A good patch walk today which actually saw a good selection of migrants – while the early migrants have been very late, it’s good to see everything else seems to be arriving as scheduled.
I started the walk in Wheata Wood, where green woodpecker, 4 x lesser redpoll and a pair of yellowhammer were the highlights. Then on to Wharncliffe Chase where I was met with a flock of seven siskin (below), and my first migrant of the day – a singing tree pipit. Two others singing later, along with one calling over, shows these have well and truly arrived.
Onwards on the Chase I met up with Andy, and we added willow warbler and chiffchaff to the migrant list, as well as singing linnet, yellowhammer, reed bunting and stock dove. A watch over the Crags for a while turned up a couple of overhead curlew, a small flock of fieldfare, and in the distance we could see at least 7 buzzards (including one striking pale morph), displaying sparrowhawks over Morehall Res, and a flock over 300+ golden plover at Peat Pits.
A hunt for wheatear on the open part of the Chase (the top part is currently closed for lambing) sadly turned up a blank, and I bid farewell to Andy and went down to check on the Bank Lane tree sparrows. On the way I picked up two swallows on the path between Woodhead Road and Bank Lane, and at least four tree sparrows were present and correct, as well as a singing chiffchaff nearby. A quick look at Wharncliffe Res, typically, only turned up a single moorhen (last week’s teal was just a fluke!).
On the way back a large flock of 120+ fieldfare flew over from the Chase into Bimshaw Wood, and three lapwing and a feeding flock of 70+ starling were at Hallfield Head Farm. Back in Wheata a couple of chiffchaffs fed on the edge of the wood, and a fieldfare or two could be heard in the trees overhead.
All in all a great walk – and signs that finally the spring is proceeding as normal! Hopefully next week will see redstarts arriving in the area, and the rest trickling in before the end of the month.