Trans-Pennine Trail

Weather: 8 degrees, bright with intermittent sunny spells

Nineteen TT birders met at the Henshall Lane Car Park, many arriving quite early for the 10.00am start keen to avoid the most puddly bits of the car park into which we just about all squeezed (not the puddles). Clive gave his briefing to the backdrop of a chiffchaff singing its heart out – a lovely introduction to the summer term’s birding

As we set off in the usual easterly direction, along the trail a greenfinch was heard singing but was not seen. Almost immediately, we had an excellent close view of a yellowhammer in a bush close to the path. It seemed oblivious to us all watching it and stayed quite still in the bush for some time. The lovely song of a mistle thrush was heard next as it sang from the top of a tree quite distant to our left, and the group remarked upon how well the song carried across the fields. – It deserves better than its Latin name Turdus viscivorus.

Willow warblers have returned from sub-Saharan Africa and their sweet cascading song followed us as we moved onwards. We stopped to watch two grey partridge on our right, a lapwing mobbing a crow and a small flock of about 20 linnets – oh, and a couple more yellowhammer. A skylark climbed higher and higher singing all the time.

We stopped for some time looking at a bird sitting in a hole in a tree trunk some distance away. In the past this has been a little owl site, and in turn we identified it as a little owl , a kestrel and a buzzard. Eventually it flew as one of our group decided to take a closer look – it had been a kestrel having a mid morning rest! There was much debate and thumbing of pocket bird books over the identity of a pale-fronted bird – one of a group of three – close to the top of a tree some distance away, and we opted eventually for a female linnet . We also spotted a solitary swallow. Oh yes, and three more yellowhammer, again one very close by.

Arriving at the path where the right turn takes us up to the canal, we decided just to retrace our steps. The trail was busy today – we had a large group of walkers from the Wirral who were clearly lost, cyclists with no bells (but squeaky brakes ), runners, pushchairs and horses. It was however an excellent morning’s birding and will surely be remembered as ‘Yellowhammer Day’. Many of the group repaired to the Rope and Anchor for lunch , the quality of which I cannot review as I had to return home. DC (Lunch was good, and from the comfort of the dining room, we were able to add a colourful Goldfinch to the day list. Ed.)

Footnote – while writing this I have a male chaffinch tapping at my study window – why do they do this? – please tell me next week at Marbury !

Bird List (BP)

  1. Cormorant
  2. Mallard
  3. Buzzard
  4. Kestrel
  5. Grey Partridge
  6. Pheasant
  7. Lapwing
  8. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  9. Stock Dove
  10. Woodpigeon
  11. Skylark
  12. Swallow
  13. Blackbird
  14. Song Thrush
  15. Mistle Thrush
  16. Wren
  17. Dunnock
  18. Robin
  19. Chiff Chaff
  20. Willow Warbler
  21. Long-tailed Tit
  22. Blue Tit
  23. Great Tit
  24. Magpie
  25. Jackdaw
  26. Carrion Crow
  27. Chaffinch
  28. Goldfinch
  29. Linnet
  30. Yellowhammer
  31. Reed Bunting



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