Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Patch of the Day - This is Orgreave, Mark Reader

Todays Patch of the Day comes from Mark Reader, who patches at Orgreave in South Yorkshire. More importantly, he also set up the Foot it challenge. If you're interested in the Patchwork challenge then foot it will be, quite literally, right up your street...Mark takes over from here...

My patch lies to the southeast of Sheffield on the border with Rotherham and is probably better known for the bloodiest of battles during the 1984/85 miners strike. The ghosts of the battle are still there but the industry has long vanished.

What lies there now are two lakes a very large area of grassland (though this is shrinking with the expanding housing development) and the much cleaner River Rother. The newest and probably last reclaimed mining site in South Yorkshire, this has been my patch for the last four years. During that period I've pretty much had it to myself, though its increasing habit for attracting local 'rare' and 'scarce' has rapidly lead to it becoming ever more popular. A total of 164 species have been recorded with an average of 135 each year since 2009. Self-found Highlights, I try and resist twitching anyone else's finds, so my patchwork total will mostly be self-found, have been Leach's Petrel, Ring-necked Duck, Lapland Bunting, Caspian Gull and Black Redstart, but as yet no BB rarities! I've put in about 300 visits to the patch this year, with dual visits almost everyday between March and October. Perhaps this year I'll get that 'rare'.

Over the years I've watched several sites in the Rother Valley. There's something about Orgreave that seems to pull in the birds, it appears to be on a through route and standing at the highest point you can see the edge of the Pennines to the west with Nottinghamshire to the east. On the face of it it's just a muddy shale lined lake with some sterile grassland, there must be something in the water...

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