Location: The grounds of Hardwick Hall
Date of tour: 22nd February 2022
Number of species - 37
This was a tour for one and we met up at 12:00, later than planned but we wanted to avoid the rain.
We started by setting up Julie’s binoculars, so she could get the best views, and started next to the Great Pond. This is a good place to hone up on your waterfowl ID skills. Julie was surprised how many species of birds were on the pond. We had super views of the following: Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard (female), Tufted Duck, Great-crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull & Cormorant.
After talking about the differences between diving & dabbling ducks we moved on towards the hall itself and saw & heard Mistle Thrush singing from the tree tops and had a flyby from 2 Buzzard & a Kestrel. We passed the hall & headed around the edge of Dovedale Wood. A Robin was singing & Blue tit, Great Tit, Dunnock & Long-tailed tit were all present. Jackdaw & Carrion Crow can be found all around the grounds from the woodlands to the open pasture land.
We then had good view of Great-spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Woodpigeon, Blackbird & Pheasant. To complete our covid count for the day we had good numbers of Magpie & a fleeting glimpse of a Jay.
We were leaving the woodland & heading out in to the pasture land when we saw a flock of Redwing with Starling scattered among them. The Redwing showed really well through the scope & Julie could see all the detail of their red flanks & wonderful eye stripe.
Then a call that got Julie very excited, a Green Woodpecker, a bird she had always wanted to see. We knew the area it was in but there were lots of trees & it would take some finding. After about 15 minutes I finally located the bird & focused the scope, I had a very happy customer.
The flocks of Redwing were getting bigger & Fieldfare also made an appearance along with a few Goldfinch. The water logged path then took us back to Miller’s Pond were we added Wren & had much better views of Pochard, this time a wonderful male. A Song Thrush sang as we left which made a nice end to the tour.
Thanks to Julie for the great company & enthusiasm.