The trip started badly for two of the twelve members who had signed up, when their car broke down. In one way they were fortunate in that they were stranded next to some woodland and had views of both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers before the truck arrived to tow them to the garage. The remaining ten enjoyed good weather although a rather meagre diet of birds. The first of note to be seen was a Tree Pipit standing proudly atop a
solitary birch tree singing his little heart out and staying long enough for all to get a good view. Walking along the southern perimeter of the gorge we were serenaded by multiple Willow Warblers but it was only upon arriving at the ramp descending to the stream, that we encountered our first Pied Flycatchers. A pair of them were using one of the boxes, posing frequently close by with the female occasionally carrying nesting material. Those who were lucky enough to turn round at the right moment also saw a female Sparrowhawk flash past.
A Cuckoo had been heard occasionally but only one member managed to see it crossing the moor accompanied by a posse of meadow Pipits. As compensation, all got to see the male, female and juvenile Stonechats.
Upon entering the woodland on the upper rim of the gorge, we were surprised to come
across a rather large Red Deer upon the narrow path. After checking us out and deciding that it didn’t like what it saw, it skedaddled.
Back at the top of the ramp all had excellent views of both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers and one member had a fleeting glimpse of a Redstart. However, disappointingly, at no
stage did anyone hear either the song or calls from Redstart or Wood Warbler which were birds that we’d encountered on previous trips. In particular, the absence of Redstarts is perplexing.
In all, 27 species of bird were identified plus both Red and Roe Deer.
Photos thanks to Daniel Griffin, John Allsop and Martin Kaye