Thursday, 10 December 2009

The hills are alive!

Well not with the sound of music or birds for that matter, but I did find an impressive 12 wintering Stonechat of which not a single one would have been found by the casual visitor with occasional glances through binos despite the birds reputation as a 'sit up and beg' artist......not always the case and 'now you see me, now you don't' often rules especially if you take your eyes off 'em, today's birds were all distant observation's.

This is the only pic I took today, nothing new there then. It illustrates the loneliness of a distant isolated farmhouse in the Forest of Bowland. If you stand at an elevated viewpoint anywhere in the Forest of Bowland you realise just how vast this place really is and have to wonder how many birds over the millenniums have gone unnoticed and the impossible task of collecting records in such wilderness. In six hours serious searching today I myself barely scratched the surface at three locations.

On Harrisend which has become a huge sponge in the wake of the appalling November rain's, I found 4 Stonechat which were all males, also 11 Red Grouse, a Buzzard, a Raven, 5 Wren, and a Brown Hare, 16 distant 'geese' went over going north east.

On Hawthornthwaite where I had 'given up' on the place during the summer months and paid just five visits here all year including today's and found just one female up until 7 October when I saw eight birds, today I found 6 Stonechats and 8 Red Grouse representing the only fourteen birds seen here in 2 hours. From the Marshaw access track to the same fell I found a pair of Stonechat, at least 8 Red Grouse, a Buzzard, 3 Wren, and 3 Meadow Pipits were the only ones seen anywhere today.

On the way out this morning I called at Blea Tarn Reservoir to count 145 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye, and a Little Grebe, and before all this an estimated 380 Pink-footed Geese were going SW over Bowerham. So what are these PFG up to bearing in mind I'd seen up to 370 on Tuesday going north over Conder Green.   


Dumela said...

I like your style of blog. Intresting words and good photos.

Warren Baker said...

You did well to see a Stonechat, I cant see one in the photo at all!

Those hills may look beautiful, but I reckon they could do with planting up with some native tree's shrubs, and brambles, that will bring the birds in!

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for your kind comment Dumela. I've looked in on your blog and will do so again regularly.

This is moorland Warren and almost certainly amongst the best in the country. The Stonechats are there alright, you just have to look for them. Thanks for your continued support and comments which I value.

Mistlethrush said...

Is there a good technique for spotting grouse? I believe there are some near us - but I spot em???

Pete Woodruff said...

No technique for seeing Red Grouse Carol as they are one of the easiest birds to see in their moorland habitat.

The technique for counting them is another matter though, as they are a bird which flies off ahead and to the left and right of you and invariably 'cackle' as they do so, as a consequence you never know whether or not the next one you see is one you already counted and I always record them in numbers of 'at least'..