If anyone had thought I’d been a bit quiet on my birding goals for the Spring, I’ve actually been pretty busy getting some of my birding wishlist over the last few days.
Last Tuesday I had a trip to Agden Side to find whinchats, and failed miserably, although bizarrely did find one of their rarer (in Sheffield at least) relatives – a stunning male stonechat!
On Friday night I went to Wyming Brook to find wood warblers, with much better success. I soon heard one singing, but out of sight, in a tree right above my head. I was just thinking this would probably have to be a “heard but not seen tick”, when I came across two in a tree a short distance away, one of them happily flycatching just to demonstrate its yellow chest and prove it wasn’t a willow warbler!
Yesterday morning I had a return to Agden Side, and again failed to find a whinchat, although I did for once manage to see a tree pipit there, rather than just hear them. I walked back through Rocher Head for much better success with another on my wishlist. I walked down the path and got to the derelict barn, and on some abandoned farm equipment got a glimpse of a bird which seemed to be shivering a red tail, but I didn’t get a good look before it darted into trees. I waited for a while and my patience paid off as I was rewarded with great views of a male redstart (thanks to Roger for the tip of the area!). There was also another singing a bit further on.
Other highlights from yesterday included 3 x common sandpiper and 3 x great spotted woodpecker at Agden Reservoir; 3 x displaying snipe, 1 x tree pipit, 10 x linnet, 7 x lapwing, 2 x curlew and 16 x rook at Rocher Head; a tawny owl flying across the path in broad daylight at Rocher End Plantation.
So my birding goals for Spring stand as follows:
Redstart – found at Rocher Head
Whinchat – searched for at Agden Side but not found yet!
Woodcock – quick look at Redmires but not found.
Spotted Flycatcher – found by accident in the Loxley Valley.
Cuckoo – heard at Wharncliffe Heath, but I’d still like to see one…
Grasshopper Warbler – not found yet. Could be tricky…
Barn Owl – the only non-migrant on this list, could be the trickiest of the lot…
Yellow Wagtail – not found yet. May have to travel to the East of the city to find one.
Wood Warbler – found at Wyming Brook.
Plus there’s a good few migrants not on the list I still need to find, including pied flycatcher, common tern, little egret, nightjar and hobby… it’s going to be a busy old June!