Agh, so much to write about since I last updated.
On Good Friday, I went to Laura’s parents’ new house in Bollington, Cheshire. They live very close to the canal, and it’s truly beautiful. We went for a short walk, and I got mildly excited when I spotted a brambling. I don’t think anyone really shared my excitement by a bird that’s almost a chaffinch… We also spotted a common toad on the ground, which luckily Laura spotted before she trod on it!
On Easter Sunday we took a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which was pretty busy but did allow me to spot my first siskins of the year, as well as great crested grebe.
On Easter Monday morning, I started my BTO Breeding Bird survey, by doing the initial survey of the area. My area is in Stocksbridge, just north of Underbank Reservoir. The path is through farmland and nudges into a wood, and there were plenty of birds to see, including curlews, lapwings, skylarks, goldcrests, meadow pipits, coal tits and long-tailed tits. Just outside the surveying area, in the wood, I heard an irate wren, and saw a sparrowhawk zooming away.
From there I took a reasonably long walk to my parents’ in Deepcar, via Underbank, Midhopestones and Bolsterstone. In the plantation round Underbank there were nuthatches, treecreepers and various other small birds, and great crested grebes, tufted ducks, mallards and Canada geese on the water. The presence of large, blue eggshells scattered about the wood was explained when there was an almighty crash, and two nesting herons took off from the treetops above my head! Annoyingly I also heard what I’m almost certain was a loud party of crossbills flying above out of sight in the treetops, and didn’t catch a glimpse. There was also a great spotted woodpecker drumming.
Midhopestones brought up more lapwings, curlews and skylarks, and a pair of courting toads walking across the road. I also saw my first yellowhammers of the year (how had I not seen one yet?!). Walking across some moorland towards Bolsterstone, there were large numbers of meadow pipits, and red grouse calling in the distance. Another great view of curlews and another great spotted woodpecker (this time seen and not just heard) finished off a great birding walk.
I’ll split this in two and do today in another thread…