There can't have been anything more I wanted to do, than to get myself off to Bowland on Friday morning to spend a pleasant 5 hour wander from Marshaw-Tower Lodge-Trough Bridge-Winfold Fell.
I saw Swallow and House Martin around Marshaw Farm. As the summer progresses, I'll try to get some numbers here.
My first sighting was this Common Toad, seen as the largest and heaviest amphibian in Britain, it was slowly heading toward the stream running off Hawthornthwaite Fell, and looks to have an injury running over it's eye.
In this crop, I notice the unfortunate Toad appears to have lost it's left eye to some attack or accident. I guess the dark colour is dried blood.
The Toad was behind the small plantation at Marshaw, where I also saw 3 Lesser Redpoll. Later, I found 3 Pied Flycatcher, all male, with two in the area around Tower Lodge, and one seen mid-way between there and Trough Bridge, so hopefully a tree nesting pair away from the boxes again this year. I heard at least 8 Willow Warbler and saw 10 Mistle Thrush on the visit. Also noted 3 Meadow Pipit, Blue/Great/Coal Tit, and saw just one butterfly, being a male Orange Tip.
The Negatives....It was disappointing to get some poor results from this area of Bowland today, some expected, some hoped for.
In addition to seeing just the one butterfly, I saw no Grey Wagtail, Dipper, or Common Sandpiper on the Marshaw Wyre. No House Martin at Tower Lodge, and found no Spotted Flycatcher, nor heard the Cuckoo, but perhaps in these latter two cases, I was a couple of days too early.
The plan was to wait until the end of April for this visit to Bowland, but with wall to wall sun, and barely a breeze, it was just too good to miss.
I was pleased to see for myself, the sign at Cam Brow, where the bank isn't looking all that good at the moment. Thanks to Howard Stockdale for keeping in touch and for the picture.
My suggestion that the Common Tern would possibly make a first ever April appearance this year on Conder Pool has proved correct, when one arrived yesterday morning 24 April. Hard to believe that it is 9 days short of 3 months earlier than the first Common Tern to arrive here 7 years ago on 2 July 2014.
Three Avocet nests all have eggs, with a Little Ringed Plover present, and a Spotted Redshank also gracing Conder Pool.