We met at 10:30 at the courtyard beside the St Ives visitor centre, as the newly-returned Swallows swooped over our heads. The stables at St Ives are a great place watch these fantastic birds nesting throughout the spring and summer.
Our route took us first up past the golf course, where the Swallows were zooming low over the grass in search of low-flying insects and a male Common Pheasant strutted his stuff. Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers - migrant birds fresh in from Africa - were singing in the trees. These two species look almost identical to one another, and the best way to tell them apart is by their song. Willow Warblers do a lovely, happy, descending song; while Chiffchaffs repeatedly sing their name, "chiff-chaff-chiff-chaff".
You can find out more about these and all the other British birds on the RSPB website: http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/birdguide/.
We came to a field where a Little Owl is often seen on the wall, but it surprised us by being sat in a tree for once! It was quite far away so it wasn't easy to see - and they're called Little Owls because they are quite little!
Little Owl, St Ives, Bingley - Sunday 26th April, 2015
We moved on to the old barns, where we often see and hear Pippistrelle bats on our bat walks. This time we spotted a different kind of mammal: a Grey Squirrel, snoozing on a window ledge!
Grey Squirrel, St Ives, Bingley - Sunday 26th April, 2015
Around the top of the estate by Altar Lane some of us were very lucky to see a pair of Treecreepers building a nest! These small mouse-like birds often nest is little crevices in trees and under strips of bark. The birds were gathering grass, small twigs and moss to line their nest in gap in a tree trunk, occasionally making their very high-pitched calls. Meanwhile, the rest of the group were treated to two Blue Tits using an old tennis ball for nesting material!
We made our way past the heath and Lady Blantyre's Rock, near to where we have done Fungi Forays before, and down to Coppice Pond, passing more Chiffchaffs and Treecreepers on the way.
Mallards, Canada Geese, Coots and Moorhens were squabbling on the pond when we arrived. We rounded off the event with a quick look at the bird hide.
Looking for the Little Owl, St Ives, Bingley - Sunday 26th April, 2015
Thank you to everyone who joined us a great walk in some fine weather!