BIRDING THE LUNE ESTUARY, THE UPLANDS OF BOWLAND AND BEYOND

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CLOUGHA PIKE UNTIL RECENT YEARS THE BOWLAND STRONGHOLD FOR THE STONECHAT. PETE WOODRUFF.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Dire Day....

....is just about the best way to describe
the results of changing my birding habits today when I spent the best part of six hours leg work primarily to check out the status of Stonechats in the Forest of Bowland - or at least the area's I do check - the result of which was a resounding BLANK.

Having searched Harrisend for two hours the best I came up with was 4 Red Grouse and I didn't even have to concern myself about duplicate counting with these either. Then having searched Hawthornthwaite access track to the top turning circle, the Red Grouse count here was seven.

Having abandoned any thoughts of going on the access track from Marshaw because of management work I checked the fringes if Whinfold Fell only to record yet another 10 Red Grouse, and a Wren which obviously survived the 'cold' spell recently and come to think of it was the only one of the species seen all day. In the Tower Lodge area I noted 80+ Fieldfare and a Buzzard over.

I think disappointment is the politest word I can come up with on the subject of today's birding, and talking of disappointment's......

One of the biggest - and there was one or two - of last summer was finding eight Whinchat in the Cross of Greet/White Greet area on 9 June, and then - mainly down to the appalling weather we had in 2008 - never having the opportunity to follow up this excellent sighting to see the results of any breeding success of these four pairs. A similar situation was at Barbondale were I found a possible three pairs in the early part of the summer and never achieved any breeding results here either. Another pair were found in the Trough of Bowland opposite the access track to Rams Clough but these two seemed to 'disappear' and were never seen again despite several return visits here. The only other Whinchat record I had in 2008 was of a male at Stodday on 30 April which I clearly remember made me gasp when I clapped eyes on it as the male Whinchat in my book is as close as you can get to starring a rarity in the face......a stunning bird.

The one in the pic is from sightings in 2007 at Cross of Greet and is a grossly over cropped image which you can just about get away with as a small picture like this one.
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3 comments:

Richard Shilling said...

I shared your dire day Pete. See here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/escher1/3229230060/

I am not sure whether it is meaningful but I often see dozens and dozens of wren amongst the gritstone on Clougha and I have done all winter. It helps being up there in one place for a few hours. But they seem to be thriving to me. Just like you I also encounter lots of grouse too. I think it must be the amorous season as there is a lot of squawking going on when I am up there!

Pete Woodruff said...

Interesting what you say about the Wren, that they seem to be thriving. I assume you mean this since the 'ice age' of a few weeks ago in which case I got the reverse feeling yesterday having seen just the one bird in six hours of eyes wide open on the fringes and in the Trough of Bowland.

Incidentally, how come this area appears to have two names Trough/Forest of Bowland, are they two area's of the same area if you see what I mean?

Thanks for comments again Richard.


Pete.

Pete Woodruff said...

By the way Richard your link above doesn't work and unfortunately I'm not computer literate enough to know why.


Pete.