Updated: Mar 1
Location: Bradford Dale
Date of tour: 15th February 2022
Number of species - 34
We had originally planned to meet in Alport at 8 o’clock but the weather forecast was poor. It was still raining at the new meeting time of 9 o’clock so we headed off in to Youlgreave to get a coffee. The rain eased off a little and we decided to start the walk and get wet, so we headed off towards Bradford Dale.
After walking for a few minutes we had already seen Jackdaw, Carrion Crow & Mallard, they didn’t seem to mind the rain at all. We then took a detour from the usual route and headed for the fish pond at Hollow Farm. It turned out to be a good decision. We were blessed with great views of Male & Female Bullfinch feeding on the Hawthorne buds.
The trees round us were busy and we soon listed Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Long-tailed Tit, a singing Wren and a female Great-spotted Woodpecker. As we climbed the gentle slope a Buzzard flew low to our left and landed in a tree along the edge of the field, we used the scope and had reasonable views through the twisted branches of the tree. In the fields to our right as we approached the farm were good numbers of Canada Goose and Greylag Goose feeding. On the fishing pond was a first for me at this location, a Little Egret. On the water was Goosander, Coot and Moorhen.
A few minutes later we were back on course on Mawstone Lane and following the River Bradford. As we walked we could hear the song of a Song Thrush cutting through the flow of the river. We found its location and watched the concert for a while. Here we also saw Greenfinch and Magpie but couldn’t locate the Mistle Thrush that was also singing in the distance. 2 Black-headed Gull flew over as we crossed the river at Holywell Lane and a Grey Wagtail made the first of many appearances.
It wasn’t long before a Dipper was seen perched on a rock in the river, it stayed for a short time and we had sightings again as we walked up stream.
A Mute Swan was feeding in one of the pool areas with a Little Grebe behind. The Little Grebe was just starting to show signs of breeding plumage coming through its dull winter feathers. Pheasants could be heard and seen up on the woodland and a Dunnock sang in a nearby bush. After a coffee break we had much better views of the Grey Wagtail before reaching the ‘books in the wall’. We stopped to enjoy Coal Tit chasing around and had fantastic views of a Dipper feeding and preening close by. The views through the scope were wonderful, showing every detail.
It was time for a slow walk back to the cars, the rain had stopped, and we had the odd glimpse of the sun. Peter, Viv and John had had a great morning bird watching and discovering a new place. We added Starling, Robin, Chaffinch and Blackbird on the return journey which brough tour total up to 34 birds for the day.