Thursday, 12 December 2013

Clougha/Birk Bank.

A brilliant day weatherwise yesterday and an absolute must I got myself back up Clougha for a long overdue visit and the first since 2 May.

Clougha Pike. Ministery's Photostream 

The visit was of course primarily to see if my dreaming of any Stonechat being up here would turn into reality, but despite a good four hours and six miles of footwork that's precisely what it has to do....remain in dreamland! 

On the 2 May visit I had found just two birds, and  went on to claim no records of breeding here again in 2013. A browse through my records show that around the peak period of the Stonechat population boom days on Clougha I had found seven birds on 19 December 2006 and at the time would never have thought perhaps seven years later I would record....'non seen on 11 December 2013'. 

Red Grouse Male. Martin Jump.

Accounting for risk of duplication, I counted 26 Red Grouse, and had three sightings of 'thrush' species, two in flight and distant one of which was almost certainly c.150 Fieldfare, another was of c.25 Redwing, and 12 Fieldfare seen well later.

Red Grouse Female. Martin Jump.

Upland birding doesn't produce a list of birds as long as your arm, and yesterday I saw just nine species, made up by 3 Mistle Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Blackbird, 2 Robin, a Wren, and up to 500 Starling flying  west late afternoon presumably to a roosting site. 

Game for a shoot!

No alleluias to sing about the 26 Red Grouse record yesterday as they are merely good numbers for the 'boys' to blast away at. I noted the area cluttered with nice newly painted white markers and new grit trays put out, so don't worry these boys are still in the 'sporting business' and aren't going anywhere.

Thanks to Martin Jump for the Red Grouse images, much appreciated.


Warren Baker said...

Very envious of your ''Brilliant Day Weatherwise'' Pete. Its been dense fog here for 3 days, cant see a thing!!

Noushka said...

Hello Pete,
Sorry, I've been quite busy lately enjoying also this wonderful weather and managing some interesting photos : :)
You have been quite busy too from what I read!
I envy your obeservations of the Red grouse, Martin's pics are fantastic!
Let's hope we continue with good and sunny weather this winter!
Cheers, keep well!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Wow!! lovely landscape.. Love it.. Greetings..

Adam said...

a nice and unique bird

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. Plenty of fresh air and exercise but sadly no stonechats.I am sure you still enjoyed the weather and the super scenery on Clougha.Hopefully a better stonechat year in 2014. Take care.