Report on Harthope Valley, 18 May 2019
The trip was underway at 09:30 at our designated meeting point, first port of call was to head toward the Ring Ouzels. En route we enjoyed brief views of Pied Flycatcher, much better views of Spotted Flycatcher and a frustratingly brief flight view of a Green Woodpecker. We entered a clearing around halfway up the valley where we were treated to some brilliant views of a Cuckoo being mobbed by some extremely unhappy Meadow Pipits. A distant Snipe was displaying - the sight and sound of these displaying waders is always superb to see. Arriving at the preferred Ring Ouzel site it did not take long for the first bird to show; a cracking female was hopping around on the short grass and was soon joined by a male who proceeded to chase her. We had good views of Wheatear and a Kestrel put in a brief appearance, but by now the weather had deteriorated as the rain set in, so we headed back to the cars, picking up Whinchat and an all too brief Redstart along the way. Both Pied and Spotted Flycatchers were now in full voice but proved quite elusive.
After lunch we headed on down the Harthope Valley and stopped at various sites. The standout highlights here were Garden Warbler and a family party of Goosander. Our last new bird of the day was a male Stonechat, but was eclipsed by the always stunning male Yellowhammer. We ended on a respectable 45 species with the main target bird seen.