Dawn chorus walk (8th May 2022)


Seven DFBS members and myself met up with three other Dronfield Natural History Group members at Blackamoor Nature Reserve near Fox House for this year’s Dawn Chorus Walk. We started at the quite unsociable hour of 4.30.am but this was to make sure we would hear the first of the birds start to sing as the sky grew lighter.     Still in darkness, our first bird heard was a Pheasant calling briefly from across the main Sheffield to Fox House road alongside the reserve. We then entered the woodland area from the car park and paused a few times to hear the usual early starters – Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Song Thrush and Willow Warbler as they began the “Chorus” in earnest.  Also from here we heard a distant Cuckoo, the first of several times we would hear this quite elusive bird. Natural History member Brian Smithson agreed to note all the birds we heard or saw and I recorded the rest of the species such as flowers, fungi and insects.                                                               

Before we dropped down into the valley we paused again as the sky began to lighten and added Goldfinch, Mistle Thrush, Carrion Crow and Magpie. As we descended into the valley we saw the sunrise through some light cloud and the light was good enough to start the plants in flower list and Peter Hubbard had a very useful and accurate app. on his phone (Picture This) for identifying the ones we were struggling with.  Besides a lot of easy to identify common species early on,  Peter then started to come up with such as Wood Sanicle, Wood Speedwell, Thyme-leaved Speedwell and Woodland Horsetail.                                    

As we descended to the valley bottom and the stream the bird list also grew with Curlew and a male Mallard flying over and Chiffchaff, Blue Tit and Blackcap in fine song.  We then crossed the stream via the stepping stones and began the climb on the other side of the valley. This is fairly steep at first so we took it steady until it levelled out and we took our coffee stop. During the break here a nearby Cuckoo was calling almost non-stop for a good twenty minutes. A great moment on a beautifully still morning. Moving on after the break we were still climbing but much less of an incline now and all the lists were added to as we made our way out onto open grass meadows.  Red Clover, White Ramping Fumitory (thanks again to Peter’s app.), Hairy Bittercress, Cottongrass and Common Sorrell for the flower list,  and Meadow Pipit, Whinchat, Garden Warbler, Chaffinch and Pied Flycatcher all seen or heard, for the bird list.   As we made our way along the walled track back towards the car park two Roe Deer were spotted on the near horizon keeping their eyes and ears on us. We arrived back at the car park just before 8.00am and reflected on some great sights and sounds before eight of us decided to go for an all you can eat breakfast.   This year, with the Moorlands no longer opening at 8.00am it was back to Dronfield and the Bowshaw which thankfully does!

SPECIES LIST     8/5/2022


Blackbird,  Blackcap,  Blue Tit,  Carrion Crow,  Chaffinch,  Chiffchaff,  Cuckoo,  Curlew,  Dunnock,  Garden Warbler,  Goldfinch,  Great Tit,  Greenfinch,  Magpie,  Mallard,  Meadow Pipit,  Mistle Thrush,  Pheasant,  Pied Flycatcher,  Robin,  Song Thrush,  Whinchat,  Willow Warbler,  Wood Pigeon,  Wren TOTAL   25


Dandelion,   Greater Stitchwort,   Daisy,   Cow Parsley,   Dog Violet,   Chickweed,   Bluebell,   Hawthorn,  Sycamore,                   Wild Strawberry,   Ribwort Plantain,   Crowberry,   Bird’s-foot Trefoil,   Wood Sanicle,   Wood Speedwell,               Woodland Horsetail,   Forget-me-Not,   Herb Robert,   Yellow Archangel,   Jack-by-the-Hedge,   Rowan,                          Horse Chestnut,   Pussy Willow,   Creeping Buttercup,   Lesser Celandine,   Wood Sorrel,   Wood Avens,                      Meadow Buttercup,  Thyme-leaved Speedwell,  Red Clover,  White Ramping Fumitory,  Hairy Bittercress,  Cottongrass,  Common Sedge,  Common Sorrel,  Bulbous Buttercup,  Greater Bittercress TOTAL   37


Birch Polypore,  Hoof Fungus,  Many Zoned Polypore,  Coral Spot  TOTAL   4


Grey Squirrel,  Roe Deer,  Rabbit  TOTAL   3


Buff-tailed Bumblebee,  Tree Bumblebee,  Common Carder Bee,  Pill Louse,  Honey Bee,  CraneflyTOTAL   6

Walk Report by Graham Gill