River Dove, Milldale - 5th February 2023
Attendees – Jayne
A slightly later start than usual, 9:30. Jayne was the only person to book on this walk so she got the full attention of Lynne & I.
For some reason that I can't fathom, this particular walk never gets the bookings it deserves. It always delivers some great birds & the scenery is fantastic.
We left Milldale & headed for the River Dove, the sun was out with the lightest of breezes gave perfect conditions for a walk. It never takes long here to start seeing some wonderful wildlife. A drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, & a singing Mistle Thrush, along with 3 Sparrowhawks drifting over the village gave us the best of starts.
The usual passerines were soon added with Blue, Great, Coal Tits seen in a good sized flock in the treetops. A Robin was shouting out & putting claim to its territory with a Dunnock doing its best to compete a second later.
As we crossed the stone bridge where Lode Lane meets The Pinch & we dropped down on to the public footpath that would take us along the river. Even though it was early February, many birds were singing as the sun shone. Blackbird, Wren & Chaffinch were giving it their best shot, not full song yet, but still nice to hear after what seemed like a long winter.
The morning so far had been good. Great views of Buzzard & Kestrel kept up this areas great reputation for raptors.
But the best was to come, I got to see something I had never seen before. We had been seeing Dipper all morning and listening to its wonderful song. We then witnessed two birds pointing their beaks to the sky and singing. They then simultaneously flew about 3 feet above the water & cork screwed around each other before landing in the water, wings outstretched & floated down stream. All of this while still calling & singing. What a treat, I'm still grinning just thinking about it while writing.
We then climbed up Gypsy Bank & made our way across the pastures towards Alstonfield. Here we heard & saw Skylark, not singing yet but making single contact calls between 3 birds. We also saw Raven, Grey Heron, Redwing & Pied Wagtail.
We totted up 29 species in total, which for the time of year was good.
Full list of birds from today’s walk.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker