A special place for birds              See Survey data
The valley is rich in plant life and the insects that feed on them, so a wide variety of birds can be seen year round. Some are residents and some are regular summer visitors. Passage migrants (birds on their way to winter homes or summer breeding sites) can be seen spring and autumn some will be resting after being blown off course by storms.

Year-round resident birds - In all seasons you will see green woodpeckers, meadow pipits, stonechats, blackbirds and all the common garden birds. There are always small flocks of brightly coloured goldfinches and linnets with their jerky, flight patterns. Check out any puddles for wagtails, both pied and grey.

The managed meadow grassland gives good cover for ground-nesting birds such as skylarks. This is a major breeding area for these much-loved songsters. Keep a look out for birds of prey kestrels, sparrowhawks, and maybe even a hobby. And then, of course, there are the Gulls herring and blackheaded mainly.

Seasonal Visitors - As spring arrives so do the summer visitors wheatears, black redstarts, common redstarts, spotted and pied flycatchers. The shrubs along the valley are soon alive with whitethroats, willow warblers, dunnocks, greenfinches and many others. There is always the possibility of rarer birds firecrests, ring ouzels, and even perhaps an osprey coming in from the sea, en-route from Africa on its way to a Scottish loch.
April and May see the huge influx of swallows, house and sand martins, and swifts. Sheepcote is their first landfall after crossing the Channel on the final stage of their journey from South Africa.
From July and August onwards everything goes into reverse, as the birds return to the Mediterranean and South Africa for winter.
September and October bring fieldfares and redwings from Scandinavia to feast on the hawthorn berries in the valley. Occasionally rare passage migrants stop by; wrynecks and tiny Pallas's and yellow-browed warblers sometimes cause a flurry of birdwatching excitement.
So, there is always something to see, whatever the season.

Good luck, and happy birdwatching!

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