Sunday, 3 April 2016

Then There Were None.

It was one of those one off days in spring on Thursday, when we get a nice sunny calm day which has you realise it's that time of year. I was off to Harrisend, reluctantly because I thought the most part the lower end of the fell would be one huge sponge needing wellingtons to cross the run off ditches, as it happens I managed to cross them with some detours and care.

Despite receiving e-mails from contacts about Stonechats at various locations in Bowland, I found not a single bird on Harrisend and can't pretend not to have been disappointed at that. It will be interesting to get on Clougha and Birk Bank, hopefully to find this is not going to be the case up there again this year.

Meadow Pipit. Antonio Puigg @ Pasión por las aves

Otherwise Harrisend was all a bit bleak, though at least 30 Meadow Pipit were easily counted, with lots of chasing one another around, a lone Buzzard was soaring above, a Kestrel hovering, a Curlew was heard with it's fluty, melancholy whistle, and a Wren heard delivering it's amazingly loud song.

On Hawthornthwaite I soon picked up a distant Stonechat which was put up by two people ahead of me on the track, after they had disappeared into the wilderness so had the bird and I never saw it again. Another soaring Buzzard and hovering kestrel seen, 2 Red Grouse, at least 8 Meadow Pipit, 7 Pied Wagtail, and a Curlew, 2 Brown Hare are the first I ever saw here, in fact I don't have any previous records to mind in Bowland, but I read on a website....'the upland pasture fringe of the Forest of Bowland seems to be an important habitat for them'....that's news to me, must find out more.

Chaffinch.Warren Baker @ Pittswoodpatch 

The feature of a brief visit between the woodland strip and the plantation behind Tower Lodge was that of 8 Chaffinch, with 3 Robin, and a Great Tit all that was on offer. My third Buzzard of the day flew across as I approached Jubilee Tower on the way back to Lancaster.

Stonechats in Bowland.

It was hardly the most exciting of birding days for me on Thursday, but great stuff all the same, though too early in the year for anything conclusive about the Stonechat in Bowland. However, the species still hadn't returned to Harrisend last year in anything like the numbers of the past, and looking back through records over the past ten years, I found nine Stonechat on Harrisend on 5 April 2007, and in fact had a peak count of 12 Stonechat later in the season on 2 July, they were seen as 3 pairs and 6 juvenile. Last years breeding season on Harrisend was at least decent, with 8 birds seen as 2 pairs with 2 juveniles on 4 September.

With thanks to Antonio and Warren for their excellent images, and to Ana for the Ring Ouzel header image, brilliant bird, brilliant image....WOW! 

1 comment:

Martin Jump said...

The header is certainly a stunning image Pete,lets hope the stonechats return to Harrisend and a few more places as well this year.