Sunday, 3 March 2019

Update from England - Part 2 South Yorkshire

We travelled south down the A1(M) to Bawtry to catch up with our friends who are now home from Cambodia. A trip there a few years ago seriously boosted the life list! We had a day at RSPB Old Moor reserve followed by a day at a newish Nottingham Wildlife Trust Reserve in the Idle Valley. First lets look at a shot from Hauxley which didn't make the cut, it shows waders at Hauxley and there are a couple of grey plover in it. One on the left with a group of dunlin and one sitting on a rock out in the water. The lapwing are all on the grass.

Hauxley waders
We have been to Old Moor before and had a good wander about. There were reports of booming bitterns, but not while we were there. The highlights from a list of 40 were sparrowhawk, green sandpiper, lesser black-backed gull, stock dove, tree sparrow and reed bunting.

The Idle Valley proved a bit of a challenge as it is a vast site which is still being developed. There is still sand and gravel extraction as well as farming activities mixed in with reserve areas and innumerable walks. We visited the new centre which overlooks a large lake and walked some of the paths along the River Idle. Then we went looking for a great white egret which was in one of the northern meres. We eventually got a half decent view through trees and later on got a better view but no photographs. The site list was a modest 38 but as well as the egret we also saw a red-crested pochard which has now colonised the area. Previously I have seen these in London parks but they have now spread north and are breeding in Notts. We also had a couple of ringed plover, not especially remarkable I hear you say, but the locals were coming to see them as they are rare in Notts which is about as far from the sea as you can get and they are normally coastal birds. I managed to resist the urge to say I had these within ten minutes walk from the house along the coastal path!

Chainbridge Scrape
The photograph shows the sort of habitat in the newer area where the sand and gravel extraction areas have been restored. The egret and plover were in this area, the pochard was in an older area where there was more vegetation, fishng facilities and parking areas. I reckon you could spend two days there between the newer northern areas where there are several meres such as the one in the photograph and the older southern area where there is more woodland and riverside walks. A very pleasant day out with several village pubs serving good food and beer close to hand.  Here is a link to their web site just in case you are ever in the area and looking to bird. There is a map on the site and you can get good maps with walks from the Information Centre. You really would need a map and a bit of time to do the site justice.

https://www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/nature-reserves/idle-valley

So we moved on to Lancashire with the 2019 list climbing well over the hundred.

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