Thought I'd do a round-up on my recent birding activities...
The girlfriend is besotted with the Derbyshire Dales so we headed westward again and made this time for Monsal Dale. It's April, thus we had four seasons in the day, and good smattering of birds even if we found nothing stellar - Buzzards soared over the valley, while in the wooded glades Great Spotted Woodpeckers were ever so noisy (their calls sound to my ear like miniature crow vocalisations), Treecreepers crept up trees, and Goldcrests rushed through their tiny whistling song.
We walked the Monsal and Brushfield circuit - route here - an easy 10km up and down dale. Brushfield Farm was particularly noticeable for its birdlife, with many dozens of tits and finches attracted to the feeders around the farmyard. This makes up for the quieter stretches and rewards the walk.
In in the next couple of months Redstart should be arriving up there soon, and I could scarcely imagine a more dramatic setting to find them in.
Elsewhere, around the Hardwick and Teversal area large-ish flocks of Fieldfare remain with around 200 going over at a time, with smaller flocks of up to 50 Redwing also scattered around. I kick myself that I missed an Osprey at Pleasley by 30 minutes, but feel vindicated for walking so late in the evening at King's Mill Reservoir for we rediscovered the Barn Owls, a pair back at last year's nest site.
They will never lose their glamour with me, and I feel so lucky to have them 10 minutes walk from the house.
In other news, the RSPB will soon launch its new Birds of Prey campaign. Please take time to read about it (here) and sign the pledge of support to protect these fantastic birds from the illegal persecution that still exists in the countryside today.