Wednesday 4 March 2020

Potterick Carr, Doncster

Dunnock Prunella modularis
Tuesday 3 March

Beautiful, clear and sunny start as I set from Stamford at 8am to collect birding friend, Chris bell from Worksop and then on up to the large Yorkshire Wildlife Trust site at Potterick Carr on the outskirts of Doncaster.  Mind you, apart from the starting temperature of 2C and a brief high of 5 it was mainly 4C most of the morning then rising to a dizzy height of maybe 8 or even 9C be mid-afternoon.  Whatever, a most enjoyable day at a site that Chris knows well and what better way to start than having a handful of Redwing along with a few Blackbirds as we made our way from car park to entrance for a coffee before starting out to explore the site.

Record sho
The nearby trees also produced Great Tits and Chaffinches whilst on the water in front of the Visitors Centre we had a few Mallard, Coot and a Little Grebe.  In addition, as well as House Sparrows we had a number of Jackdaws on the feeders.

Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Leaving the Visitors Centre we followed the Northern Drain and on to the hide overlooking the Willow Marsh.  Our walk produced Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits plus Goldfinch.  A view of the Old Eea Marsh revealed a couple of Shelduck and Black-headed Gulls plus calling Cettis's Warblers and approaching the hide, in addition to Blue and Great Tits, a sighting of a Marsh/Willow Tit.  (Also seen and heard by Chris on the return journey would suggest that the bird was actually a Willow Tit.)  Also present were a pair of Canada Geese and Moorhen whilst feeding on the feeders and beneath were a good number of both Blue and Great Tits along with the occasional Coal Tit, many Chaffinches and a handful of Reed Bunting.  Both Robin and Dunnock put in appearances and the hen Pheasant certainly seemed much smaller than one would expect.

Canada Geese Brantis canadensis

Walking through the trees also produced Magpie, Rook, carrion Crow, Rook and Wood Pigeon.  Indeed, the barren trees near the railway line also produced both Blackbirds and more Redwing.

Moving on to visit the three hides on the western side of the Huxter Well Marsh we found many birds.  From the Duchess Hide we had good views Tufted Duck, Pochard and Teal whilst a Kestrel hovered away in front of us.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
In pool 1a we could see a pair of Mute Swans and so on to Hawthorne bank Hide.  Here, in addition to Cormorants we had a range of duck and and water birds, mainly making use of the two small islands to our left.  At least three Little Egret and a few Lapwing plus a number of Wigeon and Teal.  Also seen a handful of Gadwall and more Pochards on the open water along with Coots and with the help of a scope we also managed to locate the sleeping Snipe.  Chris heard a Water Rail on at least two occasions to my single hearing.  Both Greylag Geese and Great Crested Grebes on the open water and then Chris found the single Wren tucked away in a low bust to our left.  Meanwhile, we were entertained to the feeding activities of a number of Long-tailed Tits on the open trees to the front.

Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus

The third of the hides, St Catherines's, proved to be a gem.  Relatively quiet as we looked over the bank to where we had just departed nevertheless a single Moorhen on the left bank which seemed to be tied to the same spot.  Away to our distant left we found a soaring Buzzard but just happening to check the reeds below me a beautiful male Bearded Tit (Reedling) came into view for a few seconds - never to be seen again.  The only other bird seen was a foraging Robin below the fence to our left.

Distant Common Gull Larus canus

A walk along the wet path to both the Tofield and Roger Mitchell Hides produced nothing new other than an immature Herring and a trio of Common Gulls.  Far too wet underfoot to carry on so it was retrace our steps to the Willow Marsh Hide as the rain started to fall.  Why does it always start when you are at the furthest most distance from base?  Arriving at the Willow Marsh Hide to see out the rain, we were again presented with many tits, mainly Blue and Great but also the occasional Coal and Long-tailed Tit.  Indeed, Chris was able to actually catch the call of the Willow Tit as referred to at the beginning.  Also present the pair of Canada Geese along with many Chaffinches, Dunnock and Reed Buntings.

Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Time for a coffee and Chris was informed that  a pair of Avocets had been seen so as he made a return journey after a coffee break to confirm I started out on the long drive back to Stamford.  A most enjoyable day's birding with Chris and, all being well and weather providing, perhaps a second join venture next week.

Birds seen:
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Redwing, Cetti's Warbler, Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Willow Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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