Coach Trip To Carsington Water – 27th January 2013

The snow of the previous week had largely disappeared locally as our party of 15 set out for the day at Carsington Water. However as we crossed the south Pennines it was clear that the thaw had not yet had much impact in this area, and when we arrived at Carsington the snow was still lying 6 inches deep. So for most of the day we tramped through the snow, sloshed through the slush and slipped about on the ice.

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First stop (after a visit to the toilets) was Stones Island where we managed to locate Great Northern Diver. There were at least 2 present at opposite ends of the lake but we had reasonable ‘scope views of the nearer one. Goldeneye, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan and Cormorant were also on the water and Canada Geese, Redshank and Pied Wagtail on the banks. A small flock of Tree Sparrows was found in the bushes behind us and a Kestrel hovered over the field.

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After posing for a group photo (thanks Val) we headed back towards the Visitor Centre. Unfortunately the lure of the café proved too strong for some and we lost a few on the way to the Wildlife Centre. Inside it was exceptionally hot and the optics immediately fogged over. However once adjusted to the conditions we could start finding the birds. There were a large number of ducks including Mallard, Pochard, Tufted, Teal, and a single female Pintail, as well as several Great Crested Grebes. Over on the far bank was a single Snipe showing quite well. The Mallards were rather monopolising the feeder but once scared away small birds such as Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, and Reed Bunting were able to get in.

Now it was time for a major hike round the reservoir to the Woodland hide and the three Sheepwash hides. The snow underfoot was particularly slushy which made it hard going. At the Woodland hide we had Tree Sparrows, Coal Tit and Nuthatch. Further round the Sheepwash hides look over the reservoir but each has a feeder close by to attract small birds as well.

Out on the reservoir were Coot, male Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebe (some in almost full breeding plumage), Mallard, Tufted Duck, and Pochard. A pair of Goosander flew along the shoreline on the far side. Along the bank we had our first Grey Heron, another Redshank and many Teal. There were at least 13 Cormorants roosting on a small island, many of which were distinctly white-headed looking, which Brian explained were of a European race. Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were present on the water. One of the gulls standing on the gravel by a small island generated considerable excitement. Through a ‘scope its legs were obviously yellow and its mantle slightly darker than the Herring Gulls – a Yellow-Legged Gull!

Visiting the feeders were Willow Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Moorhen, Jackdaw and Reed Bunting. On the return journey back to the Visitor Centre we had 3 pairs of Bullfinch on the Woodland feeder and a Wren fly across the path. A flock of Barnacle Geese could be seen on the fields near the Wildlife Centre. Out on the water a large number of Black-headed Gulls were gathering ready for their night-time roost. Other significant sightings reported by members during the day included Sparrowhawk and Siskin.

Overall a total of 46 species were seen during the day.

Photos by Val M and Robert D.

ROBERT D

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