Public transport twitching…

Yesterday I decided to do a public transport hike to Pugneys CP to finally nail down the ring-necked duck that’s been coming and going over the last couple of months, and that gave me the slip earlier in the year when I visited the site in January.

On arrival it didn’t look good – despite it hanging round the nature reserve lake for the last few days it was nowhere to be seen. Typical, I thought! There was still plenty to see, including shoveler, pochard, goldeneye, great crested grebe, little grebe and the other usual wildfowl, plus a passing red fox causing a commotion as it trotted past.

Slightly less interesting duck than a ring-neck…

I walked across the road to Calder Wetlands to see if the RND had relocated, again with no luck, but did get on to a nice redhead red-breasted merganser among the goosander flock, and the usual wigeon were good to see as always. Plus the great crested grebes here were posing nicely.

Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted merganser – note the punky hairdo.

Goosander – note the more sensible bob.


Great Crested Grebe
Great crested grebe

In fact the almost-warm sunshine, coupled with the singing of reed buntings around the vegetation, made the whole walk seem very spring-like. Had the icy grip of winter finally left us, I thought?

Reed Bunting

I returned to Pugneys and finally got the ring-neck, lurking at the back of the nature reserve lake. Quite disappointing distant views, but its greyer flanks and strange peaked head were clear to see in comparison to the passing tufted ducks.

Around this time a great white egret at Yorkshire Sculpture Park popped up on Birdguides, and I realised I was only a short bus hop away from West Bretton, so I pegged it the nearby Asda bus stop to catch the bus. Before long I’d got my second lifer of the day on one of the park’s lakes. I’m seriously thinking of entering the photo below to next year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year…

Great White Egret (ahem...)

I also got a final mammal tick for the day in the shape of this giant rabbit with a human woman’s body.

Rabbit Woman

So there you have it – it is possible to be a dirty twitcher without a car. Well, as long as the birds rather handily appear along a frequent bus route, and you don’t mind spending about £16 on bus and train fares, and about 4 hours travelling…

And that lovely spring-like weather? Well, I’ve woken up this morning to another slice of Narnia. The winter’s obviously not over yet!


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My name is Pete

4 thoughts on “Public transport twitching…”

  1. Hi, Pete
    I’ve done the bus run to Bretton / YSP a couple of times, but not as far as Pugneys. How do you get there? Love the hairstyle commentary! What do you make of my Lady Gaga crow looky-likey?
    Have you seen this – or anything similar?

    1. I’ve seen that very crow a couple of times! In fact, bizarrely, there’s two of them that hang round the Wharncliffe Side/Brightholmlee area, one that has a bit of black on its head and one that’s pure white.

      First time I saw it my mind raced “barn owl!… no, egret!… no, Iceland Gull!…” before I realised what it was.

      1. Oh and my route went Sheffield – Wakefield via train, Wakefield – Sandal on 96 bus (with a quick walk to Pugneys), Sandal – West Bretton on 96, West Bretton – Barnsley on 96, Barnsley – Sheffield on train. Phew!

  2. Thanks. I’ll give it a whirl! I have a perfectly good car, but have a bit of a sad obsession with public transport.
    Re the crow -yes, that’s exactly where I saw it below Storth Lane. I thought gull at first; it was on the ground with other crows but had taken flight by the time I’d realised and fumbled for my camera.
    I’m hoping you’ll keep looking at birds on my photostream from time to time, and put me right if I’m off the mark. I think I’m getting better, but slowly!

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