Despite cold and blustery conditions, a group of 15 TT members gathered in the Trans-Pennine car park near the Rope and Anchor in Dunham.
After the usual mix of meetings and greetings, binoculars were raised to scan the fields across the road. A buzzard was soon noticed, perched in a tree before swooping off in search of food. Next, a bird on a distant wire was eventually identified as a mistle thrush, whilst a group of at least four magpies moved amongst the branches of a nearby tree. Other birds flew to and fro, tempting the group to remain in the comparative shelter of the car park, but eventually it was decided to sally forth to brave the elements of the more exposed Trans-Pennine Way.
First sighting was of a 16th member of TT, who had ‘met’ in the usual car park, wondering why he was alone – a reminder to all to check details before setting out. Soon after this, a myriad of little birds became the entertainment as they flitted about in the stubble, before taking to the air, wheeling around in the sky, then landing in the trees ahead of us. A long debate ensued, the final agreement: linnets – as by then their customary twittering could easily be heard. A skylark then rose above us and a kestrel posed on a fence post, giving good views to all.
A little further on lapwing could be seen across the fields and they were, as always, spooked by something unseen, and over 100 of them showed themselves as they flew above us. As Black Moss covert was being scanned, there was the unusual sighting of a lone long-tailed tit in a nearby tree, accompanied by a pair of siskins.
Now a right turn was taken across a very muddy field alongside a wooded area (with fantastic views of a nearby buzzard) towards the even muddier canal towpath. Here a pair of wrens were spotted by the backmarkers, while up ahead a large flock of chaffinches were noted by most. Just as the road was in sight – and thankfully less mud – winter thrushes could be seen in the fields (fieldfares maybe?) to the right, while house sparrows fluttered amidst the farm buildings on the left.
A seemingly bird-free road then led back to the TPW, where the group became rather fragmented as the front runners almost broke into a sprint with the thought of the warmth and shelter of home.
Another good morning of fresh air and socialising, despite the challenges of unfavourable birding conditions. (MH)
Bird List (BP)
- Black-headed Gull
- Lesser Black-backed Gull
- Song Thrush
- Mistle Thrush
- Long-tailed Tit
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow