Trip reports

Weekend Walk - Padley Gorge (Famous Birdsong Walk)

Nuthatch on branch

Saturday, 4 May 2019

As we assembled, we could hear Blackcap singing nearby and a few Long-tailed Tits flew across. The morning was sunny with a clear blue sky but this proved deceptive as it was surprisingly cold with a wind from the north.

Setting off along the track to Padley Chapel, we soon started to see and hear birds. A number of Buzzards were soaring overhead and around the houses were House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Goldfinch. Willow Warblers were singing in the young trees and we also heard a Garden Warbler. Though it was obviously close to the track, we couldn't see it but we managed to distinguish it from the similar Blackcap by its longer and more hurried song, which is also more even in pitch. Much more easily identified by ear were Cuckoos, which we started to hear as soon as we set off.

As we entered the woods just past the chapel, Wrens were singing loudly - as were a Song Thrush and Chiffchaffs. In a garden on the edge of the woods was a bird feeder with Coal Tit and Siskin - of which we saw another perched high in a tree.

Heading into the older trees, we soon started to see Pied Flycatcher - one of our target species. We saw many of these during the walk. There were more males than females, although we got excellent views of several pairs including a couple that had decided against the nestboxes in favour of a natural hole in a tree. Other birds of which we got great views were Treecreeper and Nuthatch, both of which were seen going to nests with beaks crammed full of food for their young. Great Spotted Woodpecker were heard drumming and, eventually, one was seen flying through the trees.

We headed up to the scattered trees on the moorland edge in the hope of seeing Redstart and Tree Pipit but both proved elusive. In fact, birdlife here was very sparse altogether - presumably due to the quite strong wind. However, a few of us did see a beautiful male Stonechat and Meadow Pipit, both perched on rocks.

As we started our return through the woods, a loud call made us turn our heads upwards to see a Curlew flying across. Further down, a Sparrowhawk was seen weaving through the trees and the Burbage Brook was home to Mallard, at least two pairs of Mandarin Duck and several Grey Wagtails.

Although we didn't see our hoped for Wood Warblers, Tree Pipits or Redstarts, we did see a great variety of other beautiful birds. Plus, the woods themselves were looking lovely in the sunshine - with Bluebell, Greater Stitchwort and Yellow Archangel in full flower.

Walk led by Bob Russon

14 people attended
30 bird species seen - with a further 4 heard
Star Bird: Pied Flycatcher

Full list of birds:
Blue Tit
Coal Tit
Cuckoo (heard only)
Garden Warbler (heard only)
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Grey Wagtail
House Sparrow
Long-tailed Tit
Mandarin Duck
Meadow Pipit
Pheasant (heard only)
Pied Flycatcher
Song Thrush (heard only)
Willow Warbler