Extremely rare visitor highlights potential of Idle Valley Nature Reserve as Wildlife Trust prepares for first Explore North Notts Weekend.

© Tim Sexton

With less than two weeks to go until the first Explore North Notts Weekend, which will see venues across Bassetlaw offer special activities and discounts to visitors, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Idle Valley Nature Reserve has welcomed an extremely rare visitor – a black-winged stilt.

This rare wading bird hasn’t been seen in the county for 45 years and is rare across the UK. Its arrival over the weekend illustrates the potential of the Idle Valley as a wildlife watching site and underlines that autumn is a great time to visit the reserve.

Black Winged Stilt at Idle Valley

Mike Vickers

Speaking about the bird’s arrival, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “The bird has caused real excitement. It arrived over the weekend and was still on site on Monday 2nd so a number of people have been able to see and photograph it. It’s a very rare visitor for Nottinghamshire, the last one was recorded in 1974 and they are still quite a rarity across the UK.”

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which cares for the huge nature reserve alongside the River Idle just outside Retford, was already looking forward to welcoming visitors as part of a special Explore North Notts weekend on September 14th & 15th is now expecting more interest in the reserve as a result. Erin continued: “We were already gearing up to welcome many new visitors next weekend but we now expect even more people to be aware of the reserve. Whilst we can’t promise anything as rare as a black-winged stilt there will be plenty of birds to see. September is an exciting month at the reserve, as it’s when autumn migration gets under way for many birds. Major rarities and scarce birds can turn up anywhere, as was proved this weekend.”

Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre Notts WT cpt Tim Sexton

© Tim Sexton

Migratory birds that might be spotted on the reserve include spotted flycatchers, garganeys, wheatears and whinchats.

Over the weekend of 14th & 15th September the charity is offering a 10% discount in both the café and shop for all visitors mentioning Explore North Notts.  A guided bird walk will take place on Sunday, 15 September from 9:30am to 11:30am, giving birders the opportunity to explore the reserve. Children aged 8-12 can get their hands muddy with the Wildlife Watch Group’s ‘In the Swim’ event on Saturday 14, September, looking at all things fishy.

Explore North Notts Weekend is part of the Heritage Open Days Festival, celebrating the county’s historic buildings, country parks and open spaces. 

Learn more about Idle Valley

Black-winged Stilt at Idle Valley

Mike Vickers