Potteric Carr 23 April 2017

The penultimate trip of the season was to Potteric Carr. This is an area of low-lying land to the south east of Doncaster that forms the floodplain of the River Torne. The site is fabulous for birdwatching with marsh and water birds being particularly numerous.

On arrival at the new visitor centre we were immediately overlooked a lake and reed bed. Spring was definitely in the air with a bright sunny morning with many birds nesting or proudly showing off their new families. On arrival at the visitor centre a Canada Goose was enjoying the morning sunshine proudly showing off her goslings with the unmistakeable sound of Chiffchaff resonating in the surrounding area.

The reserve has numerous nature paths to follow and we initially ventured off to cottage drain hide. On route Goldfinch and Long-tailed Tits could be seen fluttering in the trees and a lone bullfinch. From the hide, territorial rivalry could be seen between the Canada Geese and Greylags, chasing each other away from their nesting areas, with Pochard and a Mute Swan on the water. A roe deer walked directly past the window of the hide giving a very close up view. On leaving the hide, a Blackcap could be seen in full song on a branch and others could be heard in response.

Piper Marsh Hide provided sightings of Gadwall, Coots & their chicks, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Shoveller, and Oystercatchers. A female Hen Harrier came in to land and pick up some nesting materials from the ground shortly after the male Hen Harrier flew past, doubtless to survey his pending new nest!

Our lunch spot was near to East Scrape where we were able to sit in a pleasant suntrap. From this point, we could hear Willow Warblers, Cettiā€™s Warblers and sightings of female and male Reed Buntings. The highlight of the lunch stop was a close up view of a Whinchat perching on a post and dropping down to feed. It remained there for a long period meaning that other members of the group had the opportunity to come and view it.

To further add to the pleasure of lunchtime we were provided with an aerial display courtesy of the Buzzards and Marsh Harriers with the Harriers providing a demonstration on how to escape in style from attacking Buzzards.

The final destination was West Scrape Hide where there were excellent views of two Black-necked Grebes.

In total the group saw 62 different species with one lucky member of the group being fortunate enough to see a Bittern.

As a bonus, the coach journey going there and back also provided spectacular views over the Woodhead Pass across the moorlands where Red Grouse and Curlews could be seen in abundance. Overall it was a lovely day and I would recommend anyone to visit Potteric Carr


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