The result of today's exercise - which won't take long to record here - was a forgone conclusion really but I needed the evidence and gave five hours on Harrisend and Hawthornthwaite on the west and east sides to find not a solitary Stonechat. When I got out of the car at Harrisend this morning I had thought I wouldn't need my notebook today....something of an understatement. The uplands of Bowland can be desolate places in winter and I was alone on Harrisend for two hours save 17 Red Grouse and a few 'corvids'.
On the west side of Hawthornthwaite Fell there was at least 300 of the animals in the pic above, and probably another 300 I didn't see, something I'm hoping isn't the case when I go up there come the spring. I noted 12 Red Grouse up here but also got the bonus of 2 Ravens overhead. This wasn't looking good as I'd been on my pins about three hours now and had 'collected' little.
Common Sandpiper. Phil Slade
Spotted Redshank. Phil Slade
Three Spotted Redshank were also found by PS on his visit yesterday. The Spotted Redshank is a virtual resident now at Conder Green with the exception of a few weeks in the breeding season and you can witness annually the unique transformation of this birds plumage from what you see in the pic above to it's summer coat of black.
Cockersands also lived up to its reputation again today as a 'good birding location' and one of the most reliable in the area for Snow Bunting when one was found here this morning.
Amidst all of today's negativity and a five hour/six mile slog for little reward - but it has to be done and I'm the man to do it - I managed to maintain an essential sense of humour and took a pic of the 'Nice pair of legs' on Harrisend!