About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Wednesday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Wednesday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, a mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh, Jim McCabe, Mal Pulford., Joyce Russell

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Llantysilio Mountains 31st May 2012

On the top of Moel y Faen.
The Llantysilio ridge from Moel Morfydd.
At the trig point on Moel Morfydd - a touch breezy at this point!
Lunch-time in a litle gully, sheltered from the beeze.

"I did it all by myself" - a  recently born calf suckling, maybe for the first time.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.8 mi.es. Climb:1962'.
Time: 4 hours 46 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie H., Celia, Tim, Sylvia and Dave J.
Not the most ideal weather for this area, but it was better than we have experienced here on many occasions.  Although we had very little sunshine, it wasn't cold and the rain was so gentle it struggled to wet us. In fact I was wetter on the inside through overheating inside my waterproof than the outside of my waterproof!  However on occasions as we crossed from one hill to the next, it became a little breezy, particularly on Moel Morfydd.
Probably the surprise of the day was seeing a very small calf attempting to suckle from its mother and eventually being successful. The remains of the placenta was nearby, so this young calf must have been born only a short time ago, and this was probably its first feed.
Birds seen or heard today included: Jackdaw, Raven, Lesser black-backed gull, Wheatear, Pied wagtail, Willow warbler, Cuckoo, Common buzzard, Chaffinch, Meadow pipit, Common blackbird and Skylark.
This walk isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I still enjoy it despite the dreaded steep descents from every hill as you walk Westward, today was no exception.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bridge Inn at Pontybodkin, where Brains bitter went down well.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saddle fell, Bleadale Water, Fair Snape Fell and Parlick 26th May 2012

Open country, North of Chipping, Curlew in view.
Bleadale Water.
Lunch at Langden Castle.
The path along the upper section of Fiendsdale.
At the highest cairn on Fair Snape Fell.
Walkm stats: Distance: 12.4 miles. Climb: 3750' (wind assisted on the GPS), in reality more like 2200'.
Time: 7 hours 31 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Dave J., Mike and Celia.
Wall to wall blue skies ans sunshine with temperatures in the high twenties, thankfully we had a cool easterly breeze with us on most of the walk.  It did however strengthen enough to blow my hat off as we approached Parlick.
Much of the walk was superb, and we even had close up views of two Brown hares on Saddle Fell. However the concessionary path into Bleadale Water was hard to find and we did much Heather hopping and both Mike and Celia had mishaps on this section!
However once we encountered a proper path on the East side of Bleadale Water, thinhs wer much better and we could enjoy the scenery.  the final approach to Langden Castle required two crossings of the river, not all of us escaped with dry feet!
We had lunch at Langden castle, where the we were surprised to see two Sand martins flying around.
The upper section of Fiendsdale Water was delightful too, and it was along this section that we heard Ring ouzel. 
The trek across the peat from Fiensdale Head to Fair Snape Fell had its difficult moments too!
We arrived back at the car, having had a long and demanding walk, an looking forward to some liquid refreshment.
Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Swift, Sand martin, Pied wagtail, Reed bunting, Meadow pipit, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Great spotted woodpecker, Eurasian curlew, Lapwing, Common pheasant, Grey partridge, Red-legged partridge, Red grouse, Kestel, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, House sparrow and Common blackbird.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Tillotson Arms in Chipping, where  Hawkshead Bitter went down well.
On leaving the Tillotsons Arms the village seemed to filled with steam tractors, including Fred Dibnah's.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Ceiriog Valley 24th May 2012

Yet more Bluebells - North of Pontfadog.
The Eglywseg Rocks avove Llangollen in the heat haze!
At the trig point on Y Foel - lunch finished!
Ramsons and Bluebells.
Some of the flowers seen on route.
More flowers seen today.
Fran's Corn flowers (Dave J's too).
Walk stats: Distance: 11.4 miles (More for Dave J) : Climb : 1685' (More for Dave J).
Time: 6 hours  6 minutes ) (More for Dave J.), On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overallwalk average: 1.9 m.p.h
Group: Martyn, Roger, Gordon, Annie H, Sue and Michel, Celia, Dave Savage, Sylvia and Dave J., Fran, Sue and Dave P.
A good forecast, but in the end it was too hot for me, it reminded me (and others) of an infamous day with the group in Italy!
A lovely walk, where views were limited, as the heat haze clouded the distant views.  The birds around were limited too.  However we were compensated by the number of flowers seen, especially as we approached Glyn Ceiriog.
Lunch was taken early for us, at he Biddulf tower but no-one complained, despite the fact that we still had 7 miles to go!
As we went through Lwynmawr we had a choice, carry on along the road or continue as described on the route description.
As I approached the decision point Dave P said "you may have a mutiny on your hands", I replied "not really, I've already decided that I wanted to carry on along the most direct route to the start!
Dave J decided that he didn't agree and did his own thing to arrive back at the car park about 10 minutes later than the rest of us.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common swift, House martin, Bar swallow, House sparrow, House sparrow, Greenfinch, Eurasian curlew, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Common buzzard, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer, Chaffinch, Raven, Song thrush, Meadow pipit, Skylark and Blackcap.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Pant-yr-Ochan, where the best  refreshing beer on offer was Cwrw Eryry (Snowdonia Ale), although the first pint of Cwrw Haf wasn't bad either.
Dave S., joined the group for the first time, and hopefully it won't be the last.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Walks and Dates May 2012

Updated 17th May 2012
Tuesday 1st May 2012.
Pendle Hill – another Search for Dotterel
Distance:7-8 miles. Climb:1400’.
Start: Downham Village Car park. Grid ref: SD785442.
Leave Chester:8-00 a.m.
This is an extra walk for this week, so is a little shorter than usual.  It revives the May Day walk that we used to take before a certain government decided they didn't want to celebrate a day for the workers! The route today is the one in Terry Marsh’s book “Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire”. He describes it as “undoubtedly the finest ascent of Pendle Hill”. Let’s hope for a good day weather-wise, topped up with good views of Dotterel as we did a couple of years ago.  Don’t forget to bring binoculars.
Thursday 3rd May 2012
Maen Achwfan, Llyn Helyg, Crown Bach and Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:1500’.
Start:Roadside parking opposite the church in Whitford. Grid ref:SJ147782.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This is the second of our Bluebell Woods walks.
The walk starts off by using one of the walks in Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain. We have completed this one several times, including visiting the beautifully carved Maen Achwfan. However this time we include again the two new woods, Glol and Llyn Helyg woods. Hopefully we will return through Crown Bach woods to Lloc and then return to Whitford via Twll Bach.
Saturday 5th May 2012.
The Lawley and Caer Caradoc.
Distance:10 miles; Climb:2000'.
Start:Church Stretton centre car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SO454911.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
It's Dotterel time again, so this is another walk that may give us the chance of seeing them again. The walk combines two walks taken from Ian Jones' booklet "20 Walks From Church Stretton".It is a walk that we first did in 1998 and have done several times seince then. This is a superb walk, especially on a good day. It is the nearest that you can get to a ridge walk, particularly along the Lawley!
Monday 7th May 2012.
The Little Orme and More.
Distance: 7-8 miles. Climb: 1300'.
Start: Roadside Parking near the PC/Boating lake at Craig y Don, the East end of Llandudno. Grid ref: SH799821.

Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m. This is a little earlier than our usual time for setting off for this walk, but there is a Steam Engine Festival in the field opposite where we park, so hope that leaving earlier will mean that we get there before the festival goers!
We will as usual explore the Little Orme area, hoping to see Shag, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Great Cormorants and seals. Instead of going inland we will probably carry on along the coast towards Rhos on Sea, if the tide is right.
Thursday 10 May 2012.
Moel Plas-yw, the Alyn Valley and Coed Ddu.
Distance:11-12 miles; Climb:2500+'.
Start: Car park area at the foot of Moel Athur. Grid ref: SJ148658.
Another two walks from Dave Berry's book ""More Walks on the Clwydian Hills". The Moel Plas-yw walk impressed us last time with its excellent views and delightful woodland valley paths. A visit to the summit of Moel Arthur could be an extension at the end of the walk for some!
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
Saturday 12th May 2012.
Wylfa, Cemlyn Bay and More.
Distance: 10 miles.
Start: Mynydd Wylfa LNR Car park. Grid ref: SH356937
This walk combines one walk from each of the books by Carl Rogers on walks on the Anglesey coast. This walk explores the coast to the West of the power station. It will also allow us to explore he area around "the lagoon" nature reserve. If time allows it will also allow us to explore again the Mynydd Wylfa LNR. Don't forget to bring binoculars with you.
Thursday 17th May 2012.
Daresbury and Moore Nature Reserve.
Distance: 10-12 miles; Climb:Less than 500' at guess.
Start:car park on Park Lane near Appleton Reservoir. Grid ref:SJ598843.
The Daresbury walk is only four miles, and is taken from Jen Darling's book "Walks in West Cheshire and the Wirral". In addition it is planned to extend the walk to include Moore Nature Reserve to make the overall walk about 10 miles. We may decide to explore the Appleton reservoir and Hillcliff areas too!
Saturday 19th May 2012.
Chromford Heights.
Distance: 9-10 miles.
Climb: 1200'.
Start: Middleton Top Car Park. Grid ref: SK275551.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.This walk is taken from Mark Richards's book " White Peak Walks - Southern Dales". We have completed this walk a couple of times, but not since I escaped! It is a varied walk that uses the High Peak Trail, Canal towpaths, paths through Matlock Baths Wooded Gorge and the Bonsall Way. Mark Richards's describes it as combining all of the ingredients of the White Peak, whilst actually being outside the National Park.

The walk also takes us past the church at Chromford, reputed to be a location where Hawfinches can be seen, so don't forget to bring binoculars with you, we undoubtedly will be spending some time there in the hope of spotting one!
Thursday 24th May 2012.
The Ceiriog Valley and Y Foel.
Distance: 11 miles. Climb:2139’.
Start: Pontfadog Car Park. Grid ref:SJ234380.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk is based on a walk taken from the “Walking Wales” magazine called “Churches in the Valley Walk”. However we will extend it to include the summit of Y Foel and the Biddulph Tower. Our return route from Y Foel will be decided on the day, but won’t be the heather hopping route chosen last time! The main route in the beautiful Ceiriog valley passes 7 churches and eventually rises to the hill top road where there are superb views to be had, especially towards the Berwyns and the Shropshire Hills.
Saturday 26th May 2012.
Saddle Fell, Bleadale Water and Fair Snape Fell.
Distance:10 miles; Climb:2165'.
Start: Chipping Village Car Park. Grid ref:SD622433.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire". He describes it as a varied and demanding walk, not suited to misty conditions and dogs are not allowed on the concessionary paths. route finding could be a challenge, but at least there is the distinctive Langden Castle as a landmark at the most Northerly part of the route.
Thursday 31st May 2012.
The Llantysilio Ridge.
Distance: 8 miles + a possible 3 mile extension; Climb:2200+'.
Start: Parking area opposite the Ponderosa Cafe. Grid ref: SJ191481 .
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk is based on Dave Berry's "Llantysilio Mountain" walk. We have done this walk several times, but usually adapt it to suit ourselves. Perhaps we will complete the earlier part of the walk as described, even though it misses out the summit of Moel y Gamelin. Possible extension to Cyrn-y-Brain and Sir Watkin's Tower. Always a good walk on a fine day. This roller coaster walk can be more of a challenge than you might expect!

Cromford Heights 19th May 2012

Middleton Top - the start of the walk.
The easy part of the walk, descending the Middleton Incline.
The Crash Pit with one of its victims.
One of the many flowers seen today.
A meadow of Bluebelld, Cowslips and Buttercups.
A meadow of Cowslips and Buttercups.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.3 miles. Climb:1632'.
Time: 6 hours: 3 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Dave J.
A little on the cool side with a little dampness in the air for the first hour or so, but not a enough to make you wet.  The afternoon warmed up a little, but we still didn't get much sunshine. The walk description said the distance was 9.25 miles, so when the GPS gave 11.3 miles we were a little surprised, but our legs agreed with the latter.
Birds were a little thin on the ground, but Chiffchaffs seemed to accompany us on most of the walk, but the bird of the day was probably the Little grebes seen on the Cromford Canal.
The highlight of the day was probably the numerous flowers seen, especially the meadows of Bluebells, Cowslips and Buttercups.
St Mary's Church at Cromford was also well worth a visit to see the magnificent interior with its wall paintings.
Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Common blackbird, Common pheasant, Jackdaw, Coal tit, Long-tailed tit, Willow warbler, Meadow pipit, Woodpigeon, Carion crow, Song thrush, Mallard, Common coot, Moorhen, Little grebe, Mute swan, Skylark and House sparrow.
Route finding wasn't easy, but we managed to complete the walk as described, and thankfully we didn't opt for any of the optional extra described!
This proved to be quite an undulating walk, and sections seemed to be very popular, particularly the Cromford Canal area.  We didn't see any Hawfinches, but there again it took several trips to Pendle Hill before we saw a Dotterel!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wilkes Head in Leek, where the Hartington bitter went down well, and Martyn managed to obtain a takeaway to enjoy later thanks to landlord having acquired some plastic 4-pint containers.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Daresbury and Moore Nature Reserve 17th May 2012

"Summer or Winter" or "Which one likes food the most?" - photo taken  by Phil.
More Bluebells in another wood.
The Lewis Crol Memorial Window in All Saints Church.
A Reed bunting at Lapwing Lake, Moore nature Reserve.
Enjoying lunch (in the sunshine) overlooking Lapwing Lake at Moore nature Reserve.
Follow the leader along the towpath on the Bridgewater Canal.
"OK, so Dave can count birds better than me!"
Walk stats: Distance: 10.5 miles (some did a little more). Climb: 376' (some did a little more).
Time: 5 hours 2 minutes (some did a little more). On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall wal;k average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sylvia and Dave J., and Phil.
Numbers lower than usual, too many people still on holiday and on Grandparent duty. Celia decided not to come at the last minute, perhaps to wave to the Queen as she went to Chester Zoo or maybe just to stay at home and watch the cricket!
We were greeted by at least three Police vehicles at our start point, they seemed to be looking for something/somebody, but the policeman that I spoke to didn't volunteer why they were there!
We set off with a little rain in the air, but after about an hour, the Sun came out, and not wearing waterproofs at any time was the the right decision!
This is a delightfully varied walk, although, never one for views, but considering we were so near to a major conurbation, you wouldn't have really noticed it!
The walk included Bluebell woods, canal side and the Moore Nature Reserve.
Lunch was enjoyed at Moore Nature Reserve, sitting in the Sun, overlooking Lapwing Lake.
After exploring the Reserve a little and doing a little bird spotting from various hides we set off back towards the Bridgewater Canal. The only birds of note were seen when we arrived back at |Appleton Reservoir, when we saw a female Mallard with 13 ducklings. Three of the group who went around the reservoir saw two male Gadwall as well.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Ring O' Bells at Daresbury, where a Marston's brew, dare I say it, tasted really good.  The Costa Coffee was good too!
Birds seen or heard today included. Common swift, Sand martin, Barn swallow, Mute swan, Carrion crow, Black-billed magpie, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Ferral pigeon Blue tit, Great tit, Mallard, Tufted duck, Grey heron, sedge warbler, Reed bunting, Whitethroat, European robin, Common blackbird, Common buzzard, Common coot, Moorhen, Blackcap, Gadwall, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Nuthatch, Eurasian Jay, Carrion crow, Great crested grebe and Jackdaw.
In addition we saw a few Rabbits Grey squirrels and a Brown hare.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Wylfa and Cemlyn 12th May 2012

One of the bays West of the Wylfa Power Station.
Heading for Cemlyn Bay.
Nesting Sandwich Terns on the islands in Cemlyn Lagoon.
Red-breasted mergansers on the sea at Porth -y-pystyll.
Ravens on the rocks near Porth-y-pystyll.
One of the many Wheatears seen on the coast today.
Caterpillars of the Lackey Moth striving to get out of their silk tent.
Walks stats: Distance: 8.4 miles. Climb: 788'.
Time: 5 hours 21 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Celia.
This was a perfect day for walking, sunshine all day, but not too hot. In the main the gentle wind kept me cool and others a little too cool!
It's always good to walk along the coast, and today was no exception. Blue skies and sea, what more could you want!
The walk was a little shorter than usual, but Mike had to get back earlier than he had anticipated, his world record breaking daughter was coming home, but hadn't lost her key to let herself in!
We didn't see many people to talk to on this walk, until near the end where we me two young men who were walking a route for runners later in the year. The route was to run the entire coast around Anglesey, including Holy Island in three days. We declined the offer to participate!
We had lunch at Hen Borth, just before turning in land and back to the Cemlyn Lagoon.  This proved a delightful spot to stop, sheltered from the wind and still in the sunshine.  We even saw a White wagtail while we were having lunch.
This was a day for swallows, I think we were accompanied by them on the entire walk.  We must have seen hundreds of them!
The highlight of the day was the colony of Sandwich terns on the islands in the Cemlyn Lagoon, although seeing twenty or more Wheatear and at least Red-breasted merganser was good too.
Birds seen or heard today included: Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Reed bunting, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Barn swallow, House martin, Winter wren, Common blackbird, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Curlew, Pied wagtail, White wagtail Wheatear, Common buzzard, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Great spotted woodpecker, Song thrush, Greater black-backed gull, Common tern, Sandwich tern, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed plover, Wheater, House sparrow, Raven, Black-billed magpie, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Red-breasted merganser, Mute swan, House sparrow, Shelduck and Mallard.
We also saw a Rabbit and a Brown hare and quite a few Bluebells on the coast and not just in the woods near the power station.
After walk drinks as usual were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Alyn Valley, Coed Ddu and and Around Moel Plas-yw 10th May 2012

"We're big girls now!"
Our Mam says "Neigh cast a clout before May's out".
The approach to the Alyn Valley.
Wild garlic and Bluebells on the descent to the Alyn Valley.
Young bullocks running towards the front runners in in the group.
Walk stats:Distance: 9.7 miles. Climb: 1605'.
Time: 5 hours 9 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9.m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil, Sylvia and Dave J.
Numbers down again, some on Grandparent duty, some even on holiday, some with ailments and some with no excuse at all!
Five of us set off, hoping that the weather forecast would be right and that it would be mainly cloudy, warm and with a bit of luck no rain.  In fact we did better than that, we even had quite a bit of sunshine and no rain of any note.
This wasn't a walk for magnificent views, although we did get some good views of the Clwydian hills around Moel Fammau.
One surprising observation on today's walk was the fact Bluebells were everwhere, not just in the woods, but on the banks below the hedges along the roads that we walked. Perhaps we should include this as one of our annual Bluebell  wood walks.
The evidence of Spring flowers was also a delightful, as well as Bluebells standing out, some of the woods had masses of Wild garlic in flower too.
Lunch was taken in Coed Ddu, surrounded by  Bluebells, well at least a few!
We set off, and once again we didn't quite get it right, but manged to take a path that led directly to where we wanted to be!
On this occasion as we entered the wood on Moel Evan, we decided to take the path that contoured around its slope, a good choice as it meant that we didn't lose height on our way to the track around Moel Plas-yw.
Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Common pheasant, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Carrion crow, Common blackbird, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Common buzzard, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Winter wren and Jackdaw.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the hospitality as usual was welcoming and the Lees bitter in good nick!
Overall a good walk, just about right for us, well me really!

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Little Orme 7th May 2012

At the trig point on the Little Orme.
The Great Orme from the Little Orme.

At the trig point on the Little Orme.
Llandudno and the Great Orme as we approached the boating lake at Craig-y-Don.
Walk stats: Distance: 6.4 miles. Climb: 846'.
Time: 4 hours 4 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Mike, Tim, Fran and Tito.
Anyone who had listened to the weather forecast today, and believed what they said, would have stayed at home, but they made the wrong decision. Not only did they miss out on a walk completed entirely without rain, other than a few spots, they missed out on the treat of the day, Margaret Smith's Welsh cakes.
As ever the views from the top of the Little Orme were superb, but looking out to sea we didn't see a single seal.  Apparently February to April is a better time to see them. Perhaps I'll have to think about putting the Little Orme walk at least once a month during that period!
The only disappointment was the fact that the tide was in, and we couldn't walk along the beach.
Lunch was taken on the beach opposite the Rhos-on Sea Golf Course at a point where the groyne had been constructed seaward. We were fortunate enough to see several Wheatears on the rocks around the groyne..
We arrived back at the car, by now in glorious sunshine, having had a very enjoyable Bank Holiday stroll beside the sea.
Birds seen or heard today: Common tern, Herring gull, Jackdaw, Great cormorant, House sparrow, Greenfinch, Pied wagtail, Mute swan, Woodpigeon, Wheatear, Common blackbird, Dunnock, Winter wren, Chaffinch, Shag, Barn swallow and Guillemot.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn, Halkyn, where the Lees bitter revived those that needed it!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Birds Seen on Walks In April 2012

Birds Seen on Walks in April 2012

Barn swallow, Black-billed magpie, Blackcap, Blue tit, Canada goose, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff,Coal tit, Common blackbird, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Common redshank, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dipper,Dunnock, Eurasian jay, European robin, Fieldfare,Goldfinch, Goosander,Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Green woodpecker, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Linnet, Little owl, Mallard, Mandarin, Meadow pipit, Mistle thrush, Mute swan, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Peregrine falcon,Pied flycatcher, Pied wagtail, Raven, Red-billed chough, Redstart, Rook, Shelduck, Skylark, Song thrush, Stonechat, Tufted duck, Wheatear, Willow warbler, Winter wren, Woodpigeon and Yellowhammer.

Total: 58

Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Lawley and Caer Caradoc 5th May 2012

Our first view of Caer Carradoc.
Our first view of the Lawley.
At the top of  The Lawley.
At the top of Caer Caradoc.
A Yellowhammer, noy quite the bird of the day.
The bird of the day, an Osprey, but you will need to use yor imagination a bit!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.7 miles. Climb: 2142'.
Time: 6 hours 30 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Mike and Dave J.
A good day for walking, no rain, a little on the cool side at times and ending in warm sunshine. Only the last half an hour was really shorts weather, so I wasn't too disappointed that I had decided not to opt for shorts!
Not a good start for Roger, he'd forgotton his flask of tea and found the zip on his gaiters had got stuck!
As we skirted along the Southern side of Caer Caradoc, a couple of walkers shouted across to us to ask if we were hoping to see the Bluebells which were at there best on the Southern / Eastern side of Helmeth Hill. Even from where we were it was a magnificent display.
Just as we were aproaching the path that led towards Caer Caradoc, we had our first sighting of a Red kite, which on most occasions would have been the bird of the day, but that was to be reserved for a bird that we saw later on in the day.
As we emerged from the wood on Hoar Edge, we were surprised to see about 50 Ravens  in the air, but even that wasn't the highlight of the day.
As we headed North east up the path leading to the ridge of The Lawley, we saw our first Common swift of the year on our walks.
Lunch was taken just South west of the summit of The Lawley.
We decided to by-pas Little Caradoc and head for Caer Caradoc ridge by taking the path to the col between Little Caradoc and Caer Caradoc. Thankfully we did, as Dave and I had superb views of a pair of Yellowhammers that we watched for several minutes.
After crossing the hillfort on Caer Caradoc, we dropped down to the track on the Eastern side. After joining the path that came from the Southern end of Caer Caradoc, Dave convinced us that w need ed to take the path on the East side of the the stream, but this wasn't the path that we should have been on! At this point we soon emerged into bright and warm sunshine, time for another shirt change when I spotted a Grey wagtail flying East. We all looked to see if we could see it again, when we spotted a large bird perched on a branch at the top of a dead tree. When viewed through binoculars this turned out to be an Osprey enjoying a catch, presumably a fish from the fisheries just below. We managed to get superb views of the bird as it occasionally looked up from its meal, giving us more of a sideways on view.  So the bird of the day was obviously the Osprey, even better than a Dotterel that we had hoped we might see!
Birds seen or heard today included: Osprey, Red kite, Common buzzard, Common blackbird, Greenfinch, Redstart, Willow warbler, Raven, Jackdaw, Common crow, Grey wagtail, Pied wagtail, Meadow pipit, Common swift, Barn swallow, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer, Blue tit, Great tit, House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch. Long-tailed tit, Mallard, Moorhen, Rook and Collared dove. We also saw a Pintail, Crested pochard and a Garganey, but these were obviously birds that were part of a wildfowl collection.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Buck's Head in Church Stretton, where Marston's "me duck" went down well.