Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.

Access: Turn onto Sluice Road at the Bell Inn, Denver, then immediately left onto Whin Common Road. Park at the end of Whin Common Road, leaving car at owners risk.

Summer migrants

Past Highlights:
Marsh Harrier
Yellow-browed Warbler
Pallas’ Warbler
Lesser-spotted Woodpecker

There are two main sections to Whin Common. The first is accessed via a style on the left near the end of Whin Common Road, opposite the last house. The style itself is a good place to sit for vis. mig. (visible migration) in autumn when meadow pipits, skylarks, pied wagtails and hirundines fly south. The common is very open so a lot of sky is visible. Marsh harriers, hobbies, golden plover and whimbrel have been seen migrating in the past, and small numbers of curlew and whooper swan pass through each year. Early spring and late autumn are the best times for seeing unusual passage migrants.

The land on the other side of the style is grazed, so please keep dogs on a lead. A muntjac is sometimes seen on the common, and there is a fox’s den in the gorse to the right of the common. The gorse bushes just to the left of the style hold breeding whitethroats and sometimes linnets. To your right is an area of birch trees. This always holds warblers in summer as well as a large rookery. In front of you is a pond, but it is hidden by trees. Grey herons and cormorants can sometimes be seen flying over it.

The second part of the common is right at the end of Whin Common Road where a small open area can hold up to 3 cars. Please do not drive onto the common itself. The hedgerow between the car park and the main road (A10) often holds tit flocks in winter, and it was in one such flock that a pallas’ warbler was found in October 2004.

When you get out of the car and onto the common, turn right onto a path which takes you between gorse bushes on your left and Bates Wood on your right. This area is good for warblers in summer and bullfinches all year round, although numbers of bullfinch increase in winter. The hedgerow to your right just after Bates Wood often holds tit flocks in winter too, as well as winter thrushes. A yellow-browed warbler was seen here briefly in autumn 2006. The path leads to the far end of the common where nightingales can be heard between late April and June. The area of bushes at the end often holds bullfinch, linnets and winter thrushes. The path then leaves the common and looks out onto a field. The telegraph wires here have produced turtle dove, cuckoo and hobby, and the dead tree to your right often holds little owl or kestrel.

Turning back, take the path straight across the open common which leads back to the car park.