Monday 5th May.
Good old bank holidays. I had an excellent day's birding today touring various sites in North Staffordshire. For birding in the midlands, this area takes some beating at this time of year. And I also had company with me today, in the form of fellow blogger Kay, and Max, from Brightside Birding. We were accompanied by Dean, king of the North Staffs thread on Bird Forum.
A bit of a misty, drizzly start so I thought it would be best to explore some woodland before heading up into the moors north of Leek. The first place we tried was Hawksmoor, a lovely woodland owned by the National Trust. They've even got a picture of Tony Robinson on their information board. Sounds like a cunning plan to me!
We managed Tree Pipit, pair of Redstart, Garden Warbler, and heard a Pied Flycatcher calling but couldn't see it. We put that right at the Ramblers Retreat in Dimmingsdale. Told you this place comes into it's own in the spring, there must have been three or four Pied Flycatchers singing here without making any effort at all to find them. Unfortunately on a bank holiday, lots of day trippers think the same thing, in a mini Cannock Chase kind of way.
Knowing that Dimmingsdale would be busy today, I thought I would try a new woodland for me, at Cotton Dell, just to the north of Oakamoor.
Not far up into the wood, there was a Wood Warbler singing away. Quite hard to spot but we got it eventually. I'll have to explore Cotton Dell more deeply in the near future. Its possible that this could be the best of all the woodlands in the Churnet Valley.
The afternoon was spent at various spots up in the North Staffordshire Moorlands.
Without going into too much detail, for sensitivity of some of the species seen (and so I don't get snotty messages from people who think they own the internet!), the following species were seen:
1 Short-Eared Owl
1 Hobby, took out a Meadow Pipit!
Quite a good number of Curlew and Lapwing, always good to see!
So an excellent day today. Can it carry on tomorrow with Burton Albion's second play off game at Cambridge? We were diddled out of a win on friday night you know, after two awful decisions from the officials got Cambridge back into the game.