Bird Sightings

As many are aware we have some birdwatchers who are social members and come and watch from the corner, or watch the bird feeders they have put up beyond the Flying 15 area. We have asked John one of the regulars to let us know what they see. The Terns are nesting on the raft so please give that a good berth (they will let you know if you get to close!). If you want to know more stop and ask John is always willing to talk about what is down, let you look through the scope etc, contact him at 

JULY 2022: Unfortunately some sad news to start with. The tern raft was predated and apart from one youngster all the chicks perished. They were doing really well with five pairs breeding and at least four, probably six young noted. They were getting larger and were probably a week from fledging when disaster struck. Exactly the same thing occurred in 2020. We cannot be certain but in all probability it is Mink which are responsible. The youngster which survived managed to swim to the island at the top of the lake where it was fed by the parents and at the time of writing it can now fly quite strongly.

The best of the sightings were single Black-tailed Godwits (a wading bird) on the 1st and 22nd, an immature Marsh Harrier on the 8th and a pair of Common Scoter (a sea duck) on the 22nd with the female still present the following day. Other birds of interest included Red Kite, Hobby, Common Sandpiper and Redshank.

JUNE 2022: A typically quiet month. The highlight was definitely the adult Spoonbill which was seen on the 17th, only the second to be seen on the complex following an individual last year. Also on the 17th a Curlew was noted flying north-east. Red Kites have been very much in evidence this month with two or three birds observed on most visits. An unseasonal Whooper Swan is still hanging around having been seen on several occasions. It clearly doesn’t fancy the long flight back to its breeding grounds in Iceland. Really pleasing news is that the pair of Oystercatchers which nested on the club house roof has managed to raise their three young to the flying stage. Several members have noted that one of the parents only has one foot. Many thanks to the club for making members aware of ground nesting birds and the need to keep dogs on a lead. It also appears that three, possibly four pairs of Common Terns are nesting on the raft which again is wonderful news.

MAY 2022: A flock of 18 Arctic Terns flew through north-east on the 3rd. This species is always one of the highlights of the spring as they make as they make the epic migration from Antarctica to their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. The second Osprey of the spring passed through on the 4th and a drake Mandarin Duck was also noted the same day. Two Whimbrel, a wading bird resembling a small Curlew, stayed around the Sailing Lake for several days during the first week of the month. A group of three Dunlin were noted on the 12th. The 13th was an eventful if rather frustrating day. A Harrier, a type of bird of prey, appeared over the ridge on the opposite side of the river and flew steadily south. It was either a Montagu’s Harrier or a Pallid Harrier, both extremely rare birds in the county. Unfortunately the views were insufficient for a positive identification so it remains ‘one that got away’. A particularly pleasing event has seen the resident pair of Oystercatchers nest on the club house roof. They successfully hatched their three eggs and although the young are still small and cannot fly yet they obviously managed to jump off the roof and were feeding around the perimeter of the lake with their parents a few days ago. A pair of Common Terns are still showing an interest in the raft although the other six or seven pairs which arrived in April have moved up to the Railway Pit to breed on the islands there. Other sightings in the month included Shelduck, Common Sandpiper, Hobby and Red Kite.

APRIL 2022
: This is always a month when lots of birds are migrating and there were some quality sightings. A Marsh Harrier flew north-east on the 4th followed by a second individual seen on the 19th. Sandwich Tern is always a notable species to see in the county and a single was observed on the 11th with two briefly on the following day. A group of three Avocets were a nice sight on the 11th. A party of 14 Whooper Swans on their way back to their breeding grounds in Iceland flew over the Sailing Lake on the 12th. A single adult Whooper Swan has been seen throughout the month with the resident Mute Swan flock. It appears to have a damaged wing and whilst it can fly it is probably unable to make the long journey back to Iceland. An Osprey was a wonderful sight as it flew along the River Trent on the 19th. An adult Little Gull in full breeding plumage was seen on the 24th and 26th.

Pick of the bunch of wading birds were the two Whimbrel noted on the 29th. There were also records of Green Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper. An exotic pair of Mandarin Ducks was seen on a number of occasions and a drake Pintail flew over on the 12th. A White Wagtail was observed on the 1st, a Wheatear on the 26th was followed by two on the 29th. A smart Whinchat was a good find on the 29th. The majority of summer visitors arrived this month and there were first records of House Martin, Swift, Yellow Wagtail and Common Tern along with various species of warblers.

MARCH 2022: Probably the best sighting of the month was the three Little gulls seen on the 23rd. They were part of a small inland movement with birds noted at several sites in the Midlands. The three Russian White-fronted Geese which first appeared on January 28th were last seen on the 9th. Two Curlew flew through on the 17th. A single Pink-footed Goose was observed on several dates throughout the month as was the exotic looking Ruddy Shelduck. March sees the arrival of the first summer visitors and it was nice to hear the first singing Chiffchaff on the 9th. The first Sand Martins appeared on the 17th, Little Ringed Plover on the 29th along with an early Swallow also on the 29th. Martins and Swallows feed on aerial insects so they would have found the bitterly cold weather of the last few days of the month a real challenge and no doubt some birds would have succumbed. There were also sightings of Shelduck, Little Egret, Raven, Red Kite and Red-legged Partridge.

JANUARY 2022: The highlight of the month was the appearance of three Russian White-fronted Geese on the 28th. They consisted of two adults and a juvenile, so probably a family party. These geese breed on the tundra areas of northern Russia so have made quite a lengthy journey to reach Hoveringham. They are still present, mixing with the large Canada Goose/Greylag Goose flock. A Great White Egret was seen on a couple of occasions as was a Water Rail. Two Stonechats continued to be reported on several dates and a Green Sandpiper was noted on the 6th. Up to three Bramblings could still be found in the mixed finch flock. The first noisy Oystercatcher of the year arrived on the 28th. Numbers of farmland birds have decreased drastically over the last couple of decades and one such species is the Yellowhammer. It was therefore pleasing to locate a flock of 20+ birds in fields to the rear of the Annexe Pit. Other species of note which were recorded during the month included Redshank, Common Snipe, Grey Wagtail and Peregrine Falcon. 

John (to right) keeping an eye out for rare birds