Goyt Valley Car Trip - 16th May 2017

What a difference a day makes! The weather for Sunday’s trip to Anglesey was glorious, blue skies and wall-to-wall sunshine whilst Tuesday morning started dismally with leaden skies and rain. So, if you switched off the alarm and turned over for an extra half hours sleep, kick yourself now because you missed one of the best trips to the Goyt Valley we’ve had in the last few years.

Seven members met up at Street Car Park at 7.30 am, warmed ourselves up with a coffee, donned our wet walking gear and set off along the road. As it was raining and the birds were keeping a low profile, we scanned the posts and fences and bingo, our first sighting. A rather damp Tawny Owl sat on a post in the first field on the right-hand side of the road, turning his head right to left and back again, obviously looking for prey for his late breakfast or even last night’s supper as it been too wet to hunt then. In these fields we also saw a Mistle Thrush and a pair of Goldfinches feeding. The reservoir produced the usual sightings, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and Common Sandpiper, plus the more unusual, a pair of Mandarin Ducks. On the wall in front of the reservoir a Tree Pipit was displaying well and we stopped and watched him for several minutes. Two more members soon caught up with us, and Colette promptly spotted, sitting on the treetop, the Cuckoo we had heard calling earlier on. It flew past us giving everyone great views.

We climbed up the path and into the woods searching in vain for the Wood Warbler. However we did see at least three Treecreepers feeding in the trees, and a couple of Jays crossed the footpath overhead.

We dropped down from the woods to the road and followed the footpath alongside the river before climbing up again to the quarry. This is our usual halt for elevenses, but it was too wet to open our rucksacks for a break. So we set off back along the road and shortly Annette’s keen eyes found the first of two sightings of a Common Redstart. We walked slowly alongside the oak trees and nesting boxes searching in vain for the Pied Flycatcher - we hadn’t heard his song all morning. However we were rewarded with another small black and white bird; a Dipper bobbed along the stones in the stream below. As we crossed the bridge, on the left hand side there was a lot of activity in the bushes and small trees bordering the water. There were three Spotted Flycatchers darting here, there and everywhere, which delighted us all.

We took the path up and back through the woods, still looking for the elusive Wood Warbler. We had given up and the group started to walk back downhill. Brian meanwhile had wandered back into the woods to answer a call of nature. Suddenly there was a loud whistle and Brian was beckoning us back. He had heard the Wood warbler singing deeper in the woods; we’d located him at last! When we finally saw him, he was flitting around, singing and perching up towards the top of the tree, out in the open, affording everyone excellent views. Such a handsome bird with its white belly and yellow breast! By now it had dried up and we got back to the cars for 12.30 for elevenses and lunch combined.

After lunch we drove on up to the moors above Derbyshire Bridge. Although dry, it was cold and windy so we only stopped for a few minutes. Time enough though to add Curlew and four Red Grouse to the list.

Our next stop was Danebower. It was still dry and windy but we were more sheltered. Despite our best efforts we were unable to find the Ring Ouzel and had to be satisfied with a pair of Wheatear in full breeding plumage and a small party of Sand Martins.

At this point the group dispersed. Some of us went home via Trentabank Reservoir and struck lucky. As we parked up and got out of the cars, a Pied Flycatcher could be heard singing. We soon spotted him and followed him for a short time getting good views. On the water Tufted Ducks, Coot and a Kingfisher were present. There were Cormorants galore and a few Herons sitting tight in the heronry. By now it was drizzling again and home and a hot cup of tea was too enticing to resist.

In spite of the weather our tally for the day was 45 including three warblers heard only. Apart from the Ring Ouzel we saw all the targeted birds really well. Another great trip.

BARBARA P

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License