There are some great places to see birds all year round in the Onecote area.
Firstly, there are some special birds in and around Lane Head Farm and its barns.
We have many tree sparrows all the year round, peaking with up to 70 birds in the summer. They breed all around the property but especially in holes in the building walls. In 2018, we had 4 pairs each of swallow and house martin. We regularly see hobby during the summer – small falcons which prey on the swallows and house martin. Between March and June, you can hear and sometimes see curlew in the fields around the farm. Nuthatch (image right) and great spotted woodpecker (image left) are seen on the feeders behind the farmhouse pretty much every day of the year.
Other bird watching sites in the area:
Tittesworth Water– good for wildfowl especially in the winter. We saw a ring-necked duck from North America in 2017. A nice circular walk if you’ve got a couple of hours. The woodlands are excellent. There is a cafe on site or alternatively finish with an excellent lunch at the Lazy Trout in Meerbrook. 5.4 miles from Lane Head. Find out more here.
Swallow Moss – once a celebrated site for black grouse – now sadly extinct. But the moors in the area are still excellent for red grouse and common snipe. Curlew and cuckoo can be seen in the spring to early summer. Birds of prey, especially in the winter, including short-eared owl, hen harrier, merlin and peregrine falcon. A great grey shrike wintered there from December 2016. 5 miles from Lane Head. Find out more here.
Churnet Valley – beautiful woodlands along the canal from Cheddleton to Kingsley Holt – good for pied flycatcher in the summer and mandarin duck all year round. There are several RSPB reserves – Coombes Valley being the biggest. Coombes Valley is 3.3 miles and Cheddleton is 7 miles from Lane Head.
Axe Edge – the high moors above Flash off the Leek to Buxton road are excellent in late Spring with breeding curlew, golden plover, ring ouzel and wheatear. This is the far north-western tip of Derbyshire. 11 miles from Lane Head. Find out more here.
Carsington Reservoir – this is the jewel in Severn-Trent Water’s crown. It is a massive reservoir on the other side of Ashbourne which will take you a good 4-5 hours to walk around. You can get some good views from the hides near the visitor centre car park which has some excellent habitat for duck and waders. Great northern divers have been present throughout every recent winter. 20 miles from Lane Head. Find out more here.