Trip reports

Blackhall Rocks, Dorman's Pool and Saltholme

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Just five members participated in the group's annual trip to the Teesmouth area. It was rather cool start to the morning, but a good forecast and potentially plenty of good birds to see. More...

Nightjar Evening

Friday, 29 June 2018

Eleven people attended our annual search for nightjars on a calm, fine evening. A contingent travelled from the Science Site in Durham and met up with the remaining participants by the station in Wolsingham as pre-arranged. More...

Low Newton, Long Nanny and Druridge Pools

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Seven people travelled from Durham on an overcast, but fine morning. At Low Newton by the Sea, we met up with two more members as arranged. Skylark, chiffchaff and reed bunting were singing close by the car park and juvenile robin perched on a wire fence. A pair of moorhen and their chicks pecked in a muddy pool in the adjacent field and house martins flew above a nearby hill. More...

Slitt Woods and Middlehope Moor, Westgate

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Just three members met at the Science Site in Durham, but we were joined by two more on arrival at Westgate for what proved to be a very enjoyable evening. The weather was still warm and bright and there was very little wind as we began our walk. An oystercatcher flew overhead, calling loudly, and swallow and house martin were seen around houses in the village. More...

Killington Lake, Warton Crag and Leighton Moss

Saturday, 19 May 2018

A clash with the Royal Wedding and the Cup Final on top of some members personal commitments, meant only five members left Durham for this trip. On this very pleasant morning our ultimate destination was Morecambe Bay, but a short break at Killington services provided our first birdwatching opportunity. Willow warbler, goldfinch, chaffinch and blackbird were heard in trees around the car park, while house martins and swallows were feeding overhead. More...

Lanchester Valley Railway Walk

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Six members attended our walk from Hurbuck Cottages to Lanchester. The evening was overcast and cool, but stayed fine as we set off along the Lanchester Valley Railway Path. Goldfinch, chaffinch, dunnock and blackbird were singing around the cottage gardens and several swallows were feeding over the path and adjacent fields. One member spotted the distant heads of a pair of grey partridges protruding from some long grass. A skylark sang above the field on the opposite side. More...

Tilery Wood

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Eight members gathered on an overcast, but fine, evening for a walk around Tilery Wood, near Wynyard. For the Group's first visit to this site, we parked at the A177 car park and walked south into Tilery Wood. The first section took us through some fairly dense woodland, including many conifers. We didn't see many birds, but the high levels of song indicated many species were present. Great spotted woodpecker, coal tit, blue tit, willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, goldcrest, wren, blackbird and robin were all recorded within a few minutes. More...

West Durham

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Our March field trip having been defeated by the weather, this was our first outing since the New Year one. Fortunately, the weather on this occasion was better, bright but a bit windy. It had only recently improved after a long cold winter so there was a question as to how many migrants had arrived. This was in fact a joint trip with the Bird Club and a few Bird Club members joined us. More...

Saltholme and Newburn Bridge

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ten members gathered at the Science Site on a cold, windy morning for our annual New Year Outing. This year's trip was to the Teesmouth area, which had provided reports of Egyptian goose, green-winged teal, Mediterranean gull, long-eared owl, brambling and Lapland bunting. More...

Low Newton and Holy Island

Saturday, 30 September 2017

It was a fine day when we met for the annual autumn field trip to Holy Island. The tides were not sympathetic to us, and it would be late morning before we could cross, but this was the best that was available.. So our first destination this year was to be Low Newton, to the south of Beadnell. More...

Teesmouth

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A group of seven left Durham on a fine morning for our annual trip to Teesmouth. Our first port of call was the RSPB reserve at Saltholme, where we met up with two other members. More...

Nightjar Evening

Friday, 23 June 2017

Our usual pattern for this excursion has been to leave the Science Site at 8 pm and rendezvous at Wolsingham station with any participants travelling independently. This year was no exception, and a total of 13 people gathered by the bridge over the R. Wear. It was raining lightly, but forecast to improve during the evening. More...

Hauxley and Harthope Valley

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A total of 11 members, travelling in several cars, took part in this trip to the coast and uplands of Northumberland. With a wet morning and dry afternoon forecast, we changed our original plans and began the day with a visit to Hauxley. The new visitor centre was almost finished and a 'trial' opening, prior to the official reopening of the reserve, gave us an opportunity to benefit from the cover of frequent hide stops while exploring the new circular route. More...

Page Bank

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Just four members gathered at the Science Site on a rather overcast, breezy evening. After a short drive to Page Bank, we were greeted by singing song thrush, wren, robin, blackcap and chiffchaff. Sand martins and the occasional swift were feeding over the R. Wear, as we began our walk along the bank, but we had walked some distance before we saw any swallows. More...

Burdon Moor

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Our party of nine visited this new destination for the group at the end of probably the warmest day of the year so far. With little wind, the conditions were very promising at this normally exposed site. Our initial aim was to locate a passage whinchat, reported earlier in the day. More...

Blacktoft Sands

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Just eight members, travelling in two cars, took part in this trip to the most distant location on this season's itinerary. With the prospect of seeing Montagu's harrier, we were hoping it would be well worth the effort. More...

Low Barns

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It was a bright, calm evening as 13 members met for our first visit to this Durham Wildlife Trust reserve in some years. We were greeted by singing song thrush, wren, robin and chiffchaff, accompanied by a distant curlew. Great, blue and coal tits were visiting the feeding station. More...

Derwent Gorge, Derwent Reservoir, Waskerley Reservoir and Dryderdale

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Our annual visit to the western region of County Durham attracted an impressive turnout of 16 people, some meeting initially at the Science Site and others travelling directly to moorland at Horsleyhope, near Castleside. Despite cool, overcast conditions, a good variety of species were seen here including red grouse, displaying lapwing and curlew, drumming snipe, singing skylark and meadow pipit and several wheatears. More...

Masham, Hackfall Woods and Nosterfield

Saturday, 4 March 2017

A group of five gathered at the Science Site before travelling to Masham, where we met four others to make up our party for the day. Our first visit was to Hackfall Woods, on the steep banks of the River Ure. In the eighteenth century this area of woodland was turned into a picturesque garden landscape with follies and water features and has recently been restored by the Woodland Trust. More...

Blaydon, East Chevington, Hemscott Hill and Cresswell Pond

Saturday, 7 January 2017

A total of 14 participants converged at Blaydon for our first stop on a rather overcast, damp morning. The main objective was to catch up with a flock of waxwings that had been regularly feeding in the area for several weeks. More...

Holy Island

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Eighteen of us met on a fine October morning for the annual Holy Island field trip. With recent easterly winds, hopes were high for some good finds.Going up the A1 produced the usual sightings of carrion crow, jackdaw and magpie with the odd rook. Woodpigeon and pheasant were also seen. On a less mundane plane, kestrel (being mobbed by crows) and a buzzard on a fence post were also seen. More...

Teesmouth

Saturday, 6 August 2016

It was already sunny when our group of ten gathered at by the river at Houghall and with recent reports of species such as marsh harrier, spoonbill, whimbrel and little stint we had reason to be optimistic about our annual trip to Teesmouth. More...

Nightjar Evening

Friday, 1 July 2016

Once again, we had also advertised this event to Durham Bird Club and it was a well-supported trip. A group of a dozen or so gathered at Wolsingham station, some having travelled together from the Science Site in Durham. Those gathered at the bridge over the R. Wear, had already seen common sandpiper, kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtail. Fortunately for the later arrivals, the kingfisher made several more passes under the bridge and most people managed a view of sorts. More...

Crimdon

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A small group gathered at the Science Site for our evening outing to Crimdon, where we were joined by one other.House martins, sand martins and swallows were busy feeding over the land between the car park and the beach. In the scrub close to the course of the stream there were sightings of goldfinch, linnet and whitethroat, while an elusive grasshopper warbler was heard reeling and a single stonechat was noted. More...

Grindon Lough and Geltsdale

Saturday, 11 June 2016

It was a damp morning when our party of ten arrived at Grindon Lough in search of a long-staying female red-necked phalarope. We could barely see the far bank through the light rain and the mist, but, remarkably, this began to clear within five minutes of our arrival. The bird in question was just a distant silhouette until it flew towards the near shoreline and the visibility improved. Here, and with the help of a telescope with x60 zoom lens, we could all appreciate the breeding plumage of this tiny wader. More...

Tunstall Reservoir

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A party of nine gathered on an overcast but dry evening. The area around the dam at the south end of the reservoir proved productive with common sandpiper, grey wagtail and grey heron at the water's edge and robin, house sparrow and siskin visiting a nearby garden with bird feeders. House martins and swallows were hawking insects close to the dam, while goldfinches and two oystercatchers were on the grass banks below. In the distance a cuckoo called. More...

Bolton Abbey

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Bolton Abbey is a beautiful spot in Wharfedale. The Abbey of course is now ruined, but full of history. This was our location for our field trip on May 14. The Group has visited here before, but not for many years. More...

Malton

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The sun was shining as our party of four gathered at the Science Site for our first evening outing of the season. Although the temperature had dropped a little by the time we arrived at the Malton picnic area car park, where we were joined by another two members, the weather remained fine for our walk. More...

West Durham

Saturday, 23 April 2016

In weather conditions more typical of winter, our group of nine left Durham for our first spring outing of 2016. The first official destination was at Bedburn, but a couple of cars passed through Wolsingham en route and it seemed only sensible to spend a few minutes checking the R. Wear. A brief stop here produced mallard, two common sandpiper, a brief, distant kingfisher, dipper, blackbird, song thrush, grey wagtail and chaffinch. More...

Fairburn Ings

Saturday, 5 March 2016

For some of the seven members who travelled by car from Durham, the journey brought buzzards over the A1M but no sightings of the often encountered red kites. Soon after 10 am we arrived at a bright and breezy Fairburn, where we met up with two more people from our group before calling at the visitor centre for news of a long-staying drake smew. More...

Teesmouth

Saturday, 2 January 2016

While four members waited at the University Science Site to begin our New Year outing a common buzzard flew past overhead to provide a good start to the year - though one less remarkable than it would have been a decade ago. More...

Holy Island

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A group of 13 left Durham on a pleasant, bright morning for our annual excursion to Holy Island. Favourable weather conditions had brought in a number of interesting migrants during the preceding days, so we were quite optimistic about what we might see. More...