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"View From The Pit Top"- Latest news from SK58 Birders
Updated 25 February, 2019


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News Archive

11/12/17 A reminder the January indoor meeting is our AGM, this only takes twenty mins or so, then a guest speaker. Currently all the current incumbents are willing to stand for re-election, however if you wish to stand for one of the posts or offer help towards any current vacancies (Secretary & Publicity Officer), then by all means contact the chairman to confirm your interest.

11/12/17 "Wishing you a Merry Christmas & Peaceful New Year"- from the organisers of SK58 Birders

11/12/17 Each year, South Anston Methodist Church invite local groups/societies to participate in their Festival of Trees. SK58, in what is their twenty-fifth year decided to join the ever-growing number of contributors for the first time. With a theme of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' the organisers asked our group to be responsible for the 'Two Turtle Doves'.

SK58 "Festival of Tree"s entry @ South Anston Methodist Church © Allan Parker

Thus ours became an 'alternative' Christmas Tree. Willow branches formed the basis for the display which contained a nest for our summer-visiting doves (two fine porcelain specimens). Some of our smaller resident birds also perched in the tree alongside other more seasonal decorations. The plight of the Turtle Dove was explained within an appropriate text whilst an excellent example of Alan Parker's photography showed the bird in its pomp.

Other group members had busied themselves completing embroideries of the subject bird in the weeks prior to the festival and these were important and impressive inclusions.

However it was Sue Parker who assumed responsibility for producing not only a vibrant celebration of the 'Second Day of Christmas' but also a great advert for SK58 Birders. The bar has indeed been set high for the future!

07/12/17 A group of 26 members enjoyed a good night of festive fun on December 2nd, when we all those present took part in our joint 25th Anniversary/ Christmas Meal. The room was bedecked with trimmings, complete with tree and festive background music. Aside from the excellent food, we had a quiz and lots of banter. It was a great way to meet informally, enjoy some Christmas fare and see out 2017, our 25th anniversary year.

Members @ The Loyal Trooper © Andy Hirst

Members @ The Loyal Trooper © Andy Hirst

23/11/17 A reminder it's the groups AGM at the January meeting, but don't be put off. The AGM takes about 20 minutes, then after a break we'll have Chris Lilley talking about bird ringing. All current officers are willing to stand for another year. We are short a couple of officers, namely a Secretary and Publicity Officer. If either role sounds enticing, or you wish to stand and be nominated for one of the other roles, then do please pass your name and contact details to the any of the organisers before the evening of the AGM.

18/11/17 Five members met at the hide at NAPT this morning to remove some of the encroaching Silver Birch and Willow from around the wader scrape. After three hours of hard, but enjoyable work, we had cleared them from the perimeter and from the islands.

Geoff on the island with the 'tree popper' @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

Some had been cleared before and had re-grown, almost like pollarded trees, this made it harder work to use the 'tree popper' we had on loan. The single stem trees were easy to remove. Thanks to Geoff Facer for securing the 'tree popper' for us.

L> R John G, Paul T, Geoff F and Pete K NAPT © Andy Hirst

Paul T & Pete K having a breather @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

We used the gathered brash to reinforce the fence line by the hide, and repaired the fence. It was clear off road bikes had been accessing the area illegally. Hopefully the reinstatement of the fence line should deter this in the future. Our work should ensure no more encroachment by unwanted sapling for a year or two to come.

John G & Geoff F repairing the fence where bikers had been accessing the scrape @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

14/11/17 Just a couple of reminders- we have a work party at NAPT on Saturday 18th November, from 1000- c1300. Meet 1000 at the hide at NAPT. We'll be clearing some of the scrub from around the scrape- all welcome, bring loppers and gardening gloves if you have them. Also to remind you our Christmas/ 25th Anniversary Meal is fast approaching, so to book a place for the 2nd December at the Loyal Trooper, let Andy Hirst know and sends a £5 deposit (menu, price and contact details below).

04/11/17 On a sad note, we've learned that long time member Nev Mitton has recently passed away. Nev was a very regular attendee at our monthly indoor meetings, from the very early days of the group, until recent years. Always about in his shorts no matter what the weather! Our sympathies extend to his friends and family.

A reminder that our combined 25th Anniversary Celebration/ Christmas Meal is on the 2nd December. We've now confirmed the price at £17.95 per person- see menu below. We'd love to see as many past and present members there to help celebrate our 25th anniversary, as well as have an excellent meal at the Loyal Trooper, South Anston. To book a place(s), please contact Andy Hirst on 07947 068125 or email We'll need a £5 deposit per place. Menu choices and balance to be paid no later than the organisers meeting on the 22nd November.

21/10/17 As good as there word TCV (The Conservation Volunteers- who manage the former pit top areas) included the scrape area as part of the mowing regime at NAPT. Due to the hand-over from the Forestry Commission last autumn it was overlooked. As a result the vegetation around the scrape was far too dense, as a result there were no Little Ringed Plover or Lapwing nesting. However the hide hasn't been repaired yet nor the screening to the right of the hide replaced. We'll chase this up.

Wader scrape @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

15/10/17 The group resurrected it's weekend trip to Spurn this year, having just run day trips in recent years. So on Saturday 14th October 5 'early birds' convened in the Bluebell Car Park at Spurn to enjoy a weekends birding. Literally the first bird of the day was a Great White Egret which flew over and landed in the ponds behind the Bluebell. With news the Arctic Warbler was still present around the Crown & Anchor, we walked past the church towards the area, joining the massing birders who relayed the information the bird had been seen within the past 15 mins. We patiently scanned the trees and bushes around the caravan site, hoping to pick up the elusive Arctic Warbler. Whilst scanning we noted a steady passage of Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll >S. Plus the first autumn thrushes moving through with Fieldfare and a few Redwing over as well late Swallows and House Martins. Then in the tall branches a small pale warbler with very long eyestripe was seen hopping about, back and forth, offering only tantalisingly brief views the Arctic Warbler was seen by only a few before disappearing again. The bird appeared to follow a circuit and would probably be back in an hour or so. Not wanting to waste the day we started out towards the Triangle.

Humber Estuary @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

The tide was still some way out but waders were still present including good numbers of Curlew, Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover, Redshank, Sanderling, Turnstone as well as Brent Geese & Shelduck plus the now widespread Little Egret. Turning our attention inland towards the fields and hedges. We picked up more freshly arrived Song Thrush, Redwing and Blackbird as well as 3 Stonechat. In the Canal we heard the distinctive 'ping' of Bearded Tit and were rewarded with excellent views of 3 birds including a male, sat out on the top of the reeds, with Water Rail calling in the background. It was agreed by all the new building currently under construction by the YWT, was indeed an eyesore and built in completely the wrong place! Returning to the Bluebell we ate lunch whilst looking out over the sea. The bright, warm sunny weather created a haze so made picking up seabirds more difficult. However we did locate Gannets, but the sea was very quiet in the SW winds.

After lunch we returned to the Arctic Warbler site, the warbler had been seen sporadically, alas we failed to connect however we did hear Yellow-browed Warbler. A jaunt up the lane to Beacon Ponds failed to add anything of significance to our tally. To finish our first day we headed to Kilnsea Wetlands where a Slavonian Grebe and several Little Stint were present. Sure enough from the car park we had both. Heading to hide we picked up lots of Wigeon, several Pintail, Shovelor, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, a pair of Whooper Swan and c100 Teal. From here we headed the 25 mins to Roo's and our overnight accommodation, which was excellent, as was the evening meal and company. We logged over 60 species between us.

The following morning we rose to a cooked breakfast, which went down a treat. We returned to Spurn after checking out and decided to try the Arctic Warbler again. It was apparent there were far fewer birds around. Many birds having cleared out and the W winds deterring new arrivals. The Arctic Warbler proved typically elusive. However some birds were on the move with good numbers of Redwing and common finches >S. Having given it a good hour, we again took a turn around the Triangle as well as stopping off at the Warren. We picked up more waders today including Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Curlew, Redshank and thousands of Dunlin returning to the mudflats to feed on a falling tide. A single Bearded Tit was heard today from the Canal, plus 2 Water Rail and a Brambling over. At the Warren, we just missed a Yellow-browed Warbler ringed, however we had brief views of this in the Buckthorn behind the Warren Cottage, after watching a Lesser Redpoll being ringed.

Lesser Redpoll @ Spurn © Lyn Facer

From here we returned to the Bluebell for a cuppa and a pasty! The sea was again quiet save for a few Common Gulls, Herring Gulls and a raft of c50 Wigeon, headed by a few Shovelor. It was mid afternoon by now so we decided to to try and locate the Rosy Starling at Easington, which had been seen on and off. We arrived after a short drive and scanned the massing Starlings, which appeared and disappeared as a marauding Sparrowhawk cleared everything out of site. However we did have what we though was the Rosy Starling, picked up in flight within a small Starling flock, but was lost from view behind a building and not relocated. The group decided to call it quits as we reflected on what had been and an excellent trip as well as a frustrating trip, with lots of birds seen, but frustrating experiences with the rarities of the weekend. However I'm sure we'll be back and staying further weekends. Andy Hirst

01/10/17 We sent out an email to all current and past members of SK58 inviting them to our Christmas/ 25th Anniversary Meal. It appears not everyone received the email. If you didn't receive the invite, can you please let Andy Hirst know and we'll resend the email. We think as it was a block email, some spam filters or email providers may have blocked it, thinking it was spam email.

24/09/17 Just 3 members enjoyed a great day at rspb Frampton Marsh, timing the tides just right we saw thousands of waders as well as lots of wildfowl. Meeting in the car park on a warm, sunny autumn morning we heard several Cetti's Warbler. The small group headed south to the 'reservoir. On the reservoir the most numerous species was Wigeon, with several hundred present. Amongst these were a single Red-necked Grebe and literally dozens of Little Grebe. Returning to the visitor centre we had a coffee and looked out over the water not before having A Kingfisher whizz past at high speed. Viewing from the centre, with hot coffee! there were several Teal, Shovelor and other common wildfowl. After our coffee break from the centre, we decided to head to the main scrape area and walk the circuit taking in several hides and the sea wall before returning to the car park.

Frampton Marsh © Andy Hirst

From the path we scanned a small muddy bank on the main lake. This held a surprising number of birds amongst the reeds. Including 6 Dunlin, c10 Ruff and 3 Little Stint feeding feverishly. We also heard a Water Rail's shrill call from the reeds. Moving on, initially the sun was against us, but angling ourselves we had great views over the scrape. One of the first birds we saw was single Whooper Swan. By far the commonest species was Black-tailed Godwit, with 1000+ birds present. Other really numerous waders included Dunlin, by the hundred and Ringed Plover, which must have numbered 50+ birds on the scrape. Also hidden among the multitude of waders were Golden Plover and about a dozen Avocet. Also in good number were Little Egret feeding in the muddy margins. There was quite a bit of water in the scrape. In amidst of the numerous Teal were plenty of Wigeon (several hundred) and in with these were c10 Pintail. Birds were amassed as high tide had forced them off the Wash, but the tide was on the turn so waders were beginning to fly back out in small groups including small parties of Snipe and groups of 20-50 Black-tailed Godwit began to return to the Wash to feed on the receding tide.

Art @ Frampton Marsh © Andy Hirst

Raptors were a little thin on the ground though with several Kestrel and Marsh Harrier only over the saltmarsh. From here we followed the sea wall back to the main path. We picked up more Ruff and several Curlew Sandpiper. The salt marsh was worth a scan, revealing the first Brent Geese of the autumn as well as Wheatear. The main focus of attention though was the scrape with Knot, Greenshank and Spotted Redshank, plus more Little Stint being found. Walking back to the centre we picked up more Wigeon and Dunlin, plus 3 Pink-footed Geese. The day had one more surprise when approaching the centre a Great White Egret reappeared (having not been seen that morning). We returned to the car park for a belated lunch. After much needed sustenance we decided to make the short walk around the western side of the reserve, which looped the lake butting up to farmland. This proved fairly quiet in the early afternoon, but was a pleasant walk in the sun. We returned to the car park and headed back home. This was the first time the group had been to Frampton Marsh, but I'm sure we'll return soon. The reserve is compact but has lots of habitat for various birds, this combined with a high tide at this time of year, means you're guaranteed a great days birding, as those who went will testify.

18/09/17 The hide was attacked over the weekend. It looks worse than it is- just superficial cladding damaged. We'll get TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) to replace and repair ASAP, as damage, tends to lead to more damage.

08/09/17 We have several items of news today:

FRACKING AT WOODSETTS- You'll have heard by now there are several applications to frack in the area. One such site falls within SK58. We've had notification and a request for records about and for the site at Dewidales Wood to the west of Woodsetts, which we have gladly supplied. At this moment in time we've had no representations from any members of the group either for or against the proposed fracking site. We do have records for the site, but as the fracking takes place underground the footprint and access road at surface level will have little impact on the birdlife. We suspect the biggest threat will be increase in traffic and noise pollution, which will have a detrimental effect on the wildlife.

SPURN TRIP- As you know we visit Spurn in the autumn on group trips. In recent years we have gone for the day, but in previous years we have stayed for the weekend, going Saturday morning and returning Sunday afternoon. We thought we'd resurrect the weekend jaunt, so we are looking at going to Spurn on 14th-15th October, staying at Easington. So far we have six people booked on. Although spaces are limited- we're hoping to finalise numbers ASAP, so we can confirm accommodation and transport. If you would like to go then contact Andy Hirst as soon as possible. Of course you can come for the day, either Saturday or Sunday. Just let us know which day and we can arrange to meet up.

CHRISTMAS AND 25TH ANNIVERSARY MEAL- 2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the group and to celebrate we're combining our traditional Christmas meal with a celebration of our 25 years. Over the next week or so we'll email and write to past and current members inviting them to the meal, to be held in the Loyal Trooper on Saturday 2nd December. We'll have our traditional Christmas meal along with a few entertaining segments. We're not sure of the cost yet, circa £20 we think. Booking and a £5 deposit per person (of course partners are welcome) will be required. Contact any group organiser to book a place(s).

10/08/17 We're planning a weekend to Spurn over 14th-15th October, staying locally. So far there are six of us who want to to go. If you're interested, then get in touch with Andy Hirst ASAP as s accommodation is limited.

07/08/17 Apparently we're in print! The Worksop Guardian & The Rotherham Advertiser have picked up on the article published in British Birds magazine, relating to 2017 being our 25th anniversary year. If anyone has a copy of either, then please pass on to Andy Hirst. UPDATE! We've had a copy click here to view.

05/08/17 Despite being let down by our guide, 4 members embarked on a trip to Budby to salvage our Nightjar evening. We had hoped to witness Nightjars being rung, but we had no contact with the chaps who were to take us. Despite being quite late in the season we met at the Loyal Trooper and the party of 4 headed to Budby. One advantage of being late in the season was it went dark earlier but it was decidedly nippy. Reaching Budby we walked the path to the heathland. The walk down revealed a fair passage of hirundines and Swifts.

Budby @ Dusk © Andy Hirst

The heath itself was fairly quiet as we made our way across to the tree line- livened up by the occasional song of Yellowhammer. The first nocturnal bird we had was a fairly vocal Tawny Owl, followed by another. Loitering in a likely spot, the sun was setting and it was more dark than light. We then heard the squeak of a Long-eared Owl which added to the tally. Then a small dark bird whizzed past- this was our first view of a female Nightjar. In the distance we then heard a male 'churring', this was followed by the familiar 'koiking' call followed shortly afterwards with excellent close up views of a possibility the same female as she quartered the heather, flying extremely closely, within just a few feet and actually flying towards us at one point, before shooting off into the gloom, just a couple of feet above the heather. By now it was very dark and the return walk was enlivened by more Tawny Owl and a 1-2 more male Nightjars churring. Despite being let down, we made the most of the evening and were rewarded with cracking, but brief views of Nightjar. Just a shame the ringing demo failed to materialise. Thanks to Geoff Facer for his insider knowledge.

30/07/17 Five members attended the field trip to RSPB Blacktoft Sands. Wader passage produced no great numbers or surprises but species recorded were, Lapwing, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Spotted Redshank, Redshank and Green Sandpiper. Both Reed and Sedge Warbler were seen well. Three Peregrines (2 imm. and an ad. f) put on a good display around Singleton hide and treated us to an amazing aerial dogfight with the local Marsh Harriers. Our morning around Blacktoft yielded 50 species. Geoff and Lyn Facer.

Little Egret @ Blacktoft Sands © Geoff & Lyn Facer

8/07/17 A reminder we have our organisers meeting on the 19th July. Why not pop along and see how the group is run. It's your opportunity to have a say on the workings of the group, or suggest a venue for a trip or speaker/ subject for an indoor meeting. All welcome- 1930 in the Loyal Trooper, S. Anston, in the bar that faces the main road.

07/07/17 We've added a few more images to our Bempton 2017 gallery, following our trip last month.

04/07/17 We can confirm Yellow-browed Warbler has been added to the Official SK58 List- following the acceptance of 2 birds found at NAPT last autumn. Also, have you seen the latest version of the independent magazine "British Birds"? The opening article "BB Eye" is a feature on the groups 25th Anniversary.

26/06/17 Following our trip to Bempton Cliffs on the 25th June, we've generated quite a few images, so we've made file of images in the Gallery of the images under Bempton 2017. We've added a first batch, more to follow soon.

19/06/17 This weekend sees our trip to rspb Bempton Cliffs. We'll spend the morning at Bempton, then walk along the cliffs to Thornwick Bay, which is just a few miles away. The idea is to save us walking back by leaving a car at Thornwick to return the drivers to the cars at Bempton. So we need at least two cars to go and an idea of numbers going. If you want to go and can offer or need a lift can you let the leader- Andy Hirst know beforehand. Tel: 07947 068125 or email:

13/06/17 An opportunity has arisen to become a key holder for the hide at NAPT. We're only allowed a few keys so they come up for grabs rarely. The key means you have access to the hide 24/7. In return we ask you give up one morning 0800-1100 one Saturday in seven between March and October to warden the hide for the general public. If you wish to be considered for the key, then let the recorder or Chairperson know (see contacts page).

10/06/17 Just a reminder that volunteers won't be wardening the hide on Saturday mornings for the immediate future. With no water in the scrape there's little to see. Should we have a persistent deluge, that at least creates some puddles, then we will review this.

31/05/17 British Birds magazine celebrates 25 years of SK58 Birders. In the July issue of "BB" the opening article (called "BB Eye") is a two page article summarising and celebrating our 25th anniversary.

For more information on the monthly British Birds magazine (available in print or online) see:

30/05/17 Suffolk Weekend to Celebrate our 25th Anniversary- Over the bank holiday eight SK58 members enjoyed in fabulous weather, a two night break in Suffolk. The group set off at 0615 on Friday morning for the 2.5 hour drive to rspb Lakenheath, our destination for the days birding. Arriving at rspb Lakenheath, in sunny and very warm weather we opted to walk via the public path along the river bank to reach the furthest view point. Just beyond here a Marsh Warbler had been present for several days. The reeds and scrub held many Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Reed Bunting- amid these were at least 2-3 Cuckoo calling away. The open water held several Common Tern and common Wildfowl. Scanning the skies revealed, sadly, very few Hobby but several Marsh Harrier. Water Rail was also heard squealing too. The explosive Cetti's Warbler was also heard throughout the day. Ticking off commoner birds we reached the far end the reserve and a small group were gathered. The Marsh Warbler was singing away with it's distinctive repetitive warble- but the wind was quite strong and despite spending a quite a bit of time there, we were lucky to obtain very fleeting views. We retreated a few hundred meters to some benches where we ate lunch. Strategically placed we looked straight down a channel and were rewarded with several close and prolonged views of Bittern as several adults undertook short flights over the reedbed. Following the shorter path back we eventually returned to the vehicle and after much deserved ice cream we began the drive to Wangford and our overnight accommodation. We checked in and rendezvoused in the bar where several shandy's and an excellent array of evening meals were consumed, followed by an early night after our early start.

The Scrapes @ Minsmere © Andy Hirst

The following morning most of the group met for a pre-breakfast stroll around a local woodland reserve. Not a great deal was seen, the highlight was Garden Warbler. However it kickstarted our digestion and enabled the consumption of an excellent breakfast. After this we set off for the twenty minute drive in glorious sunshine to rspb Minsmere where we spent the day. We opted for the woodland trails first. They were a little quiet, but yielded a good variety of common resident and migrant warblers and finches etc... We dropped down to the Bittern Hide and Island Mere, this increased the species list somewhat and kept us dry as a heavy storm passed over. The highlights being Cetti's Warbler, many Bearded Tit, cracking views of Bittern, Marsh Harrier, and a reeling Savi's Warbler. The passing of the storm allowed us to return to the centre for a pleasant alfresco lunch After lunch we moved to the main scrapes. A passage flock of Black-tailed Godwit dropped in to feed. The scrapes were alive with birds. c50 Mediterranean Gulls, and amid the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls were 2 Kittiwake, and of course a selection of waders including the not so rare these days Avocet. Walking via the sea wall to the far side, the sea revealed little, the highlight being 2 Sandwich Tern south. An oddly plumaged Grey Plover had us scratching our heads for a while- exhibiting habits of Golden/ American Golden Plover), but the stature of a Grey Plover- anyway the group settled on Grey Plover, as did the warden, which was a relief! The sun was still shining as we returned to the minibus for the short journey back to the hotel and a welcome beer and shower in that order. We stopped off a site just away from Minsmere where we had tried for Stone Curlew earlier in the day whiteout success. However viewing from a different angle we had excellent views of a pair of Stone Curlew and two very fluffy, but quite independent chicks- this rounding off our day perfectly. Returning to out hotel we enjoyed another excellent evening with good food and drink and of course excellent company.

Stone Curlew @ Minsmere© Andy Hirst

Our final day and another excellent breakfast- this time we departed with our bags as today we would head home, but not before spending the morning and early afternoon at Dunwich Heath, owned and managed by the National Trust. Parking up in the now blistering sunshine and clear blue skies, we took the first path out through the heath and within 30 seconds of walking we saw 3 Dartford Warblers perched on top of the Heather. Further on were Stonechat and Cuckoo. We walked via the woodland trails for a mile or so, picking up many Dragonflies and as a result a Hobby, which sortied after the Dragonflies, returning to the same perch to feed. We saw a multitude of wasps/ Bees and insects thanks to the informative boards dotted along the trails. Having ticked off all we could in the woods and heathland- and our target of Dartford Warbler being our first bird!, we had lunch in the visitor centre (and ice cream!- it was rather hot and sunny) and then began the long journey home. We arrived back in the square in the early evening after short hold up on the A1, and reflected on a fab weekend and fitting celebration in this our 25th anniversary year. The highlights included the charming Stone Curlew family, the volume and duration of Bittern sightings, the weather and of course the company.

SK58 Birders- group photo L>R Brian Chambers, Jan Jarrold, Andy Hirst, Phil Ridsdale, Geoff Facer, Lyn Facer & Den Jarrold @ Dunwich Heath © Michelle Dawes

20/05/17 Whilst checking the database we were curious as to the number of records we generated each year. We've extracted the data and made a table of the results which can be found by clicking on the link Records Per Year. This can be accessed from the Latest and Species pages.

17/05/17 Four members took part on the field trip to Hatfield Moors on May 14th. A visit to the hide at Boston Park produced little other than a Kingfisher. From the next hide by the woodland lake was a drake Mandarin. The woodland walk to Prison lakes produced various warblers with many Garden Warbler recorded. From Prison Lakes, we found our way onto Packard's Marsh where we were informed wading birds could be found. Among Ringed Plovers, Little Ringed Plovers and Dunlins was a single Grey Plover and a pair of Yellow Wagtails. After lunch on a circuit of Boston Park Lake, at an area known as Poor Piece, a couple of Woodlarks were found.

16/05/17 Did you know there is an application to Frack within SK58? To our SW border, to the E of Harthill a company is wanting to frack. As expected the locals in Harthill are protesting this and have set up a website: By way of support, we have supplied our records for the area, to the support group in it's fight against fracking in this area..

02/05/17 Given the dry spell of late and the lack of any water in the wader scrape at NAPT we felt it prudent, until further notice, to cease wardening the hide until there is water and therefore birds to look at. Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

30/04/17 Field Trip to Whisby Nature Park- Five members attended the field trip to Whisby Nature Park on April 30th. The first objective was to locate Nightingales. News was that birds were in, but due to the recent cold weather, they were not very active. We set off around Coot Lake which is one of of their favoured sites. Warblers singing included Chiffchaff, , Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Garden Warbler. On arrival at the end of the lake, we were informed that a Nightingale had been singing but had now fallen silent. The plan then was to call for breakfast but news was received of a sizeable flock of Black Terns at Teal Lake. A change of tactics took us directly to Teal Lake where an estimated 23 Black Terns were feeding with 1 Common Tern and a Nightingale singing in the bushes. As we were preparing to leave we found that Lyn was missing. We soon found that she had wandered off in search of another singing nightingale. This one was sat out in the open giving excellent views.

After brunch at the cafe we we checked out the gulls on Thorpe Lake and located a Mediterranean Gull. On passing Coot Lake the Nightingale at the corner of the lake was now singing. The trip was finished off by visiting the reserve north of the railway via Willow Lake.

Nightingale @ Whisby © Geoff Facer

Garden Warbler @ Whisby © Geoff Facer

Mediterranean Gull @ Whisby © Geoff Facer

24/04/17 Just a reminder that subs are now due. You can pay at the indoor meeting.

  • Individual Membership
£10.00 children under 16-FREE
  • Family Membership
£15 covers all at one address
  • Concessionary Membership
£7.50 retired, unemployed or student

12/04/17 We've set up a What's App group to share bird news with members of SK58 Birders. What's App is a messaging app which allows you to send free text messages, images and video via your smart phone/ tablet using wifi or 4G. One feature of What's App is the ability to create groups- what this means is you send or receive a single message to a group of people. We've set up such a group for SK58 Birders to share/ broadcast bird news instantly. There is some bird news we wouldn't put out on the web for all to see as it may involve sensitive species- but we'd be happy to share the information within the group, for example updates on breeding birds or instant news of a rarity popping up in the square. Being instantaneous (just like a text) any news can be quickly disseminated so if a rare bird popped up, with a single message everyone in the SK58 Birders What's App group would be instantly alerted and be able to go for it. For more details or to sign up- download What's App to your device and advise your name and mobile phone number and providing you are a current member of SK58 Birders, we'll add you to the group.

23/03/17 We're wardening the hide at NAPT again. From this Saturday and every Saturday onwards until October (subject to there being water in the scrape). The hide will be wardened from 0800-1100 by a member of the group. Anyone is welcome to come along and use the hide. The warden will be on hand to explain what you can see, identification tips and the work of the group. Pop along and keep them company!

22/03/17 A reminder that subs are due in April. The subs have been held at last years prices:

  • Individual Membership
£10.00 children under 16-FREE
  • Family Membership
£15 covers all at one address
  • Concessionary Membership
£7.50 retired, unemployed or student

for renewal details contact our Membership Officer, Lyn Facer (see contacts page)

17/03/17 Mick Clay had a positive meeting with the management team at NAPT- The Conservation Volunteers. The main points discussed were:

1. Screening to side of bird hide, 2. Scrape - water retention, 3. Scrape - water inflow, 4. Dogs flushing/harming ground nests on site, 5. Birch - regrowth on scrape, 6. Mowing - scrape area, 7. Barn Owl nesting boxes & 8. Planning for future management. This all sounds like a positive way to take the development of the nature reserve forward.

07/03/17 Did you know a new organisation has taken over the management of the community woodlands within SK58. Previously the Forestry Commission were responsible for the day to day management of North Anston and Kiveton Pit Tops. In October 2016 The Conservation Volunteers took over. They've made a mark by planting trees and ditch clearing. Mick Clay our Conservation Officer has recently had a meeting with them. We await the outcome of that meeting.

27/02/17 Thanks to Jan & Den Jarrold, they've secured £100 funding from Anston Parish Council. This will be used for making and erecting nestboxes within the square.

20/02/17 Don't forget our monthly indoor meeting this Wednesday, 1930 in the upstairs meeting room at the Loyal Trooper pub in South Anston. The speaker this month is Bob Croxton "Raptors Through The Straits of Gibraltar" Bob is no stranger to SK58, having visited several times before.

19/02/17 Five members set off in anticipation of what had been seen at Gringley Carr in previous weeks. Weather was bright and breezy with a little wind chill. We spent four hours walking and scanning the vast fields, drainage ditches and the River Idle. Highlights were, Curlew, Chiffchaff, Heron, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, 7 Buzzard, 8 Kestrel, 100+ strong finch flock (with a single Brambling), 450 Lapwing, Skylark in abundance (probably 600-700), 100 Fieldfare and a Stoat. But the highlights of the day were 25 Corn Bunting, 55 Whooper Swan and Ring-tailed Hen Harrier (John Gallagher).

03/02/17 Today we had a very pleasant surprise when we we received a very unexpected, but welcome donation from the Tropical Butterfly House at North Anston- they've very kindly donated £250 to SK58 Birders. This will be used towards protecting Peregrines within the area, which have failed to breed for the past three years due to human interference.

31/01/17 We've been busy behind the scenes of the website- we've amended the layout, hopefully you'll agree its a modern, fresher look?

25/01/17 Our monthly trip took us out of SK58 when 7 of us headed of to the Yorkshire Coast for some classic winter birding. The sun began to rise and what would be a terrific day weather wise, barely a cloud in the blue sky, but a biting wind cut to the bone. Parking at Scarborough we noted several pairs of Fulmar had returned already on the cliff below the castle. We headed down towards the harbour. The chuckle trill of Turnstone was heard as several flew from the rocks protecting the harbour. The gulls revealed nothing more than Herring Gull and single Great Black-backed Gull. Looking into the harbour mouth and directly below us was a Black-necked Grebe, which showed very well.

Black-necked Grebe @ Scarborough Harbour © Andy Hirst

Following a well deserved cuppa we headed to Holbeck Park on the south side of Scarborough, the regular haunt of Mediterranean Gulls, which didn't disappoint with about a dozen birds in variety of plumages.

Mediterranean Gulls & Black-headed Gull @ Holbeck © John Gallagher

Scarborough @ Holbeck © Andy Hirst

Also here were 13 Common Scoter, Stonechat and variety of common waders. After the slog back up the hill we headed to Filey and a walk out along the brigg. The bay was quite busy with walkers and dog walkers but unperturbed several Sanderling and Turnstone fed along the edge of the incoming tide.

Stonechat @ Holbeck © John Gallagher

Sanderling @ Filey Brigg © Phil Ridsdale

Whilst watching the waders we observed Rock Pipit under the cliff edge, out popped a Black Redstart, which was quite unexpected. It put on quite a show and several interested passers-by looked through our assembled scopes at this enigmatic delight. By now the weather was positively balmy, the wind had dropped and there was some heat in the sun.

Black Redstart @ Filey Brigg © Phil Ridsdale

Black Redstart @ Filey Brigg © John Gallagher

Reaching the seawatching hide we set up camp and looked along the brigg and out to sea. Several Shag were seen as were 2 Red-throated Diver sat on the sea with 4 more >S. Eider were also bobbing around. Scanning the rocks we found our target species- Purple Sandpiper, c6 birds in total, mixed in with Turnstone, Knot and Redshank. Over the sea there was a steady passage of gulls, Guillemots and Oystercatchers.

Purple Sandpipers @ Filey Brigg © John Gallagher

Walking back along the top of the brigg Lyn & Geoff Facer found a White-fronted Goose riding the surf on the incoming tide, occasionally getting bashed on the rocks. We also picked out Gannet here and small raft of Shag.

White-fronted Goose @ Filey Brigg © Phil Ridsdale

Back in North Cliff Country Park we were greeted by several flocks of Oystercatcher and Redshank, feeding in the soft mud/ grass in the car park. Packing our gear away for the journey home we reflected on what had been a cracking day with great weather and great birds.

Group @ Filey © Andy Hirst

! NEW ! 25/01/17 As you know Mick Clay stepped down as Chairman last night after 15 years' service. At the AGM he was thanked for his service. Brian Chambers also stepped down after a similar number of years serving at Secretary. At the AGM Paul Tennyson put himself forward to replace Mick as Chairman. He was voted in and his first role was to thank Mick for the talk he gave on Morocco, despite the technical issues with the images.

We didn't find a replacement for Brian as Secretary, so that role remains unfilled so if you would like to help the group out let any of the Group Organisers know. However in the meantime Lyn Facer graciously agreed to send out paper copies monthly from the web to keep the non-email members informed.

We welcome Paul to his new role as Chairman. Paul has been a member for many years and submits a lions share of the annual records we produce, covering Brook Walk and around Anston. He also regularly takes part in the groups Tetrad Atlas Survey. With his personable attitude and his recording efforts he's the ideal person to front our meetings and take the group on in this our 25th Anniversary year.

Speaking of which- we are planning a few events to mark the groups 25th Anniversary. The first of which will be a long weekend in Suffolk. At the moment we're looking Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th June, staying in hotels/ guest houses. Depending how many folk want to go may prompt us to hire a minibus. So if you want to go let Andy know ASAP as we want to book accommodation very soon before it all gets booked. The second event will be an anniversary meal, probably in place of the September meeting, on Friday 29th September. Given the success of the Christmas dinner at the Loyal Trooper, we'd be looking to hold the event there.

19/01/17 After 15 years of service Mick Clay is standing down as Chairman. Mick has steered the group through its development and growth and has been the welcoming face of the group. The organisers would like to thank him for his many years of service and our appreciation of his efforts and achievements. We won't get rid of him so easily- he will remain as Conservation Officer, so expect to see a flurry of nest boxes erected around the square. Mick will step down at the AGM during the January meeting on the 25th at the Loyal Trooper.

This leads us on to Mick's replacement. We are be looking for a new person to join the organising team. The role isn't arduous- the main function is to front the indoor meetings, introduce the speaker and wrap up at the end as well as attending the organisers meetings once every two months. There is little or no admin. Ideally we'd like to appoint someone as soon as possible. You don't need to be a bird expert, far from it- you just need to be able to meet and greet people. You would have the experience and support of the remaining organising team to assist with the role.
So if you have a few hours a month to spare and fancy getting involved then let any of the group organisers know. The group celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, so it's a very exciting time to become more involved with the group. We have several special events planned for the coming year.

15/01/17 Some of you maybe aware the Forestry Commission who managed the Pit Tops in the area (re-badged Community Woodlands), no longer manage them. The contract expired and this was taken up by TCV The Conservation Volunteers. Some of the Forestry Commission staff transferred over so some familiar faces are still around. Generally speaking the FC did a reasonable job, although being a government body they were extremely bureaucratic. The TCV have got stuck in and already they've made an impact. So far they've cleaned out the length of Cramfit Brook and it's now accessible again after years of growth of impenetrable scrub.

So congratulations on a job well done. We hope to develop a good working relationship with TCV- maybe we can together fix the wader scrape?!

Cleared dike @ Cramfit Brook © Andy Hirst

07/01/17 Don't forget our AGM takes place during the first 20 minutes of the January meeting, so not very long at all. It's your chance to have a say how the group is run. Or if you want to stand, or help out then let one of the organisers know (see "Contacts" page). We're always on the look out for volunteers. Following the brief AGM Mick Clay will talk about his several trips to Morocco.

Also keep a look out for Waxwings- there's quite a few in the Sheffield area, so some maybe feeding locally- eyes peeled!

01/01/17 Happy New Year to all- here's to a great 2017 within SK58!

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

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.

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.

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

content & design by Andy Hirst