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Group News 2002
Updated February 25, 2019


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News Archive

28/12/02 A traditional Christmas walk, this year between Laughton en le Morthen and Firbeck, was unfortunately an anti-climax. The highlights a flock of Tree Sparrow and Yellowhammer, plus modest views of perched Buzzard. Despite the lack of decent birds a good time was had by all.

20/12/02 Our change of event for our Christmas do was a big hit. We went to the Bengal Tandoori in Dinnington. Nineteen members and relatives enjoyed superb Indian food and Cobra beer. The event was a big hit and sure to be repeated next year.

10/12/02 We are on the trail of money again. We are applying to the Lottery for another grant. This time for a 200mm lens for our video camera. This will enable us to film birds without causing any disturbance. We will also need a 2x converter and an adapter to allow us to use 35mm lenses on our XL1s

Video Production

28/11/02 Bob Croxton was the guest speaker at our monthly indoor meeting, his topic -South Yorkshire's Nature Reserves. Thanks to Bob for an enlightening talk exploring local and county trust reserves. It's amazing just how many reserves there are in the area, some large, some not so large.

17/11/02 The monthly trip was wildfowl count to areas of water throughout the square. Unfortunately Just 3 members turned out. Despite this, and the mild weather a good trip ensued. Wildfowl numbers were generally low. Although modest counts were noted. Highlights were Gadwall and Wigeon at Hewit Arms Pond, which appeared deserted!

01/11/02 The Just a few items of news to bear in mind. At the January meeting we will have our AGM, don't fear, it doesn't last long! (If you or anyone you know would like to stand, then see the notes below in the 2nd para of notes from 20/10/02). After the brief AGM there will be a free buffet to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the group, yes it's 10 years since 20 of us sat in the Cutler and decided to form the SK58 Birders. Andy Hirst will also briefly reflect on 10 years at North Anston Pit Top, with a look at the future developments.

We have also uploaded the Buff-breasted Sandpiper description sent in by Mark Reeder, (bird found by Ray Greasley of RVCP), click to view description

30/10/02 The Galapagos was the theme of the monthly meeting. Sheffield wildlife enthusiast and much seasoned traveler Pete Robinson recounted a jaunt to this magical area, using his excellent slides. No doubt we will have Pete back to reflect on his traveling experiences. Chairman Mick Clay also went through the proposed redevelopment plans this time for Kiveton Pit Top, where again, as on NAPT, we hope to include a nature reserve, amongst the vast redevelopment workings.

28/10/02 Group members attended a meeting in N. Anston this evening regarding the proposed development of a new practice surgery at Greenlands Park. The group has no objections to the surgery, but has grave concerns over the removal of 15-20 mature trees from the area known as the mound, which plays host to a small Rookery. It was suggested that the needs of 9000 residents are greater than a few Rooks, well we as a group disagree. Yes in local terms the loss of this Rookery is minor, but what about next time in another location, where a few more are sacrificed. When you add up 'just a few more', they become a significant number. Perhaps the Rook may go the same way as the Tree Sparrow (95% decline in 25 years), or the House Sparrow, which this year went onto the Red Data List, as a species for which there is grave environmental concern. It was briefly mooted that the Rooks would nest elsewhere and that they are nomadic. Unfortunately neither is true. Corvids are very sedentary and localised. A Rookery is not simply a mass of Rooks nests, it is a hierarchical colony with the 'top birds' taking prime territories, so they simply won't nest elsewhere.-Points the group will raise. The Rookery will simply make way for a car park, which I'm sure could be relocated to a different section, leaving the Rookery intact.

On a lighter note, the group Christmas dinner will be a departure from the norm this year, with us ditching the buffet idea and going for a traditional????!!! curry (Turkey curry an option?), probably at a local restaurant in Dinnington. Don't worry if you are not a curry fan, there is always a good selection of non Indian food available. Let Mick know soon if you are interested. January will see our 2nd AGM take place. If you are interested in standing for the roles go to contacts page (list of positions and current occupants), or helping the current incumbent, then again let Mick or any committee member know you wish to stand.

06/10/02 A week on from our weekend at Spurn, and the group held it's annual twitchers day. With little around the hardy few departed for Flamborough at 06:00. With northerly blows sea-watching was on the agenda. Sooty Shearwaters continually passed north. We estimated at the peak 3-400 an hour were moving N (the day total was 1500 N, this the 2nd highest Yorkshire count). Amongst other seabirds moving were loads of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Fulmars, with a few Red-throated Divers, a few Manx Shearwater and single Med Shearwater. One of the highlights were several adult Pomarine Skuas complete with 'spoons', including a group of 4 harassing Kittiwakes. A few Arctic and Great Skuas were also observed. Following a deserved breakfast we hit the hedges along Old Fall, turning up a Barred Warbler. At South Landing an elusive Yellow-browed Warbler was also seen, as were 8 Pink-footed Geese with single Barnacle Goose going NW!. An excellent day, the only downside-a 5 mile tail back outside Howden on the return journey.

29/09/02 The groups annual pilgrimage yet again turned up a feast of exotic species, although the majority were bread and butter birds at Spurn. Arriving Saturday morning the group immediately saw Barred Warbler, the rest of the day produced a daily tally in excess of 70 species. A Yellow-browed Warbler and a Firecrest the highlights. The YBW a tick for some of the members. We stayed overnight in the Crown & Anchor and indulged in various food and drink. The next morning a pre-breakfast walk around the 'Triangle' produced nothing new on the trip list, although birds were passing through in number. After a hearty breakfast the group decided to to head to Flamborough for a Citrine Wagtail. After a wait of an hour it duly arrived and performed in front of us. Feeling our luck was in we drove westwards to Wheldrake, near York where the long-staying Buff-breasted Sandpiper performed well. This adult was thought to be the same individual which spent brief periods at Axle Lane on Sept. 16th. All in all another excellent weekend, with good company, good birds, fine accommodation and excellent weather (too nice).

25/09/02 An occasion at last nights monthly meeting-The world premiere of the groups latest video "Anston Stones Wood 1992 & 2002". Mike Murphy borrowed a video projector, which really brought the images to life on a big screen. (see our Publications and Video pages ). Afterwards Andy Hirst illustrated a trip to Poland in 2001. (Tip Don't go to Poland for the cuisine-Do go for the birding though!).

17/09/02 The group handed in plans for its ideas regarding the future development of NAPT. These include a wader scrape, a wet meadow, a nature trail and feeding station, with a container hide as a focus.

07/09/02 The group is completing several projects. The Anston Stones Wood video will be available this week on VHS, Mini DV and CD-ROM (Microsoft Office Powerpoint and Quicktime Movie). First stage plans are almost completed for the proposed scrape at NAPT. We have also added the description of Spotted Redshank (Hodsock 13/08/02) to our species page

22/08/02 At a consultation event for NAPT in Dinnington Resource Centre the group were pleased to note that Yorkshire Forward had included a sizable wader scrape for the redevelopment of NAPT. The representatives from Yorkshire Forward and the contractors seemed amenable to including a hide and paths, and possibly a hay meadow. In effect we would have a small nature reserve, which would be managed. The group now has the task of designing a wader scrape and islands plus the area around it for nesting birds. Any ideas for 'our' nature reserve would be welcomed-please pass on your ideas to Mick Clay Contacts page.

20/08/02 The group received notification that plans are available for inspection and discussion that relate to the redevelopment of North Anston Pit Top. The plans do incorporate a wader scrape and the possible establishment of a nature reserve, the result of a long campaign by the group. Group members will inspect these plans and offer advice, and try and push for the erection of a permanent hide (constructed of metal for obvious reasons) to act as a focus for the area and to encourage educational visits by local residents. It finally looks as though all our hard work may be rewarded.

11/08/02 The group enjoyed an excellent weekends seawatching at Flamborough-this despite widespread flooding. Four of the party of six arrived at Filey (our base) on Friday evening, the remainder of the party arrived early next morning, amid wide spread flooding, which meant many a diversion and proceeding warily through foot deep water to reach the Lighthouse at Flamborough. Saturday morning was fine and promised much and indeed the early start was rewarded with a continuous stream of Gannets and Kittewakes north. The highlight of the 3.5 hour seawatch were 9 Manx Shearwater N, 5 Arctic Skua, single Sooty Shearwater north, single Great Skua, plus hundreds if not thousands of Gannets and Kittewakes. Following a hearty and welcome breakfast in a local cafe, we circled the headland via Old and New Fall hedges and the coastal path. This produced quite a few Willow Warblers and 7 Pied Flys in the Old Fall woodland, which is now accessible, via a fenced pathway. A flooded depression in the field produced Greenshank, while the cliff-top path revealed 2 Cuckoo. Leaving Flamborough we negotiated the flooded roads and traffic hold ups to reach Filey North Cliffe Country Park, passing several flooded out homes and cars on the way. The park itself home to a community of sodden campers. Arctic and Great Skua were seen from the brigg, while a Merlin zipped through the Totem Pole field. The following day began with another early morning seawatch, the sea being far less productive this morning, possibly due to a light fret that greeted us. Both Gannets and Kittewakes were observed, but in much reduced number than the previous day. However 6 Common Scoter were noted with 6 Manx Shearwater and a single Sooty Shearwater. 2 Great Skua flew north, with a steady procession of noisy Sandwich Terns. Following our early morning vigil and obligatory breakfast we repeated our trail around Old and New Fall. A single Wheatear and 2 Whinchat were noted in the field by the lighthouse. The woodland at Old Fall was quiet, the Pied Flys from yesterday having moved through. However the flooded field held Lapwing, Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, Ruff and a smart Wood Sandpiper. At South Landing the group split, one party headed off for a Rose-coloured Starling at Skipsea, the remainder returned for a timely visit to Hodsock, adding a new bird to the SK58 list. All in all an excellent weekends birding, good company, and good birds, despite the challenges the weather had in store.

31/07/02 John Gardener from Wakefield was guest speaker at our July monthly indoor meeting. His talk entitled 'Desert Birding' was a fascinating journey from California, Arizona, Morocco and Israel, exploring different desert types that host a variety of stunning birds.

Plans are now available for the proposed pathway/ bridleway/ cycleway between Thurcroft and Dinnington (on the old railway). Ask Andy Hirst or Mick Clay if you would like to see them.

16/07/02 The group has been involved in discussions for the development of the old railway line between Thurcroft and Dinnington (bordering Dinnington Marsh). It is hoped to fund a project to turn the rail-bed in to a footpath/ cycleway/ bridleway. Today the group received news that more detailed plans have been costed up, and are viewable in the Gordon Bennet Memorial Hall-Thurcroft, throughout July/ early August for inspection/ comment.

13/07/02 We took part in the Harthill Carnival again this year, with a superbly sited stand in the beer/ refreshment tent. Despite low sales of our reports we did a lot of flag waving, and handed out lots of leaflets while talking to many residents about the group and local birding issues. Making a special guest appearance was Bernard the Bittern. Thanks to Brian Chambers who manned the stall all day and to Andy Hirst, Mick Clay, Mike & Pam Murphy for manning the stall for several hours.

11/07/02 Our annual pilgrimage to Budby was successfully undertaken this year, our numbers swollen by members of the Sheffield RSPB Members Group. Unfortunately the designated leader fell ill, but Mick Clay ably stepped in at the 12th hour. The larger than normal group arrived early in the evening and were rewarded with typical heathland birds (Yellowhammer & such like). Towards dusk a solitary Long-eared Owl was seen by a lucky few, although the main event followed once the sun was very low, (not quite set before they began to call) and the Nightjars began to churr. Thanks to Mick for making this a great trip

08/07/02 Don't forget this weekend is Harthill Carnival weekend. Please visit us on our stall on July 13th to have a chat and find out what's about.

This year the group will undertake it's biennial Tetrad Atlas Survey, a survey which records the entire SK58 square on two, one hour visits between April and June. During the visits every adult bird is recorded and counted. This survey was begun in 1995, repeated in 1996, and conducted every two years since. This, after recording, the most important thing the group undertakes. Would folk who took part in previous years please sign up for the same tetrads, as consistency is the key to accurately recording the changing status of SK58 Birds. Your second visits should be completed. Please send your completed sheets to Andy Hirst as soon as you can!!!

Click on the the 2002 Tetrad Survey Page listing the 2000 survey participants, as well as a refresher on the guidelines.

27/06/02 A count of 33 occupied Rook nests at Greenlands Park, should hopefully dissuade the felling of a third of the trees in this Rookery-as is hoped by a a local surgery that want to expand. Of course we completely object to this. We will keep you informed.

26/06/02 A great night was guaranteed as Mike Fenner gave an enthralling account of a trip to Lesvos; at our monthly indoor meeting. Also a reminder to renew your subs (due April), also a reminder to return your completed Tetrad Atlas returns. Unfortunately a stand at this weekends Dinnington Festival has to abandoned, as several key members are away. However July 13th will see the group at Harthill Carnival-Any offers of assistance would greatly be appreciated, to sell reports, hand out leaflets and talk to people about the group and local birding.

16/06/02 The group were again represented at the Woodsetts Festival; where our display boards and AV equipment were put to good use. Chris Lilley valiantly manned the stall all weekend.

14/06/02 Having found an excellent website we have incorporated some new links on our map page and on our links page, which allows the use of Ordnance Survey maps to be overlaid onto aerial photo's-try it for yourself. We have also been awarded an excellence award for our website, for it's content up to dateness and relevance locally!

29/05/02 Geoff Facer, our speaker finder and diary dates compiler, relived a trip to Canada at our indoor meeting. From Vancouver to the Rockies and south to the prairies. The landscape photo's were breathtaking and the birds amazing! Also those who sponsored the bird race teams dug into their pockets and gave generously

18/05/02 !!!!!!!!! New SK58 Bird Race Record Set with 90 species topped, despite several dips !!!!!!!!!

This weekend saw 2 teams battle it out on our annual Sponsored Bird Race. Covering a 24 hour period, each team had to record as many species as possible within the boundaries of SK58. Both teams had the magical 90 species barrier in their sights. Friday night, although dull, remained dry as both teams started at 18:00 and were going until 18:00 Saturday evening. The team of Andy Hirst and Mick Clay (past and present chairman) made a good start. By 23:00 they amassed 56 species. Notables included a pair of Shelduck at Roche Abbey, Redshank and Snipe at Brampton (both tricky now) and GrasshopAndy Hirst, one half of the Chairmen Teamper Warbler at Axle Lane. Unfortunately neither team managed to connect with Long-eared Owl. It was suspected neither pair in the square had successfully bred. An early start (05:00) was met with disbelief when constant rain and misty conditions prevailed. Despite this the chairman endured a dawn chorus in Kings Wood. Although the weather was against them they did notch up Hawfinch, but Lesser Spotted Woodpecker eluded them, and did so all day. 08:36 saw the chairmen top the 70 species mark with Ringed Plover at Kiveton, however Spotted Flycatcher and Sparrowhawk still proved elusive. The magical 80 species barrier was hit at 12:58 with Black-headed Gull at Langold Lake, this a species which is never guaranteed in summer. Now it got harder. Sitters like Sand Martin and Ruddy Duck were ticked off, although in the grey gloomy, showery conditions Oystercatcher at Hodsock and Shoveler at Carlton Lake brought the total to 85 species and it was only 14:22. It quickly became apparent that with a bit of luck and a few more definites, the record was on. Ruddy Duck at Carlton made 86, where a Sparrowhawk was eventually seen (87). Brown Bailey's was next with a very obliging Garden Warbler, which made 88. The breeding Little Grebe were tricky, being constantly under water in the reeds, however both chairmen saw one of the birds, this gave them the record of 89 at 15:22. Off to Anston Stones Wood, where after a tantalising hour or so a single Spotted Flycatcher was noted at 16:41-this gave the chairmen the magical 90 species. With less than 3 hours what was to be done? Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was uncertain, so the team went to Firbeck and Thurcroft Marsh in the hope of coming across a Pochard or Reed Warbler, alas it was not to be and at 18:00 the team returned, triumphant, but exhausted. The other team of Brian Chambers and Chris Lilley topped an extremely respectable (given the horrid weather) 81 species. On the day everyone was a winner, especially the group, as the high counts should convert to lots of sponsorship money. Hopefully next year a few more teams will enter and add to the excitement and swell the coffers!

12/05/02 A busy weekend-another early start this morning (05:30) as 27 people gathered for a joint Rotherham RMBC/ SK58 dawn chorus walk through Anston Stones Wood. Typically a myriad of species were recorded, with good numbers of migrants noted. As usual free breakfasts were the reward for the early start, courtesy of RMBC.

11/05/02 An early start for an organised trip to Thorne Moors. A good sized group met at -6:15 at the Loyal Trooper for a visit to this vast peatland, lowland moor. A local birder acted as guide and showed the group a menagerie of local birds including the regionally rare Nightingale.

24/04/02 This evening Chris Falshaw, Reg. Rep for BTO (see links page) gave a varied multimedia talk on the Borders region, as well as the methods and results from his many plots, which he surveys for the BTO, both in Borders and in the Peak.

14/04/02 Our monthly trip saw 5 souls undertake a round walk from Firbeck to Laughton, via Kings Wood, Laughton and Thwaite House Farm. The fine spring weather made up for the relative lack of summer migrants, which were thin on the ground, except for Chiffchaff and Blackcap.

04/04/02 Just a reminder that annual subscriptions are now due. The rates have been held down for another year.

31/03/02 Our monthly field trip saw several members head west to uplands of Sheffield. Unfortunately the weather was far from ideal for raptor watching, so visits to Strines and the Midhope raptor watchpoint produced little. However many Ring Ouzel were located at both Cutthroat Bridge and along Burbage Edge.

27/03/02 At our monthly indoor meeting Jeff Carlin enlightened us with an account of his trip to down the Nile in Egypt, bringing it to life with video as well as slides

25/03/02 Several members made a start filming in Anston Stones Wood.We made good progress on filming nearly 20 of the 80 scenes we need to film on behalf of Anston Parish Council. To help out email us or call Andy Hirst

16/03/02 Just a snippet of news. A 1st year Corncrake accidentally flushed at NAPT in September 2001 has been accepted on the first circulation by the YNU records committee-much to the delight of the finder who saw the bird for a second. See the description by clicking on Corncrake on the Species List page.

09/03/02 An average weekends birding, the weather didn't help. See latest page. The group is putting it's new video equipment to good use.


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

content & design by Andy Hirst