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Your top tips for wildlife watching in Sheffield

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Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 09:41 UK time, Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Wildlife isn't confined to the countryside - many animals thrive in our towns and cities. Autumnwatch is heading to Sheffield, one of our greenest cities to discover how creatures adapt to the urban jungle.

Do you live or work in Sheffield? We'd love your top tips on where to watch wildlife in the city. Have you seen deer in the centre of town, otters near the shopping mall, or simply spotted something interesting in your local park or garden? Please let us know by posting a comment below.

Update 14 November: Wow! Thank you for your amazing response. Really, really helpful. We've finished filming there now, so watch Friday's show to see Sheffield's amazing wildlife.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Good Morning!
    I myself live in between Sheffield, Rotherham, and Worksop!

    Clumber Park (National Trust) is always a good place for wildlife and not that far from Sheffield in North Nottinghamshire, I go all the time! Plenty of squirrels, ducks, birds (finches) etc. The squirrels are even tame in certain places to feed out of your hands!

    Going by the River Don in Sheffield, you can see the odd king Fisher, variety of birds and ducks.

    I have 3 squirrels in my backgarden this Autumn, the odd finch too!

    Here are a few links which are good places around sheffield/Rotherham

    http://www.wildsheffield.com/Sheffield/FolderMenu/content22.aspx?id=188

  • Comment number 2.

    There is also the Botanical Gardens, which is excellent in sheffield for wildlife.
    http://www.sbg.org.uk/index.asp

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi, We have a Badger set in our garden, there are four, sometimes five badgers out. We have put a 'night' camera at the main entrance to the set and one under the bird feeders. We put out peanuts and watch the fun as they feed and push each other out of the way with their bottoms. The set is under our garage, not used by the car, and must be huge, by the amount of soil put out. When they come out of the set at dusk they poke their head out and sniff the air before coming out. Do they line the set with anything or is it straight on to the soil. I brought some straw up from the stables for them to use but they have ignored it.
    Sam

  • Comment number 4.

    Me and my girls go to a community allotment project and the wildlife down there is great. We have come close to foxes and seen the ferrel cat catch mice, rats and squrrials. We even have bee hives on site which adds to the excitement of wildlife.
    Sara

  • Comment number 5.

    Sheffield is littered with great places to spot wildlife, personal favourites being the Rivelin Valley, and the Loxley Valley, which me and my wife-to-be have been very lucky to call our home for since we were born. The abundance and mix of both flora and fauna is something very special. Including (if I remember rightly on this first one) the Rivelin valley housing one of the longest stretches of lime tree in Europe. The bird species are our personal highlights. Any one morning you can count easily over 20 species, and that can be on a bad day!
    The Agden area is a great place too, with Osprey and Shrike being spotted this year, along with an awful lot more.

  • Comment number 6.

    Blackamoor, Totley Moor and Totley Moss are great places for wildlife on the South-West edge of the city. There are Red Deer, at least one badger (which tried to trip me over whilst running at dusk) and lots of birds including Sparrowhawk, Kestrels, and Barn & Tawney owls.

  • Comment number 7.

    Sheffield's Ecclesall Woods are an absolute must visit. They cover 140 hectares, that's around 350 acres, of ancient 'working' woodland with archeology dating from the Neolithic period. There is wildlife in abundance, biodiversity status with historically important activities like charcoal making, ancient landscape shaping and, for your viewers, good public transport access. Plus a place for refreshments and cake! The Woods have a Friends Group as well as Sheffield City Council management and enterprises.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecclesall_Woods
    http://www.friendsofecclesallwoods.org.uk/about/ecclesall/
    http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside/trees--woodlands/woodland-sites-and-projects/ecclesall-woods
    http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside/trees--woodlands/woodland-sites-and-projects/ecclesall-woods/woodland-discovery
    (When Spring comes round imo these are the very best Bluebell Woods, but don't tell everyone :)

    Backa Moor one of Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust's reserves was our other local patch when we lived in the City and an amazing place it is too on any day of the year.
    http://www.wildsheffield.com/Sheffield/FolderMenu/content22.aspx?id=54

    Sheffield's hills made the green valleys a natural escape route for workers to reach clean fresh air on their Sundays off when the City was a big industrial centre. The rivers down these valleys also powered the mills that drove those industries as in The Rivlin http://www.rivelinvalley.org.uk/valley.htm this also meant 'wildlife corridors' were the norm in this City.

    Sheffield Council adopted a policy of 'thou shalt walk on the grass' for it's green spaces. For more wildlife and outdoor gems in Sheffield just look here:
    http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside

    The National Trust Longshaw Estate on the western edge of the City has a great importance for specialist plant and wildlife habitats. http://peakdistrict.nationaltrust.org.uk/longshaw

    Check out the weather differences between the Western Peak National Park side of Sheffield and the City centre. There is a measurable rain and temperature range over those six miles or so!

  • Comment number 8.

    There are loads of good places to watch wildlife in and around Sheffield.

    The valleys of the Porter, Rivelin and Loxley link the city the with the open countryside with of the Peak District National Park. They are great places to see birds such as dipper and grey wagtail.

    There are huge areas of woodland and moorland within the city boundary, including the wild and rugged Burbage Valley - another great birdwatching spot. Cuckoo and ring ouzel can be seen there in spring.

    My favourite 'urban wildlife' location is the escarpment known as Parkwood Springs, which gives stunning views across central Sheffield. Wincobank Hill is another good urban vantage point.

    If you're feeling energetic, you can walk from the city centre along the River Don to Blackburn Meadows Nature Reserve, then back along the canal. There's a good chance of seeing a kingfisher or two along the way!

  • Comment number 9.

    It's always worth heading to St. George's church as there's a good chance you'll see a peregrine. The university has installed a nest box and hopefully they'll be breeding in the city centre before too long.

  • Comment number 10.

    I've lived in Sheffield all my life and can really recommend it as a place to watch wildlife! In the Botanical Gardens there's lots of birds and squirrels - really tame ones :) Ecclesall Woods is also a really interesting place to visit, the sound of birdsong in there is amazing.

  • Comment number 11.

    We live in Bawtry, 20 miles outside of Sheffield. As we are in a rural area there is sadly a lot of roadkill on our nearby roads. This year I have noticed quite a few dead Polecats on our main road in the mile before the road reaches the village urban area. Is this unusual? There are currently 2 dead Polecats on the road side. The area is flat/undulating arable land, pig farms and quite a lot of wooded areas.

  • Comment number 12.

    Nether Edge/Brincliffe Edge is a green urban area within 2 miles of Sheffield city centre and has an abundance of wildlife including urban badgers which seem now to outnumber urban foxes in this area ( the foxes have declined here in recent years) hedgehogs ( my neighbour still has one coming to food each night). There are Tawny owls, Sparrowhawks, woodpeckers, nuthatches and any manner of woodland and garden birds.

  • Comment number 13.

    My sister lives in the Crosspool area. She has had a fox in the garden and a pair of owls on the roof! Also lots of bats to see at dusk.

  • Comment number 14.

    The moorlands surrounding Redmires Reservoirs on the NW fringe of the city is are a good place to see brown hare, mountain hare, water vole and a whole host of birds including curlew, lapwing, crossbill, kestrel and buzzard.
    In the city centre, the River Don has kingfishers, dippers, grey wagtail sand martins and goosander amongst others.

  • Comment number 15.

    I haven't lived in Sheffield for a while, but I heard that there were waxwings at Wharncliffe Side.

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    There are good sites for urban wildlife on the south-east edge of Sheffield along the River Rother. Used to be one of the most polluted rivers in europe now has a good fish population which results in groups of goosanders on there at this time of year plus cormorants, heron and kingfishers.

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    This morning there was a report of someone seeing an otter on the River Sheaf.

  • Comment number 20.

    We have just booked to go on a dusk goose walk in Loch Leven, nr Kinross this Sunday. We are hoping to figure out the lay of the land and the location of the hides so we can head up ourselves at dawn to see the geese leaving another weekend.

  • Comment number 21.

    Heeley City Farm would be a good place to film a bit of Autumnwatch. I’ve seen a Black Redstart (a few years ago) and three Ring-necked Parakeets (last week).

    Often see Kestrels or Sparrowhawks. We are awaiting the autumn influx of Redwings and Fieldfares and it is a favourite place for Waxwings if they choose to come to Sheffield this year.

    Our compost heaps and gardens make warm and rich feeding grounds for some insect eating birds, including overwintering Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.

    And a good chance of a Kingfisher or Heron and bats on the River Sheaf below the farm. And where will the Mandarin Ducks get to next?

  • Comment number 22.

    What about having a look at the Old Moor Nature Reserve on the out skirts of Sheffield in beautiful down town Barnsley.
    A nature reserve that has been formed out of the biggest derelict piece of land in Western Europe. The whole site used to be covered in colliery spoil, mines, railway sidings and chemical works only a few years ago.
    There's 3 to 5 thousand golden plover swirling around in front of the Wath Ings hide at the moment. Also there are a few other waders including a few green sandpipers, ruff and black tailed godwit plus good numbers of teal and wigeon.
    I'm surprised Nature Watch hasn't been there before because this is a real phoenix type story.

  • Comment number 23.

    The Shire Brook Valley, between Woodhouse and Hackenthorpe is a brilliant place to see loads of wildlife. Woodpeckers (great spotted and green) and Jays are all over the place at the moment as are flocks of long-tailed tits and finches. Lots of invertebrates, plants and fungi as well. The area is partly reclaimed sewage works, coal mines and landfill sites - and has old watermills and dams in there as well. Although it also has some tiny bits of lowland heath complete with heather and really old trees - which you probably wouldn't guess from looking at them. Wonderful to explore and easy to get to even by public transport!

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi all, thanks for you amazing replies! We're all very impressed and very thankful - they've been a real help. Please keep them coming in.

  • Comment number 25.

    The Notre Dame High School Environmental Learning Centre (ELC) in Sheffield is a bit of a hidden gem (although i would say that, my wife works there!) Despite the thoroughly urban location there is a small veteran woodland (Smiths Wood) full of tawnys, nuthatches and woodpeckers to name but a few; a badger sett; foxes; bats living under a beautiful Victorian culvert; lot's of groovy mushrooms and occasional rare plant; and the odd ghostly Notre Dame nun wafting round (they're harmless enough). The ELC is an open resource, for all schools in Sheffield teeming with woodland cams, a remote weather station, and other digital goodies.

  • Comment number 26.

    I regard myself as very fortunate because I live in the most exciting green city when it comes to exploring wildlife. I live approx 2 miles from Sheffield city centre and can take a short walk from my home into ancient woodlands and meadows full of plants and animals generally believed to be confined to rural areas. I belong to a very active wildlife trust that helps to manage the green spaces that abound within a large housing estate on an area called the Gleadless Valley. The 'green' network in Sheffield is amazing with many 'friends' groups protecting and enhancing their local sites. Badgers,foxes,deer etc have been reported in these urban areas. Last month I was driving past the local DIY store and saw a family group of 4 Buzzards above me just a mile from the city centre! My garden bird list includes;Blue tit,Great tit,Long-tailed tit,Coal tit, Nuthatch, Great spotted woodpecker,Goldfinch, Ring necked parakeet. I regularly moth trap and have had some really good records.
    Such a lot more to explore in our wonderful green city!

  • Comment number 27.

    There is a wildlife pond at Heeley City Farm (which is in the middle of a built up area) which is great for bat watching - they fly all round the farm in the dusk too. We get regular visits from the local foxes and all manner of birds visit the site to feed - I've seen lots of different finches and tits and blackbirds to name a few. A pair of pheasants visited the farm last year. The staff at the farm actively encourage it by including lots of wildlifey areas in hidden corners on site. You wouldn't know you were in the middle of the city!

  • Comment number 28.

    Over at Shire Brook Valley, I watched a crow 'mobbing' a buzzard yesterday morning - buzzards definitely becoming more common round us. We've got flocks of blackbirds guarding the hawthorn bushes. this appears to happen every winter in advance of the redwing and fieldfare flocks coming along - Strangely we don't get many waxwings, they seem to prefer to stay in the nearby supermarket car park. and we used to get murmurations of starling but now they are down to a murmur - although numbers are starting to build up this past week or two. good mixed tit flocks around and parties of long-tailed tits. As one of the other bloggers said there was a mushrooming of fungi this weekend as well.

  • Comment number 29.

    A few of my rarer sightings include a badger crossing Derbyshire Lane in Heeley. Very early, about 3am, one morning. I think it was going from Harvey Clough to the cemetery.
    I've seen a Kingfisher in Endcliffe park, flying low over the lowest dam.
    A bit further up the stream, near the bridge by Rustlings Road, I once saw a Dipper.
    I've seen Dippers further up the Porter, but that was surprisingly far into town.
    Both sighting were on busy Sunday afternoons, so you just have to be ready, especially for the fast flying jewel of a Kingfisher.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    It's worth mentioning that the City is the only city in the Uk with a National Park within its boundary. The wildlife that enteres the city using the river corridors has to be unique to anywhere in the country. Around where I live we have remnant populations of the Wharncliffe Deer Park herd and more recently, a healthy population of Roe Deer. Greno, Wharncliffe, Wheata, Prior Royd, Hall Woods are habitats suppporting fantastic wildlife - yet located only a few miles from the 4th largest city centre !! Recent sightings of Buzzards around the area only help to indicate that the city's habitats are healthy and well. The number of Dippers along the Riven Don is truely amazing. One of the best sights I've ever encountered in the Bradfield area was a pure white (ermine) stoat sat on a stone boundary wall on the way towards Strines Moor. Wharncliffe Heath is totally unique, a rich habitat of heathland nestled within a forested setting yet within an impressive Romano-British Quern making factory. There's no where else I know that surpasses this unique place - forget Stonehenge!

  • Comment number 32.

    The Totley area is a brilliant place to see wildlife. The many fauna and flora surveys that are being carried out are revealing what an amazing place the whole area is. From birds to bats and mammals to flowers, the biodiversity of the place is sooooooo incredible!

  • Comment number 33.

    Such a glorious day - my wife and I went to Whirlowbrook Park and saw Mandarin Ducks courting and mating on the lake. Off then to Redmires where we saw three maybe four Crossbills in the conifer tops!


    Ken Allsebrook
    Sheffield

  • Comment number 34.

    I used to live in the middle of Rivelin Valley and it's great for wildlife (bats, owls, squirrels, foxes, the odd badger, variety of other birds like wagtails etc). I even named the regular grey heron I saw Gandalf (as in Gandalf the Grey Herron ^_^). It's a lovely place to go for a walk as well. Also, along the River Don by Kelham Island you can see the odd kingfisher.

  • Comment number 35.

    The urban river Don corridor all the way from Forgemasters up through to Oughtibridge is superb for dippers, kingfisher and heron. The area of river around Kelham Island industrial heritage museum is of great interest - but currently threatened by a hydropower scheme. All of the city centre rivers (Sheaf, Porter Brook, Don) as well as the urban tributaries just upstream of the city around the Hillsborough area (Rivelin, Loxley) have thriving wild trout populations that are currently migrating to their spawning grounds (you can see them jumping at the bottom of the many weirs). The main river Don also holds large populations of grayling. The Don catchment rivers trust as well as local Environment Agency fisheries dept are tackling the barriers to fish migration in both the main river and particularly the Sheaf (e.g. natural bypass channel in Millhouses park, larinier fish pass at Niagara weir on the main river). Our local group (SPRITE) runs litter cleanups in the river corridor as well as monthly aquatic invertebrate monitoring (via the Riverfly partnership methodology), bat and bird box installations with local youngsters, himalayan balsam and japanese knotweed control works, re-seeding and planting with native flora, fishery population monitoring via best practice angling competitions. A short "start up" video for the group here: http://vimeo.com/11460651

    Dr. Paul Gaskell (Wild Trout Trust Conservation officer for "Trout in the Town" project)

  • Comment number 36.

    Although not in Sheffield - Carburton Lakes, near Clumber Park, is a regular spot for birdwatching. Feeding cups on fence posts in a small pull-in overlooking the lake draw a variety of tits and finches to within a couple of feet of the car. Great way to spend an hour. We were watching rooks mob a couple of Common Buzzards over the lake a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have seen foxes in shirebrook rd albert rad valley.Also a heron flies regularly down this urban valley and along the sheaf. especially in the snows last year. a flock of wax wings visits ourr holly tree on shirebrook rd every year. i think about nowish. Last autumn we filmed a grouse with a mobile from three feet away for about 5 minutes. it didn't move. it was stood on a rock on the highest point above strines inn on one side and ladybower reservoir on the other. At the head of the reservoir below strines in a small flock of geese is in semi permanent residence and the shallow water is sometimes full of frogs that sit on the bottom. The approach to the reservoir has a quatre acre diamond of solid blue bells. there is a bend in the river close to rotherham where fishermen pull giant fish ( the don can't remember where exactly tho!) king fishers on the don in sheffield city centre. opposite the riverside pub nr nursery street.. thats all i can think of for now.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree with Roger (8. above) that Parkwood Springs is an excellent site for seeing wildlife, in addition to its great views over the city.
    http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside/parks/a-z-city-district--local--parks/parkwood-springs
    ("The Sheffield City Council land is largely designated as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.")
    There are long-terms plans/hopes for it to become 'our country park in the city'. http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/landfill_could_be_city_s_central_park_1_440805

    Also, I can see why Fox Hill got its name! I've often seen foxes crossing streets and gardens in Fox Hill (more specifically Birley Carr) and can certainly hear them late at night; regular visits from squirrels, bats at dusk, and a variety of birds.

    Back Edge is another great site and vantage point:
    http://www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/sheffield/North_Sheffield_WW/sites/Back_Edge.html

  • Comment number 39.

    I have been watching the birdlife in Ecclesall Woods for many years now and besides all the typical woodland birds on show it holds a Pigeon and Corvid roost during the winter months. The Corvid roost can number several thousand birds and can provide a real spectacle when they are flying into the Bird Sanctuary at dusk. These Rooks and Jackdaws come in from all round the Sheffield region, definitely worth seeing !

  • Comment number 40.

    You can't beat the area around Bradfield moor and Agden reservoir for birds its on a flight path for the migration of many birds just take a look at SBSG site for resent sightings.
    Osprays have been on the reservoir this year, I have been luckly enough to photograph SE owl, LE owl, Tawny owls and plenty of Little owls this year the list is endless.
    My photo of the fieldfare was taken in this area which got photo of the day on the Autunmwatch flicker site.

    Jiber.

  • Comment number 41.

    Gillfield Wood, Totley is a great place to go looking for wildlife. There are so many different types of habitat that attract many species of birds, bats, mammals, fish, plants and invertebrates. I saw a herd of Red Deer there on Sunday the 6th November. There were 12 animals in total, they were grazing in a pasture next to the wood before slowly ambling into the wood to seek cover.

  • Comment number 42.

    I regularly watch birds at Parkwood Springs - an amazing place inside the outer ring road. The north west corner of Shirecliffe Tip is great for watching migration, with good numbers of meadow pipits, skylarks, redwings and fieldfares passing over recently. Last month also had crossbill and brambling. The siskin and redpoll flocks stay all winter. The pylons are frequently visited by peregrine, which sometimes eats its dinner there - great views at eye level from the top of the hill. Four buzzards together last month, as well as the regular sparrowhawk and kestrel. Down by the river there are heron, kingfisher, dipper and grey wagtail most days. Hard to find a better place inside the ringroad, and its great to have it on the doorstep.

  • Comment number 43.

    Wildlife thrives in some of the most urban areas of Sheffield. I have seen herons many times from Lady's Bridge (city centre), as well as king fishers and plenty ducks!
    In the summer we saw a huge amount of bird life from Norfolk Bridge on the Don, and along the 5 weirs walk, again kingfishers, and summer birds, also geese.
    Other urban areas like Burngreave have surprising large amounts of wildlife - in our garden near the Cemetery and Burngreave Rec we see: hedgehogs, squirrels, bats - there are owls (though we only hear them, think they live in the cemetery) goldfinch, bullfinch, greenfinch, blue tits, great tits, coal tits - on the Rec there are long tailed tits, black caps, to name a few. We have also had Waxwings in previous years.
    And Parkwood Springs is an amazing place, I think a previous comments cover the wealth of wildlife to be found there.

  • Comment number 44.

    Parkwood Springs is a vantage point high above the city centre with a fledgling forest garden and lots to see. Burngreave cemetery and the adjacent adventure playground and recreation field have bird species on the conservation lists also foxes and other small mamals. Roe Woods is ancient woodland with a variety of wildlife and pond dipping activities for local children. Kelham Island on the River Don have had deer sightings and Wardsend Cemetery is wilderness itself.

  • Comment number 45.

    Gleadless Valley has Ancient Woods, wildlfower meadows and a range of other habitats within and between large built-up areas in the south of Sheffield, a couple of miles form the city centre. These are great places for wildlife. Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jay and many other birds can bee seen. The autumn colours are beautiful at the moment. Local people and volunteers help to manage and look after these valuable urban greenspaces.

  • Comment number 46.

    Where to start in a city that has such diverse habitats and wildlife? One could enjoy a visit to any one of dozens of ancient woods, numerous babbling brooks, reservoirs and dams, swathes of heather moorland, extensive gritstone edges and boulder strewn slopes, myriads of spring-line habitats, marshlands, washlands, rich unimproved grasslands, ancient parkland, or even the rich urban habitats made internationally famous by the late, great urban ecologist Oliver Gilbert: all within the city boundary.
    To me Sheffield has such a wealth of wildlife interest and there is so much that could be mentioned, but highlights at this time of the year must include-
    Located in the western suburbs of the city, the Botanical Gardens are a great place to visit in the autumn. The colours and textures are fantastic and there is always a lot of very interesting wildlife about. The site is good for birds because of the variety of niches and the cover provided by evergreen trees and shrubs for roosting. Sometimes migrating birds pause there to feed and rest, notably finch species and thrushes. There are also usually plenty of fungi to be seen, with rarities associated with the non-native trees and woodchip mulch and other unusual niches. Sometimes truly exotic fungi are seen in the covered pavilions. A few years ago the Australian ‘’basket-fungus’’ appeared there.
    The botanical gardens are also home to an extremely exciting group of exotic, introduced invertebrates called globular springtails. There are at least five non-native species that can be found there. These remarkable, tiny but colourful animals originate mainly from Australia and New Zealand. There is even an un-described type found in the gardens that resembles a springtail photographed recently in Tasmania. These nationally rare springtails have only been recently discovered in Britain, largely because of advances in macro-photography.
    A tributary of the Rivelin Valley on the western outskirts of the city, Wyming Brook is a stunning wooded gorge. This site is a visual masterpiece at the moment with its autumn colours, in particular the stands of 150 year old plus European Larch trees, laden with cones and so attractive to birds such as goldcrest, coal tit, siskin and at times noisy flocks of crossbills.
    The site is also great for fungi, lichens, mosses, liverworts, ferns and other non-flowering plants; all of which look best at this time of the year. In places, the sheltered, humid environments found here nurture communities resembling western ‘’Atlantic’’ an

  • Comment number 47.

    Continuing on:
    ’Atlantic’’ and montane locations, to be expected in places like Western Wales and the Highland of Scotland. For example, there are exceptional sphagnum moss colonies here with several rare and attractive species more typically found in north facing corrie environments in Scotland and, sites where the minute ‘’jewel-like’’ slime mould Lamproderma columbinum , so characteristic of deep western gorges in places like Wales can be found in the autumn. Also, one might find toadstools typical of southern beech woods growing near to species more likely to be seen in western Scotland.
    Nearby Redmires, with its three early 19th century reservoirs is nationally well-known as a site for viewing so-called ‘’visual migration’’ throughout the late summer and autumn months. Especially during the first couple of hours of daylight, large numbers of birds including finches, pipits, winter thrushes, and wood pigeons, many originating from Scandinavia, pass low over the site. In early November, particularly during periods of high pressure, there are likely to be thousands of wood pigeons, redwing and fieldfare passing over Sheffield in the early morning; at Redmires the movement of these birds is concentrated and many appear low overhead. The upper reservoir of the three is well down at the moment and the exposed mud is attractive to gathering lapwings and other passing wading birds. Also, there are nearly always black-headed gulls around and in the afternoons lesser Black-backed gulls gather in a pre-roost. The latter may eventually move off to the south west, to roost at Middleton Moor in the ‘’White Peak’’, where in the last few days, up to one thousand of these larger gulls were present. ‘’Ocean View’’, a hill overlooking the reservoirs which was so named because the people of the early 19th century thought the newly constructed dams ‘’looked like a sea’’, is vegetated by unimproved grassland and is a reliable site to see a variety of waxcap and other characteristic grassland fungi.
    Stanage Pole, a landmark on the moors just a mile away to the south west, is a great place to get panoramic 360 degree views of Sheffield and the Peak District. It is also a good place to see the migration of moorland birds such as meadow pipits and on a fine day more than likely skenes of pink-footed geese transferring from the Lancashire Meres to the Wash. During October and November a large proportion of the thousands of pink-

  • Comment number 48.

    Great spotted woodpeckers visit local gardens in the Shire Brook Valley and we've started to get more green woodpeckers - often you just hear their 'yaffle' sound, which can be quite spooky at this time of year.
    The local nature reserve at Shire Brook is a really good place for a walk at any time of the year - lovely autumn colours at the moment. Instructions on how to get there can be found on the City Council's website.
    http://www.sheffield.gov.uk/out--about/parks-woodlands--countryside/trees--woodlands/woodland-sites-and-projects/south-east-sheffield-woodlands-project/shire-brook-local-nature

  • Comment number 49.

    To end my 'comment':

    pink-feet that winter on the Wash and North Norfolk Coast pass over the Peak District, typically within a roughly four mile wide ‘’fly-way’’ crossing the ‘’Eastern Moors’’ to the south-west of the city.

    These are just a few of the gems to be found around our very green city, but there are many more and, autumn is a great time to see nature city-wide in Sheffield.

  • Comment number 50.

    For more information about wildlife in and around Sheffield and beyond - go to the South Yorkshire ECONET site: http://www.ukeconet.co.uk web site. Lots of information, interactive stuff and surveys, and plenty of free downloads.

  • Comment number 51.

    My son and I had several picnics with Bingham Park's resident heron over the summer. He was more often than not in the same position each time - standing on a rock towards the far end of the duck pond. We sat and ate lunch on a blanket while he stood silently, occasionally wading or diving for fish (which my son saw swallowed whole on more than one occasion). For a couple of months during the summer, I visited the park as often as possible and met friends at the spot or en route so we could check whether he was there again. We all started reporting our latest sightings ('heronwatch'), timings, location, activity. It almost became competitive ...

  • Comment number 52.

    Paul’s right, where on earth do you start, when looking at wildlife in Sheffield – there is so much to see! We sit in a unique ‘cross-hairs’ position in Britain, with a meeting of a pronounced east west rainfall (Isohyet) gradient, a north south temperature (isotherm) gradient and a very distinct altitude variation between east and west. Not to mention all the river valleys and related aspect differences. This means that we have a lot of species which are at the most northerly edge their distribution and others at the most southerly point of their northern distribution. Being one of the best recorded cities in the world, we can observe year on year at this boundary, the small changes as climate and other factors move species distributions 1km at a time, wood by wood, or even log to log.

    At this time of year, Grouse on the western moors is probably an easy thing to find. Try Wyming brook with its Crossbills and then on to Redmires and Stanage edge for Grouse, short eared owls and great views (when the fog lifts!)

    I have a species of Harvestman in my Crookes garden that has been recorded nowhere else in Britain! Sadly it is something for Spring Watch and not around at this time of year. There are Millipedes in Ecclesall woods that don’t otherwise occur anywhere within 1000 square kilometres of Sheffield. Roe wood is a great site, near the Northern General Hospital which has a wide selection of birds and invertebrates, including a large biting centipede that is normally restricted to the south of England.

    Or you can be really exotic and look at the thriving leaf cutter ants in Weston Park Museum. While in the museum you can use the Designed for life interactive and create a creature that will survive an imminent change in climate. You can select characteristics which will send your animal into a world of predators and prey. Eat or be eaten! Every 20 minutes or so, the climate changes and you may or may not handle the new environmental pressures. Keep returning to see if you can create a creature that lasts your entire day visit. Few do. But maybe the Autumn Watch team think they know better??? While you’re there you may also like the giant woolly rhino, lifesized Oak tree and reconstructions of Sheffield habitats past and present.

  • Comment number 53.

    My friend has a female fox regularly visiting her garden in Sheffield. Happily feeds out of her hand! Got some great photos.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ecclesall is a great place for wildlife.

    Despite living near the main road, we have loads of wildlife in our garden. Foxes sleep there during the day, badgers visit at night (caught on garden camera), wood mice split their time between the patio and the cellar and we've had around 30 different species of birds.

  • Comment number 55.

    For a quick summary of what to see in Sheffield, the entrance to the What on Earth gallery at Weston Park Museum has an enormous picture of Sheffield with its moors, woodland, pasture and built environment. The 'pixels' are made up of thousands of the species and habitats that can be found in the city from mites to deer.

  • Comment number 56.

    We are close to Heeley City Farm and we regularly see Herons and foxes. The tiny 'back yards' also have lots of hidden creatures - we get frogs every year and have a resident toad, alongside a wide variety of beautiful spiders and bees. My favourite has to be the Swallowtail moths we get - they look like origami. Apparently there were at least fifteen different types of fungi in the Heeley Millennium Park on Sunday morning.
    I also often get to watch small birds of prey above the city centre from my office window and I know that the old Moorfoot building is home to lapwings and a colony of crows - the extensive flat terraces high up in the sky are a safe place for birdlife. One day went into work to see the remaiins of the pigeon breakfast right outside my window that a bird of prey had enjoyed.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi, loads of badgers in the s12 area, Charnock in particular, one story did hit the BBC news headlines about 4 years ago as the amount of badgers living around a certain property totally destroyed a garden. We have a badger sett under our decking and his toilet a few feet away, he was living there 2 years ago but we now think he has moved on.

  • Comment number 58.

    For the City Centre area, the Five Weirs Walk down the River Don would be an excellent starting point for Kingfishers, Dippers, Trout, Bullfinches and you may well find the odd cafe on route.
    If things turn cold then many the City's roundabouts will be awash with Waxwings, Redwings and Fieldfares.
    Ecclesall Wood is well worth a visit for fungi assorted bird life and Autumnal ambiance.
    Heading to the West and a stones throw out of the City Limits are the Eastern Moors. Big Moor is excellent for rutting Red Deer, Red Grouse, fungi, Adders and general Bog flora and fauna.
    Longshaw Estate is also worth a visit, for fungi ,Treecreepers, Green Woodpeckers, Goldcrests, Nuthatches and is also blessed with a cafe.
    Padley Gorge is a popular spot, Oak woodland with an abundance of woodland birds, with the lure of a cafe at the Grindleford end!

  • Comment number 59.

    Sheffield is an amazing place for wildlife and I feel absolutely blessed to live on a large council estate in the north of the city within two minutes of the Loxley and Rivelin valleys, and five minutes of Ladybower and Agden Dams.

    The planning of the estate with it's long wildlife corridors means there is always something scurrying, snuffling or flying around. In my garden alone during the year we have a wide variety of birds including Jay's, wrens, wagtails, goldfinches, swallows, tits, sparrows, thrushes and very rowdy starlings, I think I also recently heard a redwing for a few days and often see a Heron flying between what I'm guessing to be the nearby dam's, although did once see him sat fishing in river at Hillsborough corner. We regularly hear owls in the evenings, and terribly exciting to often see a sparrowhawk sitting on next doors greenhouse! Recently managed to film (not great quality though) a video of this amazing bird take down one of the many collared doves in the area and set about having it's tea on my path! Animals include up to three hedgehogs at a time snuffling around the garden in spring and summer (which is fab for my little veg plot), foxes, squirrels, toads and bats.

    So lucky to be here and I can see this all from the comfort of my breakfast table!

 

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