Goyt Valley 23.06.15

Initially cloudy but becoming sunnier and warmer through day

An intrepid team of TT Birders gathered at Lamaload Reservoir in anticipation of the day tour of the Goyt Valley all expressing disappointment with the cloudy and slightly chilly start to the day. The disappointment extended to the small range of birds seen here, just chaffinch, goldfinch and a grey squirrel in the trees, a kestrel hovering above and Canada geese, great crested grebe, mallard, a coot and grey heron on the water. No sign of the redstart seen last year at the barn nor of any swallows or house martins.

On to Pym Chair and again a less than productive visit. Despite the good visibility, just sightings of meadow pipit and skylark around the car park, but the interest was held mainly by two kestrels, one of which attacked a skylark nest and made a showy meal of one of the young skylarks on a nearby wall.

The team’s lack of fortune continued at the first car park at Errwood Reservoir as a foray along a meadow walk above the dam and the bottom end of Fernilee Reservoir yielded little of note. A little disappointed, the team settled down behind the Errwood Hall car park for lunch (or ice cream) with the weather becoming increasingly warm and bright. And hey presto, our luck changed as the nearby copse of trees yielded close and clear sightings of a pair of pied flycatchers, a blackcap and a stonechat! Much invigorated, the team set off for the usual circular (or more accurately triangular) walk along the River Goyt and were richly rewarded with views of greylag geese and common sandpipers on the reservoir, the same pair of sandpipers, pied wagtail and grey wagtail below us on the river bank, and a mistle thrush, a song thrush, a jay, a spotted flycatcher and (joy!) a brilliantly coloured male redstart within the trees.

On what was now a beautifully clear and bright afternoon, the Team then stopped on the moor above Derbyshire Bridge and enjoyed views of curlew, skylark and a single red grouse which cheekily popped up close to the cars for a minute or two. And finally on to the layby on the A54 above the disused Danebank Quarries for good sightings of wheatear and red grouse, but alas, no sign of ring ouzel. However by common agreement an excellent day’s spotting! (SC)

Bird list (MH)

Lamaload Reservoir

Pheasant

Goldfinch

Great crested grebe

Canada goose

Grey heron

Coot

Kestrel

Mallard

Chaffinch

Squirrel in a tree

Pym Chair

Meadow pipit

Skylark

Carrion crow

Wood pigeon

Buzzard

Kestrels(2)

Errwood Reservoir

Robin

Curlew

Chaffinch

Cormorant

Blackbird

Raven

Great tit

Stonechat

Blackcap

Blue tit

Buzzard

Pied flycatcher

Walk along River Goyt

Greylag goose

Canada goose

Common sandpiper

Pied wagtail

Song thrush

Grey wagtail

Redstart

Jay

Mistle thrush

Spotted flycatcher

Moor above Derbyshire Bridge

Red grouse

Curlew

Skylark

A54 lay-by

Wheatear

Red grouse

Skylark

Carrion crow

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Windy Bank Wood 16.06.15

Bright with some thin cloud, warm, and humid at times

A Dave-less group gathered in the car park behind Bents Garden Centre and after the usual greetings and chit chat set off on the familiar route around Windy Bank Wood. Within the first two to three hundred yards we had a good number of sightings of Swallow, Kestrel, Collared Dove and others, but clear views of a Whitethroat perched on a telephone wire, singing its heart out, and of a charm of Goldfinches, ‘cheeping’ as they overflew us, were the highlights. This promising start, however, was not maintained, and for the rest of the morning we had to work hard to add to our day list.

As we approached the area of the Wood itself, the presence of birds was made clear by calls and song, but the heavily leafed trees made identification or even location difficult. One or more Chiffchaff teased us, calling first on one side of the track then on the other, but sighting this bird proved impossible. Warblers, too, were in evidence and one in particular that perched atop a fir tree was studied in some detail, before the consensus decided it was a Willow Warbler. The next section of the ramble proved strangely bird-less, although the colourful meadows on either IMG_1469side of the path with a variety of grasses, ox-eye daisies and bright pink pyramidal orchids were a joy to behold. The growing strength of the sun was, by this time, beginning to bring out the insects, and bumble bees, dragonflies and the odd butterfly (especially Peacock and Tortoiseshell) were noted as we passed along.

Clear views of a Buzzard resting on one of the gantries over the railway were gained as we began to head back towards the entrance to the site, but little else showed until the trail again took us into the woods, where a fledgling Wren isolated on a dead branch with its parents alarming loudly in the bushes below attracted our attention. The threat, however, was not, as we at first thought, our presence, but that of a stoat further back in the undergrowth. This predator eventually made itself scarce, frightened off by us, rather than the noisy wrens – an example of benevolent human intervention?

Having spotted what appeared to be a ‘giraffe’ at Windy Bank Farm, the return to the car park was a pleasant stroll, but largely bereft of new bird sightings, although there was plenty of activity on the Glaze, where several young families of Mallard were swimming back and forth and dark blue dragonflies were out in number, skimming over the water.

Bird list (BP)

  1. Cormorant
  2. Grey Heron
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Buzzard
  6. Kestrel
  7. Grey Partridge
  8. Lapwing
  9. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  10. Black-headed Gull
  11. Woodpigeon
  12. Collared Dove
  13. Swift
  14. Swallow
  15. Wren
  16. Blackbird
  17. Mistle Thrush
  18. Willow Warbler
  19. Common Whitethroat
  20. Robin
  21. Long-tailed Tit
  22. Great Tit
  23. Blue Tit
  24. Magpie
  25. Carrion Crow
  26. Starling
  27. House Sparrow
  28. Chaffinch
  29. Goldfinch
  30. Reed Bunting

Leighton Moss 09.06.15

Overcast at first, increasingly sunny later with little or no wind A slightly depleted team gathered in the car park at the appointed hour at the start of what proved to be a good day’s birding. After a briefing from one of the Visitor Centre staff we made first for the Lilian Hide from where we enjoyed good views of at least two of the magnificent Marsh Harriers that are now resident on the reserve. Our next port of call was the Public Hide, half-way along the Causeway. To judge by the bird song, the reed beds on either side of the path were well-populated with warblers and other birds, but sighting them was difficult, if not impossible. From the hide itself there was not a great deal of activity to see, although in the distance Black-headed Gulls and Lapwings rose up en masse every so often, clearly disturbed by the presence of some threat. As we had learnt in our briefing, the water level on this side of the reserve has been raised in order to encourage the two or three families of Otters that have made their homes here, but unfortunately none of them showed themselves whilst any of the Team were around. (It transpired later that the only member of our group to catch sight of these, at least for us, elusive creatures was John, who had remained behind in the Lilian Hide.) A small splinter group then decided to press on to the Lower Hide, which involved a longish, but pleasant ramble through a woodland setting, again very much alive with bird call and song, notably Chaffinch and Chiff-Chaff, but with few opportunities for sightings. From the Lower Hide the reason for the restlessness of the Black-Headed Gulls and Lapwings was revealed to be one of the reserve’s Marsh Harriers hunting for food, and we again had good views of this handsome bird. Notable, too, was the presence of a Great White Egret which was resting in a tree on the other side of the lake and which had also been seen flying by the rest of the team who had remained in the Public Hide.  From the hide we were able better to catch glimpses of some warblers, flitting amongst the reeds, and, after some discussion, decided that one of the birds seen was probably a Marsh Warbler. After an al fresco lunch, back at the VC, where we were able both to munch and birdwatch as a variety of woodland birds dropped in to enjoy the well-stocked feeders, we set off to visit the two other hides on the main reserve, the Grisedale and the Tim Jackson hides. En route to the first of these we came across two very young, DSCF1523partially fledged Wrens, perched on a low branch near the path, and looking rather cross that our presence was disturbing the regularity of visits from their parents who were still feeding them. At the Grisedale Hide we enjoyed the wonderful spectacle of fifty or so Black-tailed Godwits in bright summer plumage, most resting on one leg with bills tucked back under their wings, and from the Tim Jackson Hide we saw three of the reserve’s resident Red Deer, grazing on the far side of the lake. Two car loads of the team next decided to head head for the ‘satellite’ hides nearer to Morecambe Bay and at the Allen Hide, besides the very noisy, nesting Black-headed Gulls with fluffy chicks of various sizes, we also saw a number of Avocets and a pair of Oystercatchers. Thoughts of the journey home began at this point to come to the fore, but for a trio from the team a last treat was in store: the glimpse of a nesting Peregrine (in actual fact just the sight of a head peeking over the side of a nest) at Warton Crag and something that would have been missed entirely had not another birding couple begun to scan the ledge with their scope, just as we were about to leave!

Bird List (MH)

  1. greylag goose
  2. tufted duck
  3. mute swan
  4. gadwall
  5. pochard
  6. black-headed gull
  7. mallard
  8. marsh harrier
  9. lapwing
  10. coot
  11. buzzard
  12. little grebe
  13. grey heron
  14. shelduck
  15. sand martin
  16. blackcap
  17. blue tit
  18. wren
  19. pheasant
  20. collared dove
  21. long-tailed tit
  22. carrion crow
  23. reed bunting
  24. great tit
  25. great crested grebe
  26. swift
  27. chaffinch
  28. blackbird
  29. robin
  30. jackdaw
  31. great white egret
  32. marsh warbler
  33. sedge warbler
  34. nuthatch
  35. great spotted woodpecker
  36. song thrush
  37. greenfinch
  38. cetti’s warbler
  39. goldfinch
  40. bullfinch
  41. dunnock
  42. pied wagtail
  43. house sparrow
  44. black-tailed godwit
  45. wigeon
  46. swallow
  47. avocet
  48. oystercatcher
  49. wood pidgeon
  50. magpie
  51. peregrine

…and a fox cub and red deer.