Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Perfect Day.... more ways than one.

There's still some 'Autumn Gold' around but before I saw this one I was on Harrisend in the morning to learn the Stonechats have deserted. The visit here served as another reminder that you don't use much pen and paper on upland birding, but it was the perfect day with no wind, wall to wall sun, and I'm looking forward to one or two more like it this winter. Upland birding is brilliant, you can talk to yourself all day long with nobody around to call the men in white coats to come and take you away. I found just one each of five species in two hours on Harrisend, in the order of sightings, a Raven, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Buzzard, Red Grouse, and a Wren.

I changed my plans about three times today, when I left Harrisend I was going up Hawthornthwaite Fell from the Scorton Road access but drove by having decided to go up the access track to the same fell from Marshaw, as I approached the gate I noted some activity which turned out to be 3 Coal Tit, a Great Tit, and 4 Chaffinch. By the time I'd walked 50 paces up this track I changed my mind and plan yet again and decided to give the rest of the day to a thorough look over the distance from Marshaw Farm-Tower Lodge-Winfold Fell which took me three hours including a look at the front and rear of the plantation behind Tower Lodge and noted, 2 Mistle Thrush, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Jay, and a Treecreeper

About 300 mtrs east of Tower Lodge I had seen a good number of 'finches' flying away from me some distance and into the sunlight through the trees, I was now inwardly screaming but managed to console myself with thoughts of seeing them again on my return from the fringe of Winfold Fell where I saw just 4 Red Grouse. On the way back, Alleluia....movement on the ground and I reckon I'd found the birds which escaped me an hour earlier, very mobile, into the trees then back down again, I eventually estimated at least 80 Brambling with 2 Nuthatch in my sights at the same time as a bonus.

My photographic efforts are - at the top - of one of the many superb Beech still maintaining it's autumn colours by the Trough Road near Tower Lodge, and the lodge - hidden on the left - as you come down the track past the plantation.   

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