Wildlife on Castle Hill
Bird Surveys

Monday 8th April was a cool cloudy day with no wind and we started our trek at 8.05 finishing at 9.20. The idea of the survey is to record as many birds as we can without double counting so its a leisurely walk looking for the sights and sounds of birds in front of us. No stopping for long periods and no looking behind. We used the Merlin app to identify bird song which was so helpful as the trees had begun to fill out with leaves aplenty. We recorded 148 birds from 19 species with the highlights being Redstart and Willow Warbler. Its particularly comforting to know that these birds along with the raucous Chiffchaff have arrived back from southern Europe and Africa as it’s a sure sign that Spring is here.

The second survey date was Monday 20th May, a warm and cloudy but windless day. The reason for a second survey is to get a snapshot of the birds that arrive later in the spring and this provides a better picture of all the birdlife finding a home on the hill. Again the walk started at 8.05 (coincidence!) finishing at 9.40. We saw and heard a total of 122 birds from 24 species with a Spotted Flycatcher and Whitethroat at the top of the list. How lovely to see the flycatcher darting out from a branch to catch insects and returning to the same perch. This red listed bird has travelled thousands of miles to find a safe space and chosen Castle Hill to make its summer home. That’s very special.

So, what’s new in 2024?
Coal Tit, Redstart, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, Bullfinch and Rooks flying over the hill from the Rookery by the viaduct.

What’s missing?
Nuthatch and Pheasant

Just lately I’ve seen and heard Treecreepers by the bottom gate but not during the surveys.

Sally Stevens