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The Long Mynd

A huge expanse of upland habitat which is one of my favourite areas where, for a few species of bird, this is the most likely place I will see them!

Red Kite

Timing as ever is crucial for many species and as some of them are rare breeding birds, only limited information can be given.

The area is a magnet for walkers and 'day trippers', particularly in Summer. Best advice is to avoid the crowds and seek out the more remote spots! You can normally drive up and over with ease (beware ice and snow during the winter) but a walk up one of the valleys (e.g Ashes or Callow Hollow) may yield a chance of better birds?

Raptor watching all year round....

This can be a bleak and forbidding area, especially in Winter if the wind is blowing (applies in the Summer as well) be sure to wear appropriate clothing! Raptors are one of the prime target birds here and Common Buzzard and Kestrel are commonly encountered. Peregrine, Red Kite and Merlin can't be guaranteed but you are always in with a chance of seeing these species. Hen Harrier and Short-eared Owl may put in an appearance and likely to be seen during the Winter months whilst the Summer speciality is Hobby!

Grasshopper Warbler

For raptors you need prey and there are plenty of Meadow Pipits, Reed Buntings and Stonechat, Skylark are extremely common birds and the hills will be alive with their song from Spring onwards. During the Summer months, Whinchat and Wheatear put in an appearance. Whinchat are well worth looking for in the bracken covered valley slopes whilst Wheatear favour short grass and the glider station is a good place to look. Red Grouse are present all year round and more often heard than seen. They might be accidently flushed but a slow early morning drive across the top may yield a sighting. There are always plenty of Corvids, in particular listen for the cronk of Raven which are likely to be seen overhead!

One of the key places to check out is 'Pole Cottage', a small tree/hedge lined plantation which acts a migrant trap during favourable weather. I've seen two Black Redstart (pictured right) here, Ring Ouzel, passing flocks of Brambling and just about anything is possible! Snow Bunting have also turned up on the gravel paths in this area.

Spring migration is the best opportunity to see one of Shropshires rarest passage migrants - Dotterel - anywhere in the glider station area or sheep fields nearby may produce? I haven't seen one yet but every Spring, I'll be giving it another go!

Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper warbler (pictured left) can turn up just about anywhere on the tops but pick a calm day to have a chance of hearing them reel. The lower valley reaches may produce Redstart in Summer and common woodland birds all year round where there is suitable habitat.

A waymarked path along and then to the back of the glider station leads to a large coniferous plantation at Priors Holt. This area is well worth checking out for Crossbills almost anywhere, they are flighty and very mobile but soon found on call. Areas of clearfell here are worth checking out, they may hold Tree Pipit during the Summer months.

The Western side of the longmynd, especially the smaller plantations are worth a look for Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and if you are feeling lucky the rapidly declining Spotted Flycatcher!

The area is easy to find from the A49 situated to the west of Church Stretton. The Burway is the most straight forward access point by car (but can be very busy on a Summer weekend) or simply walk up any of the valleys! (see map below)

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