Walk with Nature at Styal Woods on Wednesday 20 April 2022

Ten members joined walk leader Ray Evans and National Trust Volunteer Derek Hatton for this morning walk around Styal Woods. The weather was dry and bright, a perfect morning to restart the RSPB Walks with Nature after so many walks were cancelled due to COVID.

Bluebells at Styal Woods
Bluebells at Styal Woods by Lydia Taylor

As is usual in late April the birds were singing to establish their territories and find a partner to start the reproduction cycle. Immediately after we walked out from Twinnies Bridge car park we could hear the ‘teacher teacher’ call of the great tit. Wood pigeons were flying out of the trees as we walked along to song from blue tits and nuthatch, the latter bird being difficult to find as the leaves were starting to provide cover amongst the tree branches.

We walked along the new paths by the hedges and fields where we heard and then found yellowhammer with a song thrush singing from an oak tree. We approached Quarry Bank Mill down a steep path to the stream which once powered the waterwheel for the mill. Derek told us that dipper have a nest under the bridge but despite spending time looking there was no sign, in compensation however we found grey wagtail, another species that nests in the area. At this point we had some real excitement as a sparrowhawk swooped down at our feet to attack a blackbird. After a flurry of feathers and squawking the sparrowhawk flew off and the blackbird escaped to the undergrowth minus some of its feathers – a narrow escape!

The walk took us along to a pond where two female goosanders were feeding but no male was in sight but a few observers saw the kingfisher flash through as Derek called out excitedly. On the way back to the car park some had excellent views of a little goldcrest and several blackcaps and chiffchaffs were singing with a few sightings for the lucky few who were able to find them with their binoculars.

Returning to Twinnies Bridge car park we said thank you to Derek and Ray for taking us on such an interesting walk. In total we saw/heard 29 different species and the full bird list was:

Species Name
Mandarin Duck
Common Merganser
Stock Dove
Common Wood Pigeon
Common Moorhen
Common Coot
Grey Heron
Eurasian Sparrowhawk
Common Kingfisher
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Eurasian Magpie
Carrion Crow
Coal Tit
Eurasian Blue Tit
Great Tit
Common Chiffchaff
Eurasian Blackcap
Eurasian Nuthatch
Eurasian Wren
Song Thrush
Eurasian Blackbird
European Robin
Grey Wagtail
Common Chaffinch
European Goldfinch

Ian and Lydia Taylor