Thursday, 5 February 2015

Target Practice.

A brilliant crisp clear day Tuesday on which I decided on some target practice to see if there were any wintering Stonechats to be found in Bowland....well in a tiny fragment of Bowland. 

I gave the west and east side of Hawthornthwaite Fell four hours barely scratching the surface of the area in such a short time. But it took me two hours and an unnecessary climb up the fell and back to find one. I had seen a bird flying away from the bank of the stream beneath where the car was parked to discover on the other side of the stream that it was a smart male Stonechat.

Over a total of 6 hours - four of which were on the fells - I found at least 28 Red Grouse, with not another single bird out of the 16 species seen on the day which was otherwise spent in and around Tower Lodge/Trough Bridge/Winfold Fell.

Treecreeper Warren Baker 

Two Treecreeper seen were my first of the species in some time. Also noted, 4 Coal Tit, 4 Robin, 2 Great Tit, 2 Dunnock, 2 Blackbird, 2 Long-tailed Tit, a Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, and Nuthatch. Two Raven were over Winfold Fell, and if I'm to include the Pheasants I saw to make up the 16 species on the day, and add the comment....'they are common up here'....I'd stand accused of be being sarcastic. 

A 'large' number of Fieldfare seen from a moving vehicle and probably reaching three figure, were in a field to the east of Isle of Skye Farm.

A little tale of irony.

Having passed the time of day with a gamekeeper, I pointed out to him the direction I was about to walk to which he assured me was OK and that....'the shooting season was over' which I replied....'I've seen 28 Red Grouse today which have escaped the guns' which he in turn replied....'until next season'....nice man!

Hen Harrier Simon Hawtin 

But hey....not 15 minutes after I left him I picked up what could have been a distant Short-eared Owl briefly before disappearing from view, but it was my lucky day and when I reached the brow of the track with panoramic views the bird was much closer to me and was a hunting 'ringtail' Hen Harrier. A feeling of great excitement for me ensued, as opposed to the feelings the man I had just left would no doubt have experienced....such irony.

And another little tale of Land Management.   

Fire! Pete Woodruff.

The Land Management Brigade were out again on Tuesday with their flame throwers, vandalising the moorlands for no 'good' reason. This is the Bank End area below Clougha, ablaze as seen from Little Fell Lane. Just in time to ruin any chances of the Stonechat and any other upland breeding birds returning here again this summer, not to mention the destruction of all other flora and fauna in it's path....thanks to the Guardians of the Countryside.

Thanks to Warren/Simon for the excellent photographs, appreciated as always.


Noushka said...

Hi Pete,
Sorry to read about this man's comment on the hunt... Evidently, the hunters are as bad in England as they are in France... :(
I have seen quite an interesting array of birds too in the garden with the snow, except the Brambling which is a very rare visitor I have seen here only once or twice. At least I've got this one Hawfinch male I love to photograph!
Keep well, enjoy your evening :)

Warren Baker said...

Lost for words Pete, it just makes me so sad .

I read noushka's comment about hunters, it seems it's as we all thought, they are all twats!!

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hunters !!! .. Grrrrr !!! .. Hi Pete ... When I'm with my Stonechats I remember you ...;-)
I've been too cold in Gallocanta .. So Much .. But it was worth .. All very beautiful .. Do not worry about the comments of my blog .. I hope soon repair your computer .. .. .. Greetings frozen