It was a glorious sunny autumn day for our bird outing this month as nine members ventured out to Nosterfield, just north of Ripon. Although Nosterfield is a working Quarry, the extraction of sand and gravel results in quarried areas naturally filling with water. With the help of ecological experts these areas have become outstanding habitats for wildlife.
Nosterfield is well known as an excellent site for bird watchers throughout the year. Our September ornithology visit was no disappointment. With two superb hides and three viewing screens, we were able to record 40 of the 200 species known to visit this little haven for wildlife.
As we drew into the car park we were treated to a skein of pink-footed geese above us. Heavily camouflaged amidst a flock of over 72 curlew along the banks of a very low lake were the Ruff.

Ruff amongst Curlews


The raptors (sparrowhawk, buzzard, kestrel and merlin) treated us to numerous displays and perhaps accounted for the lack of our normally sighted little birds.


There was a discussion of whether we had seen a chiffchaff or a willow warbler, both so similar in looks, and normally identified by song but not at this time of year when their calls are virtually indistinguishable. The swallows had not yet left this part of Yorkshire confirming that we still must have a few lovely warm days left in the season.
Gadwall, Teal, Tufted ducks and Grebes all put in an appearance and flocks of Lapwing gave wonderful aerial displays when disturbed by the raptors.

Great Crested Grebe

Little Grebe with big fish

Lapwing island

Another enjoyable day with our group.

Report: Stella Hughes

Photos: Ian Hughes