Despite all the Rooks and rookeries I passed on my drive from Stamford to Beeston, Nottingham where I met up with my birding pal Chris Bell from Workspop, we were not to record a single individual during our wonderful day's birding at Atttenborough Nature Reserve. Also knocks on the head the idea that Friday the Thirteenth is unlucky for all!
Rather than carry a heavy scope around with us all day we started by checking out the pastures on the far side of the railway track having parked up in the free car park in Barton Lane. This was followed by checking Church Pond on the opposite side of Barton Lane before leaving my scope in the car for the actual tour of the reserve itself. The wind had dropped completely after all the bluster of yesterday and, indeed, it turned out to be perfect weather for birding. The pastures produced a Magpie and couples of Blackbird, Mistle Thrush and Pied Wagtails along with very many Wood Pigeon and the occasional Carrion Crow. No sign of the long-staying Slavonian Grebe on Church Pond but plenty of Black-headed Gulls along with Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan and both Greylag and Canada Geese. Further use of the scope found the few Goldeneye.
|Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (male above)|
|The Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus family with only one of six goslings surviving to date|
A number of Cormorants were seen flying over the pond and as we left for our walk we had a couple of Stock Doves to the left followed by our first of very many friendly Robins. At we crossed the footbridge towards the River Trent we found the single Whooper Swan that has been wintering on this site. The trees seemed to be alive with both Blue and Great Tits, no doubt helped the generous supply of bird seed being deposited on the various gate posts and fence rail.
|One of the friendly Robins Erithacus rubecula|
|Cetti's Warbler Cetti cetti|
Clifton Pond produced a good number of Wigeon and the first Little Grebe whilst the neighbouring trees held small numbers of Long-tailed Tits. Chiffchaffs and Greenfinch had been recorded at the start of the day but now more were found. Finally, our first Little Egret of the morning.
|Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus|
Just before our lunch we stopped to find the calling Wren in a muddy ditch to our left and not only had a good sighting but also that of a Cetti's Warbler that was well exposed for a considerable time. With Wren and Cetti's Warbler near the ground we then watched as a pair of Goldcrest made their way down through the branches for their turn to take on water.
Following the path alongside the Trent we stopped for our picnic lunch at a bench just before the left turn into The Bund. From here we watched the activity of the Tits and Reed Buntings along with Robins and Dunnocks. A few Goldfinch were seen and then a Kingfisher flashed past near our bank as it made its way upstream.
|Male Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus|
Continuing on we had our first Goosander as we crossed the bridge with the Main Pond on our left. At the end as we prepared to start our walk along Works Path a very obliging Wren gave good views and then it was time to find the local Collared Doves, Starlings and House Sparrows - plus yet another Wren in the hedge.
|A lovely little "Jenny" Wren Troglodytes troglodytes|
|Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus with Mute Swan Cygnus olor at rear|
With such perfect weather it seemed a shame to call it a day so we once more crossed the footbridge and made our way back to the River Trent. This time we turned right and headed upstream noticing how fast the river was still running. Having stopped to look at a large tree on the on the opposite bank we were able to identify the resting Fieldfare with a handful of Wood Pigeons. A rest at a seat further along the track just before the county boundary with Derbyshire produced excellent results. First the Reed Buntings along with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits then more Robins and Dunnocks followed by both Stonechat and Linnet. On the River Erewash itself a number of Tufted Ducks plus Mute Swans, Little Egret and Heron.
|Stonechat Saxicola torquata (Male above)|
Making our way back to the Visitors Centre we had a few more Fieldfare and a female Goosander on the river. As we approached the main hide overlooking the Tween Pond we stopped to admire the Buzzard resting on top of its favourite pole and then, on the Wheatear Field, a female Pheasant leisurely wandering along the bank.
|Record shot of distant Fieldfare Turdus pilaris|
|Female Goosander Mergus merganser|
|Female Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Whooper Swan, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Red -crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Kingfisher, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting.
|Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus|
|Heron Ardea cinerea|
|Goosander Mergus merganser|
|Buzzard Buteo buteo|
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information