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.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Uplanding!



It was good to get up and on to Clougha today though hardly to be regarded as pleasant as the wind got up quite strong in exposed areas and very cold it was too. November was a big disappointment for me as I didn't get up here primarily for the monthly check on the Stonechats and I only went today to satisfy myself that I had at least tried to get there soon after the end of November, a month which offered me just two opportunities of good weather both of which I was otherwise employed.

Well, if you engage in upland birding you certainly can't expect a record sheet full of bird species and it was no surprise for me to leave this area after 4.5 hours with just eight in my book and today resulted in finding just 3 Stonechats, seen as a lone male - actually I don't think it was alone but I certainly couldn't find its mate - which is always unusual as 'generally' if you find one there's nearly always two and in the breeding season certainly 99% of observations have this result. Also noted were singles of Wren, Blackbird, and 2 Dunnock, with at least 10 Red Grouse including the one above which appeared unworried at my presence. A Sparrowhawk came over and with a tailwind soon zoomed by barely flapping its wings, I accidentally flushed a Woodcock which went up in front of me no more than two strides away from trampling it underfoot.

The day ended with a bit of spectacle when a female Merlin came on the scene from Rigg Lane flying a foot off the ground over a field and which was promptly chased off by a Carrion Crow which made quite a good job of keeping up to the raptor for a fair distance but eventually ran out of the necessary steam needed to outmaneuver this amazing small bird of prey.



 

3 comments:

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. Good to see you are out and about braving the weather. You have enjoyed some nice sightings today with red grouse,woodcock and merlin. Like the Red Grouse pic he too looks somewhat fed up with the weather.
Hoping to get out myself tomorrow,I have been hosebound for too long !!!

Regards to John Bateman good to hear he is doing well.

Pete Woodruff said...

Quite annoyed I missed getting up here yesterday, only the second day in the entire month of November when it was 'really' fit to do so.

Good to hear from you again Brian.

Warren Baker said...

Hi Pete,
Only 8 birds, but some good 'uns!