Trip reports

RSPB Lancaster trip to Borrowdale Valley (Tebay)

Male redstart perched on branch

Saturday, 1 May 2010

On a fine morning, 15 members of the local group met at the M6 end of the Borrowdale Valley. As we began our walk through woodland, a great spotted woodpecker was drumming nearby and the distinctive yaffle of a green woodpecker could be heard, along with willow warbler and redstart. The woodlands birds were proving difficult to see, but we then had good (if distant) views of pied flycatchers using the nestboxes across the valley, with a female flitting along a fenceline. A pied wagtail patrolled the roof of an old barn, while two male mallards and a couple of stock doves flew up the valley. A distant redstart was scoped and then we had betters views of a second one in a nearby tree. A tree pipit then entertained us from the top of a dead tree and followed this with the typical parachuting flight. A willow warbler gave a great display as it caught flies. A great tit was seen taking nesting material and two goldcrests flew over our heads. A distant corvid on the fellside was identified as a raven, which later took flight. A cuckoo could be heard, giving a rather odd "wackoo" call! Other birds seen or heard before lunch included mistle thrush, robin, chaffinch, crow, heron and blue tit.

Lunch was taken near the bridge, with dippers and grey wagtails on the rocks in the river. One dipper flew onto the bridge stonework, walked along and hopped up into its nest. We continued our walk further up the valley, with a dunnock singing from a gorse bush and a kestrel hovering over the fellside. The valley opened out and we had a pair of meadow pipits playing on rocks in the riverbed, while a few sand martins flew low over the (very low) river. A wheatear was spotted standing on the dry stone wall and then a second bird flew over the river and onto the fellside. As we reached the farm, a couple of swallows flew overhead. We then had distant views of sparrowhawk and buzzard flying over the felltop.

As we began our walk back to our cars the rain began, but I think everyone had a very enjoyable day!

Many thanks to Selina Tutin for leading the walk.

Ken Harrison