Thursday, 19 May 2011

A long hard look.

 River Hodder at Cross of Greet Bridge. Pete Woodruff.

With the wind still a chilly one when the sun disappeared, which it did very often though there were some short sunny spells for the first three hours at least, I gave the Cross of Greet/White Greet/Greet Bridge and Bloe Greet a long hard look over today, entirely on foot over six hours.

Unless your memory is as bad as mine you don't really need to carry a note book with you on upland birding, the days of an abundance of birds in these areas exist merely in the history books. Today started a little more than depressing for me as I found no Stonechats for the entire length of the top cattle grid to Greet Bridge and return which took me almost four hours and was looking like the eighth upland location to have lost the species, but 8 Wheatear were noted, 3 Buzzard sightings were not necessarily three different birds, a Kestrel, a pair of Reed Bunting, a pair of Canada Geese up here every summer according to my records, and a 'few' Sand they nest somewhere round about I asked myself.

I returned to the motor to have my 'butties and coffee' then drove down to the bridge again from where - unknown to me - the day was about to take off. On the young River Hodder I found a smart male Grey Wagtail which set me up for a most rewarding couple of hours on the bottom fringe of Bloe Greet to find 6 Stonechat, well ALLELUIA....back from the dead! Also 7 Whinchat....well, who'da thought I'd ever see more Whinchat than Stonechat on a day in the uplands. On the day I counted an absolute minimum of 40 Meadow Pipits and probably missed at least the same again, and heard/saw 5 Willow Warblers. I watched a Peregrine Falcon chasing a Feral Pigeon? which I took to be the easiest of targets, but the raptor gave up the chase for some strange reason, I've seen this behaviour before by Peregrines and never understood the strategy of these birds 'giving in' on an easy target.

I made a brief call at Tower Lodge on the way home to find a Common Sandpiper and another Grey Wagtail, a species I've found hard to come by of late, and another brief call was at Marshaw which produced another Common Sandpiper.

The final brief call today was at Stoops Bridge in Abbeystead where the Pied Flycatchers appear to have failed to return according to my observations on three visits here in the past four weeks....but the Bluebells here are still looking good. 


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Think we got you on our ticklist this morning Pete - we were in the silver Land Rover being grilled by the Police at the top of the hill.



PS had a nice male Stoney in Croasdale lter in the afternoon...all is not lost!!!

Pete Woodruff said...

Ahhhh....thought there was something afoot on this Dave, he did a u-turn before he reached me belief it or not on the narrow road over the pass which isn't much more than 10ft at its widest, ten minutes later he passed me going uphill then back down again another ten minutes later, he was obviously 'checking me out'....well who wouldn't!!

Definitely all is not lost and look at me....I'm happy again.

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. Glad your day in Bowland had a happy ending. Bloe Greet area does seem to come up with the birds.Seems to be looking good for the chats.

Enjoy your weekend and take care.I will be in touch.

Warren Baker said...

Feral pigeons are more than a match for a Peregrine in level flight. While the peregrine can do short quick bursts, the Pigeon is built for stamina, and can out run the falcon. The Peregrine needs to get above the Pigeon, and get into a dive :-) A little more respect for the FP please :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Yes, Bloe Greet - and beyond no doubt - definitely good for the 'chats' Brian as is the experience in previous years, next time up there I'm certainly going to 'spread my wings' in the area.

Interesting points the about the Feral Pigeon Warren. I love the learning curve which I'm in all the time.

Thanks to Davo/BR/WB for looking in and particularly comments.

Paul Foster said...

Really glad you found your Stonechats Peter,fantastic little birds.Saw plenty of Whinchat when I was up there last!!!