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Spiers House Dawn Chorus May 5th 2012

led by Jim Pewtress and Tom Denney

A meeting beginning at 5am on a cold wet morning attracts only the hardiest of members but the seven of us were truly rewarded for our dedication. Despite a worrying forecast we only had short sharp showers which were somewhat wintery. We met close to the road junction with Moor Lane and the birds were pretty much in full song when we began. We headed north-east along the main track towards Spiers House. A goldcrest added its voice to the more common songs of blackbird, robin, chiffchaff, wren, blackcap, and song and mistle thrushes.

We cut east through the trees to a second track. It was here that crossbills were heard before they were seen and a few passed overhead. However, when we headed south-west along a main track parallel to Little Beck we found a flock of about 30 feeding on cones at the very top of pine trees. There were at least three brilliantly coloured males amongst them. Interestingly, some cones were actually plucked and carried in their beaks. A greater spotted woodpecker was heard as well as coal tit and siskin.

We crossed Little Beck and moved east to a younger plantation. We did observe two tree pipits, but disappointingly only heard one song during a descent despite a few flights. There were a number of willow warblers singing their distinctive descending scale and the odd one being kind enough to perform in full view. Wood pigeon and carrion crow also made an appearance.

We dispersed just before 7am thoroughly pleased with the early morning’s entertainment. Thanks to both leaders and to Tom for booking the crossbills. Nick Fraser took this video of the crossbills. Thanks Nick.

© Ryedale Natural History Society 2012 Back to the Home page