Goyt Valley - 4th June 2015

After the terrible weather of the previous week when we endured driving rain, winds and cool temperatures, the gods smiled down on us and Thursday dawned, sunny and warm, calm and still without a breath of wind. As we gathered in The Street car park the air was filled with bird song and the birds were active.

Our first sighting was a male Siskin, his plumage of yellow and black brilliant in the morning sunshine. We set off on the road by the side of the reservoir and were shortly joined by two more members who had already driven along the valley and missed us the first time round. Looking across the water we quickly noted Heron and Cormorant and a flock of about 40 Canada Geese. We searched in vain for a sandpiper along the edge of the reservoir. So imagine our surprise and delight when we found two Common Sandpipers to the right of the road. The male was sitting on a fence post close to the road with the female in the long grass nearby, presumably not far from the nest. Neither bird moved as we walked past. Shortly we reached a hedge of small trees and bushes along a barred fence and watched a pair of Common Redstarts feeding hungrily and a Treecreeper prising insects from a tree. On reaching the mature trees we were treated to an operatic display from a Tree Pipit. He sang and flew up and down repeatedly whilst we stood and observed for a good ten minutes.

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Leaving the road behind we headed up a track towards a small wood from where we heard the distinctive song of a Wood Warbler .It took us several minutes to locate the bird, then we watched totally engrossed whilst he flitted from branch to branch singing whenever he settled. A quarter hour soon passed and we moved on.

Crossing the road, we walked by the side of the River Goyt adding Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher and Grey Wagtail to our list. A short steep climb brought us back to the road and we made for the nearby quarry for elevenses or in some cases early lunch.

During the morning we heard the Cuckoo call several times, sometimes close to, other times further away, but despite scanning up all the small valleys on the way back to the cars we were disappointed. However we did see Blue and Great Tit, Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Meadow Pipit.

On then to our next destination, the moors above Derbyshire Bridge, with Short-eared Owls our target. Once more we were out of luck but several Red Grouse popped their heads above the heather to see what we were doing and a pair of Curlew circled round and landed not far away from us on the moor.

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Our final venue for the day was Danebower, and this certainly did not disappoint. At first we only saw Rooks, and plenty of them, then suddenly from upstream a Ring Ouzel appeared and flew to a grassy patch near to a gate. He played hide and seek with us from behind a stone wall for almost half an hour, but we did manage some good views. Meanwhile we were entertained by a pair of Wheatears feeding young in a nest hidden from our view, but close to the road. We also added Stonechat and Swallow to the list.

On the way back home we deviated via Trentabank Reservoir and had superb views of a Little Grebe and a pair of Mandarin Ducks bringing our total to 52. A great morning’s birdwatching - thank you Brian.

Photos by Robert D

BARBARA P

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