Stamford U3A Bird Watching Group 2018
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Bird Watching Group – Egleton, Rutland Water, November 2018
Lovely bright sunny skies, calm and dry, greeted 15 members of the Stamford U3A Bird Watching Group, as they assembled at the Bird Watching Centre, Egleton reserve, Rutland Water, on Monday morning, 26th November 2018. The first 30 minutes were spent in the upstairs viewing room, looking over Lagoons 1 and 2. There was an amazing number of wildfowl species noted, including: Goosander and Goldeneye (males and females), Great White Egret, Teal, Grey Heron, and a small herd of Bewick’s Swans.
The group then left the Centre, and headed north-east along ‘The Winter Trail’ to spend time in Grebe Hide. On their way there, they stopped off at a spinney: where Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Robin, and a large colony of House Sparrows were logged in to the notebooks; Fieldfares were heard overhead, as they searched for winter berries From Grebe Hide, the star bird seen was a Marsh Harrier; which impressed the observers’ when it ‘quartered’ the reed beds around the hide. The next stop (and the last), was a long trek to visit Sandpiper Hide, which overlooks Lagoon 4. We were very well rewarded with superb scenes, when the large flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover flew up into the sky, and circled around, then slowly descended to the small islets in the lagoon. This was repeated on several occasions (possibly due to a raptor flying around), and ‘spooking’ the flocks. It was then time to return to the Bird Watching Centre, followed by a short journey to Lands End Way, where a convivial lunch was enjoyed at “The Old Buttercross” Restaurant. Patricia Dale had logged a total of 40 species for the group this morning.
Bird Watching Group at Deeping Lakes – October 2018
On a beautiful morning, with clear blue sky, cold, dry and calm. 15 members of the U3A Bird Watching Group, assembled in the car park, at the Deeping Lakes Nature Reserve. Members were surprised at the lack of wildfowl on the large lakes. A pleasant stroll in the sun was enjoyed as everyone made their way to the main Hide; from here they spotted a small flotilla of Tufted Duck, and one solitary Great Crested Grebe nearby. Cormorants were in reasonable numbers, and several of these fish eaters perched high in a tree, at the edge of the water. Mute Swans were numerous at the waters edge. After 45 minutes the group then walked along the tree-lined pathways, and through a small woodland area, where they heard: Wrens, Great and Blue Tits calling from the scrub. Other species noted were Grey Squirrel, and Ruddy Darter dragonfly, and a few fungi in the grass bank. The Grey Squirrel and Ruddy Darter Dragonfly photos taken by Bird Club member Clive Adkin. All those present, then made their way in convoy to ‘The Goat’, at Frognall, for a welcome pub lunch.
Bird Watching Group at Wakerley Woods – July 2018
The Forestry Commission’s Wakerley Woods was the venue for the Bird Group’s July meeting. At 10:00 am twelve members assembled outside the wood entrance, and then set off to observe the wildlife. Weather conditions were reasonable: warm, overcast, dry and a slight breeze. The sun did appear later! At this time of the year, most of the birds are hiding away, as they undergo their annual moult period. However,a small amount of call notes were heard, which gave the naturalists a chance to learn which species were uttering these contact calls, i.e. Marsh Tit, Goldcrest, Chiff Chaff, Coal Tit, and Wren. A Red Kite slowly circled overhead, and it’s fabulous calls echoed over us. A family of Long-tailed Tits were observed crossing the woodland ride. So, the group turned to butterflies which were lively in the sun: Silver Washed Fritillary, Small Whites and Common Blues were prominent. A very welcome lunch beckoned, and was enjoyed at The Royal Oak, Duddington.
There will be no meeting in August, as members are recommended to attend the British Bird Watching Fair, at Egleton Reserve, Rutland Water, 17 to 19th August 2018.
Bird Watching Group at Ketton Quarries – June 2018
On a fine, dry and warm morning, 19 members assembled in the Pit Lane car park, Ketton Quarries at 10.00 am. The group made their way into the BBQ area, where butterflies were abundant, Green Woodpeckers were heard calling, and Meadow Grasshoppers were singing in the thick grasses. The Valley was next visited, with more butterflies found and Buzzards were calling overhead. A large plant: Knapweed Broom Rape was photographed. David Needham took some of the members to investigate the North Arm.
After this hot ramble, members had a welcome pub lunch at The Crown in Great Casterton.
Bird Watching Group at Lyndon Reserve, Rutland Water – May 2018
On a perfect spring morning: clear sky, warm, slight breeze, dry and humid, 14 members assembled at the Lyndon nature reserve Visitor Centre, Rutland Water.
The group then made their way westwards along the footpath trail, and they were overawed at the sight of the many Common Whitethroat males, as they proclaimed their territories with beautiful songs (some perched high on telegraph wires), giving excellent views of their shape and size. Further along the trail there was more song from: Garden Warbler, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Destination was finally reached: and everyone entered the Shallow Water Hide! Observations were made of the Osprey nest (containing adult and 2 young ), and over the reed beds Sedge Warblers made song flights, and on the water were: Pairs of Great Crested Grebes, and ‘flotillas’ of Tufted Duck lazily resting on the water. Reed Buntings and Common Terns completed a good list of 41 species: logged by Patricia Dale.
It was a hot, humid trek back to the Visitor Centre, rewarded with the sight of a Barn Owl, hunting low over the meadows (species number 42).
A very welcome pub lunch was enjoyed in ‘The Wheatsheaf’ at Edith Weston.
Bird Watching Group at Bourne Woods – April 2018
17 members assembled in Bourne Woods car park, on a dull, dry cool morning. David Needham conducted the group along the various woodland rides, where the Bluebells and Wood Anemones provided some colour. Because of the cool, sunless conditions, the movement of birds was limited; however, there was fortunately much bird song to be enjoyed. Nuthatch, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Lesser Redpoll, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Chaffinch and Blackbird were in good voice. The exciting climax to this walk was the close up observation of two Fallow Deer does feeding in a ride; as a Buzzard called, as it flew over us.
The bird watchers then made the short journey to “The Sugar Mill” restaurant, for their pub lunch.
Bird Watching Group at RSPB Frampton Marsh Nature Reserve – March 2018
Eleven intrepid bird group members made the journey to the RSPB reserve: Frampton Marsh, near Boston, on Mon morning 26 March. The visitor Centre was the first venue, and a chat with the wardens. We then set off along the paths and visited the 360 Hide, where good views were had of a group of Whooper Swans. Then: Ringed plover, Redshank, Ruff, displaying Goldeneye, a large flock of Avocets graced the scene, pairs of the handsome Shoveler, and attractive looking male Teal were amongst the birds observed. The entourage then made their way to the Reedbed Hide, where the spectacular vast lagoon areas were enjoyed.
A welcome lunch was appreciated at the nearby “The Spirit of Endeavour” restaurant.
Bird Watching Group at Egleton, Rutland Water – February 2018
Excellent turn out of 23 members of the Stamford U3A Bird Watching Group, at Egleton Reserve, Rutland Water on Mon morning, 26 Feb 2018. Lovely conditions: clear blue sky, crisp and sharp, no wind. Members visited the bird hides on Lagoons 3 and 4, north of the Bird Watching Centre.
Highlights of the morning: Redwings, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Curlews, Smew, and a rarity: American Wigeon.
Lunch was enjoyed in ‘The Old Buttercross’, on Lands End Way, Oakham.