Transpennine Trail, Dunham 02.04.2019

Cold and overcast with a threat of rain

With a heavy shower of rain falling as members travelled to our rendezvous point at the Henshall Lane car park, the morning amble along one of our nearest bird watching spots was not promising.  However the rain stopped and any concerns ultimately proved unfounded, the group enjoying a relaxed and productive morning.

Turning onto the trail in an easterly direction, we were greeted by the clear two-tone call of chiffchaff, and, after careful searching, the diminutive source was spotted in the adjoining treetops. A single cock pheasant was spotted mooching about in a field to the south, a grey heron lazily drifting across the fields to the north, and then a distant hovering kestrel searching for potential prey. Then our first yellowhammer of the morning, on a mound in the fallow part of a field, its yellow head and breast only becoming apparent when it deigned to turn and face us. And then the sweet melody of a song thrush drew us to another trail-side tree.

Further on, a scattered group of lapwing were identified by their unmistakable profile.  In the same field, smaller birds were spotted hopping along a nearer ploughed strip, two of which were clearly identifiable by colour as yellowhammers. Extensive debate led to the conclusion that their more lightly coloured friend was a wheatear, the first of the year for many of us. Above the same field a skylark rose and treated us to its enticing song.

Fast approaching the furthest extent of our morning walk, a mistle thrush was observed in a tree adjoining the farm to the south and a buzzard sailed overhead. To crown the morning’s outing, a pair of jays became the centre of attention for some minutes,  bouncing along a path nearby, and for some members, a house martin swooping over the field to the north.

So with the “Spring Term” of group visits now satisfactorily completed, we happily adjourned to the Rope and Anchor for a convivial lunch. (SC)

Bird list (MHa)

  1. Chiffchaff
  2. Long-tailed tit
  3. Grey Heron
  4. Robin
  5. Wood pigeon
  6. Pheasant
  7. Lapwing
  8. Kestrel
  9. Yellowhammer
  10. Magpie
  11. Song thrush
  12. Carrion crow
  13. Wheatear
  14. Dunnock
  15. Skylark
  16. Mistle thrush
  17. Buzzard
  18. Blue tit
  19. Great tit
  20. Blackbird
  21. Cormorant
  22. House martin
  23. Jay
  24. Chaffinch
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