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Carr Vale - A wonderful dawn chorus followed by real wildlife drama.

Location: Carr Vale Flash, Bolsover, Derbyshire.

Attendees – Steve, Wendy, Paul, John & Caroline.

Date of tour: 1st May 2022

Number of species seen & heard – 47 birds and 5 mammal

This was a very early start but if you don’t make the effort, you will miss the best of what the dawn chorus has to offer.

We all arrived for 04:45 and although dark the chorus had already begun. The soulful notes of Blackbirds filled the air and was soon joined by Robin and Song Thrush, a Tawney Owl hooted in the distance to make its presence known but knew it was outclassed by the melodic sounds of the thrushes and went quiet.

Carrion Crow and Jackdaw calls filled in the background and an early Blackcap sang from high in a tree. A bird that certainly wasn’t out of place was the larger-than-life Wren making itself noticed with its loud song cutting through with ease. After half an hour more birds started to wake up, Dunnock, Great Tit, Blue Tit and Chaffinch all sang, and as we approached the ponds, Little Grebe, Coot and Black-headed Gull were all calling.

Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Moorhen, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and a single male Pochard was out on the water. A Cormorant flew through, and a Pheasant called from the distant fields. John spotted a Kingfisher dating through the scene and disappearing as quickly as it arrived.

We stopped for a coffee at a great viewing screen that is buried in the heart of a red bed. Here we enjoyed listening to Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting. Frustratingly although we could hear several birds singing the warblers were not showing, and we couldn’t get a decent view. On the other hand, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff were happy to stand out proud and allow us great views. Steve caught a quick glimpse of the Barn Owl returning to its box over on the far side of the pond.

We arrived at the main viewing screen that overlooks the water and enjoyed stunning male Bullfinch on the bird table with a Brown Rat picking up scraps below. Out on the meadow beyond the pond we were about to witness real drama as a Fox was stalking through the grass heading for some young geese. Also in the meadow was Brown Hare & just beyond was Roe Deer. The Fox was getting closer and began a charge just as the parents spotted it. The Canada Geese chased the Fox without hesitation to protect their young, the Fox turned but the geese were too determined. The Hare stood perfectly still and the Fox either didn’t see it or decided it was too tired to chase breakfast that was as fast as a Hare. It was like watching a David Attenborough show on a huge screen, but much better to be out witnessing it in real life.

It was a short walk, only 2 hours, but it was packed with great wildlife and drama.

Other species seen or heard were: Buzzard, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Swallow, Cetti’s Warbler, Treecreeper, Pied Wagtail and Grey Squirrel.


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