The July issue (Vol 6 Issue 2) is now available to read on the Wader Quest website, Please click on this link below:
This is a bumper edition with much of interest to wader lovers and those that care about their conservation. We have some of our regular features such as all the latest Wader Quest news, Featured Artist, Waders in Poetry, From the Library, Sands of Change, Readers' Gallery and some very interesting articles from Iceland, Africa, India and, in addition, a new section with wader news from around the world.
We hope that you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
All the very best to you all and thank you for your support.
Apart from the pleasant weather, Sunday 17th did not start well. We found that we couldn’t access the Welford Road end of Stanford Reservoir. Consequently, we all headed round to the dam end, but not before Ken had seen a great egret at the pool on the other side of the road.
In the car park at the dam waiting for some latecomers to catch up we were treated to the sight of a chiff chaff singing it’s heart out, a grey wagtail, a small group of long-tailed tits, a buzzard and a first winter glaucous gull flew overhead. On the water, mute swans, coots, tufted ducks, great crested grebes, gadwalls and Canada geese were to be seen plus some moorhens on the far bank.
Finally eighteen members and friends gathered and began to walk down the eastern side of the reservoir. Although there was plenty to see on the reservoir Angie spotted a flock of tree sparrows on a hedge to our right on the other side of a small field before the gate. Another good spot were two pink-footed geese in a...
It was a bright morning; the start of the mini heat wave for February. Eight of us started from the centre at Egleton but there was little of note listed on the board of recent sightings that we wouldn't see elsewhere so we moved onto the North Arm by Tim's Cottage. Having said that we did see a group of rooks in the trees by the centre. The aim of the day was to see all 5 grebes.
From the road we had good views of little grebe, goldeneye, mallards, wigeon, Canada and greylag geese, but as we walked further along the road past Tim's cottage the variety of birds increased - 100+ lapwings on the bar with cormorants, drying their wings, and waders on the far bank including dunlins, oystercatchers and redshanks. A red kite appeared overhead and we were to have several clear sightings throughout the morning. In front of us a pair of great crested grebe had begun their intricate courtship dance, when a young peregrine falcon dramatically flew across our line of sight scattering the lapwings...
Thirteen of us met at Thornton Reservoir on Sunday 20th January 2019. It was a cold, dull day with little wind. Our walk around the reservoir was uneventful apart from the sighting of a male Carolina or Wood duck. A beautiful bird with well marked plumage, demonstrating its relationship to the Mandarin duck. It's not as common as the Mandarin duck with less than 20 breeding pairs in this country; most are escapees.
Like the Mandarin, the Wood duck favours nesting in trees and as it's name suggests prefers an environment with plenty of foliage. Despite the quietness of the day 40 species were seen or heard, however no raptors appeared and the only wader was the lapwing.
Due to a forecast of lovely weather, we went up to RSPB site Bempton Cliffs which is three miles north of Bridlington, near Flamborough Head. Upon approaching the edge of the cliffs, the noise of thousand of birds was breathtaking, there are 5 or 6 lookouts with excellent views along the cliff top. To the right there were the gannets, we were told they had 4 thousand last year, this year they had arrived later, so no eggs as yet had been laid, but numbers were already looking good, also countless Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittywakes and a Peregrine shown to us on the RSPB assistants scope.
Further to the left we started to see the puffins, flying back and forth. The sea which was calm was covered with birds everywhere, it's a truely wonderful sight and well worth the trip!
Upon returning to the center, a Hawfinch had turned up at the feeder station, first record in 5 years, this presented an opportunity for photographs to the fortunate people there, other sightings on site in...
A grey and overcast day did not deter a large group and did not disappoint on the birding front. Joined on the day by Ken, Dave and his grandson Billy, Graham, Fred and Linda, Vicki, Julie, Ellen, John and Angie, Sue and Beverly we made our way to the first of the two hides on the pond. Up to this point and here we had views of a Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, a pair of Kingfishers, Sand Martins, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and many more (see the bird list). From here we moved along trying to find the best route to dodge the waterlogged sections and the muddy sections. A pleasurable day had by all. I left the group early to check out the Kingfishers again and was also greeted by a pair of Oystercatchers having a squabble. I decided to also test out the new burger van which was delicious!
Today eight of us visited the Hall, which is a gem for birding. The garden is set on higher ground looking out over the flood plain of the meandering River Soar which spills into small lakes, some used for fishing. There are views over the surrounding countryside on three sides of the garden with a wide variety of habitats - fields and meadows, tree-lined river, lakes with reed beds, hedgerows, landscaped gardens, mixed woodland, old buildings. This was the venue for our cancelled walk three weeks ago, when it snowed. What brought us here today was the sighting of three swallows yesterday, increasing to six by the end of the day, coupled with a possible view of boxing hares. The swallows nest in the horses' stables in old red brick barns. Last year, we were told that the swallows arrived on 3rd April, so surprisingly just a few days late this year. Joy had calculated that there must have been over 120 fledgling swallows last year from these barns alone.
On Sunday 18th February, before the Siberian weather arrived, nine of us (Nev, Graham, Dave M., Vicky, Ellen, Terry, Alma, Bev and Madeleine) visited the nature reserve at the northern end of Watermead Country Park in Syston.
It was a cold enough day then, but with lovely, bright sunshine. We did see over 40 different birds, however it felt quiet. We had to search for the unexpected like the lone Siskin; the Treecreeper and Cetti's warbler which we could hear but not see, the latter proving totally elusive; the Water rail scurrying out of the stream to disappear into the brambles and the distant goosanders. However, there were excellent views to be had of a female green woodpecker and a goldcrest behaving as if it was a flycatcher darting out from an ivy-clad tree stump to snatch insects enjoying the sunbeams.
On Sunday 14th January a group of eight (Nev, Graham, Lee, Wendy, Terry, Alma, Bev and Madeleine) braved the cold weather to visit this reserve in the Nene Valley, Northamptonshire. There are a variety of wetland sites as well as grasslands and young woodlands, consequently a wide variety of waterfowl and many other birds arrive with the changing seasons. We were particularly looking for the great egret which had been reported here.
Three of us were lucky enough to see the bird from the Pioneer hide almost as soon as we arrived as it flew leisurely from one end of the lake to the other disappearing out of sight at the back of a reed bed. After a few minutes the other members began to arrive, but the great egret had gone.
However, very soon many other waterfowl began to attract our attention - adult mute swans with juveniles in tow and a wide variety of ducks, but no waders. A peregrine falcon eased its way overhead into a tree on the far side of the lake.