Tuesday 10 August 2021

Potterick Carr Reserve, Doncaster

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Monday 9  August

Off before 8 this morning to drive north to Worksop, picking up Jackdaws before joining the nearby A1, to collect birding friend Chris Bell and then on to Potterick Carr reserve near Doncaster, arriving at exactly 9.30 as the gates were being opened and watched over by a passing family of Pheasants.  Once inside, noting both Blue and Great Tit at the feeding station, time for a coffee before spending the day walking the site in what might be termed an anti-clockwise figure-of-eight.  However, first a check of the small pool outside the Visitors Centre which produced Coot and Little Grebe whilst overhead passing Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Common Tern.

Accompanied by the very many Wood Pigeon we set off through the wooded Loversall Carr recording numerous Chiffchaff, they were everywhere - all over the site, plus both Willow Warbler and a number of Blackcap.  A friendly Carrion Crow undergoing its moult seemed to favour the path in front of us and err long we were were checking the distant scrub land and picking up a pair of Magpie. Above a circling Buzzard.  Approaching East Scrape we had Long-tailed TitChaffinch and Robin but very little on the water, not helped by the local maintenance being carried out accompanied by loud music!

Many resting Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus and Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

West Scrape gave us our first decent look at the water where we found numerous Lapwing and Black-headed Gulls accompanied by a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and probably a score of Common Starling.  Immediately in front of the hide a small number of Teal and a single Black-tailed Godwit.  At the very far right-hand corner a lone Green sandpiper.  It was from this hide that Chris found the Hobby which seemed to be quartering a section from the distant, old dead oak tree to the hides on our far left, probably Hawthorn Bank.  To complete the picture a handful of Mute Swans, two Heron and a Moorhen.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa with resting Teal Anas crecca

The Roger Mitchell Hide produced  rather lovely Spoonbill posing between a pair of Mute Swan with cygnets to the right and a Little Egret to the left.  A second Little Egret was away to our far left.  Resting in front a number of Cormorant on a small, sandy island with a lone Dunlin on the far left.  On the water itself, in addition to the expected Mallard, a single male Pochard along with a few Great Crested and Little Grebes

Very distant Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia between the adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor with their cygnets

On the north bound track overlooking lagoons 1 and 2, Hawthorn Bank and Duchess Hides produced numerous duck, mainly Mallard but also Tufted Duck, TealPochard and a female Shoveler.  Also present CootLittle Egret and both Great Crested and Little Grebe.  Using the scope we were also able to confirm the distant Snipe.  But just the one Mute Swan and no sign of the reported Garganey.  Very high above the water a few feeding House Martin and even a short appearance of a Marsh Harrier making its way westwards above threes to our left in addition to the pair of Buzzards.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

Next it was back to the Visitors centre for a well-earned coffee then the return walk to Duchess Hide to concentrate on finding the elusive Garganey.  No chance and suddenly realised we had less than fifteen minutes to get back to the Visitors Centre before the 5pm closing time!  As so often happens, everything suddenly turned up at the end when you think you have finished birding for the day.  Approaching the VC I heard the alarm call of a Blackbird in the bushes below me to the left and on reaching the car park a Goldfinch atop a bust right next to the car.  Half-way back to Worksop a small number of Rooks and a Kestrel atop a pylon.  Then, arriving at Chris's home, we had Collared Doves on the roofs, a dozen House Sparrows in the bush at the edge of his property and, looking up (no doubt having already heard the screaming) Chris found a handful of Common Swift.  Suddenly the day's tally had jumped by a further five species, excluding the two actually seen at Potterick Carr.  A most enjoyable day in excellent, cheerful company.

Could this be a Red Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii?

Birds seen:

Mute Swan, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Hobby, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Swift, House Martin, Robin, Blackbird, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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