Trip reports

Weekend Walk - Potteric Carr

Adult bittern wading in reedbed at Lee Valley Country Park

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Leaving the rain and cloudy skies behind us in Sheffield, our small group gathered on the decking in front of the Visitor Centre to scan the small lake, the feeding station and the landscape beyond. A Buzzard was spotted in the distance but there wasn't much on the lake apart from a few Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gull on the raft, two Canada Geese and a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A Little Grebe and a Coot were spotted along the lake edges plus a pair of Lapwings - with the very well camouflaged female sitting firmly on her nest right in front of us on a small island. Over by the feeding station were Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird and Great Tit plus a singing Willow Warbler perched high in a nearby tree, which gave us lovely views.

Moving on past Sedum House, we followed the old railway trail. As we made our way along the path, a Whitethroat was singing along with Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. We called in at Decoy Marsh and Old Eaa hides from where we saw Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Black-headed Gull, Mallard and a flotilla of eighteen Pochard.

Back along the path, Blackcap, Robin, Long-tailed Tit and Wren were singing and giving us the odd glimpse, while Cetti's Warblers were calling intermittently and flitting from one bush to another - skulking in the undergrowth but always one step ahead of us!

We called in at Willow Pool Hide where the feeding station is usually teeming with birds. To our amazement, not a single bird was to be seen but, nevertheless, we settled in to keep watch. A sharp shower followed, after which - slowly but surely - birds began to appear. These included Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Reed Bunting and a Jay, along with Little Grebe, Mallard and Coot on the pool.

We carried on towards Piper Marsh Hide via Black Carr Field and through a wooded area where a Firecrest had been reported. Alas, this was not to be seen but we did see Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Wren and a Bullfinch was heard. On entering Piper Marsh Hide, five Little Egrets, Pochard and Gadwall greeted us - along with Coot and Mallard, both of which had chicks.

Here, the group spit with a few people returning to the Visitor Centre for lunch before exploring the Dragonfly Trail and Willow Marsh where they saw a resting Roe Deer. The rest of us continued along the Wetland Walk towards West Scrape and Huxter Well Marsh. A lucky couple had great views of a Bittern flying in, creeping around and then displaying its concealment posture; head held vertical and perfectly still. Common Snipe and Marsh Harrier were also seen in this area by other group members and other birds of note included Avocet, Cormorant, Shoveler, Shelduck, Teal and Great Crested Grebe.

As we reconvened on the Visitor Centre's decking, coffee, cakes and ice cream provided a very satisfactory end to a great day out in what had turned out to be, on the whole, perfect weather conditions. The finale was an acrobatic flying display by House Martins, Sand Martins and Swifts - picking off the myriad insects hatching from the pool's surface. Brilliant!

Walk led by Sue Bradshaw and Christine Parkin
13 people attended
51 bird species seen - 1 heard
Star Bird: Bittern

Full list of birds:
Black-headed Gull

Blue Tit

Bullfinch (heard only)

Canada Geese
Carrion Crow
Cetti's Warbler


Coal Tit


Great Crested Grebe
Great Tit
Greylag Goose
Herring Gull
House Martin
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Whitethroat
Little Egret
Little Grebe
Long-tailed Tit
Marsh Harrier
Mute Swan
Reed Bunting
Sand Martin
Tufted Duck
Willow Warbler