Grindleford – Dore

Today I had a great walk from Grindleford to Dore, taking in some hotspots for some local specialities. We started at Padley Gorge, where pied flycatcher and redstart were the targets, and both were found with little fuss. From there we followed Burbage Brook through Lawrence Field, where whinchat was a surprisingly easy find, and from there to Burbage Valley, where ring ouzel were the target. These took a bit of finding but were eventually seen, and other highlights included more whinchats, several stonechats, a wheatear, and a little owl.

We then walked across the moors, and down Houndkirk Road, where the birds were few and far between, but green hairstreaks kept us entertained. We went down the Limb Valley – where whitethroat and another redstart were heard – and down to Whirlow Park, where a well-earned cuppa was drank! Then it was down Ecclesall Wood and a quick look at Tyzack’s Dam and Ladies’ Spring Wood, and the local mandarin population, before getting the train back to Sheffield from Dore station.

Some pics…

Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher Whinchat
Whinchat Burbage Valley
Burbage Valley Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak Mandarin
Mandarin

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2011 migrants part 2…

The month’s crept on, and the migrants have kept coming.

On the 11th April, I got my first redstart of the year, at Agden Rocher – a nice consolation for a no-show from a great grey shrike that had been lurking in the area! (The photo below was my second, at Wharncliffe Chase, on 17th).

Redstart

On the 16th I had a very productive trip to Carr Vale, getting the first yellow wagtail, common sandpiper, whitethroat and (typically heard-only) grasshopper warbler of the year, though missing out on house martin and common tern I was hoping for. Yellow wag was probably the biggest target of the day though, being a bird I struggle to catch up with closer to home.

Yellow Wagtail

On the 17th I had my first tree pipits at Wharncliffe Chase…

Tree Pipit

…and a trip there on Good Friday (22nd) proved very good indeed, with my first cuckoo of the year, and wood warbler in Wharncliffe Wood. A grasshopper warbler reeling on the Chase on the same day was not only a predicted patch tick, but also the first time I’d got a half-decent view of this elusive bird!

Finally so far I got my first garden warbler of the year, again on the Chase, on 24th.

Garden Warbler

Still plenty to go! I’m late with ring ouzel, sedge warbler, reed warbler, common tern, house martin, lesser whitethroat, whinchat and pied flycatcher, hobbies have started to trickle in, and spotted flycatchers and swifts will be in any day now…

Hatfield Moors

Some pics from Hatfield Moor on Saturday

Adder

Adder

Black-necked Grebe (record shot)

Black-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe (record shot)

Red-necked Grebe

Yellowhammer

Yellowhammer

Grey Partridge

Grey Partridge

Hello, Tiger (Beetle)

Green Tiger Beetles

Redpoll

Redpoll (I had this down as a Mealy contender in the field, but on checking the photos have come to the conclusion it’s probably a pale Lesser).

Other sightings that didn’t make the camera included little ring plover, and lots of butterfly species including green-veined white, small white, orange tip, speckled wood, brimstone and small tortoiseshell. There also seemed to be either a blackcap, chiffchaff or willow warbler in every tree!

2011 Migrants so far…

I love this time of year – every day new birds arrive, and in the last few days everywhere seems alive with migrants, with many more species yet to arrive.

My first migrant, as always, was a singing chiffchaff on 22nd March, although obviously it’s always hard to tell with this species whether it’s a true migrant, or an overwintering individual. This one was at Ponderosa; in previous years my first had been around the old house at Loxley, on 20th March in 2009, and 21st in 2010.

Secondly came wheatear on Wharncliffe Chase on 28th March, the first one I’d had before April, and far beating last year’s first on 10th April. It took me three attempts to get one, and I was a good few days after the first to be reported.

Wheatear

My first sand martins were at Chatsworth Park on 2nd April – they’re always among the first migrants to return, but I always get these on a fairly late date as they’re scarce birds at my end of Sheffield.

Blackcap next on 5th April, singing at Ponderosa. Again, like chiffchaff, this could be an overwintering bird, but I hadn’t seen any there during the winter. This equals my earliest date for a singing blackcap.

Blackcap

7th April saw a double whammy during an evening walk from Grenoside to Stanley Hill, with my first swallows and willow warblers recorded. Last year I’d got them both on the same day too, but three days later on the 10th during a walk at Bradfield.

Finally I got my first little ringed plover at Hatfield Moors on 9th April. Again, this is a species I usually get later than their first arrival dates, due to the eastern bias of their distribution in our area.

This weekend everywhere seems to have exploded with migrants; at Hatfield on Saturday every bush seemed to be bursting with willow warbler, blackcap or chiffchaff song, sand martins were present in good numbers, and there were plenty of swallows on the way home. Wandering around the local area on Sunday, I counted nearly 40 willow warblers, with blackcaps and chiffchaffs much in evidence too.

Willow Warbler

Redstart, house martin, pied flycatcher, common sandpiper, whitethroat, cuckoo, ring ouzel, osprey and common tern have all been recorded by the SBSG so far, and so there’s plenty out there, and much more yet to arrive. Did I mention I love this time of year!