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Updated 25 February, 2019


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"View From The Pit Top"- Latest news from SK58 Birders

News Archive

26/12/16 We had a terrific Christmas do on the 16th. 19 members spent several very enjoyable hours in the upstairs function room of the Loyal Trooper in South Anston. The room was decorated which added to the great atmosphere. Geoff Facer created a quiz, which tested our mental faculties. Dave Thornleys wife, Jane, produced some stunning artwork of a Golden Eagle head. This raffled off raising money for group funds. And won by the landlady, who along with the waitresses did a great job in producing our feast! Everyone had a great evening and we'll certainly be back next year- maybe for our 25th Anniversary meal!

Members enjoying the festivities and artwork donated by Jane Thornley @ Loyal Trooper © Andy Hirst

! NEW ! 10/12/16 Just a reminder that as the year draws to a close, please ensure any outstanding records and/or descriptions are sent to the recorder as soon as possible.

! NEW ! 07/12/16 At the last indoor meeting Andy Hirst (our Recorder) asked members to send in a quick email of any records observed whilst out and about in the square. Most members send records in at the end of the year in one form or another, but for the website, we obviously need records sending in on a regular basis to keep the website up to date and inform folk what's of what's about. Since the spring just a few regular contributors have been sending records in. Doesn't have to be a biography- just a note of the date, location,species, numbers and observer (see Latest page for the type of thing we want). Send your records to

01/12/16 A reminder that the first part of the January meeting will be our AGM, don't be put off, it only lasts 20 mins, then the main event of the evening.

18/11/16 Did you know SK58 Birders will celebrate 25 years of the groups existence in 2017. Come along to the Organisers Meeting on the 23rd in the Loyal Trooper to help decide how we celebrate.

28/10/16 Menu for our Christmas Meal:

If you're going to our Christmas Meal, then you need to book with Andy Hirst and make your choice from the menu above.

25/10/16 We've booked our Christmas do! Its on Friday 16th December at the Loyal Trooper, 19:00 for 19:30. If you want to go let Andy know. Deposit and menus to be confirmed shortly.

16/10/16 The SK58 annual visit to Spurn coincided with the 2nd UK record of Siberian Accentor, arriving at Spurn on the easterly winds the previous Thursday. Anticipation and hopes were high, but given the clear skies it was with relief we heard the bird was still present and the six early starters went straight to see this Siberian migrant at very close quarters.

Siberian Accentor @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

As the weather people predicted the rains came at 10:00 so we moved from one café to another and then the canal scrape hide with excellent views of Water Rail.

Shore Lark @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

Again as predicted by 13:00 the blue sky's appeared. We then had excellent views of Shore Lark by the Blue Bell car park. More migrants started to arrive in large numbers, Redwing, Goldcrest, Robins and Meadow Pipit were everywhere. By now we had recorded 54 different species which increased to 56 for the last three remaining members who stayed to experience excellent views of Black Redstart and magnificent Pallas's Warblers. Mick Clay.

Goldcrest @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

05/10/1/16 It's been quite a hectic and rewarding few days within SK58. There had been a massive fall of eastern migrants on the east coast during the week, and sure enough some were making there way inland with Yellow-browed Warblers being found in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, so there had to be some locally- hadn't there??. Andy Hirst and Mick Clay were both out yesterday morning (4/10/16). Andy had been to Tinkerhole Dike and was at Roche Abbey when Mick Clay called and said "Guess what I've got" to which Andy replied "Yellow-browed Warbler?" Mick heard one call and saw it well in Willows by the Hospice at NAPT. Andy quickly drove over there and was soon listening to the YBW. Seeing it was difficult in the dense cover, but the bird covered a circuit between the "Overflow Field" and the Willows by the hospice. Sure enough it returned to the Willows where it gave good but brief views as it flitted around, calling very frequently. By now there were 5 members watching and looking for and at the bird. Mick had to return to work and on his way back he picked up astonishingly another bird calling in the Hawthorn hedge by the railway track.

Ivan Keeton & Mick Clay looking for Yellow-browed Warbler @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

A circuit of NAPT failed to pick up any more birds and it quieted off by late morning. Although the second bird was relocated by Cramfit Pond at lunchtime by Andy Hirst. Andy and Mick returned to NAPT this morning. Despite extensive searching no YBW, but a big fall of Thrushes with a pair of Ring Ouzel by the railway line and Song Thrushes in every copse. The Yellow-browed Warblers were a new bird for SK58 and for the 5 members who connected with them and apparently a first for the Rotherham area. Description to follow shortly when received.

Mick Clay, Brian Chambers & Ivan Keeton- Success! © Andy Hirst

03/10/1/16 We've been unable to find a replacement for Brian Chambers, who for the past 16 years has produced our monthly newsletter, writing, printing and distributing it without fail. With nobody coming forward to take over the reins and all but a couple of members not on the Internet, we've decided to stop producing a printed version but to enhance our online News page- this one, the one you're currently reading. Hopefully you will have noticed a few more trip reports from our recent jaunts. We also started a Twitter feed (see above), so hopefully with these enhancements the news from SK58 should be better and faster with a few more pics.

In conjunction we're no longer producing a printed sheet of Diary Dates, however on our Events page there is a link to a PDF of the latest events, which can be printed off. Click here for the latest copy. We hope everyone finds the new system more up to date. It's certainly reduced the work load on the Organisers who previously spent several hours writing, printing and distributing the "Diary Dates" and "A View From The Pit Top".

As an homage to the our newsletter "A View From The Pit Top"- below is issue 1 from April 1993!

25/9/16 An early, but fine morning greeted the group of four as they gathered in the shadow of the lighthouse at Flamborough Head for the SK58 Birders September trip. We followed the path to the cliff edge and scanned the sea for passing seabirds. Gannets were passing in good number south- many black juvenile birds undertaking the migration for the first time. Amid the regular gull species were 27 Common Scoter north and just a single Fulmar- that too flying north. A total of seven Red-throated Divers flew south plus a single Great Skua. We did have 3 Arctic Skua bucking the trend and going north, as were four Manx Shearwater.

Flamborough Head © Andy Hirst

The sea began to quieten off and a breakfast at the Cliff Café beckoned, not before a rummage through the dense cover in "Bay Brambles", below the golf course. Immediately we heard at least two Yellow-browed Warbler calling- these the remnants of a massive fall of these birds on the Yorkshire coast the previous week. We found three Yellow-browed Warblers in Bay Brambles, giving at times, quite good views. By now it was late morning and our bellies were rumbling, so to the café it was, where an assortment of fried food in vary quantities was consumed, washed down with hot tea! Not before picking up another Yellow-browed Warbler in the old coastguard cottage gardens.

Mick Clay, Ivan Keeton & Peter Kenworthy © Andy Hirst

Fully replenished we undertook the loop from the lighthouse to "Old Fall" and back. The fields were hard to cover, but we picked up Wheatear and quite a few Skylark and Meadow Pipits. Scanning the sea from the cliff top we picked up Shag and a couple more Red-throated Divers. Old Fall plantation was disappointingly quiet with nothing new added. The thick hedges back towards the road produced just Yellowhammer and a tidy flock of Tree Sparrow. Hirundines moved south with low numbers of House Martin and Swallows noted. Overlooking the golf course a sizable flock of Greylag Geese supposedly held a Taiga Bean Goose, which wasn't very cooperative and failed to show itself to our group. Returning to the car via Bay Brambles again which this time yielded Garden Warbler and Redstart, we headed down to South Landing to look for waders on the falling tide.
Having parked up we walked down the steep track way to the lifeboat station- the scrub on the valley sides held a few Chiffchaff, a roving tit flock with Chiffchaff and Treecreeper as well as a further Yellow-browed Warbler, our fifth of the day! On the sea were good numbers of gulls but few waders on the tide line, just a single Oystercatcher. Retracing our footsteps we returned to the car park and made the two hour drive back to Anston. A great trip, Yellow-browed Warblers were definitely the star birds and the mega breakfast should also be mentioned in dispatches. Why not join us next month as we head to the east coast again, this time the migration hot spot of Spurn point.

06/09/16 We've undertaken a little housekeeping on our species list. We've added some species for which species descriptions are required, adding: Great White Egret, Arctic Skua, Glaucous Gull, Richard's Pipit and Firecrest. We've removed several species, species that have become more regular so descriptions are no longer required, namely: Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Osprey, Goshawk (away from known areas) and Black Redstart.

24/8/16 Our long standing Secretary & Newsletter Editor Brian Chambers, is stepping down after many many years at the helm of of these important roles. On behalf of the group I'd like to thank Brian for his years of service. Which means there are some boots to fill by either 1,2 or 3 people- Interested? then let Mick Clay or Andy Hirst know.

Binoculars for sale click here

7/8/16 Its was with trepidation we left home this morning under leaden skies for the SK58 Birders trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands on the banks of the Humber. Meeting at 8.00 the assembled group departed and arrived at Blacktoft an hour later, thankfully under clearing skies.

More by luck than judgment high tide was t 10.20 so we settled into the Xerox Hide and awaited the arrival of migrants pushed onto the reserve from the rising tide on the Humber. Around the islands in the open marsh were at least 19 Spotted Redshank and about 20 Black-tailed Godwits, all resting and feeding on their way south from Arctic breeding grounds to African wintering quarters, using Blacktoft as an international airport to stop off. Amongst these were commoner Redshank and Lapwing, which may well have bred within the UK and Ruff in varying sizes and plumages- these possibly from as near as the Low Countries and Greenshank. A Heron was joined by two more and five Little Egret accompanied them- basking in the now glorious warm sunshine.

imm. Marsh Harrier @ Blacktoft Sands © Andy Hirst

The variety of waders was a little disappointing, with no commoner species present. However amid the wildfowl consisting of Mallard, Teal and Shoveler were the occasional flight of Marsh Harrier with up to four birds seen together, mostly immature birds.

High tide came and went without adding much to our tally so we moved to Marshland hide which was devoid of water and birds. Rethinking our strategy we visited the far side of the reserve. Yes there was water and birds- and surprisingly lots of Little Grebe, some adults and many young birds from stripy adolescents to quite recently hatched young. A rough count yielded circa 20 birds plus juveniles.

There was also a bit of a passage of non waders with hirundines represented with circa 10 Sand Martin, more Swallow and a few House Martin all flying south.

Other birds here included some wildfowl more associated with winter, which included 4 Wigeon and half a dozen Gadwall. A very high flying Hobby was also tracked south. We began the short walk back to the car park for lunch, stopping off at another hide- little water here but good views of a Marsh Harrier adding Snipe and Green Sandpiper to the days list.

After a brief lunch we returned to the first hide we visited as this was the most productive. Many species had departed to feed on the freshly exposed mud of the Humber so there were fewer birds to see and nothing new was added. Concluding we had the best of the day we returned to the car park and made the hours drive home. The highlight for many, the waders and showy Marsh Harriers.

01/08/16 Our website is 20 years old! It was created way back in the summer of 1996. It looked completely different then, utilising freebie software on a freeserve account- How times change!

26/07/16 Just a reminder to all who took part in our Tetrad Atlas Survey, to return your completed forms to the Recorder ASAP.

SK58 Birders Field Trip @ Welbeck © Andy Hirst

SK58 Birders Field Trip @ Welbeck © Andy Hirst

10/07/16 Every month SK58 Birders hold a field trip. This month we ventured outside of our 10km square (SK58), but not too far - heading to the well-known raptor watch point at Welbeck, near Clumber Park. Seven members converged on an unsettled morning - would the weather be suitable for watching raptors?

Arriving at Welbeck the group set up telescopes and began scanning the skies and treeline for birds of prey. Within a few minutes we recorded Hobby, hunting Swallows and House Martins high over the lake. We also had a very brief view of what was probably a female Goshawk.

Distantly on the lake side were 2 Common Sandpiper stopping off to feed as they migrate south, as well as breeding Shelduck. After two hours of watching Kestrels, Buzzards and Hobby the skies darkened and the spit of rain developed into a persistent downpour. Discretion being the better part of valour, we headed for the nearby tea-room where various scones, butties, coffees and teas were consumed.

The weather broke and the sun began to shine so back at the watch point. Buzzards began to rise and Hobby were again seen as was a Peregrine. We also had the bird of the morning when a male Goshawk appeared from our right, behind a nearby roadside hedge, then proceeded to fly over us and then over the nearby field, before gaining height and plummeting after prey! This really topped off our day.

The group called off at Hodsock, within SK58 where 3 more Common Sandpiper were located, ending what was a great SK58 birders field trip (Andy Hirst).

13/06/16 Just a reminder that the annual subscriptions for SK58 were due in April, thanks to all those that have paid theirs. Outstanding payments should be made to Lyn Facer, 15 Hawthorn Ave, South Anston, Sheffield, S25 5GR or Tel 01909 563108.

Individual Membership £10.00 children under 16 - FREE
Family Membership £15.00 covers all at one address
Concessionary Membership £7.50 retired, unemployed or student

05/06/16 Eight members attended the field trip to Whisby Nature Park. The early morning mist soon burnt off to leave a beautiful sunny day. 44 Species were recorded including, Great Crested Grebe with young, 3 Little Egret, 2 Egyptian Goose, 2 Buzzard, a Hobby, 3 Oystercatcher, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 6 Common Tern and 4 Nightingale. Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers were plentiful (Geoff & Lyn Facer).

m.HairyDragonfly, m. Large Red Damselfy, imm. f. Broad Bodied Chaser @ Whisby © Peter Kenworthy

m. Hairy Dragonfly, m. Large Red Damselfly, imm. f. Broad Bodied Chaser @ Whisby © Peter Kenworthy

10/05/16 It is with regret that due to unforeseen circumstances the field trip to Spurn, which was scheduled for 15th May, has been cancelled.

24/04/16 Eleven members took part in the field trip to Budby and Sherwood Forest today. Amongst 43 species recorded were, 3 Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Woodlark, Tree Pipit, House Martins are back at their nests in Budby village, 3 Redstart, m Whinchat, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, 2 Raven, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll (Geoff Facer).

04/04/16 Now its April, those who have taken on tetrads in the SK58 2016 Tetrad Atlas Survey, should be planning their first visits to take place later this month.

22/01/16 2016 is the biennial Tetrad Atlas Survey year. This the surveys 20th anniversary. We'll announce details in February.

01/01/16 Happy New Year to all. Lets hope for a great year within SK58

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

content & design by Andy Hirst