Description Of Site
Three Shires Head is the meeting point of the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire. The River Dane rises about two miles above here and runs in a steep-sided valley at this point. The area is between 360 and 450 metres above sea level and is typical of the Cheshire uplands. The heather, bracken, and purple moorgrass are interspersed with rocky outcrops while the surrounding pasture lands are closely grazed by flocks of sheep. A few stunted trees are to be found on the hillsides and a small area of mixed woodland lies near the two bridges.
Best Time of Year
The main season for birdwatchers is undoubtedly the spring. On the river itself, you may see dipper, mallard, common sandpiper, and grey and pied wagtails. Look out for the area's speciality, the ring ouzel, on the moorlands and fields. Other birds commonly seen will include wren, skylark, meadow pipit, wheatear, cuckoo, snipe, curlew, lapwing, red grouse, and golden plover. Robin, song thrush, chaffinch and greenfinch can be found in the small copse by the bridges.
The snipe is probably best located by listening for its "drumming" - the sound made by its vibrating tail feathers as it dives when displaying. This sound has been likened to the bleating of a young lamb.
Many of the above-mentioned species may be seen in all but the coldest of winters. From October to April, these birds are joined by large numbers of redwing and fieldfare -winter migrants from Scandinavia who will roost in the few trees and feed on the farmland.