Red Moor Spring Walk 11th May 2019
A fine spring morning, albeit with a keen NW wind, brought a record 18 Cornwall Birds and CWT members out for the annual stroll around the northern end of Red Moor, led by Phil McVey. The walk takes in a variety of habitats – from wet willow carr, broadleaved woodland and encroaching birch through to remnant heath and ponds. We were lucky to have expert geologists and botanists amongst the group, which added to the overall experience!
Meeting at the grass triangle at Tredinnick Pits, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Song Thrush were in song before we began the walk proper and as we entered the CWT reserve a very quiet Goldcrest could just be heard in the treetops. A glorious carpet of Bluebells covered the verges and made up for a quiet section before we reached the (very deep) ‘lake’, which is a remnant of the extensive tin streaming in the area. A couple of Sand Martins were skimming the surface, but the resident Moorhens were neither seen nor heard. Plenty of toadpoles were feeding in the shallows and a couple of Red Damselfly caught our eye. Walking out into the more open areas, we could hear a distant Skylark – the only one of the morning – and Linnet flew over.
Pausing only for a brief skirmish with a dog-walker whose Jack Russells were running wild, we searched for Yellowhammer in an area where we had found them last year and were instead rewarded by a pair of Bullfinch. Continually returning to the same spot, we assume they were feeding young but couldn’t verify this. By this time, we were into Willow Warbler country and we heard 12 singing males (16 last year); a sharp-eyed member of the group also picked up a pair of Treecreeper collecting food. Rounding a corner in the track a male Yellowhammer was in song, for some this was their first sighting in 2019 of this declining species.
In the lee of Helman Tor, the highlight was watching a pair of Marsh Tit carrying food to their nest in a coppiced Ash, a site they also used last year. As we turned to leave, a Reed Bunting began its monotonous song. Sadly absent were Cuckoo, once a stalwart of this part of the reserve, and Tree Pipit, another regular. Butterflies were showing well, including Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and a Painted Lady.
Returning along the path we heard Great Spotted Woodpecker young calling and an adult voiced its alarm at our presence.
So, a pleasant morning’s walk in the sunshine. It was a pleasure to see faces old and new and introduce several of the group to this under-visited site.
Full species list (entered on Birdtrack):
1. Canada Goose
4. Great Spotted Woodpecker
6. Carrion Crow
7. Coal Tit
8. Marsh Tit
9. Blue Tit
10. Great Tit
12. Sand Martin
13. Long-tailed Tit
14. Willow Warbler
21. Song Thrush
27. Reed Bunting