A SWATTING OF FLYCATCHERS @ STRID WOODS
I recently visited Strid Woods which is located just north of Bolton Abbey on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. To reach Strid Woods you need to turn onto the B6160 off the A59 and follow the road past Bolton Abbey and after a short distance the car park is on the right-hand side of the road. Strid Woods are on both the western and eastern banks of the River Wharfe and birds such as Redstarts, Pied Flycatchers, Spotted Flycatchers, Dippers, Grey Wagtails and Kingfishers can be seen in the woods or on the river.
The woods were opened to the public in 1810 by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and the Reverend William Carr. The paths on either side stretch from beyond Bolton Abbey to the south and Grassington in the north. It was a sunny but cool day when I arrived and as I drove down the road to the riverside car park I came across two Red Legged Partridges on the grassy bank to my left. As I got out of the car I could see numerous Swallows and Sand Martins swooping overhead and low over the river.
I had a quick drink at the Cavendish Pavilion and then headed up the left bank of the River Wharfe and into the woods. Almost immediately I saw a pair of Pied and Grey Wagtails and then the sound of two Common Sandpipers as they flew along the river, perching on rocks right in the middle. They didn't stay long before flying off up the river calling as they went and I now followed the path
After a short distance I turned to the right and took a path that followed the river's edge and after a few yards further on I could see a male and female Mandarin Duck on the river bank. A little further along I could see four more Mandarin Ducks and as I was watching them a Common Sandpiper flew in and landed on a rock a short distance from me as a Grey Wagtail weaved in and out of the smaller rocks on the far side. As the Sandpiper flew off I followed the path as it turned to the left and headed up some steps to rejoin the main path as a Nuthatch called from the trees overhead. As the main path starts to descend back towards the river I turned to the right and went down some steps where, near the bottom, I saw a Mistle Thrush amongst the moss covered rocks. It was half hiding behind a rock for a few seconds before flying off through the trees and as I continued along the path as it rejoined the main path there were Robins, Blue Tits and Great Tits in the trees above.
I also saw a couple of Wrens flitting amongst some fallen tree branches before flying off low along the ground and out of sight. Over to my right, perched on a rock, was a Dipper which was constantly diving into the water and disappearing below the surface before reappearing at the same rock. Eventually the Dipper flew off and I followed the path as it went past the Strid and then climbed up the hill into the woods. A few hundred yards further along the path it splits in two with the left hand path heading through the woods to the Strid Woods Tea Rooms and the other slowly down towards the river. Along this stretch of the river I saw several Grey Wagtails as well as four Common Sandpipers. As the path reaches the same level as the river there is another path branching off to the left up to the tea rooms and as it was approaching midday I took this path. Halfway up the path I saw a Wren moving along a large chunk of wood covered in moss but as I tried to get a photo it disappeared into the undergrowth. Whilst I was sat having my lunch I briefly saw a second Mistle Thrush moving along the roof of a building about 100 yards away. After lunch I wandered back down the path to the River Wharfe where I saw a Pied Flycatcher perched in a tree at the edge of the water. It flitted from branch to branch before flying across the river and out of sight and as it did so I spotted a Dipper perched on a rock near the river's edge.
As the Dipper moved from rock to rock the Pied Flycatcher flew back across the river and landed in a tree just to my right. After a couple of minutes it made its way back to the other side of the river as a pair of Grey Wagtails flew past, followed soon after by a pair of Common Sandpipers. I now continued along the path up the western side of the river where there were a few Pied and Grey Wagtails as well as a few Mallards and another Mandarin Duck. I continued on as the path went under the Aqueduct and a short distance further along I saw a Nuthatch and from the tops of the trees above me I thought I could hear the call of a Redstart. After taking a closer look through my binoculars I could see it was indeed a male Redstart right at the top of the tree. It moved across to the top of the tree right above my head before flying off down the river's edge and out of sight. Flying over the river and the fields either side were several Sand Martins & Swallows and on the river itself were several Pied & Grey Wagtails as well as half a dozen Greylag Geese. As the path continued along the river's edge I saw a Chiffchaff fly from a tree into the woods which were now to my left as I approached Barden Bridge. In the woods I saw Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robins and a lone Long Tailed Tit and when I reached Barden Bridge I turned to my right and crossed over the river to begin my journey back down the eastern side of the river.
There were quite a few Black Headed Gulls along this part of the river as well as more Greylag Geese and Pied Wagtails. A few hundred yards down the path, opposite the end of a dry stone wall were a pair of Greylag Geese with four chicks in tow and as I approached the Aqueduct again I saw more Pied & Grey Wagtails. I continued past the Aqueduct and as the path began to rise up the hill a pair of male Chaffinches flew across in front of me. The path continued to rise steeply, I saw a Treecreeper and then at the end of a bench someone had left some birdseed out and a Nuthatch was making regular visits to it. Eventually the path reached the top where there is a covered seating area with some feeders at the other side of the path. There were a few birds visiting the birdseed that had been left on the ground including a male Blackbird and a trio of Coal Tits. I sat down and watched as the Coal Tits took it in turns to swoop down and take some of the seeds and I was just about to get up and carry on along the path when a Nuthatch appeared on the tree trunk to the right. It slowly inched its way down the trunk looking left and right before staring straight at me. A few seconds later it flew across to a smaller tree to the left, moving up the tree before flying off.
The path now began to descend back towards the river and as I walked along I saw a pair of Treecreepers and a trio of Pied Flycatchers in the trees above me. As the path now reached the river there was a lone female Goosander sat on a rock at the far side. I walked past it made its way on to the river before flying off up the river and a little further along as I crossed over a bridge over a stream I saw yet another Grey Wagtail.
As I emerged from Strid Woods on the opposite side of the river to the Cavendish Pavilion the Common Sandpipers were still there and there were at least half a dozen Pied Wagtails on the rocks next to the bridge as well as a single Grey Wagtail. As I crossed over the bridge I could see a large number of Jackdaws at the top of the trees as well as the numerous Swallows and Sand Martins flying about over my head and a male and female Goosander flying up river. I had now finished my six and half mile walk through Strid Woods from the Cavendish Pavilion to BardenBridge and back. As I reached my car it began to rain and as I drove along the roads above Strid Woods I saw six Oystercatchers with on perched on a dry stone wall at the side of the road. In total I saw 33 different species of birds and I have listed them below along with a few photos. STRID WOOD SIGHTINGS (29/04/2021) 10+ MALLARDS 1 CHIFFCHAFF
20+ JACKDAWS 3 TREECREEPERS
15+ PIED WAGTAILS 20+ BLACK HEADED GULLS
10+ GREY WAGTAILS 20+ GREYLAG GEESE
8 COMMON SANDPIPERS 1 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL
2 RED LEGGED PARTRIDGES 3 NUTHATCHES
10 MANDARIN DUCKS 20+ SWALLOWS
2 DIPPERS 20+ SAND MARTINS
4 ROBINS 3 COAL TITS
4 BLUE TITS 2 MAGPIES
6 GREAT TITS 2 WOOD PIGEONS
3 WRENS 6 OYSTERCATCHERS
2 MISTLE THRUSHES 1 MOORHEN
2 BLACKBIRDS 2 PHEASANTS
4 PIED FLYCATCHERS 1 LONG TAILED TIT
4 CHAFFINCHES 3 GOOSANDERS
1 COMMON REDSTART