Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nottinghamshire Birding Sites No 1: Kilvington Lakes

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Kilvington Lakes are situated just to the West of Staunton in the Vale and just north of Alverton. The area lies a few miles north of Bottesford and is best accessed from the A52 in the south, the A1 in the east and the A46 in the west. When leaving any of these three main trunk roads follow the minor roads to Staunton or Alverton both of which are signposted. Parking can be a problem as the most popular parking area is a section of grass/mud verge along the minor road which runs along the eastern edge of the lakes. When approaching from the south the parking area is along the left hand side of the road just after a road narrows sign and just before the road kinks to the left and crosses the bridge over the disussed railway. There is a 30mph sign on the right of the road about twenty metres after parking. Directly opposite the sign is a gap in the hedge which provides access to the site. Just on the right through the gap is a comfy bench from which good views can be had of the main or West lake. A board with daily sightings is maintained by the regular local birders.
Looking out to the right from here you can see the line of the dismantled railway and yellow-topped way markers and by following these you can get close views of the other two lakes: North and East lakes.
The area has been designated a biological SINC (Site of Importance for Nature Conservation) and is a series of lakes of both botanical and ornithological interest around a former gypsum workings. The old Kilvington railway here is a representative section of dismantled railway with some botanical interest. The lakes are surrounded by farmland with some new planting. The landform is predominantly flat, being a broad flood plain, and this provides fairly long distance views over to the west.
West Lake
                                                                                      The Comfy Bench
                                                                                                  The West Lake
                                                                                             The East Lake  
                                                                                               The North Lake  

Species The main attractions of the site are passage waders and wintering wildfowl and gulls. The area is good for raptors, at least eight species have been recorded including Osprey and Marsh Harrier. Passage periods have produced several interesting birds over the past few years including Black Tern,  Red-necked Phalarope, Common Scoter, Temminck's Stint, Green-winged Teal, Caspian Gull and Snow Bunting.  Smew, Iceland Gull, Greater Scaup, Red-crested Pochard and White-fronted Goose have all been recorded in the winter.
All Year: Little Egret, Common Buzzard, Snipe, Skylark, Green Woodpecker, Linnet, Meadow Pipit. This is a good site for Yellow-legged Gull for most of the year.  

Winter: Wildfowl inc. Smew, Goosander, Shelduck and Pintail. Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Golden Plover, Jack Snipe, Peregrine, Redwing, Fieldfare.

Summer: Common Tern, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover,Yellow Wagtail, Turtle Dove.

Passage birds recorded have included: Purple Sandpiper, Red Knot, Whimbrel, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Little Stint, Curlew, Sanderling, Turnstone, Little Gull, Arctic Tern, Hobby and Northern Wheatear.

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