Greener Greenhill Birdsong Walk

Saturday 28 May 2022

About 20 people, including three young children, turned up for our birdsong walk down Beauchief Drive. The weather was kind – blue sky and plenty of sunshine. We started off with the tinkly, energetic sound of goldfinches, a beautiful bird that has become more common in recent years. Robins sang cheerily at regular intervals. Blue tits and great tits chattered here and there. A blackbird called out in alarm as we approached, while another sang in the distance later on. Many of us saw as well as heard a nuthatch. This bird is quite common in our woods and has several single-note, urgent, impatient-sounding calls. Wood pigeons cooed and crows cawed.

A wren piped up strongly down in Beauchief allotments – a big song for a little bird, with a distinctive trill in the middle. Chiffchaffs, the first migrant species to arrive for the Spring, did their characteristic “chiff-chaff” call, not very tuneful but nice to hear anyway. A blackcap sang melodiously, one of our finest songsters. A mistle thrush treated some of us to its wistful song, which contrasts with the song thrush’s enthusiastic, tuneful song (not heard on this occasion). A flock of long-tailed tits came close enough for us to see clearly, unconcerned at our presence. Perhaps the star of the show was a kestrel, which sat quietly for a good ten minutes in a tree near the path around Beauchief allotments, close enough for us all to see clearly. It didn’t have anything to say but we all got a good look at its beautiful plumage. As we finished the walk, a few of us heard a green woodpecker “yaffle” a couple of times and a greenfinch, which generally chatters away as though it’s telling a story, punctuated by a strong wheeze that makes you think it smokes 20 cigarettes a day.”

Chris Whitehouse