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"View From The Pit Top"- Latest news from SK58 Birders
Updated 26 June, 2019

 

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© SK58 Birders 2019

est. 1992

website est. 1996

 

News Archive

! NEW ! 26/06/2019 We've had a report from Geoff Facer, the hide at NAPT has been vandalised. It appears initially to be superficial, in so much as the notice board and some of the exterior cladding has been ripped off. The superstructure of the hide is a converted metal container, so pretty robust. If you see any vandalism, please do let us know. We might not already know about it. We tend to find vandalised sites attract more vandalism, so we hope this will be quickly repaired.

We've also had a reports from Gateford member Richard Platts, saying the lake at Gateford is now fully accessible and the temporary fencing has been removed. This looks a cracking little lake, which we hope will pull in a few migrants.

Gateford Lake @ Gateford © Richard Platts

Gateford Lake- wide angle @ Gateford © Richard Platts

! NEW ! 24/06/2019 A reminder- our monthly walk, Wednesday 26th June- Nightjars- An evening trip to the Budby/ Clumber area looking for Nightjars, Woodcock and hopefully Long-eared Owl. 1900 at the Loyal Trooper car park. Leader: Andy Murray.

23/05/2019 Mick Clay our Conservation Officer, has acquired 45 more trees and would like a hand planting them along Axle Lane again. He's organised a Tree Planting session for Saturday 25th May, meet 1330 at Axle Lane. Bring a spade/ shears if you have them.

During the organisers meeting last night we discussed proposals put forward by our new Membership Development Officer Paul Bloor to promote the group and boost membership. We are acutely aware we have an ageing membership, so in a bid to address this Paul has come up with a strategy plan beginning with a poster campaign. I'm sure Paul would welcome any help with distributing these when designed and printed. Click here to email Paul.

07/05/2019 Just a reminder to those who haven't paid their subs this year, they fell due in April. If you haven't renewed, and wish to do so please contact Lyn Facer. Further information on our Join Us page.

29/04/2019 Yesterday nine members made the pilgrimage to the migration Mecca that is Spurn Point. The weather didn't look promising and upon arrival waterproof and windproof jackets were required. First part of our visit was undertaken along Beacon Lane. Here were good numbers of Whitethroat and several Lesser Whitethroat singing/ displaying from the dense cover. Towards Beacon Ponds were 2 lingering Brent Goose, as well Gadwall, Shelduck, Greylag Goose, 3 Common Sandpiper & a Greenshank. The sheep field held Wheatear and several Yellow Wagtail, feeding on insects disturbed by the sheep. Detouring to the Sounding Dish and on to Kilnsea Wetlands we had brief views of Short-eared Owl, as well as Buzzard over.

Peninsular @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

At Kilnsea Wetlands, the new hide offered much more room, from which we saw good numbers of Avocet, several Wigeon, 25+ Redshank and a smattering of other common birds. From here we checked out the new extension to Kilnsea Wetlands where we had 12 Curlew and 10 stunning Bar-tailed Godwit in summer plumage and Short-eared Owl, flushed from the dike. Then returning to the Bluebell area for much needed lunch. After lunch we ventured south to the Warren and then back up to cover the Triangle area. The tide was well in and the waders put on quite a show. Although the Triangle was pretty quiet, with little in the scrub/ hedges along the way, save for a few Reed Bunting and the addition of Sedge Warbler to the days list. Towards the Crown & Anchor, we picked several Grey Plover. By now the weather was much improved- the sun was shining, blue skies and a definite rise in temperature.

SK58 Birders @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

The final destination of the day, was the short drive to Sammy's Point. More Whitethroat greeted us as we checked out the scrub here. A female Ring Ouzel flew over as did a female Merlin, plus Grasshopper Warbler, adding to the days tally. Returning back to the cars we picked up a stunning male Redstart and male Marsh Harrier. These a fitting end to a great days birding at Spurn.

Sedge Warbler @ Spurn © John Gallagher

04/04/2019 You may have seen on the news, the practice of netting hedges and trees to prevent birds nesting to allow building development to take place. A hedge in Carlton in Lindrick, opposite the Co-op on the main A60, had such a hedge netted. Avant homes have permission to build on the site and had netted a section of hedgerow to prevent birds nesting, as this was to be the main access for the development. This caused quite a bit of upset locally, as the netting was poorly erected. Although centrally the netting was intact, both ends were open so birds could enter, but then be unable to escape. This was tantamount to illegal trapping.

Our Conservation Officer was quickly on the case and contacted Bassetlaw Planning Department to find out more. In the meantime the netting was removed by persons unknown. The developers moved in within two days (the day after we contacted Bassetlaw) and took out the section of hedge and began work, with our Conservation Officer on site. Walking around outside the immediate area of development, he did find two Lapwing nests with eggs and pointed these out to the developer's staff on site.

The netting of habitats is becoming more widespread and at best is sharp practice. If you come across any netting please check to ensure it is secure with no open ends, gaps, rips etc... that birds could enter through and also check to see if there are any birds trapped inside. Unless we hear otherwise we suggest contacting the RSPCA (Tel: 0300 1234 999) for advice on what to do if you discover birds trapped in this way.

02/04/2019 Just playing around with the database- there have been 148 species of bird recorded at North Anston Pit Top since the database was created in 1999. That's a pretty impressive tally at what is in effect a colliery spoil heap. Sweepstake on what the 150th species will be? Cetti's Warbler, Great White Egret?

25/03/2019 The field trip on March 24th was to RSPB St. Aidan's with 8 members in attendance.
The weather was dry and mainly sunny but with a cold westerly wind. The first job was to find the Little Owl(s) that nest in the dragline. One soon obliged.

SK58 Birders testing the water @ St Aidans © Pete Kenworthy

Walking down from the field centre, 30 Whooper Swans were seen on the flooded ridge and furrow along with many Greylag Geese and Canada Geese. A small flock of geese flew over our heads and settled on the hillside pasture giving us excellent views of half a dozen Pink-footed Geese and a single Bean Goose. On Astley Lake were 2 Avocets and 2 Oystercatchers and a small flock of Sand Martins feeding over the water with a Red Kite overhead. Around the wooded perimeter path Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap were singing and flock of House Martins were overhead.

Massive excavator @ St Aidans © Pete Kenworthy

Cutting back through the reedbeds, 4 pairs of Black-necked Grebes were found along with a drake Red-crested Pochard whilst 2 or 3 Bitterns were booming. Small passerines were hard to find in the strong wind but the group returned a total of 57 species (Geoff Facer).

Black-necked Grebe @ St Aidans © John Gallagher

16/03/2019 At NAPT the willows between Bluebell Wood Hospice and the sewage works have been removed- this should open the site up more and attract a few more species. Plus a seat has been installed at the top of the hill behind the hide- this should prove useful for migration watching if anyone cares to get up early! Also, the scrape has some water in it, so as of the weekend of 23/03/2019, the group will commence wardening the hide between 0800-1100 Saturday mornings.

Cleared Willows @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

New bench above hide, ideal for viz-migging @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

11/03/2019 It's not taken our Conservation Officer long to get stuck into jobs this year! Below the wader scrape at NAPT following works organised by Mick Clay, to reinstate clear areas for Little Ringed Plover to nest. The scrape had become overgrown and unsuitable, with no bird breeding plovers here for two years.

Wader Scrape cleared for LRP @ NAPT © Mick Clay

Wader Scrape cleared for LRP @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

Mick has been out again, this time with new Membership Development Officer Paul Bloor & his son Alfie. For Christmas Alfie didn't want the latest Xbox game or a new phone, no Alfie wanted some trees so he could plant them! So Alfie & Paul, along with Conservation Officer Mick Clay set to and planted the mix of 65 trees along the wall at Axle Lane. Well done all, especially Alfie!

Paul Bloor & Alfie Bloor tree planting @ Axle Lane © Mick Clay

20/02/2019 The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) have been busy again at NAPT. They've replaced the fencing by the hide, between the gate and the corner of the hide. This should act as a clear deterrent that it's out of bounds- Wildlife Only!

New fence @ NAPT (Dinnington Community Woodland) © TCV (The Conservation Volunteers).

17/02/2019 "Beautiful walk round Shireoaks Pit Top"

All photos @ Shireoaks © Pete Kenworthy

04/02/2019 At the end of January the group held it's indoor meeting & AGM. The AGM was brief and all the current post holders were reelected (click here to see who carries which role). We were delighted to elect Mick Clay to the role of Conservation Officer and Paul Bloor to the role of Membership Development Officer. Following the reports from the various group organisers Geoff Facer gave the group a wader ID masterclass, which seemed a popular format of question and answers, using various audio visual props. Something I'm sure we'll do again. We also welcomed six new members to the group.

22/01/2019 In an attempt to encourage Peregrines to nest in the area, Mick Clay constructed a nesting platform and sought permission to place it on the parapet at the church in South Anston. On Sunday several members helped Mick put the platform in position. Lets hope they make use of it!

Narrow stairway up the tower
Bells in tower dated 1871

 

Peregrine platform
South Anston Church

Mick & John
Mick placing platform in position

 

View >NW
View >SE

Graveyard from parapet- all photos © Andy Hirst

14/01/2019 We heard today that planning consent has been given for Firbeck Hall. Details of the development into apartments along with planning conditions/plans etc... can be found here

01/01/2019 A HAPPY NEW YEAR! A reminder the group holds it's AGM at the 30th January indoor meeting. Anyone wishing to stand or offer help with the running of the group should let the recorder- Andy Hirst know prior the the AGM. We currently have several positions to fill, covering the Secretary's role and Publicity/ Membership Development. And of course any help with general tasks would be greatly appreciated.

A further reminder to submit all of your 2018 records to the Recorder ASAP, so we can correlate and pass them on to the YNU. We have a database which you can use to enter your records, or an Excel spreadsheet, which means we can input your records directly in to the groups master database. However records are welcome in any format.

We've reviewed the list of species which require descriptions and have removed Marsh Harrier from this list. Given the increase of this species around SK58 (Idle Valley, Potteric etc...) the number of records will no doubt increase, making Marsh Harrier less scarce locally.

25/12/2018 Did you receive a smart phone for Christmas? Did know SK58 Birders has it's own Bird News Service? We have a "WhatsApp" group dedicated to broadcasting immediate bird news to members. It works on either iPhone and Android phones. Simply search, download and install the free "Whats App" app from the store on your device- then let our Recorder have your mobile phone number. You'll be added to the group, and then you'll receive news and updates on SK58 Birds straight to your phone as well as being able to broadcast to other members, any good birds you find within the square.

17/12/2018 Mick Clay informs us the farmer has planted 3 larger trees at Axle Lane and will look again in the spring to see if he needs to plant anymore. If you recall an overzealous employee chopped down all the trees the group planted a few years ago (scroll down for full story).

Don't forget at the January indoor meeting, we hold our brief AGM. At this moment in time, all the current incumbents in the various roles are willing to stand for another year. However we do have several vacancies within the group, so if you are interested in possibly becoming our Secretary, Publicity/ Membership Development Officer, or simply wish to offer some time towards group activities and events, then do please let Andy Hirst know before the AGM, ideally before the Organisers meeting on the 23rd January so we can ensure you make your intentions known at the AGM.

08/12/2018 Once again SK58 Birders have contributed a tree to the South Anston Methodist Church Tree & Light Festival. And once again, thanks to Susan Parker and Paul Tennyson we have adorned a tree, plus an environmental message reflecting the groups interests. click here for further details and opening times to view the trees and lights.

SK58 Christmas tree @ South Anston Methodist Church© Allan Parker ASP

A group dedicated to recording the bird life of a single 10km square between Sheffield, Rotherham & Worksop

content & design by Andy Hirst