Moss Valley – 19 April 2024

We met at Sheffield Organic Growers Farm on Lightwood Lane, in lovely spring sunshine.  Mikk Murray first led us around the vast orchards full of beautiful blossom. We walked passed bee hives, several ponds and hen coops, entranced by Goldfinches, Dunnocks, Linnets, Chiffchaffs and Wrens in full song.  As several Common Buzzards floated overhead, Mikk explained how important compost heaps were for grass snakes, and likewise the ponds were vital for newts. 

Buzzard Photo: Steve Martin
Buzzard Photo: Steve Martin

As we left the farm to walk down into the valley, we had brief views of a Mistle Thrush and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and were soon watching newly arrived Swallows hawking for insects over fields containing spring lambs.  This rural scene was complete when a Yellowhammer appeared in a nearby tree, giving us great views.

Yellowhammer Photo: Helen Enso
Yellowhammer Photo: Helen Enso

We returned to the farm by a footpath criss-crossing the stream which proved very muddy and tricky.  However, it allowed us to spot Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest and more Buzzards.  This turned out to be a very memorable bird walk.

As well as all the birds that were noted on the Moss Valley walk, many insects were seen as well. Four species of butterfly were recorded: Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood and Orange Tip. There were also numerous Early Mining Bees, Bumble Bees and Bee-fly to be seen.

Orange-tip Photo: Helen Ensor
Orange-tip Photo: Helen Ensor
Comma Photo: Helen Ensor
Comma Photo: Helen Ensor

Wildflowers were blooming in abundance and down in the valley there were swathes of Bluebells and Ramsons (wild garlic). On the higher ground, along the hedgerows, Red Campion and Stitchwort was growing and the fields were full of Dandelions.

Wild flowers in Moss Valley Photo: Helen Ensor
Wild flowers in Moss Valley Photo: Helen Ensor

John Robinson & Helen Ensor

Star bird: Common Buzzard

Blackbird
Blackcap
Blue Tit
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Common Buzzard
Crow
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Herring Gull
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Linnet
Magpie
Mistle Thrush
Nuthatch
Pheasant
Pied Wagtail
Robin
Skylark
Swallow
Treecreeper
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellowhammer