Winter Birding Signs of Spring
In winter birding mainly concentrates on birds which have
migrated from the north in order to escape the frozen waters or in search of food when supplies
run out in their breeding grounds. With this in mind the January meeting was at Pugneys
Country Park. In the morning we explored the Calder Wetlands, (across Denby Dale road) a
good variety of wildfowl were seen, the highlight being a “redhead” Smew, several Goldeneye
were also present on the river Calder. After a very welcome bacon butty in the cafe (a wren
was spotted just outside) we walked round the main lake to the hides and along the path
between Pugneys Drain and the fields below Sandal Castle. A number of small “garden” birds
were observed at the feeders in this area. Notable by their absence were the migrant thrushes
and other migrant passerines, this seems to be a general trend so far this winter. In March
we visited North Cave Wetlands (near Goole) where although some wintering wildfowl remained.
There were signs of spring with Avocets and Oystercatchers returning inland from their wintering
grounds. We are now looking forward to the arrival of the summer breeding birds.