Once a year I try to get to a couple of sites in the Hope Valley, Derbyshire. Its 25 mins drive from my Dad’s house and I usually make the pilgrimage over the last weekend of April/first weekend of May. Arriving at Padley Gorge about 6.00 am I could hear a Pied Flycatcher singing before even getting out of the car. Ancient Oak woodland isnt quite totally in full leaf at this time of year so birds are easily seen. I think I saw about a dozen males and about 5/6 females, some of the females were carrying nest material about.
I had a Wood Warbler briefly in Song and briefer views which In havent seen there for a few years as well as a Spotted Flycatcher heard singing from the treetops and a Dipper was seen and heard in the gorge itself. 5/6 singing male Common Redstarts…
…and about the same number of Tree Pipits.
The next site is open moorland and gritstone cliffs and boulders – ‘Stanage Edge’ and the surrounding area is a good spot for things like Ring Ousel. (a female flew right over my head as I ate a packed lunch.)
Its also a great place for Cuckoo, Wheatears and Whinchats but the bird i enjoyed up there the most were Red Grouse. A species surrounded by controversy and the reason for the lack of Hen Harriers in this perfect habitat. You just don’t see Red Grouse away from moorland so I made a point of spending time watching these Incredibly plumaged birds.
Its hard to see all of these in one trip so i really happy. Its well worth the trip and only 3.5 hours drive from London. If anyones intrested in the gen contact me directly and i’ll happily share. firstname.lastname@example.org