a million voices for nature
6 April 2003
This was our first visit to Castlemorton Common for some years, he variety of habitats does not usually give large numbers of birds, but ensures a good mix of woodland and heathland species.
Pulling in at the car park at the foot of Swinyard Hill, our first bird was a Peregrine, silhouetted against the sky, some way up a cliff. As we enjoyed a cup of coffee before setting off, other birds such as Jackdaw and Kestrel were seen over the hill; with a pair of Stonechat moving around the heath behind us.
We moved off, along the road to the foot of Midsummer Hill to enjoy the views over Golden Valley. Here we were looking down into the trees and were able to pick out several finches, a Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Chiffchaff.
We returned along the road and proceeded up 'The Gullet', which leads up a fairly steep hill through mature woodland towards Eastnor Park. We heard a Blackcap singing and eventually located him, sitting in a tree across the valley. A pair of Buzzard were circling and calling overhead, then three more joined them. A series of chases ensued, presumably a territorial dispute.
By now, we had reached the top and the entrance to Eastnor Park; we turned right to go through News Wood and from there to Swinyard Hill. The woods were full of Bluebells, although unfortunately not yet in flower.
After lunch, we moved on and had a walk along the Common itself. Although not many birds were seen, close views of single Linnets and Yellowhammer, both in full breeding plumage, made the stop worthwhile.
We moved on to Happy Valley to look for the Ring Ouzels that had been reported there. Unfortunately, we were unlucky and did not see any, but the panoramic views of Great Malvern meant that the climb was not in vain.
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