A unique species sighting at Idle Valley

Hooded Crow - Adam Jones

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Autumn Fair at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve on Sunday 28 October attracted many visitors. The first of two guided bird walks began under a blue sky with the sun’s rays providing a degree of warmth on a chilly morning.
Goldeneye

Mike Vickers

Wildfowl were in abundance on Belmoor Lake. Recently arrived Goldeneye provided a challenge to see as they constantly dived under the water. Other species such as pochard showed well, the males looked stunning with their orange-red heads. The evocative whistling calls of wigeon added to the feeling of wildness.

Great egret Attenborough

Henry Kirkwood

Flight views of a great egret were excitedly welcomed by the group, many of whom had not seen this impressive heron before. The presence of siskin and redpoll feeding on birch catkins and mixed flocks of redwing and fieldfare calling overhead was a reminder of the winter to come.

Hooded Crow

Hooded Crow - Adam Jones

The day was to become even more exciting shortly afterwards. Whilst scanning fields to the east of the River Idle I was amazed to see a hooded crow stood prominently on a large boulder. This is a rare species in Nottinghamshire, the last record of this bird in the county was back in 1990.

News of the crow's presence was broadcast via bird news providers and social media. As the group reluctantly left the bird to continue on the walk, birdwatchers from all over the county began to arrive. Remarkably, two birds were seen together during the afternoon by a few lucky birdwatchers.

The group later returned to the Idle Valley visitor centre for hot drinks and comforting food, but many vowed to return in order to explore the site further and see what other species they may find. I was left to reflect on another memorable day birdwatching at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.