Wednesday, 10 April 2013

6th April Birdsong skills improvement

It was a sunny but cold morning for the birdsong skills improvement course on 6th April. The cold winds had dropped to make it a perfect day for seeing & hearing birds. Lucy led a group of 6 along national cycle route 24. We were quickly treated to the calls of siskins & goldfinches, as well as chiff chaffs and chaffinches. We were lucky to get good views too in the trees along the path. A pair of bullfinches were calling,and displayed their lovely plumage above. As we came to a clearing in the trees, Lucy noted the call of a yellowhammer, and we quickly spotted a pair, who kindly perched in a near by tree.
Coffee next to the sewerage works may not sound overly appealing but it rewarded us with lovely views of chiffchaff and  goldcrest in the conifers,  pied wagtails & a pair of raven overhead. Lucy heard a marsh tit calling here & we saw it flit between the trees up on the path.
The return leg through the fields along the river bank was lovely, as there was some warmth in the sun. A buzzard rode the thermals, and Lucy picked out the song of a tree creeper.  Philip was able to pick this lovely little bird out creeping up a near by tree, and we were all fortunate to see & hear it.
As we returned back on to the cycle path, nearing the end of the walk, Lucy stopped suddenly thinking she had heard a redpoll. After a few minutes of listening intently, she did indeed identify the sound as a redpoll, and to our real surprise, we were able to watch a pair in the trees in front. This was a first for some of us, and it felt like a real privilidge.  To top this off, we then spotted a peregrine falcon circling high above.
This was an excellent morning, a chance to enjoy some uninterrupted time watching & listening to birds, on a spring day.  Many thanks to Lucy for picking out so many lovely birds for us to enjoy; we felt that we were able to improve our aural identification skills, and will be able to build upon this each time we are in the great outdoors.

Louise Wardle & Angela Humphries

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