Trip reports

Guided Walk - Dowley Gap, Bingley

Male chaffinch singing on branch
Paul Barrett

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Six of us met up with Mark Doveston at 7am at Dowley Gap (including a new person who had seen it advertised at Bingley Library - always good to find out where). There would have been more, but four stalwarts were otherwise engaged that weekend & the pretty awful weather forecast will have put some people off.
Anyway, as it happened, we only had to put up with some light rain & drizzle - not enough to spoil our enjoyment, but making recording our sightings a bit problematic with a damp notebook. Mark suggested we try remembering them all till the end but I was a bit dubious!
The drumming of a greater spotted woodpecker entertained us as we assembled & one was later seen by some. We set off towards the filter beds, where most of the gulls were black headed, with a few herring gulls whose cry was reminiscent of days at the seaside. Magpie, oyster catcher, wood pigeon & crow were also there, with pied wagtail & reed bunting seen in the same area on our return. Many birds were seen & heard as we passed through Hirst Wood. At one point there was a lot of disturbance up in the trees, with multiple distress calls & Mark thought there may be a roosting tawny owl. A goosander was seen in flight & later one on the water. We were delighted to have a good view of a kingfisher on the far bank, with a moorhen nearby. Going up to Coach Road, Canada & Greylag geese were grazing in a field near the rowing club & Mark pointed out redwing in the tree tops, which we may well have not noticed, let alone identified.
With a bit of local history thrown in as we passed near a path in the environs of Milner Field (thanks Wendy), we returned to our starting point. That three hours had gone so quickly, thanks so much to Mark for yet again sharing his expertise - our bird list (37 spotted) would have been much shorter without him!
Other birds seen included:- wren, mallard, goldfinch, blackbird, blue tit, tree creeper, song thrush, nut hatch, jay, buzzard, mistle thrush, great tit, robin, coal tit, stock dove, jackdaw, dunnock, mute swan, grey heron, chaffinch.
Chiffchaff & greenfinch were heard but did not show themselves.