Tag Archives: Shoveller

Some Birds at Clumber Park

I wrote this last night, with the intention of posting it in the morning. That way, I thought, I’d come home to a selection of comments and I wouldn’t have to rush to write a post tonight.

As you’ve probably guessed from the opening paragraph, things didn’t work out.

I’m not exactly clear what I did, but the absence of post tends to suggest that I shut down without saving. Yes, it’s thirty years since I first laid hands on a computer and I now know less than I did in 1987.

So here it is again.

It’s a big lake, and there are plenty of birds about, but they aren’t the most interesting selection of birds. Swans, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mallards, Tufted Duck…

As you can see from the photos there were Shovellers, Gadwall, Cormorants, Goosanders and Black=headed Gulls.

At Arnot Hill Park, or even at Rufford, the scale is more manageable, and you are generally closer to the birds. There’s a little more excitement at Arnot Hill, because you are never quite sure what is going to be there, and at Rufford there are plenty of woodland birds as well as the waterfowl.

To be fair to Clumber, I only ever scratch the surface – it’s so big. The main thing I go for is the end of the lake with the dead trees and Cormorants. In the 1980s and again at the start of this century, mine workings subsided near the end of the lake and the resulting low ground filled with water, drowning the trees.

When I first visited Clumber in the 90s there were more dead trees in the water and they were full of Cormorants. Now when I visit there are just a few trees and a handful of Cormorants, but there is still a possibility of interesting photos. Sadly there were no good Cormorant/tree photos to be had, but I did get a heron on a tree.

 

I also saw a family of Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest and a dozen squirrels, but couldn’t get decent photos of any of them. The only in-focus Long-tailed Tit was so badly framed all I pictured was feet and belly.

 

Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Let’s be honest, doesn’t Idle Valley sound like a great place to be? It has to be up there with Happy Valley and Easy Street.

The walk was bracing , and there were some interesting birds about but as we sat in the cafe, eating Fat Rascals and drinking tea a member of staff came in and started to engage in protracted loud banter with the cafe staff. I could have done without it, but it wasn’t too bad. When he started moving chairs and tables, including the ones next to us, I began to have flashbacks to our visit to Attenborough NR.

It looked like he was preparing to remove the Christmas tree, which begged the question why he couldn’t have done it before 10 am or after 4 pm when the cafe was closed to the public. It just goes to show how assumptions can be wrong, because he was actually preparing to have a cup of tea and a twenty minute session of complaining about management changes.

What is it about me that seems to attract this sort of thing? All I want is tea and cake.

The lake is quite a big pit, the sun was in my eyes for most of the time and much of the lakeside path doesn’t run along the side of the lake so it wasn’t the easiest place to watch birds. Fortunately we started off with a big flock of Teal (thanks to one of the telescopes in the visitor centre) so we were guaranteed a new bird for the 2017 list. Part way round I picked a couple of Gadwall out of a small flock of ducks – they are quite dull, greyish ducks, but they stood out by body length and dabbling behaviour in a group of Tufted ducks. It’s another new species for 2017 and they were closely followed by a group of Shovellers and a couple of Pochard, which were also new species for the year. Let’s be honest though, on 4th January most species are going to be new for the year.

Before we set off I’d checked up on the recent sightings and looked the rarities up so I wouldn’t get caught out if I saw them. Well, I didn’t get caught out, but that was due to lack of sightings rather than lack of preparation.

One day we’ll find something rare, some day…

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Gadwall drake – a rather dull duck