Sunday, 24 April 2011

Up the uplands

The Safari, wifey and Frank set off early for the hills to avoid the heat of the day, not that heat was allegedly not on the cards today, but frank doesn't cope well with heat and he was in for a fair walk quite a bit further than he normally goes.

Several species were on the target list...so how did we get on?
Not far out of town on the lanes a Red Legged Partridge (154) was strutting along the road, a good start.

Arriving on site we soon had another year bird in the form of a female Pied Flycatcher (155)flitting around a hole near the base of one of the large old streamside Alders to a backdrop of a bank of Primroses on the other side of the stream.

Then a calamity, Frank heard the sound of running water and follwed is ears down a steep bank and in to the water...then he wasn't able to climb out so muggins here had to drop all the kit we were carrying to clamber down and drag him out.

Loading back up we pushed the tripod legs together and one snapped off. Cheap and nasty Chinese thing but with the scope essential at the end of the walk not a good start to the day!

A Kestrel flew round the side of plantation while hundreds of Willow Warblers and Chaffinches sang from every tree.

Higher up the hill the go-back go-back go-back of Red Grouse (156) was heard from the Heather covered hillside. A Raven croaked in the far distance while a Buzzard soared on the first thermal of the day.

A Mistle Thrush dashed across the valley pursued by a Meadow Pipit which may have thought it wasa raptor. Funnily the Mistle Thrush was intent on catching up with a Sparrowhawk to give it hell. Curlews started bubbling all over the place, a really atmospheric sound.

Frank was getting hot by now even though it was still quite early in the morning - ooh he's a lovely boy!!! Ignore the milky white legs...



At the end of the road we scanned with the scope sort of resting on the wobbly two-legged tripod but we were unable to find the Eagle Owl on the far hillside.

On the walk back a farmer set off up the hill on a quad-bike and three Collies to round up his sheep and promptly flushed a Blackbird from a big bale of hay. A Blackbird way up here above the tree line? more like a nice male Ring Ouzel (157).

Other birders reported a Peregrine and another large bird of prey known around these parts but we didn't manage to see either. But sadly no-one had seen or heard any Hen Harriers, Whinchats, Cuckoos or Tree Pipits.
Just have to go back won't we...perhaps without Frank next time..he was cream crackered by the time we got back to the car.

The road back gave us a surprise Dipper (158) where the road runs close to the river, useful being the passenger for a change.
Where to next? One day of hols left so another day's safari somewhere a bit more local for Frank's sake.

In the meantime let us know if the hills are alive with the sound of birdsong in your outback.


2 comments:

Phil said...

Poor old Frank looks thoroughly fed with his birding day. Give him a big bone to cheer up the poor old sod.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

He's even worse today Phil - total flaked out at 'the' lark this morning - poor fella can hardly move a muscle!

Cheers

D