Trip reports

Hindburndale Walk

Male redstart perched on branch
RSPB Images

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Hindburndale is a place of high lonely moorland and picturesque wooded ravines. This area was the setting for our birdwatching walk led by Pete Marsh on the 28th April. That morning, more than twenty of us assembled in the village of Wray where we rationalised our transport before travelling in convoy up a steep and winding single track road that led onto the high moor. At this point, with Ingleborough and its sister peak Whernside visible in the distance, a derelict barn lay in our immediate foreground. On the edge of one of the rafters of this structure sat a little owl . The owl in his cryptic plumage stared back at us, appearing (as owls often do), unperturbed and inscrutable. On the field to the back of us, a flock of fifty or more golden plover flew past, and a little further on from the edge of a conifer plantation we could hear the songs of a wren, some coal tits and a willow warbler. We also has a fleeting glimpse of a redpoll, but alas, no crossbills (which occur in this area) were seen. From this point we walked downhill, across a field and into a steep sided valley. Already we could hear the somewhat melancholy but clear-ringing song of a pied flycatcher that was holding a territory nearby. Pete explained that some of the nest boxes intended for the flycatchers had already been occupied early in the season by great tits- the reason for this being that more than usual of these birds had survived the winter. To compensate for a potential pied flycatcher `housing shortage`extra nest boxes have been erected in recent months. After crossing a stream known as the Mill Beck, we enjoyed a good view of another singing pied flycatcher, and also in song on a nearby branch was a redstart. A nuthatch had made its home in another one of the nest boxes and we could see clearly how the bird had in typical nuthatch fashion, sealed a gap in the ill-fitting lid of its box by dibbling on mud. As we left this valley, on the hillside above us, a roe deer with its distinctive white rump ran across our path before disappearing into some cover. Our day in Hindburndale concluded with an excellent view of a young dipper being fed by its parent, and finally, during a brief circular route up onto the moor, we stopped for a while to observe a small colony of sandmartins.
We would like to thank Pete Marsh for providing us with expert guidance that day.

Michael Gardner.