Location - Ladybower Tor
Attendees - Suzanne, David, John, Sarah, Nicola & Vicki
Number of Species - 35
I’ve just arrived back from a 2-week tour of the Isle of Mull where we saw some wonderful birds and other wildlife. I have been missing the scenery and the amazing birds of prey. That is until I took a group of people on a tour around the Ladybower Tor area in the Peak District.
We parked in the Heatherdene car park and walked from there. We then made our way towards the Ladybower Inn and took the rough path that runs to the right of the pub. Good walking boots are a must as the terrain is a little loose under foot.
We had been walking for only a few minutes when we came across a White Beam tree that was teeming with birds, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit and Wren all in the single tree. It wasn’t long before we saw, for me is the star of this walk, the Pied Flycatcher. This bird does really well here thanks to some great management from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust which help make Ladybower Wood the perfect habitat for these birds. Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Tree Pipit & Woodcock can also be seen here from early Spring.
After we dragged ourselves away from the Pied Flycatchers, we walk up on to the moors where we watched displaying Lapwing and listened to the haunting call of the Curlew.
Carrion Crows were chased off by the Lapwings protecting their nest sites, and we had our first glimpse of a male Ring Ouzel feeding up on top of the hill. It was a little breezy, but no one was complaining as the birds kept coming. Many Meadow Pipits were joined by Skylark, Reed Bunting and then a stunning male Wheatear followed by a pair of Stonechats. Red Grouse could be heard all around but seemed a little reluctant to show, we did manage a couple of bird but decided to move on.
As we reached Whinstone Lee Tor the most beautiful vista was in front of us, we looked down on Ladybower Reservoir towards Fairholmes and decided to have lunch. As it turned out we had chosen the perfect spot, sheltered from the wind and with the sun on our faces we heard the season’s first Cuckoo calling from below us. We searched for a while with our binoculars and came across 7 more Ring Ouzels, more Stonechat and 2 Buzzards soaring over the reservoir. Then came the shout, “found it”, the Cuckoo was perched on a fence post calling, “cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo”, and we all grinned from ear to ear. This was the first Cuckoo some of the group had ever seen and we all headed back having had the most wonderful morning.
For me Mull was now a memory, and it was Derbyshire that had put things back in perspective. We are so lucky to live here, so many different habitats, so much wonderful wildlife and to top it off, some fantastic enthusiastic and friendly people to share it all with.
Some other wildlife to keep an eye out for in this area are, Common Lizard, Green Hairstreak Butterfly, and Green Tiger Beetle. Walk slowly, take in the world around you and you will be amazed at what you could see.
I have another tour of this area on the 24th of May and places are still available. If you are interested, take a look at my website. www.derbyshirebirdtours.com
Other species seen or heard today were :