Male Merlin. Peter Guy.
The excellent image of the male Merlin is appropriate because I gave the uplands - where these birds breed - eight solid hours today and did up to 9 miles legwork in the process, the result was a bit like doing a job worth £120 and being paid just £20, really difficult 'stuff'.
I had an e-mail from a Fylde birder telling me of a walk done yesterday Tarnbrook-Brown Syke-Wolfdale Crag-Whitendale Hanging Stones-Millers House-White Moor-Tarnbrook - more legwork than mine today I may add - and not a solitary Stonechat, Whinchat, or Wheatear....for want of a better expression I'd say that's grim.
Well I went on the access track up Hawthornthwaite this morning and saw not a solitary Stonechat either but noted 5 Raven over, counted 12 Meadow Pipits, saw 2 Sand Martin in the area of the small six hole colony but noted no activity around the nest holes, 2 Wrens, a Pied Wagtail, and - thankful for small mercy - a Golden - ringed Dragonfly, and a Large Heath and Small Copper being the only butterflies in nine hours....something wrong there!
Oystercatcher. Peter Guy.
At Marshaw 3 Oystercatcher pairs have a young each with a 'vile' Grey Heron on patrol close by, the big surprise of the day here was when a Redshank flew over the road into the adjoining field. I then 'got stuck into' the access track from here and did in fact find a pair of Stonechat to my eternal delight four hours into my birding day, 14 Meadow Pipit, 2 Willow Warbler, and - although I was some distance away from them - 3 Snipe flushed from a nice boggy area they had found.
The walk - at a stop/start snails pace - from Marshaw to Trough Bridge and return was disappointingly poor but 5 Common Sandpiper were seen again though no young have been found with these reasonably obvious three pairs, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Coal Tit being a family group, a female Mallard in the stream with just five ducklings, 5 Grey Wagtail, a Buzzard over, and another disappointment in only seeing 3 Spotted Flycatcher up here today one of which was a 'new one' in the area above Trough Bridge and although I've no concrete evidence yet there's the possibility of six pairs here this year. On the road home just before reaching Jubilee Tower 2 Redshank were on the fence line posts, so a double surprise here to the one at Marshaw earlier.
Though the day had some disappointments - and was bloody hard work - it was an enjoyable exercise, and when I got out of the motor at the access track to Hawthornthwaite this morning I couldn't help but note the total silence away from earshot of the M6 and other worldly distractions and pollutions....excellent stuff.
Thanks for the photographs Peter, much appreciated.