Report on Harthope Valley, 22 May 2021
The trip was underway at 09:30 at our designated meeting point, within 5 minutes we had seen Northern Wheatear and Ring Ouzel and shortly after we were treat to some great flight views of a Cuckoo flying down the valley. Song Thrush and Blackcaps were in good song and Red-legged Partridges were hard to miss. Curlew overhead was expected but a day hunting Barn Owl when we were watching a Spotted Flycatcher certainty wasn't. We enjoyed at least 10 Buzzards and no fewer than 4 Ravens were seen. We rarely walked a stretch of water where we didn't see Grey Wagtail and a few Common Sandpipers on the river proved frustratingly brief a lot of the time, we saw at least two Dippers and one showed well for the group. Bird of the trip for many came in the form of a simply stunning male Whinchat, we heard a male Redstart singing but he refused to show himself. One of the highlights came when one of the group spotted a Slow Worm just off the path, a full fat 'lifer' for many of us!
We ended the day with a walk and short drive along the valley where we had super views of a Common Sandpiper and chanced upon its nest, but we left within a minute to ensure we did not disturb the bird unnecessarily. A Spotted Flycatcher revealed itself by its distinctive song and put on a show for us too.
We ended on a respectable 55 species of bird with most of the main target birds seen.
Common Sandpiper in habitat & Common Sandpiper nest - © A Kinghorn