Wednesday 29 November 2017

Attenborough Nature Reserve, Nottingham

Redwing Turdus iliacus
Wednesday 29 November

What a day; left home at 9am and for the first twenty minutes was driving north on the A1 in torrential rain.  Eased off and cleared as I drove west along the A52 and just a couple of spots before arriving in good sunshine, almost clear skies and a little wind at Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottingham.  Here I met my birding pal Chris Bell who had travelled south from Worksop and then followed a smashing five hours or more exploring every pond and track around and through this lovely site.  Not too bad underfoot except for one particular path as we left the Elevated Bird Hide (and not having seen the possible Bittern) and by the time we returned to the Visitors Centre for an end of session coffee we had recorded 49 species.  But between here and reaching the car to start our homeward journeys we managed to add Egyptian Goose, Fieldare and Bullfinch so bringing up the half-century and a couple to spare.

Visiting Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

On arrival we quickly took in the large number of Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls and whilst Chris saw the first Bullfinch I picked up a couple of Greenfinches after we had both spotted a pair of Pied Wagtails in the neighbouring field with the feeding horses.  If yesterday was about geese then today was a "duck day" with nine species recorded; Gadwall, Wigeon (by the score rather than thousand!), Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye and Goosander.  

Male (above) and female Common Pochard  Aythya ferina

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

But it was also a day when I finally caught up with some old friends not seen for months, such as Goldcrest, Bullfinch and Common Gull.  Lovely to see not just Blackbird and Mistle Thrush but also a Song Thrush and newly-arrived winter thrushes such as Redwing (mainly) and the odd Fieldfare.

No shortage of feeding Redwing Turdus iliacus

Whilst from the start of the day we had seen many Mute Swan and Canada Geese we had to wait, as described above, until it was time to leave before recording our first pair of Egyptian Geese.  Also on the water were many Great Crested Grebes spread around the reserve but only a handful of Little Grebe and just a handful or less of Moorhen plus many Coot. Also a few Cormorant were observed and, maybe, a half-dozen Herons.  The site was not really conducive of waders but we did find very many Lapwing and a couple of Snipe.  On the water itself, in addition to the occasional Common Gull we recorded many Black-headed plus Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Common (Mew) Gull Larus canus
Corvids seemed to be well represented with a number of Carrion Crow and lots of Magpies to add to the Rooks recorded upon our arrival and, likewise, we also found a small number of Jackdaw.

Corvids represented by Magpie Pica pica (above) and Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone

Walking through the trees it was lovely to see many Long-tailed Tits, Blue and Great Tits, lots of Robins along with Dunnock, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Wren not to mention the Nuthatches which thoroughly enjoyed gorging themselves at a hidden food table away from the general public.  Above us a constant movement of Woodpigeons and, eventually, walking through the outskirts of Attenborough village a single Collared Dove.  If you then add on Tree Sparrow, Goldfinch and a brief appearance of a Great Spotted Woodpecker you will get some idea of the wide range of species recorded during the day.

The lovely Dunnock Prunella modularis

Towards the end of the visit we observed a distant Buzzard circling over  a hill on the far side of the Trent to add to the three Kestrels recorded. 
Female Kestrel Falco tinnunculus on her usual perch

And so ended a lovely day in pleasant weather conditions and the great company of Chris to whom I should particularly like to extend my thanks. 

Nuthatch Sitta europaea feeding in the shaded woods

Birds seen:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Bullfinch.

At lest five female Goosander Mergus merganser present on site

A farewell look at our Redwing Turdus iliacus and Robin Erithacus rubecula
Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs  and additional information

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