12 June 2008

An 'Accidental' Yorkshire Birder

A week-long family holiday on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales (not far from Haworth and Skipton) presented me with few opportunities for 'real' birding, but its amazing what you can find with just a few country walks (even with a pushchair and a hyperactive two-year-old)...

The tally for the trip was 54 species in all, reasonably respectable for an inland location in June.

Around the wooded valley where we stayed there were Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Coal Tits at our bird feeder, the occasional moorland Curlew bubbling overhead, and various common garden and woodland birds all around.

The two star finds so close to 'home' were both local specialities - a pair of Dippers and my first ever badger. I found the former as it brought food into a nest underneath a nearby waterfall (keeping a very safe distance to avoid disturbance), and the latter fed outside our window most nights - a big male animal with no apparent fear of the solar night lights.

A nearby estate (St Ive's in Bingley) offered a few more warblers (Chiffchaff, Willow and Blackcap), and good views of Mistle Thrush - but sadly not the Goosander that had been reported as breeding there in recent months.

And on two trips to the moors, we were able to find more Curlews, another Dipper, Sand Martins, Oystercatchers, Grey Wagtails, Skylarks, plenty of Meadow Pipits, and another of my favourite birds - a Wheater, again busy bringing food to and from a nest.

Bird of the Week: Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), an old friend on this stretch of water, a striking bird with enough character and interesting behaviour to keep any birdwatcher happy for hours.

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