Green woodpeckers at Monsal Head

This is a chimney sweeper moth.

This is a chimney-sweeper moth.

In July, we went to Monsal Head in the evening.  We went there with the hope of seeing tawny owls, but unfortunately we didn’t see any.  There was a really steep woodland walk and a small waterfall.  There was at least three dippers bobbing on the rocks, and one young one.  Dippers are blackbird-like birds with white throats.  They are our only bird that can run along the bottom of a stream of river, and the only bird to have solid bones.  We went out of the woodland and walked along the side of the river.  A female mandarin scuttled along right in front of us, followed by a load of chicks!  The chicks were black, and all following their mother.  A coot was swimming along and its chick was on the bank side cheeping to it.  We walked up a hill so we could walk across the viaduct.  A chimney-sweeper moth fluttered in the grass.  Mummy said that they were a lot more uncommon than when she was a child, and it was a new species of moth for me.  We walked across the viaduct and mummy heard something calling in the bush.  I thought it was a blackbird’s alarm call, and mummy thought it was a young bird of prey.  When we saw it flies, we realised it was a young green woodpecker!  These woodpeckers have a call that sounds very much like a laugh.  Then, two more followed it.  These were my first green woodpeckers.  We walked back along the viaduct to see if we could see them again, and we ended up seeing a pair of blackcaps bringing their young out of the nest.

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