Heather on Clougha. Pete Woodruff.
Clougha didn't quite look like this today but in a few days time it certainly will with its splendid carpet of Heather. I spent an excellent five hours up here and on Birk Bank today, excellent not because of the weather - it was a bit like the last couple of days in October rather than July with heavy grey cloud and quite a cool breeze - or the birds, though they were excellent as ever but not in abundance as they never really are in the uplands and its never much of a task to note everything seen and here they are....
It started of very good with 14 Redpoll silently and unknown to me in the car park area until they 'burst' out of a tree, from then on they were very mobile for a few minutes until they departed the area. I ended the visit here today having found 8 Stonechat but nothing particularly remarkable about that being four juvenile together, a solitary male, and a pair with a single juvenile despite my hanging around them for quite a while to see more, so supposing the lone male had a mate lurking around somewhere there are no more than three pairs on here in 2010.
To make up the twelve species seen today I recorded 8 Wheatear, a Jay which I heard only, 12 Meadow Pipits including a young bird, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 Curlew, a Kestrel, Buzzard, Grey Heron, c.180 Carrion Crows, and 4 Red Grouse which I didn't see until I'd been here four hours and was looking like I was going to enter a blank for the visit which would have been a first in more than twelve years.
There was a serious altercation between the four Stonechat juveniles I found, a Willow Warbler, and Meadow Pipits which included the young bird. It was difficult to pin point the aggressors but I'd suggest the Stonechats as they don't tolerate other birds very well or very much if at all.
I paid particular attention to the fact I never heard - let alone saw - a single Wren today, a bird normally seen in number on all visits here.
View from Clougha. Pete Woodruff.
Neither of these photographs are from today's visit, the top one was taken one August day a few years ago as was the one above on a winters day, if you try hard enough you can see the faint rainbow which didn't develop into much as rainbows go, and if you keep trying you can also see the church at Quernmore to the left of the rainbow....but I'm struggling to impress now I know!