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Padley Gorge: First Cuckoo of the year and a lifer!

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Old Sunday 25th April 2004, 20:58   #1
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Padley Gorge: First Cuckoo of the year and a lifer!

Took a trip to one of my favourite “local” haunts, this morning – Padley Gorge in the Derbyshire Peak District.

The only problem with the area is that it is a favourite for many people, and on a day with a good weather forecast, like today, it heaves.

So, to avoid the rush, we set off at 8.30 am for the hour’s drive from home.

We picked up a few of the regulars en route – Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Rook, Collared Dove and Magpie – and also caught sight of a Hare in one of the fields.

On arrival at the Gorge, whilst getting the stuff out of the car, we immediately heard a Cuckoo, the first for 2004 for both me and partnyorsha. In fact, we heard it call twice, and then did not hear it again!

We walked down to the brook – we were not first there by any means! – and after crossing the footbridge, partnyorsha, who really had her spotting eyes on today, saw a Meadow Pipit on one of the rocks. Now I wouldn’t recommend any of you put your last dollar on the accuracy of my pipit identification skills, but this one, even ignoring the moorland/heathland location, was very light in colour, and showed none on the sandy/buffy colours that my Collins guide suggests Tree Pipits have, and certainly wasn’t a “Grey” Pipit. So Meadow it is.

We walked down the Gorge on the brook side, into the wood, where we were greeted by what can only be described as a clamour of birdsong. We soon saw the first Wren of the day, and before long had seen and heard Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Robin.

It wasn’t long after that – again thanks to partnyorsha’s spotting skills – that we saw our “target bird” – a Pied Flycatcher.

Although, as I said, Padley Gorge is a favourite place of ours to visit, it is only in the last six months that I have become aware of its birding speciality, being probably the easiest and best place for these lovely birds within reasonable proximity of home.

April and May are the best time of year for birds in general at Padley apparently, and certainly now is the time for the Pied Flycatchers.

In the end, we saw at least three very active birds, thanks also to another birder who pointed us towards an even better part of the woods.

Whilst trying to track down as many Flycatchers as we could, we were also able to add a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a Treecreeper, whilst partnyorsha also saw a Nuthatch that I missed.

Walking down towards Grindleford Station, we heard Chiffchaff and just maybe another warbler, as well as Song Thrush.

Crossing the brook again at Grindleford Station, we returned along the opposite side until the first footbridge on the route back. We got good views of a Grey Wagtail – guess who saw it second again! – and not surprisingly, more of the same woodland birds.

Back approaching the original footbridge we also added a Mallard, and as we were packing the stuff into the car, a Swallow.

We took the scenic route home, which gave us the chance to add a few more regulars; Starling, Pheasant, House Sparrow and Carrion Crow, as well as an overflying Grey Heron and a Coot on a small lake.

The weather was warm, the birds were great, and the Pied Flycatcher was the lifer!

Anyway, couple of photos attached. Not fantastic quality, as I’m still getting to grips with the new camera – proven by not being on close enough zoom for the Waggie!
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 18:30   #2
Geoff Pain
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You seem to have had a good day,Padley Gorge is a place I've never been to but who knows.Not heard a Cuckoo in our neck of the woods for a few years now,have to rely on getting it elsewhere.
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 18:35   #3
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Nice one.
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 18:42   #4
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Sounds like a great day out! I haven't SEEN a Cuckoo for about four years or so though I hear them each year! They are one of the few species that I add to my Year List even if I haven't seen them...they are so darned tricky to see,as is Chiffchaff, that I make an exception for them!
I had my first Pied Flycatcher of the year, and first on my Northumberland List,on Wednesday(20th April)at Wallington Hall. Lovely birds...can't believe that despite birding properly since about 1984 I did not see my first one until Easter 2000 in the Lake District! Now that i've seen my first County one I'll probably be falling over them this summer!!!

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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 19:33   #5
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sounds good Dave

never seen a Pied Flycatcher but as I'm off to S.Yorks and the Lakes in under two weeks.........

ithhn't it
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 20:14   #6

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Sounds good to me too Dave. I saw and heard my first cuckoo last week :)
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Old Monday 26th April 2004, 21:07   #7
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Padley is a lovely area, and one which I have not visited in quite a long time. Sounds like a perfect day.

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