25th March – Black Cocks revisited

Posted: April 5, 2012 in Bird Watching, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: , , ,

One of our most eagerly awaited trips of the year to the uplands of England to see the Black Grouse was last Sunday, what a day it turned out to be. A quick call on the way up to see a few Hawfinch at Sizergh Castle got the show on the road. With the clocks having sprung forward, a few dissenting voices about the early start could be heard. But never the less we passed through a valley bottom that was completely white with frost with lots of Common Gull shivering with the cold, car outside temperature guage read 1 degree, upon return in the same valley the guage read 19 degrees! As the sun came up we began to climb and were soon rewarded by sight of a Ring Ouzel heading up a gully close to the road and a male Wheatear sat out on a favourite rocky perch. We were also serenaded by “chipping” Snipe and displaying Golden Plovers and a few Curlew, Skylark and Meadow Pipits for good measure and with the complete lack of any other humans except a farmer or two it seemed like heaven! Our next call had about 10 Ring Ouzel, busily feeding and chasing each other around with a few Redshank for company. The cameramen amongst us went and got some pictures of the birds. We headed for our “regular” place to see Black Grouse and, after about half an hours searching, we managed to see a male bird walk across a field and promptly disappear into the undergrowth, much to the dismay of Steve B, who had wandered off and missed the bird. Chris B. knew another location and we headed for it. After 10 minutes another male bird showed really well and Steve was happy. We called in at an area that had been “clearfelled” and managed to see a pair of Woodcock that had been disturbed by a couple who were collecting wood ? Also a couple of cameramen who were covered in camouflage gear and hated our presence as they tried to take pictures of some Crossbills, boring bastards I think. We now paid homage to a little railwayana in the form of a trip to the site of an old British Transport film called, “Snowdrift at Bleath Gill” about a steam loco getting stuck in bad weather and how they got it out. Next stop Leighton Moss to twitch a few Chiff-Chaff`s and meet up with “Ginger” a regular at these parts who had no news about owt good in the area. Then we decided to visit a new area in the form of Longridge Fell to see/or not to see, a “Lancashire” Great Grey Shrike. What is it with me and GGS in Lancashire? as we searched all the area and came up with my regular score on this species, nowt! But the area was nice but next to no birds though. Time to head for home on what had been a lovely sunny day that we will all remember. Called in at Kingsway “puddle” in Rochdale on the way home as one of our locals had seen 4 Ruff along with Little Ringed Plover and these birds were all still present when I arrived at 6pm. What a day!

Regards,
Oz.

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