Dawn Chorus walk with Ryenats – Cropton – 05.05.12
I had meant to post this before I went on holiday….but better late than never. (as seen on the local town blogs)
For the seven brave souls who attended the Ryenats annual dawn chorus meeting, we were treated to many varied weather conditions and happily an equally varied sightings of birds.
After meeting at 5am at the entrance to Spiers House, Cropton we were greeted with drizzle then rain then heavy sleet then some sunshine and then some more drizzle.
Despite the less than perfect weather conditions the birds were in full voice and very quickly we had heard many of our common woodland/garden birds including Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Chaffinch and Robin but also three of our summer visitors: Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers.
After leaving the main track and heading deeper in to the wood we heard some Goldcrests and Coal Tits. At this point we saw our first mammal of the morning which was a young Roe deer disappearing in to the trees. This was followed closely by another not so wild animal (a jogger from the campsite), this was a male of the species and quite vocal, we did not hear his song but from his voice we were quite sure that it was a migrant summer visitor (holiday maker).
Tom then alerted us to a small flock of Crossbills approaching, how he could pick out their call at such a distance over the cacophony of other bird song was quite impressive. Then pointing down the track he informs us that we may see some more further down. Upon arriving at such place, which from now on will be known as ‘Crossbill Corner’, exactly as predicted we saw a flock of at least 50 Crossbills in the tree tops above us. They were feeding in a small group of Scots Pines and making a lot of crunching and cracking noises. Strangely some of them were carrying full cones in their beaks over to the main flock, this appears as if they will bring food in from round about to feed in a large group presumably believing safety in numbers.
We watched them for about 10mins and had some great views and this would have been a good time to finish the walk but Jim had one more bird up his sleeve (and as this bird appeared exactly where he predicted and knowing Jim is a bird ringer then perhaps he did have it up his sleeve quite literally).
We cut over the stream and stopped overlooking a clearing with some young woodland regeneration and as we enjoyed good views of a Willow Warbler Jim announced that we were looking for a Tree Pipit, at that moment one suddenly appeared over the trees doing its characteristic parachute drop like flight.
This was another great sighting, we stopped for a few minutes and saw it a couple of times and then decided it was time to call it a morning and then headed off for our second breakfasts.
Here is a quick video of the Crossbills and a Willow Warbler that we saw, sorry it is so dark and wobbly but it was overcast and I didn’t have my tripod.