From lush edge-of-town park­land, to a most iconic build­ing

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL BROOK

AS WELL AS be­ing a work­ing cathe­dral, York Min­ster is a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion. For the last cou­ple of years, a new spec­ta­cle has been pulling in vis­i­tors – a pair of Pere­grines, now known as Mr and Mrs Min­ster. In 2015, the birds ap­peared to have nested on the North West Bell Tower, where they are of­ten seen perch­ing on gar­goyles, but no chicks emerged. Will there be a Baby Min­ster in 2016? This walk of­fers some of York’s best ur­ban bird­ing, tak­ing in the Pere­grines, the nearby Mu­seum Gar­dens, a stretch of the River Ouse, and my favourite lunchtime bird­ing patch, the Home­stead Park. Dur­ing spring and sum­mer, the call of Chif­fchaffs is rarely far away, and the meadow area, with a small wooded sec­tion, is a good place to look for Gold­crests, Treecreep­ers and Great Spot­ted Wood­peck­ers, and Jays are pos­si­ble. Other parts of the park that can be fruit­ful in­clude the Back­house Pond, where I’ve seen oc­ca­sional King­fisher or Grey Wag­tail. There are of­ten Bullfinches here, and Spar­rowhawks are com­mon. On the way out of the park, near the pedes­trian en­trance on Wa­ter End, it’s worth look­ing for Nuthatches. From the park, the walk fol­lows the River Ouse, where there’s a good chance of Goosander in the win­ter, and Sand Martin, Black­cap and Whitethroat in the spring and sum­mer. It’s also worth look­ing out for King­fisher and Great Crested Grebe. The Mu­seum Gar­dens of­fer quiet cor­ners where plenty of park­land birds can be found.

Bullfinch Pere­grine

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