Many bird species are in steep decline and this shows that our entire ecosystem is in trouble, which means we are all in trouble. Greener Greenhill tries to draw attention to this nature emergency in various ways, including with this walk in the local woods. We hope to encourage people to identify, enjoy and protect our local bird population. Over 30 people came for our walk down Beauchief Drive, so we soon divided into two groups to make things easier. The following list is a compilation of birds heard by people in the two groups.
As we walked down the track, many birds were singing at the same time and it wasn’t easy to distinguish them, but then we heard the loud yaffle (extended laughing sound) of a nearby green woodpecker. The groups soon became familiar with the cheery-sounding robin, the lively, impatient nuthatch and the amazing wren, which has a big song for a little bird, with a distinctive trill in the middle.
We heard the enthusiastic, tuneful and varied repeating songs of song thrushes (typically three loud notes of this, three notes of that and so on). Chiffchaffs, the first migrant species to arrive for the Spring, did their characteristic “chiff-chaff” call, making them refreshingly easy to identify! Blue, great and coal tits chattered and long-tailed tit flocks made their high-pitched call. A mallard, jackdaws, wood pigeons, jay, magpie, crow, goldcrests, goldfinches and wheezing greenfinches were also heard, as well as the chirp of sparrows, and the pretty song of dunnocks. A blackbird sang beautifully in Gulley’s Wood. A buzzard called from high overhead. We heard stock doves in the trees at the top of the allotments.
One of the most experienced members of the group heard the melodious song of the blackcap in the distance in Ladies Spring Wood and also a willow warbler near the gate at the top of Beauchief Drive. We also saw mistle thrushes on the deer park, a kestrel and a sparrowhawk. At one point, these two raptors and a buzzard were in view at the same time. Check these birds out on the internet to familiarise yourself with their songs and calls. Try and learn one at a time and you will gradually be able to distinguish them from each other.