Tuesday, 13 April 2010

On A Loser.

I was on a loser today and if you're a regular to Birds2blog and you're fed up of hearing me going on about the Stonechats then you'd better do what the newsreader tells you to do if you don't want to know the footie scores....'look away now'. The picture - by yours truly - is of the access track from Marshaw to Hawthornthwaite Fell Top, a bit like climbing up a wall in places so don't even think of doing it if you have heart or respiratory problems, and the weather was more reminiscent of January 13 instead of April.

On Harrisend I had to search for over an hour to find a solitary female Stonechat which promptly disappeared, I just felt it had gone to a nest but despite a thorough search could find no male bird so something of a mystery there. Also noted, 2 Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Wren and good to hear some song too, 28 Meadow Pipits which isn't all that amazing given I was here over two hours, 2 Red Grouse which is even less amazing, 2 Reed Bunting, and a Buzzard.

On Hawthornthwaite another struggle to find another solitary Stonechat, also just 3 Meadow Pipits, and 5 Red Grouse. From the Marshaw access track to the same fell top I found no Stonechats here, 2 Meadow Pipits, 4 Red Grouse, a single Wren, a 'few' Curlew giving their song and melancholy whistle, even fewer Lapwing, and 8 Greylags flying noisily around most of the time I spent here.

I was a little hesitant to call in at Stoops Bridge in Abbeystead thinking it was too cold and too early, perhaps another week or two, but it was a good decision if only for excellent views of a smart male Blackcap and Nuthatch.

So after six hours upland birding I'm back in the pulpit again now on the status of the Stonechat at the six moorland habitats I've visited in the past few weeks which have produced the grand total of a pitiful eight birds, add to this a mere three passage birds seen this spring, plus the fact we are now into the breeding season....I rest my case.


Warren Baker said...

Everything is 3 weeks behind schedule pete, everything on my patch is well late, so there's time for more stonchat to arrive yet :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Like your confidence Warren and of course you may well be right as I don't think birds are at all as predictable as some people like to think they know they are.

I reckon I already have the conclusions about the Stonechat - in our area at least - but then again back to the 'predictable' aspect of the birds, of course I could be wrong.

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. I am optomistic and tend to agree with Warren...there's time yet...but am sure the severe winter did some damage to stonechat numbers.

Love the picture of the track up to Hawthornthwaite, it shows well the remoteness and beauty of this wonderful part of Lancashire.

Hope to see you soon Pete,meanwhile take care.

Pete Woodruff said...

Yes remote and an area I love to be in as with all the upland areas I visit. I talk uncontrollably to myself you see and think it best nobody hears me!

Look forward to seeing you soon too Brian.