Car trip to Goyt Valley and Danebower - Thursday 16th May 2013

8 members met at The Street car park in the Goyt Valley at 7:30am, to be greeted by the call of the chiffchaff, curlew, wren, chaffinch and willow warbler. A sunny morning with a light cool breeze.


Setting off down the road walking south we saw woodpigeon, coot, mallard and cormorant on the Errwood reservoir, a pied wagtail and common sandpiper on the water’s edge, and Canada geese on the far edge of the reservoir with their goslings. Standing for some time we watched a tree pipit; its ascending flight from a tree, then parachuting down, with distinctive song, and then landing to perch on a branch to sing again. Four swifts flying high in the sky were a delight to spot, whilst on the ground a mistle thrush searched for food, and a kestrel flew over. Next was a handsome redstart sitting on a fence post, but not singing. Looking across the reservoir Alison spotted a sparrowhawk high in a conifer, watching and waiting for his next meal. Moving further along the road we stopped to watch willow warblers slipping through foliage and displaying, a tree creeper shuffling up a tree, with goldfinch flitting around.


At the Errwood Hall car park we spotted a sparrow hawk flying over, but here was a pair of redstarts, and we watched them for some time admiring the males’ plumage. Moving along again we heard grouse. A pied flycatcher was spotted easily along with the female among the trees. At this point Brian noted we had seen our target species, pied flycatcher, redstart, tree pipit and common sandpiper, and it was only 9.15am. One more to go – the ring ouzel. A pheasant was spotted in the distance sitting on a wall.

Walking along the Riverside Path we spotted wren, great tit, blue tit and robin.

Back onto the road, by the quarry, a tawny owl took flight from the rocks to disappear into the trees. Red grouse flying in the distance and another sitting on a wall were sighted. A blackbird hopped around as we had a snack.

Walking back down the road we had good views of 2 kestrels hunting over the moorland. Suddenly a cuckoo was heard in the distance, we waited for Brian to try to locate him, then there he was – perched on a post in full view with the female not too far away resting on the wall. Above us a redstart could be heard in a tree. Moving on, a grey wagtail showed himself beautifully by sitting on the top of the bridge rail, giving a full twirl to show off his lovely yellow plumage. Back to the car to drive to Danebower.

We stopped just before leaving the area to search for a short-eared owl but no show. A skylark and kestrel flew over.


At Danebower we followed the track and soon spotted wheatear and many meadow pipits. A curlew was calling and seen later flying over. Lapwing and grey heron added to our list. 8 pairs of eyes gave a thorough search of the area for ring ouzel which had been seen in the area 2 weeks ago. However today it was not to be , it was thought they may have left to fly further north. However this disappointment was overcome with a clear sighting of a hobby looking almost like a swift in flight. An amazing sight.


The birding day ended at 2:10pm and 8 very happy birders went home having had a wonderful day with clear and near sightings of some favourite birds. Our many thanks to Alison and Brian.

Jenny I

Photos by Robert D.

A little poem quoted by John

"The cuckoo comes in April
She sings her song in May
In June she changes her tune
In July she prepares to fly
In August go she must.”

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