discharge their food.

Gannet, Kittiwake and Fulmar were added to this years trips list making a total of 157.

Grey Seal was added to the mammal list while Red Admiral was added to the butterfly list.

Bat Patrol – 11th August

Ten People turned up at the main gate at 20.15 to see what bats could be found over the lagoon site. Rebecca Tarry, senior ecologist with SLR Consulting, led the survey and distributed bat boxes to those who did not have them. Bat boxes translate the calls of bats, inaudible to humans, to a sound within the range of human hearing. Some of the boxes were set to different frequencies so that as broad a range of bats as possible could be detected. Rebecca explained to us how the different bats sounded and how some use harmonics, so that the lower harmonic of one bat’s call and the higher harmonic of another could both be picked up with the bat box tuned to one frequency.

We walked along the top of the Slurry Lagoon bank, towards the river but, as the bats frequently wait until about twenty minutes after sunset to start feeding, we did not pick up any calls. At the corner of the Deep Pit, by the river, Rebecca placed an Anabat box to scan the Deep Pit water surface below. This device records the bat calls in bursts of a few seconds so that they can be analysed later on a computer with a programme that produces sonograms. Each bat’s sonogram is unique to its species, except for a very few Myotis species which are very difficult to separate. We left the box where it was and continued around the top of the Deep Pit. As we walked along two Common Sandpipers, which had been calling on the river, flew past us and on the Deep Pit the Tern platforms, which we thought had been deserted since the Terns finished breeding, were being occupied by roosting Terns.

We carried on around the Deep Pit and then past the Slurry Lagoon, where the Starling roost could be heard as its occupants quarrelled over perches in the deepening gloom. In the background the calls of gulls and geese could be heard as large flocks of them were also coming in to roost. We arrived near the footbridge, with still not a whisper from any bat although there were plenty of insects about, when someone suggested standing on the bridge for a while as they had seen Pipistrelles here in the past. Soon a Pipistrelle was heard giving its peculiarly ‘wet’ sounding clicks, and then another call identified as a Noctule. Another bat was then seen flying silently in the half light between two hedges. Rebecca explained that bats in fact have very good eye-sight and, where they know there is an open space, they do not need to echo-locate, in fact there is nothing there to catch an echo from. Pipistrelles fly in a very erratic way, with lots of twists and turns and often forage on insects attracted to lights. They are very small bats, their body being no bigger than the top joint of your thumb, but they need several thousand gnats or midges a night to keep them in good condition. There are two species of Pipistrelle which were only separated when bat boxes were invented. One calls at a frequency of 45 and the other at 55, called the Soprano Pipistrelle. People then realised that the bats calling at these frequencies formed discreet populations and were in fact two different species. Noctules are much larger bats and can be seen flying at dusk (or even in the middle of the day), sometimes mingling with Swifts as they make aerobatic stoops to catch large flying insects like cockchaffers or large moths.

Willow Walk promised to give some good bat foraging opportunities so we walked along its length but only picked up two more Pipistrelles before we were back by the gates. We now walked along the Lower Path, back towards the river, getting more Pipistrelles and a Noctule flying over. At the Railway Bridge the bat boxes started to pick up a new sound, much ‘drier’ than the Pipistrelles, and Daubenton’s Bat was identified. Rebecca switched on a very powerful torch and the Daubenton’s were seen flying through its beam very low over the water. She told us that Daubies use their feet and tails to catch insects close to or on the water’s surface. The torch beam was thick with flying insects, so there was abundant food for bats, but there were not many bats around. Rebecca then saw another bat in the beam that didn’t behave quite as the Daubenton’s were and provisionally identified it as a Natterer’s Bat. More Pipistrelles, including Soprano Pipistrelles, and Noctules were also found here so the river was definitely the most productive site for bats so far.

We didn’t expect to get a great deal more now so we went back up the Deep Pit bank to retrieve the Anabat box. The bat boxes could detect Pipistrelles and Daubenton’s over the water and these were soon picked out in the beam of the torch. Having retrieved the Anabat box we made our way along the top of the bank towards the gates. Bat activity faded as we got further from the river and we picked up none once we were walking by the Slurry Lagoon. This brought us to the end of our survey so we returned to our cars, Rebecca saying she would analyse the recordings she had made and let us know the results.

Nightjar Walk, 5th June

I was very pleased to see seventeen people meeting at the car park on Longdale Lane on Friday, 5th June 09 for what we hoped would be an eventful evening. Dark clouds were looming but we decided to give it a try.

Garden Warbler was singing as we left the car park and we soon added Blackcap to the list.

While walking through the woods we heard a Cuckoo – my first of the year. As somebody said – “a new record” – for me it was, the latest I had ever heard one. We stopped at a crossroads and as expected we soon saw the first of five Woodcock, or was it the same one going round in circles!

We pressed on and as expected as we got to the furthest point from the car park the heavens opened. We bravely sheltered for about 20 minutes getting wetter and wetter until at last we gave up.

Seventeen very wet and soggy people said their goodbyes in the car park but not before planning a return trip the following week.

We recorded 11 birds on the night and we added 3 birds to the trip list that now stands at 119 for the year.

Report by Philip Burnham

Goyt Valley, Sunday, 24th May

Eleven of us met at the car park in the Goyt Valley, one of the best turn outs for a while. The weather looked promising after a wet and windy week.

From the car park the song of Common Redstart could be heard and it wasn’t long before it was spotted and we all got onto it. Spotted Flycatcher was also seen from the car park along with commoner species.

We started the walk up the valley road and it wasn’t long before Pied Flycatcher was seen – the first of over a dozen seen on the day. With 20 birds on the list including 2 target birds we continued up the valley to a path that took us nearer the stream. Tree Pipit and Raven were seen on this stretch although some of us missed the Ravens.

The surprise along this stretch was two bats that we seem to think were Daubenton’s. They were seen by most of the group skimming over the water looking for insects.

Upon returning to the road it was not long before we had superb views of Dippers taking food to their nest near by. The first of 6 -7 Painted Lady butterflies were seen along with many Orange Tip and Green-veined Whites.

It wasn’t long before someone said they could hear Grasshopper Warbler. We stopped and listened and soon all the group could hear it. This was unexpected bird as we were above the tree line and now on the open moorland.

Reaching the car park at the top of the road Whinchat was seen and heard at the top of a conifer, 3rd target bird.

After a short stop for lunch we continued up the hill with a very fine breeze and full sun. Meadow Pipits were everywhere so it was really no surprise when a Merlin was spotted sitting on a wall.

Turning off the track onto the moorland we passed a pair of agitated Curlew that obviously had young with them, their haunting calls carrying down the valley.

Red Grouse were eventually seen but distant. On the way down the narrow path three Green Hairstreak butterfly were seen on a Bilberry bush. Although there were bilberry all over the moorland, these were the only green hairstreak seen.

We returned to the road, crossed it and walked through a conifer plantation looking for an area were Black Grouse could be seen but to no avail.

After a pleasant break near to where we had seen the dippers, we took a leisurely walk down the hill back to the car park. Just before the car park a pair of Common Lizards were seen basking on the reservoir wall.
It had been a beautiful, hot sunny day in good company.

13 species of birds were added to the year’s tally that now stands at 115.

The Lizard was the first reptile of the year while we added 2 more butterflies to the tally of 10. The only mammals seen on the day were the bats and, surprisingly, we have not yet recorded any dragonflys.

Report by Philip Burnham