Past Events

A selection of past events to give a flavour of Club activities

Friday 11th January Nosterfield

Nosterfield lapwingHigh rainfall meant all four lakes at Nosterfield were joined up and the islands had disappeared. 12 met at this popular site on Friday 11th January and we were welcomed by Jill Warwick. The weather remained pleasant. We were treated to swirling flocks of lapwing and golden plover undercut by a pursuing peregrine. Then we had news of a female red breasted merganser on one of the pools and got good views when it took to the water. A very pleasant, social outing at an outstanding reserve. Ros Wade

Saturday 26th January Rodley Nature Reserve

heron - Rodley Nature ReserveIt was just me and Neera, so we were invited to join a group of small children looking for Pied and Grey Wagtails and Pipits in the muck heap. These Canada Geese and Wigeon, like sensible club members, should have stayed at home. Then across the snowy trackless wastes to the frozen reed bed where we found these stoical herons. Above the scarce open water bad tempered gulls squawked and dived above assorted ducks happily pairing off for the spring. The friendly visitors’ centre has a global map of migration routes painted on the ceiling. Well worth another visit in a warmer season, especially for the warblers and immaculate dragonfly enclosure. Lesley Knight

Friday 8th March: Lofthouse – Scar Road

People on road at Scar House

Using cars and easy walking, we will follow the River Nidd and the valley bottom looking for early spring arrivals as well as any resident birds and any remaining wintering birds.  There will also be a chance of raptors along the Dale edge.A half day trip.

Meet at Pateley Bridge at 8.30am or at Lofthouse at 9am.

The organiser is Audrey Summersgill.


Monday 18th March: What’s in a pellet?

owl pelletsDid you know that a Barn Owl swallowing a rat is equivalent to a human consuming a 15lb hamburger in one big gulp!?

An evening organised by Adrian Roberts to learn about, look at and examine Owl pellets, the sausage shaped objects containing the undigested parts of the birds’ food which is regurgitated through the mouth.   What can pellets tell us about the bird?  By a bit of prudent detective work they can tell us among other things, what it eats, when it hunts, where it hunts and how much it eats.

Adrian is planning a special visit from two live owls.  The meeting is at The Royal Oak, Dacre Banks at 7.30pm.

Saturday 23rd March: Foxglove Covert – Catterick Garrison

Foxglove CovertThis reserve is a real mixture of habitats – with feeding stations, woodland, stretches of water and moorland -edge areas.  This is a full day trip – bring a packed lunch.

Meet at Pateley Bridge at 8.30am or 10am at the Reserve. Take the A3136 from the A1 at Catterick, following signs for Catterick Garrison. Keep straight ahead in the town on the Leyburn road. Turn right at Alma Road; the Reserve is signed from Cambrai Lines. See for further details.

Please note all drivers need ID (e.g. driving licence) as this is an MOD site.  The Organisers are David, Katy, Hannah and Alex Penn.

Friday 12th April: Stang Forest near Reith  revised

Shaw Farm

Now a half day outing to Gouthwaite and updale.  Meet in Pateley Bridge at 9am.

A full day’s outing to Arkengarthdale looking for Black Grouse and moorland birds near Shaw Farm then on to Stang Forest on the North Yorkshire/County Durham border hoping for Crossbills and raptors. There may be a walk in the forest so come prepared for some walking.

Packed lunch required.  Meet Pateley Bridge 8.30 am then Reeth village green (grid ref.SE 036994) 10.00 am before travelling up the dale to Shaw Farm.

Monday 15th April AGM and Social

Come along and have your say at the Annual General Meeting.   7.30pm at the Royal Oak, Dacre.

Saturday 20th April RSPB Leighton Moss

Leighton MossThe largest reedbed in north-west England, and home to some really special birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. There are a selection of trails and hides, which get right to the heart of the reedbed. There is also a nature trail alongside two coastal lagoons to see lots of wading and water birds. A full day’s trip looking for Bittern, Bearded Tits and lots more. Meet at Pateley at 8.30am or at the visitor’s centre at 10.15 am.


Friday 10th May RSPB Bempton Cliffs

Bempton CliffsBempton Cliffs coastlineEasily the best place in England to see, hear and smell sea birds!  More than 200,000 birds (from April to August) make the cliffs seem alive – with adults bringing food to their nests, or young chicks making their first faltering flights. With huge numbers to watch, beginners can easily learn the difference between gannets, guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars. The easily recognisable puffins (here between April and July) are always a delight.  Specially-created cliff top viewpoints are wheelchair accessible with care.
A full day’s trip. Meet at Pateley Bridge carpark at 8.30pm or at the reserve reception at 10.30am.

Monday 20th May Ramsgill/Bouthwaite

An evening walk up on the moors to enjoy the spring birds. Meet opposite the Yorke Arms at 6.15pm (car
sharers from Pateley meet at the bottom carpark at 6pm).

Saturday 25th May Scar House Reservoir

A half day walk to look for Ring Ouzel and other Summer visitors, some walking in this exposed area so please dress accordingly. We may explore the valley bottom fields along Scar Road on the return. Meet Pateley Bridge 8.30 am, Scar House Car Park 9.00 am.

Friday 9th August: Gouthwaite Reservoir

Gouthwaite Reservoir

Half day bird walk in the region of Gouthwaite . Will we see the Osprey!! Be prepared for muddy footpaths, it’s unlikley to have steps or steep hills. No facilities. Meet 8.30am in Pateley car park or 8.45am at the viewing platform.  The Organiser is Ann Crouch.


Monday 19th August: The Royal Oak Bird Stroll

Royal Oak.jpg

An amble through woodland towards the forestry and back along the riverside.  A range of habitats which yielded a surprising number of species last year. Finish back at the pub. Meet at 7.30pm in the Royal Oak (Dacre Banks) car park. The Organiser is Ros Wade.

Saturday 14th September: Long Preston Wetlands

Long Preston WetlandsA walk alongside the River Ribble floodplain in the Long Preston area. The Long Preston Wet Grassland Project began in 2004 aiming to improve the wildlife value of this area which naturally floods every year and is a nationally important nature conservation site, providing valuable habitat for wading birds and aquatic plants. The footpaths can be muddy but if we are lucky enough to be able to wander off the footpath wellies are essential….

Meet at Pateley Bridge at 08:30am or the Long Preston Railway Station at 09:30am.  The organiser is Lynda Fussell.

Monday 16th September: Illustrated talk on the Upper Nidderdale Black Grouse Recovery Project

black grouseDr Phil Warren from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, which is an independent charity carrying out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife, will update us on the progress of this unique project.  This life-line for the declining black grouse population involved translocating 15 males to one of their former haunts with the aim of establishing a sustainable, breeding population by the end of the three year project.

This meeting will be at 7.30pm at the Royal Oak, Dacre Banks.


Monday 23rd September: Nidderdale Show

Nidderdale ShowCome and visit the Club Stand at the Show, or even better, volunteer to help man the stall.

Great fun and an opportunity to encourage all kinds of people to partake in and enjoy our hobby.


Sunday 29th September: Moth morning at Nosterfield with Jill Warwick

NosterfieldAnother visit to this popular wetland reserve which is continually improving, this time to look at moths with Jill Warwick.
A chance to see what is gathered in the overnight moth traps; there could be some interesting and exciting discoveries awaiting us.  The Nosterfield Reserve has had 477 species of moth recorded in the past, who knows we may be able to add to the list of local or even national records.

Meet at Pateley Bridge opposite Towlers newsagent at 8.30am or in the reserve car park at 9.00am. Bring birding equipment as there may be some chance to bird watch as well.  A half day trip.  The Organiser is Jill Warwick

Friday 11th October: East Coast—A full day Migration Watch

East CoastEast coast 2A coach trip to the East Coast as by this date migration should be in full swing. We will finalise where we go nearer the date, depending on the birds.

Should cost £10 to £12 depending on numbers and cost of diesel.

Meet at Pateley Car Park at 8.30am.  Details and booking your place at

Monday 21th October: Social Evening

Royal Oak InnA social evening organised by the Committee when we will look at the Library. Books to buy and bring books to sell. We will also discuss matters of interest to the Club, such as the Sand Martin Wall and Raptor persecution.

Meet at the Royal Oak, Dacre Banks at 7.30pm



Sunday 27th October: RSPB Saltholme

P1040265This is the new RSPB wetland reserve which has won lots of praise.  Autumn offers the chance to see migrant waders such as black-tailed godwits, ruffs and green sandpipers, and with the possibility of rarities such as curlew sandpipers and little stints on one of their migration stop-overs.  And of course there are the flocks of golden plover and lapwing which arrive to spend winter on the reserve, plus the returning winter wildfowl. There is a state-of-the art visitor centre with café and shop and three hides including the striking Wildlife Watchpoint which overlooks one of the busiest pools.

RSPB Saltholme

Entrance is free for RSPB members or £6 per car for non-members.

For car–sharers meet at the Pateley Bridge rendez-vous at 8.30 am or if going direct meet at the Reserve at 10 am. Saltholme is 10 minutes from the A19; turn east off the A19 north of Stockton along the A689. After half a mile, take the A1185; in 4 miles join the A178 at a mini roundabout and take the third exit. The reserve entrance is about 300 yards on the right-hand side.  Organiser to be confirmed.

Friday 8th November: Brockholes

BrockholeskingfisherA full day’s trip to the new reserve near Preston for waders and other winter migrants. The award winning floating village allows people to get as close to the natural environment as possible.
The paths are mostly level. There is a 125m walk from the car park to the Visitor Village. Adapted toilets are at the Visitor Village. There are no toilets on the reserve.  The Organiser is Ann Crouch.


Friday 9th November North Cave Wetlands Nature Reserve

North Cave Wetlands Nature ReserveFour members turned up for the event, one bringing a friend and one bringing her husband to make the total up to six. The day, although mostly dull and quite windy, gave us some good sightings. At the first hide we got excellent views of a Jack snipe as well as Snipe, Lapwing and Redshank. Both at this hide and at others we saw in all nine species of duck, missing only Pintail of the likely sightings. Large numbers of Greylag, only one Canada, two Mute swan and one Whooper, Little and Great crested grebe and of course Moorhen and Coot were all included in the water birds. Two kestrels, the only raptors seen, were hunting for food fairly close to one of the hides.
By two thirty only two of us were left and we decided to walk round the further parts of the reserve adding Green woodpecker and Waxwing to the total and in one tree we were lucky enough to see Redwing, Fieldfare and five Waxwing all feeding on the hawthorn berries.
We weren’t surprised to see a crow feasting on a dead unidentified bird but seeing a moorhen also feeding on the carcase was less usual. The sight of mallards courting and mating seems a little untimely, but that’s mallards for you. Forty nine species in all and a very enjoyable day. The development of this YWT reserve is continuing and I think will be one of its flagships in years to come. Tony Knowles

Monday 19th November Managing a Quarry for Wildlife—A Talk by Bob Orange

An evening talk at The Royal Oak by Bob, who is Unit Manager of the Hanson’s Quarry on Greenhow. Bob
talked about the project of Greater Crested Newts and also of the development of Hanson’s site near Ripon.
This was a very interesting talk by Bob who has always taken a great deal of interest in local wildlife.

Sunday 25th November Eccup Reservoir

Eccup ReservoirAn exclusive group of three made it to Eccup on Sunday 25th November. Heavy overnight rain cleared miraculously as we arrived but the blustery wind remained. Our first sighting was a female bullfinch as we took the footpath leading from Alwoodley road to the reservoir. Despite mud and standing water we managed an invigorating walk right round and picked up a total of 33 species including a large flock of goosander numbering about 100 and up to 5 red kites in the air at a time. We also saw some large flocks of redwing and heard them calling as they flew overhead.
Eccup makes for a rewarding visit and there were a number of cheery locals as mad as us to chat to on the way round.
Ros Wade

Friday 14th December Gouthwaite and How Stean

Due to appalling conditions this event was cancelled—we’re hard, but not that hard!

Monday 17th December Christmas Social at The Royal Oak

I rate it the best we have had. There were about 25 of us and the evening just flowed so well.  Sue excelled herself with her quiz. There where 4 parts to it. The first was the first letter of a word that was linked to a bird theme e.g. BITHWTITB (see bottom of this article for answer !!! ) The second part was a reference to something that could be a bird e.g. Push door bell hard (picture of door bell ) answer Buzzard ! Third was a wild life clue and the last film extracts that had a Christmas theme AND you had to quess the year of the film !!! (bit of leeway given ).Thanks Sue for the time you obviously put in. The winning team was power led by Alwin and Alan Harrison. The refreshments were excellent seasonal sandwiches and really hot good chips.
(answer:Bird In The Hand Is Worth Two In The Bush-obvious when you see it ! ) Angus Gosman