Another good Saturday

I tried writing this yesterday, but everything crashed half way through so second time lucky!

Yesterday was another brilliant Saturday, and perfect weather to get started on the BTO Breeding Bird Survey I’m undertaking on a grid square up in the Damflask/Ughill area. This is my patch for this if you were wondering, with my square in the centre (Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland)


I recorded 27 species in total along my route. Nothing too exciting, except for an excellent tree pipit in song flight on the path towards Ughill Wood, and a great spotted woodpecker at Damflask.

This is what I recorded and in what numbers:

Chaffinch – 19
Blackbird – 18
Wren – 16
Robin – 16
Nuthatch – 5
Magpie – 2
Dunnock – 5
Pheasant – 13
Great Tit – 15
Jackdaw – 8
Woodpigeon – 14
Carrion Crow – 13
Chiffchaff – 3
Goldcrest – 1
Mallard – 10
Feral/Hybrid Mallard – 7
Goldfinch – 10
Great Spotted Woodpecker – 1
Song Thrush – 3
Blue Tit – 15
Swallow – 4
Willow Warbler – 5
Starling – 1
Pied Wagtail – 2
Tree Pipit – 1
Long-tailed Tit – 3
Curlew – 1

On the way back I walked down the Loxley Valley. I was greeted by the usual tree sparrows at the top of Stacey Lane, and at the bottom I got an unexpected year- and patch-tick in the form of a common sandpiper on the Damflask overflow pool at the bottom of the lane. Further on, a green woodpecker was yaffling somewhere nearby in the area of Old Wheel Dam, and there were swallows and a screaming swift over Old Wheel Farm.

I decided to take the path to the south of the river at Rowell Bride, which goes through shrubby grassland on the edge of the woods and is brilliant for finding warblers. Almost immediately I got great views of common whitethroat, and one of the birds that was on my Spring wish-list as two lesser whitethroats could be heard singing. Following the sound I even got a quick glimpse of one as it skulked through the shrubs. Goes to show it pays dividends to learn your birdsong properly!

In the afternoon we went to see Laura’s parents in Bollington in Cheshire, and we went for a walk. It’s a beautiful area, but, perhaps due to the time of day, there weren’t many birds to see. I did, however, see my first ducklings of the year – a trail of nine bundles of fluff following their mother.

Despite the drizzly end to the Bank Holiday Weekend, good weather is predicted next week, which will hopefully bode well for my trip to Northumberland and the Farne Islands at the weekend. Fingers crossed!


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My name is Pete

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