I had a wonderful day making a first visit to the Lound and Idle Valley Nature Reserve just north of Retford in Nottinghamshire accompanied by my good birding friend from, relatively, nearby Worksop, Chris Bell. Great having Chris with as not only does he know the local birds but is very familiar with the site. meeting at the Visitors Centre after the eighty minute journey up from Stamford we had a cup of coffee whilst taking a look at the adjacent Belmoor Lake which provided plenty of geese in the form of Greylag and Canada along with a single Egyptian Goose. Ducks were mainly Mallard with a few Tufted and also a good supply of gulls, mainly Black-headed but also some Lesser Black-backed and the occasional Herring Gull. Add on Lapwings, Coots and a few Mute Swans, not to mention the Magpie that welcomed us to the site, and we were off to a good start.
|View across Neatholme Fen at Idle Valley Reserve|
|Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Common Tern Sterna hirundo and juvenile Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus|
|Just caught the distant Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur|
|View across Neatholme Scrape at Idle Valley Reserve|
Once on our way again we next stopped at the screen overlooking Neatholme Pit and hear we found a large flock of Tufted Duck as well as scores of Lapwing and more Little Egret and Grey Heron. The neighbouring Neatholme Scrape then produced a good number of Gadwall along with Little Grebe and the occasional Common Pochard. More Mute Swans and even a pair of Egyptian Geese. A handful of Carrion Crow were either feeding on the ground or resting in bushes and even a Rock Dove flew over, the fist seen all day.
|Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiacus|
Having taken a quick look at Chainbridge Scrape (East) where we found at least eight Grey Herons along with more Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe and scores of Lapwing, we crossed the River Idle and parked up to take a closer look at the distant Tiln North water. Biggest attraction here was not the score or more of both Greylag and Canada Geese but the huge flock of Rooks along with about a score of Carrion Crow. A male Reed Bunting posed nicely on top of a bramble bush and then a single Yellow Wagtail flitted over the grass and disappeared into the vegetation.
|Resting Carrion Crow Corvus corone corone|
Our final journey was to take the track alongside the River Idle to the area known as "Willow Woods." Passing Conversation Lake we noticed the pair of Little Grebe with their two youngsters and a handful of Mute Swan on the river itself. Then, once on site, we walked along the narrow path with bushes, shrubs and the occasional tree on each side and this proved very productive as we added another Whitethroat and Garden Warbler along with both Blackcap and a rather lovely Lesser Whitethroat. What a way to finish! But just time to take a closer look at Chainbridge Pit and the resting Greylag Geese whilst the local warden dashed around trying to find her missing thirty-eight little black sheep! Of Dutch origin, I wonder if her native name was "Bo-peep?"
|A few of the very many Greylag Geese Anser anser|
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor on Neatholme fen|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting.
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information