Walk with Nature Along The Street in the Goyt Valley

Wednesday 11th May 2022

On a damp early morning that turned into heavy rain, fifteen adults and three children braved these conditions to join the early morning RSPB Walk with Nature. Looking across the reservoir we heard the call of a common sandpiper and soon found the bird bobbing up and down at the edge of the water. The resident Canada geese were swimming across the reservoir as a cormorant flew overhead.

Leaving Errwood Hall car park at 7am we went up the slope to walk along the track overlooking The Street. Our leaders soon identified the call of common redstart, a known territory area for this colourful summer migrant but disappointingly we couldn’t find the bird despite an intensive search. We continued our walk looking down into the trees that were coming into full leaf. We heard blue tits and some saw goldcrests, then a nuthatch as the path joined the road. With the rain getting heavier, we walked past a clearing in the pine trees and heard and then found a tree pipit, acrobatically performing its display flight to the background call of a cuckoo. Sadly, despite searching all along the tree tops we could not locate the cuckoo but especially the children loved hearing its call. Walking up to the waterfall we searched unsuccessfully for the dipper but instead found and watched a family of grey wagtails fly up and down the river searching for food.

It was time to turn back and take the easier roadway back to Errwood car park, this time looking down to our right and scanning the trees for anything that flies! Our tenacity was finally rewarded as we found firstly the dull brown female pied flycatcher and then a superb male. The male is mostly black on the upper parts and white underneath together with a bold white patch on the folded wing with two white spots just above the bill. In the dull light the white wing flashes stood out against the dark trunks of the trees. After watching the flycatchers move between the trees, we suspected they were nesting in a natural hole, not a nest box, in the tree that was overhanging the river.

After that excitement we walked back to our cars to say our goodbyes but not before spotting a single swift flying overhead. Despite the rain we still managed to see/hear twenty-one bird species, with good views of three of the five target birds – common sandpiper, tree pipit and pied flycatcher. We had to be satisfied with only hearing the common redstart and cuckoo. The full bird list is:

Species Name
Canada Goose
Common Sandpiper
Grey Heron
Carrion Crow
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Willow Warbler
Song Thrush
Pied Flycatcher
Common Redstart
Grey Wagtail
Tree Pipit

Lydia and Ian Taylor