Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Male lapwing in breeding habitat

Recent Sightings in the Sheffield area - April 2019

I've been going out to Redmires at dusk over the last couple of weeks and have been watching a Barn Owl hunting along the top reservoir as well as Woodcock on their roding flights.

There's also lots of activity on the moors with Lapwings and Curlews setting up territories. I saw 19 Golden Plover over the conduit on the evening of 2nd April when, despite officially being spring, it was freezing cold with a blizzard.

Ring Ouzel are back on Stanage Edge but none are present along Redmires conduit yet. On Sunday, I found a stunning male at the north end of the edge whilst walking in from the A57. I've also seen Wheatear along the conduit and on the moors behind Redmires top reservoir. Chiffchaff are here and I've seen one report of a Willow Warbler.

There are still plenty of Brambling about; with up to five birds visiting the feeders in the garden next to mine but, annoyingly, refusing to pop over the fence! These are birds which breed in northern Europe and Scandinavia so they'll need to get a move on once they do decide it is family time.

At Orgreave Lakes, 72 Sand Martins passed over; also one Swallow - and a House Martin has started nest building in Middlewood.

On my ramblings around Redmires, I often get into conversation with other birders or dog walkers and all sorts of useful and interesting information is exchanged.

Sometimes however, these conversations take a bizarre turn - as happened last week with a couple of ladies walking their elderly and rather reluctant greyhound. Spotting my binoculars they astutely deduced I was a birdwatcher and were eager to tell me about the two Puffins they'd just seen on the lower reservoir! I did explain that it was unlikely that they'd seen Puffins; it was certainly the pair of Oystercatchers that had been around for a few weeks.

They then proceeded to tell me of a gentleman friend of theirs who told them he'd spotted two Vultures over the moors! Even they realised he was a bit off the mark and thought they would be Buzzards.

In another misidentification later related to me, another lady spotted a Lapwing on the conduit and informed a passing dog walker that she thought it was an Osprey.

Though it's a shame that such a large proportion to the public is so out of touch with the natural world, I have to confess that I'd be equally flummoxed if I had to define an' arabesque' or 'grande jete' and there's no way I could prepare a chiffonade or temper an egg. So each to his (or her) own!