Thursday, 23 June 2011

Fantastic farmland

The Safari, Frank andCheck Spelling the young uns stepped out of the Land Rover in just about the middle of nowhere to the strong pong of either fertiliser or weedkiller. Our target bird was a totally secretive singing male Quail. There was a stiff breeze wafting the Barley crop into amazing patterns and on it came the songs of farmland specialists Corn Buntings and Skylarks two very different but equally evocative songs from similarish looking birds. Over the fields a few Swallows hawked for insects and behind us on a derelict shack were four nests, two had fallen off, last year's perhaps, the other two looked as though construction had been abandoned during the dry spell earlier in the spring.

We tried to find somewhere to stand out of the wind and strained our ears against it. A pair of Tree Sparrows flew out of the crop right over our heads and dived into the hedge on the far side of the track and a Canary bright male Yellowhammer was found on some low wires.

Then we heard it, (189) or at least two of us did, quiet beneath the noise of the wind. AC was concentrating on the nests and didn't hear the brief burst of song. He didn't have to wait too long. whilst scanning the far fields we found a couple of Lapwings in flight and a Brown Hare in a distant field. Before too long it sang again this time much louder, clearer and for longer. It enabled us to sort of get a bead on whereabouts in the crop it was and it didn't sound too far away, maybe in the second row of tramlines.

Happy with the twitch we called it a day and headed back to town. On the way we ran straight over a male House Sparrow which wasn't seen in the mirror so must have flown out from under the Land Rover at the very last minute. Also seen was another couple of Brown Hares - they seem to be doing well this season. A quick stop at the feeding station gave us a handsome male Chaffinch, a Woodpigeon, a flighty Stock Dove and another mammal - a Brown Rat.
One of the rough pasture fields on the way back had a small herd of those lovely little conservation grazers, Belted Galloway cattle.
Other news from today is that despite the nice blue skies in the pics above this morning on the beach with the kiddies was a cold wet and windy affair. They did OK finding numerous Lion's Mane Jellyfish but all were small ones today, no monsters of the deep. An earlier brief visit before work gave us an unprecedented 44 Bar Tailed Godwits, breaking the previous record by 42! Where'd they come from?

Saddening news reached us via the Rangers, apparently no Hen Harriers have successfully bred in Bowland this season - wouldn't it be just TOO convenient if the Eagle Owls had eaten them all!

Where to next? Can't possibly get three successful twitches in three days can we - wonder if there's owt about - Kingfisher anyone?

In the meantime let us know who's been eating what in your outback.


Barry Dyson said...

If you visit Beacon Fell visitor centre you will see on their webcam a pair of Hen Harriers in Bowland feeding 4 well developed chicks which should fledge in the next fortnight

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks for that Barry - my sources won't be wrong - I must got the wrong end of the stick - glad to learn you read this rubbish.

See here for details of the live feed


Phil said...

Yes Dave plenty of Quail about too and Eagland is as good a place as any to hear but not see them.