Some time ago I'd set in motion arrangements I'd been promising myself to complete for a number of years, namely a cruise around Coquet Island , Northumberland in order to see Roseate Terns. Matthew had been able to join in so we extended the plan slightly. Before all that started I'd managed to have a morning birding on my own around a couple of former haunts.
I have to confess that birding at Worsborough Reservoir is no longer what it used to be. The reed bed, which previously nurtured a few pairs of Reed Warbler, has been stripped out in order to make way for an angling "station" used , I presume, on match days. And the tern rafts on the reservoir have disappeared too. In this sense Barnsley MBC appear to excel in the practice of "negative diversification" except, it would seem , in the provision of angling facilities from which no doubt they raise revenue. I have heard it said that this defined policy was, in part, to balance out the presence of the conservation interest now established in the Dearne Valley ( see previous entry ). I can understand the need for a site to be given over to angling, but not for accompanying natural cover, and hence its wildlife, to be removed for the sake of it. A planner's dream no doubt of conveniently developing a discrete fishing facility and conservation "facility". Utopian planning at its worst in my view, but I've never understood the ultra casual-garbed, squash at lunchtime brigade anyway. In its heyday the presence of fishing and wildlife on site appeared to co-exist quite well until the "hand of man" made an appearance. At least they've made a good job of the circular footpath, but there's damn all to see.
Given that all that was on offer was a few Great Crested Grebe, Coot and Mallard I skipped the circular route in favour of a visit to some far less managed deciduous woodland near Silkstone Common. Here Kestrel, Green Woodpecker, Blackcap and Bullfinch and commoner species were present within the pleasant hour I spent there. Onward again towards the Langsett and Midhope Moors, where the mournful notes of a Mistle Thrush were held on the still crisp air, accompanied by the calls of Curlew and Lapwing from an area of nearby in-bye land. Finally I saw some Red Grouse (2013,218 ) before descending down into Sheffield to pick up Matthew.
Our journey north took us to Wykeham Forest west of Scarborough and to the watchpoint established by the Forestry Commission overlooking a wide vista of part wooded countryside over which, if you're lucky, you can see Honey Buzzards. We weren't (lucky ) and it seems likely that no birds had yet returned to the area. The best part of the afternoon was watching a Siskin in repeated display flight , singing all the while, and watching the strong overhead sun reflecting off and shining through the bright yellows of its plumage. An absolute gem!
Finally, on across the western part of the North Yorks Moors National Park to just north of Newcastle for the night with both of us looking forward to the following day.