Goyt Valley 22.05.18

Sunny, warm, not a cloud in the sky

Wonderful wall-to-wall sunshine and blue skies greeted an eager group of 16+ TT birders at Lamaload Reservoir – the start of the annual Goyt Valley Tour. The first encounter of the day was with the striking redstart, thrilling everybody with its continuous singing as it moved from treetop to treetop, giving plenty of opportunity for clear sightings and photos. Reluctantly the group pulled itself away from this treasure, moving on to scan the reservoir- not particularly optimistic as past visits here had sometimes been disappointing. But not on this occasion! Canada geese with goslings first caught the eye, quickly followed by cormorant, great crested grebe and mallard in the water; a lone swallow skimming across; lapwing, common sandpiper and pied wagtail on the shores; a grey heron on the bank and pheasant and curlew in the fields beyond. And to top it all aerial entertainment in the form of raptors a-plenty: buzzards, kestrels and a sparrowhawk all putting on a good show.

But again the group had to move on (places to go, things to see and all that) – a procession of cars moving on to Pym’s Chair to see what would be offered there. First impressions; a drop in temperature of at least 10 degrees and no birds. But perseverance paid off; and a skylark was heard and seen by most, as it soared up into the heavens above. Then meadow pipit and goldfinch obligingly posed on nearby fenceposts to give everyone good views before the decision was made to move swiftly on- into the more sheltered valley and the Errwood reservoir.

At the first car park elusive song thrush and nuthatch could be heard in the trees around- then a mistle thrush sat out on a nearby tree while at the reservoir a family of ducklings explored the waterside under the watchful eye of mother mallard. More raptors flew above our heads- buzzards again- proving that not all birds are in a decline. A short drive to the next car park amidst growing excitement about imminent views of flycatchers. But not this year sadly- just more Canada geese- and a strange hybrid amongst them pretending to be a swan. A common sandpiper then flew low over the water – and  high in a tree across the river was spotted – how?-  a tree pipit. Lunch was now calling, so back to the car park for butties on a bench, noting a few butterflies, a robin and a chaffinch along the way. Fresh air certainly gives you an appetite.

Lunch over- next stop Derbyshire Bridge- where the convenience had been conveniently unlocked, much to the relief of many. Then a wander up the track to see the red grouse- and they must have known we were coming, as one of them didn’t even bother to hunker down behind the tufts of grass – just strutting its stuff for all to see. A pair of mistle thrushes showed well too- but up above more raptors filled the air (this could be a slight exaggeration.) A buzzard pretending to be a kestrel, kestrel pretending to be a peregrine- or vice versa- and a kestrel doing what kestrels are supposed to do – all very confusing as different people were giving running commentaries of different behaviours, binoculars focussed in various directions.

Now to the last stop -the Chimney, to hopefully catch a glimpse of our last target bird- the ring ouzel. However on this occasion it didn’t want to play the game of ‘here I am’, so the group had to be content- and content we certainly were- with meadow pipit, curlew, a ’big raptor’ and for a lucky few- a wheatear. The final act of the day was another mallard mum guiding her ducklings safely down a waterfall. But all good things have to come to an end, and a very satisfied group now had to wend its way home after a glorious day in peaceful surroundings in the company of a great bunch of like-minded people. (Mho)

Bird List (MHa)

  1. Redstart
  2. Coot
  3. Canada geese
  4. Lapwing
  5. Pied wagtail
  6. Common sandpiper
  7. Great-crested grebe
  8. Swallow
  9. Curlew
  10. Rook
  11. Grey heron
  12. Pheasant
  13. Willow warbler
  14. Kestrel
  15. Common buzzard
  16. Sparrowhawk
  17. Mallard
  18. Magpie
  19. Black-headed gulls
  20. Skylark
  21. Meadow pipit
  22. Goldfinch
  23. Song thrush(H)
  24. Nuthatch(H)
  25. Mistle thrush
  26. Jay
  27. Hybrid Canada goose
  28. Tree pipit
  29. Coal tit
  30. Robin
  31. Chaffinch
  32. Red grouse
  33. Peregrine
  34. Wheatear

Plus: butterflies: Speckled Wood, Orange Tip

… and Tadpoles

Photos SC & JH

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