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Brayton Barff, Wheldrake, Lower Derwent Valley

Brayton Barff is quite close to where I live and is one of those places that you know about but rarely visit. I have to say that every time I go I am really pleased about the birds I see but always disappointed at the number of dog walkers that scream at their animals. We walked from the car park and up the path, veered left then romped up the very steep grassy bank. The scene looked great with lower lying mist and just sound for company.

Mist concentrates the mind and the hearing, Chiffchaff were everywhere, well a bit of an exaggeration but we could hear three in a very short distance. A distant woodpecker drumming, then a Willow Warbler in the mist a truly fabulous sound so early in the year. One of my favourite birds is the Treecreeper and Brayton Barf never fails,
can you spot the treecreeper in the image below? Treecreepers are difficult to keep track of at the best of times let alone in the mist.
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Can you spot both treecreepers? One in each misty picture, a bird that never disappoints at Brayton Barff.
Brayton Barff info.
The path is well-surfaced throughout (hard and smooth), with a consistent 2 metre width. Mostly gently undulating, however some sections are quite steep.

By car: Our free car park is located off Barff Lane, just west of Brayton (please note there is a 2 metre height barrier).
From Selby: Follow the A19 heading west. Stay on the A19 as it branches to the left by the town hall. After about 11/2 miles, turn right onto Barff Lane. After about a mile, the car park is on your left.

By public transport: There are bus stops within walking distance of Brayton Barff.
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And onto Wheldrake and Lower Derwent Valley
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Aglais io, the European peacock, more commonly known simply as the peacock butterfly, is a colourful butterfly, found in Europe and temperate Asia as far east as Japan. It was formerly classified as the only member of the genus Inachis. Seen here on the path from the bridge down to Tower Hide.
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Yes I know just another Little Egret, but they are truly stunning birds and this is more like the scene from a rice paddy in Asia rather than a Saturday afternoon in York. There were so many Chiffchaff that I lost count and after half an hour "then there was one" we counted seven in about a hundred meter stretch. I've always considered good fortune to be on my side and seeing one or perhaps two was fortunate but seven!
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As you will see below we have "just a Wren" but this Wren gave a number of us the runaround for nearly thirty minutes. The problem was the call, the Wren is probably the first bird you get to know from your very first book and when you hear it, it's a Wren! Well this Wren did not sound like any Wren I have ever heard and so concluded three birders.

This Wren sounded more like a cross between a Ceti's Warbler and a Reed Warbler and as you can see from the fluff on its back this is a young bird, could it have picked up its strange call from its surroundings perhaps? Probably not.
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Little Grebe like little bullets, and above three Little Grebe, one in the bubble of air playing in the sun.
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High Speed Birds

To say it's windy is an understatement, I'm here at Wheldrake in the Derwent Valley, Its my local patch really and it really is a wonderful birding paradise. There are 1000s of birds all hunkered down for the day because they already know what we are just finding out. The winds are really strong, a flock of goldfinch have just passed me at little above head height doing at least 600mph Clarkson would be proud and Hammond would have crashed.

There are very few birds in the air as when they attempt to rise, the are carried off at high speed turning into missiles in an instant. The sun is shining in a very dramatic way, low fluffy bits of cloud and blue sky poking through to make this beautiful scene. Some birds, very powerful flyers are in the air, playing and frolicking with the wind, these are of course gulls.
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