Saturday, 14 June 2008

Bowland Foothills 5th May 08

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Wildlife Adventure Safaris

Safari Report 5th May 2008

This safari took us to the western slopes of the Forest of Bowland. It was a warm but muggy cloudy morning. Spring was in the air. For the first time this year the trees looked green rather than brown. Stepping out along the track birdsong was filling the air, particularly the loud fluty tones of a Mistle Thrush high in the canopy up on the valley side. A Nuthatch called repeatedly.

By the riverside is a particularly splendid Alder tree, which has been entered on to the Ancient Tree Hunt data base.

Following the river the woods were

alive with birdsong, although the new leaves were making spotting the singers a little difficult. The path meanders along the valley floor and we cut up a side path to climb the hillside. There the bracken is dense but the recent reduction of the numbers of sheep grazing has allowed the regeneration of a fair amount of Birch saplings. In this area we heard the rustle of dead bracken above us and looking up saw a fine Roe deer buck. He was

staring straight at us. The wind was not in our favour, nor were the scrunchy dead leaves underfoot. We had an excellent view of his face adorned by a decent pair of antlers. We watched for a minute or so before he bolted in to a thicket nearby. There he barked like a ferocious large dog and we could hear him thrashing around.

Moving on we rejoined the main footpath through the woods. The birds were still singing all around. I was hoping to be able to point out the trill of a Wood Warbler as there had been several on migration along the Fylde coast during the previous week. If they had reached their breeding grounds unfortunately they weren’t singing.

We did, however, get brilliant views of singing Blackcap, Garden Warbler and a Yellowhammer. Green Woodpecker was heard in the distance and a Skylark sung above us most of the morning.

Despite the warmth it was not sunny and there weren’t many insects about. Two Peacocks and one unidentified White were the only butterflies seen. Two Bright Silver Line moths were disturbed from the bracken covered hillside. In amongst the bracken plenty of Dog Violets were in flower.

Retracing our steps we came across our Roebuck again. With the wind more favourable we got superb views as he cantered across the fellside. Three Buzzards circled lazily over our heads as we watched him. We also came across one of his marking posts.

Chaffinches, Robins, Wrens, Blackbirds, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs accompanied us along with our superb songster the Mistle Thrush. A Cuckoo was heard by other visitors but not by us. Back by the river a pair of Nuthatches very obligingly investigated a potential nesting hole only a few feet a

bove our heads.

Before returning to base we had a brief quick look for the Kingfisher at a regular haunt be it wasn’t to be found. In its place was a nesting Dipper which secretly approached its brood by diving under water, something I’ve never seen before.

Passing through one of the local villages, being Bank Holiday

, it was too busy to stop

and admire the 300+ year old Oak tree standing by the roadside. It was also disappointing that there was too much water in the river to be able to do the 4x4 ford to end the day.

In the lanes not far from Base Camp was a beautiful male Kestrel sitting on the top of a telegraph pole watching for mice, voles or maybe just a tasty worm.

Where to next?

1 comment:

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