Friday, 1 September 2017

Another Stonechat Safari.

Stonechat @ Pegler Birding  

On Wednesday, a half decent sometimes sunny but cool day when exposed to a light wind, a late summer visit had me finding 6 Stonechat on Birk Bank, by something of a coincidence seen in the same combination as my last time up here on 23 July, a pair and two juvenile, and a male and female seemingly unconnected.

Some interest in their behaviour, in that they independently moved around considerably and at times flew some distance, in fact they were all over the place and difficult to keep up with, and in the time I spent with them in view, the distance between my first seeing two birds, and where the six were scattered about when I left was probably in excess of 400m. I've no idea what exactly was going on here, and why all the activity, but it was good to have collected another breeding record of this obviously declining species in Bowland.

Also of note in the area and on the track east side of Clougha, 20 Red Grouse included twelve past me together in flight. It was also good to find five raptors, 3 Buzzard and 2 Kestrel, with a Robin and Wren the only other birds seen in four hours. 

Butterflies seen, 9 Red Admiral seven of which I saw with 8 minutes of each other when the sun put in an appearance at around 1.30pm, and - significant or not - were all flying south east, also 3 Peacock, and 2 Small Tortoiseshell

Black Darter. Pete Woodruff.

Forty five minutes staked out on the board-walk over the bog produced a male Black Darter, and at least 4 Common Darter

Dead Again!

My being on a grouse moor on Wednesday, has reminded me to post about the latest act of raptor persecution that has taken place on an estate in the Cairngorms National Park. A recently fledged and satellite tagged Hen Harrier has 'disappeared' from there, and the last transmission was made from this bird on - wait for it - 12 August. 

Wonder what the tweedy dressed bastards will come up with when they're questioned about what they might know about all this then. 


Richard Pegler said...

I'm impressed by your Black Darter, Pete! Until a week ago I'd have said they didn't occurr in these parts, but I was on private land a week ago and saw something that made me think twice. When I mentioned it to the landowner, who is quite into dragonflies, she said that Black Darter does occasionally show up there as they are on a nearby wetland area. I must investigate!

I was horrified, but not surprised, to hear about that Hen Harrier disappearing in the Cairngorm area. That area should support a strong Hen Harrier population - the environment is ideal - but the population seems to be in serious decline there. Sadly, the birdwatching fraternity are not helping the situation. I was told by one conservationist up there that the landowners and their staff are sick of birdwatchers because they are forever stopping to watch birds without regard to holding up traffic on the road and, in doing so, stopping them going about their legitimate business. From my own observations up there, they have a point! I'm sure it's not as large a factor as illegal persecution to 'protect' their shooting interests, but it does mean that many of them would be happy if all interesting birds disappeared from the area. To give an example, I have it on good authority that a rogue Caperacaillie near Nethybridge a few years ago was purposely killed because the birdwatchers and their cars were posing a threat to the safety of the school bus on its run past the location. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm defending the landowners - I'm certainly not - but we birdwatchers can help the situation by being aware in other ways too.

I feel I've not stated the situation very eloquently, but I'll let it stand, rather than try and rewrite it.

Best wishes - - - Richard

Pete Woodruff said...

Point made Richard, more minor detail, but all adds to the whole terrible tragedy that is called Bowland today.