Bird News

This is a news service only and the reports are unchecked. All records submitted via the "Submit record" page will be sent to the Bulletin Bird Notes Compiler and entered onto the DOS database even if they do not appear here. Please note that for obvious reasons we do not publish sightings of rare breeders such as Little Ringed Plover during the breeding season (unless obvious migrants)

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May 2024 highlights

Bird of the month was a brief Great Reed Warbler at Carr Vale DWT NR that was heard singing for ten minutes on 8th May and seen as close as ten feet before it moved from the reedbed into thick cover on the reserve pond, never to be seen again; although there was an unconfirmed report of it being heard briefly late in the afternoon. This is just the third record for the county, following the first at Straws Bridge in 2010 and the second at Willington GP in 2018. The same site also produced a flock of three Common Cranes that initially circled south-west over the "mound" before turning north over Sutton Scarsdale on 2nd May, these being the fifth record for the reserve.

Almost as rare as the Great Reed Warbler, a White-tailed Eagle that flew over Willington, which was not from the Isle of Wight introduction scheme, represents just the fourth modern day record of this species for the county. On 4th May a Red-throated Diver was a good find at Carsington Water and it remained until the 5th, when there was an unconfirmed pager report from RBA of a Purple Heron flying over Belper, whilst another pager report of four plus Bee-eaters flying over Littleover at 10:53 am on 6th May also requires firming up as nobody seems to know anything about it! Two White Storks were seen flying up the Trent Valley at Kings Newton on 13th May and another was seen flying north over Abbey Hill floods on 27th May.

A Hoopoe was a good find in the north-west at Swineshaw Reservoir on 15th May and the same day a singing Firecrest was located at a confidential continued site in central Derbyshire with three other records reported from eBird, BTOBT and DBFG. A Spoonbill was reported from Kings Newton on 25th May and a Honey Buzzard was photographed flying over the observers Losco garden on 27th May. A good month for rarities, but may I remind all finders that for the records to appear in the 2024 DBR a rarity form is required please and sooner rather than later so that the rarity committee can crack on with record assessment.

Scarce county birds included a late Whooper Swan over Burbage Edge on the 7th, a drake Garganey at Willington GP on the 10th, a Brent Goose at Ogston Reservoir on the 15th, whilst a Quail was heard and seen briefly at White Edge on the 31st. A Bittern was reported from one site on many dates and up to four Cattle Egrets continued to be seen at various sites in the Trent Valley. One or two Great White Egrets were seen at seven sites, up to 28 Little Egrets were seen at many sites, up to three Red Kites were recorded at 70+ sites, a ringtail Hen Harrier flew south through Carr Vale on the 17th with two Marsh Harrier sightings there on the 12th and 13th, and others were seen at Wyver Lane on the 14th, whilst two were in the south of the county all month. Ospreys were seen at nine places with two at Staunton Harold Reservoir on the 31st and a long staying bird at Ogston from the 24th into June. It was a poor month for waders, but four Avocets were at Barrow GP on the 9th and then a pair appeared at various Trent Valley sites between the 8th and 23rd, whilst a pair reappeared at Bennerley Marsh also on the 23rd. The only Grey Plover was at Barrow GP on the 15th. Whimbrel appeared at five sites but no more than three were seen, three Turnstones were at Carsington Water on the 24th with another seen on the 10th, whilst other singletons were seen at Barrow GP on the 15th and Woodhead Reservoir on the 18th. The only Ruff was at Carsington on the 11th. Two Sanderlings were seen at Middleton Moor on the 25th, with one the day before and single birds were also found at Foxlow Ponds on the 1st, Pools Brook CP on the 3rd and Carsington Water on the 24th. Single Greenshank were seen at Carr Vale DWT NR on the 7th and at Ogston Reservoir on the 18th and Redshank were found at Carr Vale DWT NR, Carsington (where a pair was seen with young) and at Willington, but just six birds shows the parlous situation of this species in the county.

Terns didn't fare any better with only Carsington Water scoring Black Terns with 11 on the 11th and single birds on two other dates, whilst a Little Tern flew through Barrow GP on the 21st. Just 26 Arctic Terns were seen with 20 of those spread over three dates at Carsington Water, the others being three at Carr Vale DWT NR on the 2nd, two at Barrow GP on the 21st and one at Ogston Reservoir on 1st 2nd. Carsington produced the only Kittiwake of the month on the 4th and up to three Mediterranean Gulls frequented reservoirs in the north-west where the hybrid Ring-billed x Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen again at Woodhead Reservoir on the 9th, and a Yellow-legged Gull was seen in Derby on the 1st and 23rd. Long-eared Owls were found at three places, Short-eared Owls were seen at a number of upland sites, with Merlins found at two sites plus an unusual record of a female over Lathkill Dale on the 31st, and Hobbies were seen at 19 places with a count of six at Willington GP on the 4th being the highest count. Apart from the rarities mentioned above the only notable passerine was a Hawfinch at Tideswell on the 4th. Finally, I am standing down as the bird notes compiler, this being my last effort. The role is being taken on by Steve Thorpe to whom postal and email records should be sent by the 3rd of August as there is no bulletin in July.

Mark Beevers