Thursday, 10 September 2015

Over The Hill!

On the perfect day another overdue visit, this time on Clougha Pike and Birk Bank where my last one was 15 June.

Clougha Pike. Pete Woodruff.

I left the motor in Rigg Lane car Park on Tuesday at 10.30am, and returned at 4.30pm having logged 16 species, which I suppose is no more than could be expected at an upland location like Clougha in September, though I was disappointed in not seeing a single raptor, especially the Buzzard and the kestrel.

An estimated 45 Goldfinch flew off and over Rigg Lane car park, five hours later I saw another similar number of Goldfinch on thistles up to a mile away from the first sighting....the same I wondered. Long hard searching had me find just one pair of Stonechat, interestingly these were in an area I never saw the species before despite in excess of 15 years up here. I was distracted from watching these two for any length of time to see if any young were around, by a bird flying to a wall to find to my pleasure it was a stunning male Whinchat.

Whinchat Brian Rafferty 

Six Red Grouse was a disappointing low count, and I kept seeing small waves of Swallow and House Martin over. The other 10 species as they went into the note book, none of which reached a double figure number....

Long-tailed Tit
Great Tit 
Coal Tit
Meadow Pipit
Carrion Crow


I saw 6 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock, 3 Large White, and just one Small Copper
Common Darter. Birk Bank 8 Sept. Pete Woodruff.

This mature male Common Darter landed on the footpath close to Birk Bank bog, and was the only dragonfly I saw all day, it is an abundant species and may be one of the last on the wing in the UK, it can be found well into November and even December on occasions.

Satisfaction Guaranteed.

Amazing isn't it....Despite the otherwise low level of quality and quantity today, a pair of Stonechat and a male Whinchat guaranteed me the satisfaction I get from birding. But on this occasion I was hoping for some surprises with the Stonechats on Clougha, but the bird has still not returned to this former stronghold despite the five years since the harsh winter of 2009/10. With a pair and two young seen on my last visit on 15 June, just this one pair have bred on Clougha in 2015, and Birk Bank remains deserted.


Warren Baker said...

As you know Pete, a sighting of a Whinchat makes my day too :-)

Brian Rafferty said...

Pete.Clougha is looking superb at the moment with the heather in full bloom.Think I will have a walk up there tomorrow.Will keep a lookout for any chats etc. Take care.

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks Warren/Brian. Hope the weather holds out for your visit to Clougha, and good to hear if you come across any chats Brian.