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


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News Archive

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 advise other members of 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

24/11/2018 Longtime member Harry Vilkaitis is selling off several classic books. These include; Mather- "Birds of Yorkshire"- £10 and Hudson- Original 1904 volumes 1+2 "Birds of Yorkshire"- £50. If you are interested in these, pass your phone number to Andy Hirst, who will pass your details on to Harry.

22/11/2018 Last night we held our organisers meeting. One topic of conversation was the future of the group. Many of the group organisers have all been in post for many years and looked at various scenarios in case one of more of the organisers wasn't around for whatever reason.. We looked at various scenarios, depending who wasn't around. Reducing the number of indoor meetings and field trips and the worse case scenario of not holding any indoor meetings- having a membership which was informed by email and web of events and news, thus saving on group admin and expense. But please don't be alarmed- the group is in fine health. We are simply looking at being proactive rather than reactive and covering all bases should one of more of the group organisers not be around!

We felt it would be good generally to recruit more members to the group and encourage active participation within the group. Currently publicity is handled by Jan & Den Jarrold, on top of their other duties, it was suggested a stand alone publicity officer would be good way forward. Looking at everything the group does with a view to promoting to a wider audience. This in turn would hopefully attract more members, who may become more active within the group and take on roles relating to the running of the group.

We are also acutely aware at the lack of young people within the group- in fact none! There appears to be a bit of a resurgence as young people seem to be engaging more with nature. All you need to do is visit Spurn or similar and you will see lots of young lads and lasses out with their binoculars and getting involved. This we felt, was an important avenue for the publicity officer to pursue. We will of course expand on these thoughts at the indoor meeting and at the AGM, which would be the ideal time to recruit someone, with the backing of the membership. We'll also take the opportunity to plug the need for a secretary also. Andy Hirst has been covering the role since Brian Chambers stepped down after many years of dedicated service. At the end of the day the group doesn't belong to the organisers, its run for the members, by the members so in the long run, the future of the group is in the hands of the membership.

19/11/2018 Although it's still November, we are looking towards 2019 and our AGM in January. If you wish to be nominated or suggest someone for any of the posts or vacancies, please let Andy Hirst know ideally before the end of 2018, so we can ensure it makes onto the agenda for the AGM which takes up the first section of the January meeting.

13/11/2018 Just a reminder- our annual Christmas meal is fast approaching. If you would like to go and haven't booked already, then please contact Andy Hirst soon, as menu choices have to be submitted within the next ten days. (Menu is further down this page).

25/10/2018 THE OCTOBER MEETING IS CANCELLED! Unfortunately, we were not told the Loyal Trooper is being decorated this next week. As a result, we found out too late the meeting room won't be free. At this late stage we took the decision to cancel the meeting.

This has a knock-on effect- e.g. The Christmas Meal. If you wish to go can you let Andy Hirst know so we can confirm numbers. Also the menu is on the news page of the website, we will need to know peoples menu choices before the middle of November.

23/10/2018 Over the weekend of the 20th-21st October the group enjoyed a weekend at Spurn Point. A bright morning greeted the six birders who convened at the Bluebell at Kilnsea. The weather was surprisingly mild and bright for the time of year. Although the wind had been blowing from the SW for several days. Despite this there were smattering of eastern migrants including modest numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare. Plus the regular Tree Sparrow & House Sparrow. Hanging around the main road failed to deliver either Yellow-browed Warbler or Barred Warbler, which was seen on and off throughout the day.

Humber Estuary @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

From the Crown and Anchor we walked along the Canal. Overhead we had Siskin, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Kestrel, a Brambling over, Sparrowhawk, and just a few Starling. The previous week there were hundreds of Starling including an imm. Rosy Starling. Typically a Stonechat frequented the fence post by the canal. Not a huge variety of waders as the tide was still away out, but we had modest numbers of Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Shelduck. Walking back to the cars, we had lunch overlooking the sea from the Bluebell. The sea was generally quiet save for 7 Eider >N, a few Gannet and 5 Common Scoter >S. Following lunch we decided to try again around the churchyard for Yellow-browed Warbler after failing to relocate the Barred Warbler again. The tide was much higher now and from the Crown and Anchor we added Knot, Turnstone, several thousand Golden Plover to our tally. From the canal we heard Water Rail squealing.

Leaving Spurn we called in at Kilnsea Wetlands. This added to our species tally with species such as Pintail, Shoveler, hundreds of Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwit. For many the bird(s) of the day were 2 Short-eared Owls, quartering the sheep field, affording excellent views. We drove to our accommodation in Roos, checked in and had an excellent meal and a welcome pint. The Short-eared Owls voted Bird of the Day.

WW1 Sound Dish @ Spurn © Andy Hirst

Sunday dawned bright, sunny and warm, it was even warmer than yesterday, without a cloud in the sky. Following an excellent breakfast, we checked out and rendezvoused with a couple of members who came for the day. The Barred Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler remained elusive. So we ventured along Beacon Lane and noted an increase in Blackbird numbers from yesterday. There were more Redwing in the hedges too and a smattering of Fieldfare. At the end of Beacon Lane we continued to Holderness Field and towards the sounding dish. On Beacon Ponds were good numbers of wildfowl, Brent Geese and Little Grebe plus more Wigeon and Teal. Back at the Bluebell we again had lunch overlooking the sea, which was again quiet except for Red-throated Diver and a few more Gannet. Although the highlight was a Short-eared Owl in off the sea, which was picked up at a mile out, which eventually after flying up and down the coast a bit, flew in towards Kilnsea Wetlands. We gave the churchyard another bash and success most of the group had Yellow-browed Warbler as it flitted giving fleeting glimpses. Time was marching on, so we decided to call in at Sammy's Point before heading home. The tide was well in and we were treated to quite a show by several thousand Golden Plover, pushed off by the rising tide. Sammy's Point was fairly quiet save for a startled group of 12 Grey Partridge and 7 relaxed Roe Deer and a presumed Long-eared Owl, which flew straight ahead away from us and out of sight. Walking back the shout of Hen Harrier went up as ringtail drifted south and on towards the Crown and Anchor, before gaining height over the Narrows. By now it was late afternoon and the group set off home, reflecting on what had been a great trip, accommodation, birding company and birds- each day we clocked up 50+ species on what was a relatively "quiet" weekend. Already looking forward to 2019.

! New ! 13/10/2018 Something we've been wanting to do for a longtime now is to have Species Lists per year (since the groups records were computerised in 1996). Well here it is. We started in 1996 and so far have produced lists up to 2005. To access these Species Lists and List of Records, go to the Species link on the left hand side of any page (second link from the bottom) and choose Records Per Year or Species Per Year links near the top of the page. Scroll through each year (if species is chosen) and see what was recorded. It's interesting to compare year on year, the number of records and the number of species recorded.

! New ! 11/10/2018 Don't forget our weekend trip to Spurn over the weekend of the 20th-21st October. We think the accommodation base is booked up, but several folk are joining us for the day on either Saturday or Sunday. If you would like to go, let Andy Hirst know so we can arrange to meet up, and maybe arrange lifts for the day trippers.

Spurn Point © Andy Hirst

27/09/2018 Normally new developments spell disaster for wildlife and the environment, but there's been a new small reservoir built out of the spoil at Thurcroft Pit Top, which could be beneficial.

New water feature @ Thurcroft Pit Top © Andy Hirst

It looks like it's constructed to catch run off from the surrounding area? It's been created in the 'bowl' of the old spoil heap and has taken some of the rough land away. It's banked up and is holding water. Although not holding a lot currently, it could be a small permanent area of water. It's already attracting gulls and pulled in a Yellow-legged Gull amid the usual Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull.

New water feature @ Thurcroft Pit Top © Andy Hirst

So watch this space, or better still go visit. Access is currently from Carr village, walking along the road out of Carr, then as the road drops right, down the hill, take the track to the pit top. Be careful though, the area is open and the birds are easily spooked, so avoid walking on the bank tops, stay concealed below the embankment.

27/09/2018 We've confirmed details of the SK58 Birders Christmas Meal. It will be held in the upstairs meeting room at the Loyal Trooper in South Anston on Saturday 8th December- 1900 for 1930. The price is £16.95 per head and as usual it's open to all members and their partners/ family (the more the merrier). Below a menu- if you would like to go then please contact Andy Hirst and let him know how many places you require- and ideally with menu choices. We will need to let the Loyal Trooper know numbers and menu choices no later than 24th November!

You can pay at the time of booking by cash, cheque (cheques payable to SK58 Birders) or we should be able to take a bank transfer, we can give you our banking details- just let us know when you've paid, so we can confirm the money entered our account.

As per last year, as we've booked before the end of September, we receive a free bottle of wine for every four places booked! Its rumoured Paul Tennyson will put together a devious and cunning quiz, and this year, I'll remember my extension lead and try to show images from 25 years of SK58 Birders.

23/09/2018 Today was the SK58 Birders mystery tour! Our twitchers day- in a nutshell we had no set destination, but would follow the birds. At 0730 six members gathered at the Loyal Trooper, eager to learn of our destination. We came to the consensus the east coast would probably be best, given the strong NW winds- seawatching at Flamborough seemed the most appropriate. Within two hours we were making our way to the lighthouse to view over the sea. Some, not so keen on staring out to sea, walked the coastal path for a couple of hours, but the sea was where it was happening. Gannets were very much in evidence, this in turn attracted marauding Great Skua (Bonxie) and Arctic Skua. As well as the usual Fulmar and Kittiwake, Razorbill and Guillemot. There was quite a good passage of Red-throated Diver- in the two hours we watched, we had over a dozen. Shearwaters were also evident in modest number, with small parties of 2-6 Manx Shearwater all moving >N. We also managed to pick up two lots of two Sooty Shearwater. We also recorded 9 Wigeon, 13 Common Scoter and Teal. However the highlight for most was an imm. Pomarine Skua heading >S.

Geoff Facer @ Flamborough © Andy Hirst

After a couple of hours we went to the cliff top cafe where we indulged in a cooked breakfast. Following this the group walked the loop to Old Fall. The wind was stronger now a with a few showers- in which we picked up a Common Rosefinch overhead, which landed in a hedge near Old Fall. This gave reasonable views, there may have been two?! The rest of the walk was pretty uneventful in the strengthening NW wind. Some of the party then set off back home, others checked out Bay Brambles where we added Stonechat, before heading home. The (fool) hardy among the group returned to the lighthouse for another hours seawatching. Adding more Arctic Skua, Great Skua and Manx Shearwater to the tally plus moderate numbers of Common Tern and Sandwich Tern, before setting off home at teatime. A great trip and lifers for a couple of the group.

Old Fall @ Flamborough © Andy Hirst

! New ! 17/09/2018 A reminder we have a "Twitchers Special" trip coming up on Sunday 23rd September. We basically see what's a round (usually the East Coast- Spurn/ Flamborough) and head off for the day in search of rare birds. So bring a packed lunch and waterproofs as we're not sure where we'll end up! 0730 from the Loyal Trooper, South Anston.

14/09/2018 An update on the trees which have been cut down at Axle Lane. Mick Clay who regularly watches the site has been in touch with Mr. Hague, who owns the land. Apparently, A young over-enthusiastic employee got carried away and has been reprimanded. Mick has been promised that the trees will be replaced. We will have to wait and see.

06/09/2018 We received an email from our Membership Secretary & Speakers Organiser Geoff & Lyn Facer regarding the trees the group planted at Axle Lane in November 2012.

"Hi Andy,
We have learnt today from a chance meeting with Jill Clay that all of our group's trees on Axle Lane have been cut down. A lady who regularly walks her dogs on there was witness to it.
They apparently were down from the other side of the wall with a machine using a long arm angled down to reach over the wall. We do not know on who's authority this was done."

Planting an Oak tree from a Royal woodland @ Axle Lane © Andy Hirst

Obviously we will investigate as the group spent a lot of time securing the trees from the Woodland Trust and planting them.

05/09/2018 Although the summer heat wave appears to be over, the dry spell continues. Both areas of water at NAPT are bone dry and the flash at Hodsock has not appeared so far this year, so, sadly, it looks as if the wader passage will pass us by here in SK58. Hopefully our negotiations with The Conservation Volunteers may lead to a solution at NAPT. Watch this space.

Top Pond @ NAPT © Pete Kenworthy

24/08/2018 We've booked our accommodation for the groups annual trip to Spurn. We're going the 20th-21st October. You can come for the weekend, or join us for the day on either Saturday 20th or Sunday 21st.

15/08/2018 Six members attended the field trip to Frampton Marsh on August 12th. This is the time of year when wader numbers are starting to build up on their autumn migration and our field trip was timed to witness this at what is now becoming a premier site to view them.

Scrape @ Frampton Marsh © Andy Hirst

Snipe @ Frampton Marsh © Peter Kenworthy

We were not disappointed as 15 species recorded were, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, and Common Sandpiper.

Group @ Frampton Marsh © Andy Hirst

Curlew Sandpiper @ Frampton Marsh © Peter Kenworthy

A Water Rail put in brief showing as it scampered round a bare shoreline and an Egyptian Goose provided a somewhat novel sighting.

Group in hide @ Frampton Marsh © Andy Hirst

Black-tailed Godwit @ Frampton Marsh © Peter Kenworthy

Summer visitors were still to be seen with Swift, Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail and Sedge Warbler being recorded.

Ruff @ Frampton Marsh © Peter Kenworthy

Hints of coming winter were also in evidence with sightings of such species as Brent Goose and Wigeon.
In all at least 50 species were recorded- Geoff Facer.

juv. Little Ringed Plover @ Frampton Marsh © Peter Kenworthy

30/07/2018 We held an organisers meeting a while ago and have some great speakers and trips planned over the autumn. Including a "Twitchers Trips" and a weekend at Spurn- you can come for the weekend or just join us for the day. Remember, this is your group so make the most of your subscription and join us for great some days birding. The next field trip is 12th August to Frampton Marsh, in Lincolnshire (below Boston). At his time of year it should be heaving with waders and migrants!

07/07/2018 The TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) who manage NAPT are running an event jointly with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust at The Pit Top on Saturday 14th July. TCV will be leading a tour of the site, looking at the new stream work that is nearing completion and talking about the site in general. Its open to anyone, will last for about an hour and a half, walking on the tracks. Meeting at 10:00 at the entrance by Bluebell Hospice. Our recorder will be at the hide that morning to explain the work SK58 Birders do.

21/06/2018 Hopefully everyone participating in the SK58 Biennial Tetrad Atlas Survey has now completed their two visits per tetrad- as time is running out!

18/06/2018 Just a reminder, if you're out and about in SK58, record the birds you see- if you can, also email the recorder so records can be put on the website to keep it up to date. Possibly due to holidays, we've received very few records this past month or so.

11/06/2018 Geoff Facer reported that work has begun to clear part of Dinnington Marsh. Trade Be (formerly Safety Kleen) had permission to extend onto Dinnington Marsh, this was granted decades ago. On first sight, it appears horrendous as an area approximately 75m x 50m has been cleared of mature Hawthorn and scrub. This has grown over the past twenty years, when in the early years of the group this was an open area where Short-eared Owls hunted. The scrub had become overgrown so not suitable for many species. However we are concerned that Long-eared Owl may nest in the area, so wondering exactly when this clearance took place? Does anyone know? Hopefully before the breeding season.

The area has greened up slightly so suspect it wasn't too recent. I assume the site is to be left until after the breeding season when we can expect development to continue. There is still a sizable chunk of marsh and woodland left, just means access to the far side of the site is a little more difficult, now the path that crossed the site in the the development zone. Watch this space.

10/06/2018 Brian Chambers emailed me last week

"Hi Andy,
Has anybody commented on this water area by the housing estate at Gateford. It looks like some new or extended habitat, a welcome change from the usual loss which we keep noticing. Worth including on the web site I think. It supported 4 Mallards plus a good number of Swallow and House Martin, also a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over then into the adjacent wood."

Cheers, Brian"

Gateford Lake @ Gateford © Brian Chambers

We are aware of this new patch of water- we do have a new member who lives close by and keeps a watch on it. As I explained to Brian, it's not massive and probably prone to disturbance, but could easily pull something in.

21/05/18 Bempton Cliffs- Trip report. On Sunday on what was a bright clear day six members undertook the journey to Bempton Cliffs. Approaching Bridlington we were met by a wall of cloud and a significant temperature drop, from 20 degrees to 9 degrees. A cold, biting wind greeted us as we stepped out of the vehicles as we quickly donned jackets and coats. The mist was swirling and patchy as we made our way to the first view point- hearing the thousands of seabirds, long before we saw them.

Group @ rspb Bempton Cliffs © Pete Kenworthy

Arriving early, the viewing platforms weren't in the least bit crowded, allowing us to scan the cliffs, picking up small groups of Puffins amid the Guillemots and Razorbills. Whilst higher up were Kittiwakes and Gannets plus the odd Fulmar, making up the 250,000 seabirds which return to Bempton Cliffs to breed each spring and summer. Making our way north via the various viewpoints we picked up on a few passerines in the landward side of Bempton. Nothing too dramatic, Linnet, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Skylark, a few Swallow, Yellow Wagtail and Reed Bunting and of course the thriving Tree Sparrow which nest in and around the visitor centre. We traced our route back for a welcome coffee and lunch in the recently refurbished visitor centre. By now the reserve was quite busy with many day trippers- most of whom wished they had brought warmer clothing!

Kittiwake @ rspb Bempton Cliffs © Pete Kenworthy

After lunch we went south towards Staple Newk- this afforded excellent views of Gannets, Fulmars and Kittiwakes, much to the delight of the photographers in the party. By now the sea fret began to move out to sea and it was warming up as we made our way back to the car park. From here we went to South Landing, the woodland gully path proved quiet, however the beach was cloaked in dense sea fret, we could just about make out the tideline. Aside from a pleasant walk, we added little to the days tally. Returning to the vehicles, it was approaching 1600, so we decided to all head home- sure enough as we left the coast, the mist cleared and we journeyed back in glorious sunshine and 24 degrees. Not the most productive trip species wise, but everyone enjoyed a day at Bempton Cliffs, experiencing the atmosphere, sound and smell of huge seabird colony.

Gannet @ rspb Bempton Cliffs © Pete Kenworthy

17/05/18 Along with your membership renewal form, you will have received an additional form to complete and return to the Membership Secretary- this is to confirm how and what data we hold and how we contact you. If you rejoin, and haven't filled one in yet, please do so before the end of May, otherwise without your consent we won't be able to contact you via post or email. Also a timely reminder, for those that haven't rejoined, you still can without interrupting your membership. Simply contact Lyn Facer Contacts. Rates held at the same level for another year Membership.

14/05/18 Don't forget our monthly trip! 20th May we're going to the East Coast and rspb Bempton Cliffs. This reserve plays host to 250,000 breeding seabirds. The sight, sound and smell is amazing. 0800 Loyal Trooper, South Anston. Leader: Andy Hirst.

08/05/18 URGENT! Are you able to take on any extra Tetrads? Due to unforeseen circumstances we have x2 Tetrads which need covering urgently. These are N & T, Penny Hill and Letwell to Langold areas. If you can take one or both of these on, it would continue our 100% coverage- contact Andy Hirst if you can help out.

Also a reminder that annual subscriptions are due in April each year, so if you haven't paid yet, don't worry- there is still time before we chase you! Although you can steer clear of our Membership Secretary's wrath by paying promptly! Contact Lyn Facer here

30/04/18 Four members attended the field trip to Padley Gorge on April 29th. The walk started from Longshaw where a couple of drake Mandarin were by the lodge. In the estate a Raven was harassed by a couple of Crows while Curlew called in the distance.

Common Sandpiper @ Longshaw © Pete Kenworthy

On the pond was a Common Sandpiper. In Padley Gorge were Coal Tit, Blue Tit and Great Tits, many Nuthatches, a Treecreeper, Jay, Wrens, Willow Warblers, Song Thrushes, a couple of Grey Wagtails and good numbers of Pied Flycatchers. A Redstart was heard to sing briefly but was to prove elusive. A Kestrel hovered over moorland as we walked back up towards Burbage Bridge.

Padley Gorge © Pete Kenworthy

The track up Burbage was by now getting quite busy with little to see. A bird which flew high overhead created interest as it dropped down to land on a boulder revealing itself to be a Great Spotted Woodpecker! Back at Longshaw Lodge about 5 Siskins dropped in to the feeders. We then drove down to Calver to walk by the River Derwent. Here were another 14 Mandarin, a Buzzard, 2 Dippers, 5 Swallows and several singing Blackcaps. A total of 40 species were recorded (Geoff and Lyn Facer).

River @ River Derwent © Pete Kenworthy

23/04/18 The Tetrad Atlas Surrey Survey 2018 should be well under way now. If you've not completed your first visit yet, can you ensure it's completed within the next two weeks- this leaves a big enough gap (minimum of 3 weeks) to squeeze in a second visit before everything goes quiet at the end of June.

16/04/18 The SK58 species list has reached 100 species recorded this year. The hundredth species was Shelduck over Harry Croft's Quarry.

09/04/18 Have you been to North Anston Pit Top recently? If you have you will have noticed the hide has had a lick of paint and the wader scrape is full of water- this, the first time in many years. All we need now are the birds. Remember the hide is wardened by volunteer members, on Saturday mornings until the end of October from 0800-1100. Pop along and see what's about.

25/03/18 The groups monthly trip took the assembled party of 8 to North Cave Wetlands, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve just off the M62 where it becomes the A63, just W of Hull. A journey time of just under an hour. The party convened in the car park on what was a gloriously sunny day. The reserve is a series of pits, lakes and scrapes with a path around the circumference, which at a good pace you could walk around in a hour, but we had all morning to stop and scan from the paths and hides. The first birds over the cars were 2 Oystercatcher noisily defending a territory. We opted to walk anti clockwise- taking in the open fronted, covered seating area overlooking the main scrape. This was alive with noisy Black-headed Gulls. Amongst them were a few Common Gull and Herring Gull, with at least 2 Mediterranean Gull. Scanning the scrape there were good numbers of wildfowl including Gadwall, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Wigeon, Teal (no sign of the Green-winged Teal, which had been here a while!), Wigeon and Shovelor. The islands held good numbers of Redshank, Ruff and of course Avocet.

Overlooking the scrape @ North Cave Wetlands © Andy Hirst

After spending time looking at the scrape from 2 hides, we reached the far side of the reserve and overlooked a large field, this the second leg of our walk. Up in the air we saw several Buzzard (5), as well as Red Kite and several Kestrel displaying.

At the end of the field we turned ninety degrees back towards the car park on the third leg of our walk. This past a stand of trees, which held Chiffchaff. Here we heard the once familiar jangle call of Corn Bunting, but despite waiting for a good 15 mins, he never put in an appearance, choosing to sit on the far side of a high hedge. However we did pick up 3 Curlew, amid a small flock of sheep- well spotted Sue!

Lake @ North Cave Wetlands © Andy Hirst

The final return leg, back towards the cars saw us visit an enormous round hide, with a commanding position, overlooking several lakes, alas the sun was in the wrong direction, but we managed to pick up several Little Egret, more Shovelor and of course noisy Greylag Goose. Calling in at the hide overlooking the main lake we picked up Snipe and Great Blacked-backed Gull. The Walk back along the main track to the cars, we picked up Reed Bunting and 2 Tree Sparrow. Unloading our birding gear we placed our orders for various teas, coffees and butties, which were welcome after our morning out. A cracking little reserve, easily covered with some great habitats- we will come here again!

23/03/18 A reminder that subs are due as of the 1st April. To comply with new data protection laws you will be asked when you join/ rejoin to sign a declaration, opting in to receive emails/ newsletters by post and email. Membership fees remain the same. Click here for membership and contact details.

You may have seen signs at North Anston Pit Top (Dinnington Community Woodland) relating to works to improve the water quality of the brook running through the site near the hospice entrance. Its work carried out by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. The site looks a bit of a building site, but they are cleaning/ lining the banks to trap pollutants. Although Water Voles were present prior to the works and there is local concern they have been disturbed by the major works here.

Works to improve water quality @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

PLEASE NOTE THE MAY MEETINGS ARE A WEEK EARLIER! Due to holidays we have a shortage of organisers to run the may meetings. As a result we've brought them forward to the 2nd (organisers) & 3rd (indoor meeting) weeks, so its 23rd May NOT the 30th May for the indoor meeting.

19/03/18 A reminder that from now until October (subject to there being water in the scrape), the hide at North Anston Pit Top will be wardened on Saturday mornings from 0800-1100. Although it was pretty bleak according to our chairman on Saturday. It wasn't much better on Sunday (see pic), save for a the first Lapwing and 11 Snipe.

Wader Scrape @ NAPT © Andy Hirst

02/03/18 Tetrad Atlas Survey- Most of the squares have now been taken. However as the February indoor meeting was canceled, I'm hoping to hand out the maps and paperwork at the March meeting. If you can try and make that meeting to collect the paperwork, that will save a lot of running around dropping off survey packs to members in time for the start of the survey in April.

02/03/18 As you know, we had to cancel the February meeting because of the bad weather. However, we were going to launch the 2018 Tetrad Atlas Survey. If possible, we'd like the people who covered the 2016 squares to cover the same ones in 2018, for consistency. Can you contact the Recorder and let him know if you are willing to do this. Below is a list of participants from 2016 (left) and the squares they covered. The right column shows squares taken in 2018 so far. Of course, if you can take on more squares and help maintain out 100% coverage, then that would be great- a map showing the tetrads is below. We'll go over the actual methodology and timings of the survey at the next two indoor meetings.

P Kenworthy P Kenworthy
P Tennyson P Tennyson
M Clay B Chambers
M Clay C Lilley
M Clay R Platts
G Facer G Facer
P Tennyson P Tennyson
C Lilley C Lilley
A Hirst A Hirst
B Chambers B Chambers
J & D Jarrold J & D Jarrold
S Newsome/ R Brown S Newsome/ R Brown
S Newsome/ R Brown S Newsome/ R Brown
J Gallagher J Gallagher
A Hirst A Hirst
P Kenworthy P Kenworthy
C Lilley B Cartwright
S Newsome/ R Brown S Newsome/ R Brown
J Gallagher J Gallagher
G Facer G Facer
P Kenworthy P Kenworthy
B Chambers B Chambers
J Allsop / C Gretton J Allsop / C Gretton
J Allsop / C Gretton J Allsop / C Gretton
A Hirst A Hirst

Map of 25 Tetrads within SK58

19/02/18 Our recorder Andy Hirst runs bird tours in the UK and Europe. He currently has 2 places available on his Ultimate Scotland Tour. This is a 12-13 day tour taking in the Highlands & Islands of North & North West Scotland. For more information visit

05/02/18 Following on from our AGM, all the current officers have been reelected en-bloc. Click here for details of who does what. We do still have several vacancies, so if you can spare a few hours a month, why not help out with the running of the group.

21/01/18 Five members took part in the field trip to Alder Fen today The day started bitterly cold but dry. Our first stop was Candy Corner where we walked east along the flood bank of the River Torne. Here we found a pair of Stonechat, a Buzzard, many Fieldfare, Meadow Pipit and Linnet. Our attention was drawn to several hundred geese dropping onto fields at Candy Farm, so it back to the cars and a walk west along the river. The first geese were a large flock of Greylag Geese and Canada Geese,but pressing on there were hundreds of Pink-footed Geese and on inspection we found 5 White-fronted Geese. Our next stop was Tunnel Pits which proved to be very quiet with little more than a Kestrel. It was now starting to rain slightly so we started to drive slowly towards the farm shop cafe looking for the Whooper Swans en-route. We soon located the flock and estimated around 80 present. When we left the cafe the rain had turned to snow but our hardy team did not consider it severe enough to stop us so we drove to Misson to walk along the bank of the River Idle. This produced more of the same with another pair of Stonechat, 2 more Buzzard, 2 more Kestrel and many Fieldfare. Geoff and Lyn Facer.

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 download the free 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.

18/01/18 You may have noticed the hide at NAPT is looking rather resplendent nowadays, having had the vandalism repaired and a fresh lick of paint to the exterior. Many thanks a a job well done to the TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) who manage the site.

TCV staff @ the hide, NAPT (from TCV Facebook page)

15/01/18 A new feature is a running Species List for the current year and what will be an Species List Archive of each years species lists. At the time of writing we've 69 species recorded so far within SK58 this year- if you've seen a species not on our 2018 list then do send the recorder a report. The Species List can be accessed via the links above or from the Latest Bird News Page or the Species List Page.

02/01/18 We now have a spare key for the hide at NAPT. Any current member is eligible to hold a key to the hide on the proviso they are willing to give up a Saturday morning, once every six weeks, from 0800-1100 between March and October to open the hide to the public and advise what's around. Of course being a key holder you can visit the hide 24/7. If you wish to be considered for the key, contact any of the group organisers.

01/01/18 A reminder to submit all your SK58 bird records (database/ spreadsheet or paper forms) to the recorder ASAP so they can be correlated and added to the database.

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 reelection, 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 Trees" 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

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

content & design by Andy Hirst