Trip reports

Local Walk, Norheads Lane & Biggin Hill Valley

Local Walk, Norheads Lane & Biggin Hill Valley
Berries - Eric Barlow

Friday, 12 November 2021

Our Biggin Hill walk led by Ian Micklewright, had been eagerly anticipated but unfortunately as the group assembled, persistent rain set in. However, this did not deter eighteen members from joining Ian for the walk along Norheads Lane and the Biggin Hill Valley.

Before we set off, Ian gave a brief summary of the path we would be taking and some of the species we were likely to see and asked the group to keep to the public footpath and bridle way, as we would be walking on private land.

We headed off down the valley towards Salt Box Lane. Visibility was not too good, but we observed several pheasants scurrying around in a near by field. Blackbirds, chaffinches, and starlings were in the hedgerows. A pair of common gulls were seen in another distant field.

Towards the bottom of the slope, we came to an avenue of hawthorn bushes, laden with berries and dripping with rain, which made an interesting sight. Sadly, there was no sign of any winter thrushes.

We crossed Salt Box Lane and did a loop along fields and a woodland path where we saw goldfinches and dunnock before returning back over the road. Heading back up the hill we encountered our first redwing as they flew over our heads and a female kestrel perched on a branch directly in front of us.

Travelling on we reached a more level track bordered by cattle paddocks. Here we scanned the fence posts and found our first buzzard of the day. Further on we came across a field with a large flock of black-faced sheep, which just stared at us as we passed. It was at this time things changed for the better and we were treated to blue skies and a rainbow.

These favourable conditions brought out the buzzards. At one time we saw at least five gliding over the valley and could hear them calling overhead as a kestrel hovered near by. Song thrush, dunnocks and more small birds appeared in the brambles.

We had wonderful views across the valley from the top of the hill and at one point we could see Canary Wharf in the distance. Before returning to the start of the walk we moved through woodland where Ian had one final place for us to explore, introducing us to Bluebell and Primrose, two magnificent Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, standing in the garden of a local farmhouse, which I understand are something of a local attraction. Much to everyone's delight one came over to greet us in search of food.

Rook, jackdaw, and carrion crows were foraging as we passed along the track when Ian spotted a small flock of yellowhammer flying low over a field but not everyone saw them.

Ian was extremely disappointed that the weather had not been kind to us. Despite the conditions everyone enjoyed the walk and were keen to return another time and very much appreciated the effort Ian had made planning the walk.

GROUP BIRD SIGHTINGS INCLUDED:
Blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, common gull, dunnock, feral pigeon,
goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker, house sparrow, jackdaw, jay, kestrel, magpie,
parakeet, pheasant, pied wagtail, redwing, rook, song thrush, starling, woodpigeon and
yellowhammer