Friday, 27 May 2016

Last And Best!

On Tuesday I walked from the car park on Rigg Lane, up Birk Bank, went across the top, back down to cross Ottergear Bridge, past Cragg Cottage, down Littledale Road, on past Gibson Wood with it's excellent past record for Wood Warbler, and arrived back at the car park on Rigg Lane 3 hours later to hear and chase around until I eventually found and had excellent views of my last and best bird of the day, a Garden Warbler.

Garden Warbler. Jan Larsson @ Vingspann 

I noted 16 bird species in the 3 hours on this circuit, including at least 10 Meadow Pipit, 4 Wren, 2 Willow Warbler, a Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush, 3 Curlew were over, two west and one east, 25 Jackdaw off Rigg Lane, some of which were harassing Lapwing with young, a Brown Hare was in the same field. The big surprise on the top of Birk Bank was when nine young Red Grouse little more than a fortnight old, exploded out of the undergrowth almost from under my feet, they flew off a short distance all calling noisily followed by the female. Never seen anything like it before, a first for me, and didn't know the Red Grouse could have a clutch of up to nine. 

Thanks to Jan for the Garden Warbler, the views of my bird were as good as this one.  

The visit to Birk Bank was to get an update on the two pairs of Stonechat seen here on 5 May, but disappointingly I made contact with none. However, a much better result was on Harrisend, when I found a pair of Stonechat with two - possibly three - young but never saw them excellent record.

Also of note on Harrisend, 13 Meadow Pipit, 3 Linnet, 2 Willow Warbler, a Reed Bunting male, and a Mistle Thrush which came up off the moorland with food in it's bill, to fly towards trees in excess of a mile away from me and out of sight....had this Mistle Thrush really flown over two miles for a morsel of food presumably for young.

Small Copper. Warren Baker @ Pittswood Birds

It was good to see the first Small Copper of the summer on Harrisend. Thanks for the butterfly Warren. 

Birk Bank Dragonflies.

I saw a - too distant for my liking - Dragonfly over the bog, but colouration and the fact it was small and looked like a giant wasp in flight leads me to suggest it was a female Broad-bodied Chaser.

A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Kent: Keeled Skimmer &emdash; Male, Hothfield Common, June 2013
Keeled Skimmer (male) Marc Heath 

In 2015 two - possibly three - male Keeled Skimmer were found (Steve Graham) in August at the bog on Birk Bank which appears to be suitable habitat and brings the hope that colonisation may now take place here, hopefully I may see for myself this summer. Thanks to Marc for the Keeled Skimmer at Hothfield Common in Kent.  


Warren Baker said...

16 bird species, that's little reward for 5 hours walking Pete :-( But as you say, the Garden warbler on its own made the trip worth it :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Doesn't sound good does it Warren, but 75% of the circuit was uplands, so to be honest the count was no big surprise to me, but the other 25% wasn't exactly spectacular either.