Leaders and families from Wildlife Explorers set their alarms for very, very early in the morning as is now traditional at this time of year for the annual Dawn Chorus walk.
Birds sing in the still early morning air to claim breeding territory and attract females in a wonderful cacophony of different songs – the morning of our walk was no exception. We started early enough for the first bird to be heard to be a tawny owl, probably on his way home to bed!
Blackbirds, wrens and dunnocks sang against the background of wood pigeons and distant pheasants. We walked up into the woodland to see if different species were singing in different habitats within the park.
The first mammal we came across was far from domestic. Whilst looking out for the singing willow warblers one of the Explorers spotted someone watching us! We had great views of two red deer, cautiously monitoring our progress along the path.
Walking through the woodland we then met up with some of the English Longhorn cattle that are responsible for conservation grazing on the site – they took some convincing to move but finally moved aside and escorted our party to the gate.
After carefully crossing the stream on stepping stones we continued our walk between the woods and fields full of newborn lambs. There were plenty of birds in full song here – chaffinch, blue tit and robin. We spotted a curiously silent song thrush but all became clear when we saw a new thrush fledgling on the side of the path – a protective parent would certainly not have wanted to draw attention to its whereabouts.
The reservoirs provided good views of mallard, coot, and Mandarin duck with welcome summer visitors, swallows and house martins, hunting for insects high above the water.
Our walk ended with a delicious barbecue breakfast. Ciabatta rolls were donated from local bakery Flour Water Salt, sausages from Tegg’s Nose Tea Room and bacon from Barrow’s the Butchers in Bollington. Everyone tucked in, appreciating the great food all the more after some early morning exercise.
Our final bird list was:
- Wood Pigeon
- Carrion Crow
- Great tit
- Blue tit
- Long Tailed Tit
- Canada Goose
- Tawney Owl
- Song Thrush and fledgling
- Willow warbler
- Tufted duck
- House martin
- Lesser black backed gull
- Grey wagtail
- Red Deer
- Sheep and lambs
Thank you to our wonderful team of walk Leaders, the brilliant catering team and all the families who got up so much earlier than usual to join us.