13th July – Lancashire Montagu`s Harrier at last!‏

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Bird Watching, Birding, Rochdale, Rossendale, Twitching
Tags: , ,

What seems like an age since I last saw a “new” bird in Lancashire was finally put to bed when a male Montagu’s Harrier turned up. It or another bird made an appearance in the Altcar and then at Martin Mere area about a month ago. It was then seen on Champion Moor, near Slaidburn on Wednesday. Plans were made to try and see the bird on Friday afternoon. As the day dawned the bird was seen, but, it was raining around Rochdale ! At 1-15pm me and Steve B set off into a really nice part of Lancashire and as we neared Clitheroe it stopped raining and so, the prospects of seeing the quite elusive bird got suddenly better. Upon arrival we saw about 10 other hopefuls well spread out around the area,we asked “How long is it since it was last seen” ? The reply was about 3 hours ago.After a 3/4 of an hour wait, I was scanning the hillside towards Slaidburn and picked up a harrier, after a few seconds to confirm to myself that it was the Monty’s, I told the other birders that I had got the bird. It was a rather stunning male bird and was seen at about 50 yards distance as it hunted over the rough pasture, it remained on view for about 5 unforgettable minutes! Steve B managed to get a rather good photo of the bird in a field full of cows. It went down in a field and did not come out again whilst we were there. We also saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker dash across the moorland,which we thought was a little strange due to the lack of any tree’s . Curlew, Willow Warbler, Mallard, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear and an assortment of gulls and crows were also seen. As the temperature began to plummet, we headed for home. On Saturday Steve K headed up to the area and also saw the dashing harrier but, just missed a Hobby by a few minutes. On Sunday myself and Bob went along to Champion Moor, in nice sunny conditions, to catch up with the Montagu’s, but apart from an early sighting before we got there, we left empty handed. In the 3 hours plus we there we met a few people and had a good chat with Kevin Hughes alias “Buxton Billy”. Guess what? the bird was seen again on Monday morning, but as Bob says “That’s the way the mop flop’s”


Dave O.


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