Saturday, 16 June 2007

No blog this week or next. I am on my hols in Tunisia.
Cya blah blah

Sunday, 10 June 2007

A day with raptors

Well it started with news of a 'mega' rare bird in Dumfries and Galloway. Halfway, I decided to phone ahead to confirm that the bird was present. Sadly it was not. So with me in Cumbria, I thought I would best put my time looking at Cumbria's famous raptors.

Haweswater Res NY4713: Has been home for many years to Britains only breeding Golden Eagles. Sadly the Female has not returned for a few years now. But the male still lives in hope. Allthough distant, great views where had of this huge, majestic Eagle effortlessly gliding, putting every bit of it's 7ft wingspan to good effect..

Bassenthwaite Res: NY2129:Home to breeding Osprey, although you are 1.4 miles away from the nest, the RSPB has many telescopes available for the public to use, and if you are lucky - I was, an Osprey may go fishing and fly much closer to you. At the moment the nest has five young chicks.

Dunsop Bridge SD659542: This years surprise in the bird world was that a pair of Eagle Owls, have raised three chicks. I managed to see all chicks and both adults. Seeing the adults flying, with a wingspan of over 5ft 6 ins, (over twice the lenght of a Buzzard), I will never forget. The whole place was full of other raptors too. Upto four Short-Eared Owls where seen hawking for food constantly,. I was lucky (again!), to spot a Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Raven and Kestrel also hunting for food. A big thank you must go to the RSPB leader - Dave. for saving me a 3 mile walk, upto the Owl site. These special walks are Regularly advertised on the RSPB Northwest website, where you can apply for a permit to take your car upto the site.

In all, we travelled 276miles, and felt like singing 'climb every mountain', from the sound of music many times, today was the best birding day I have had this year.

Years total : 146

Monday, 4 June 2007

TERN-ed out nice again.

June is the time to attempt a full sweep of the five tern species that breed in Britain. One place that gives you this chance is Cemlyn Bay, Anglesey. The Tern colony is mainly made up of Sandwich terns, with a fair number of Common Terns, and a couple of Arctic Terns. About this time of year, you could be lucky and get our rarest tern, the Roseate Tern – I should have been here yesterday.., none today. Also worth trying is Rhosneiger. Little Terns often put in a n appearance too Cemlyn also. Very rare migrant terns have also shown up here too, Sooty and Bridled Terns in resent years.
After a couple of hours, it’s off to Holyhead Harbour. At the right time, (not today) you have a chance of three species of divers (winter months best). At the moment Black Guillemots are here – can’t miss them, follow the AA signposts. Also a Phalacrocorax aristotelis fishing close in.
South Stack RSPB. A typical seabird colony, but the speciality here is Chough. Looking out to sea, a good number of Manx Shearwaters, glide effortlessly inches above the waves. South Stack sometimes holds breeding Peregrine, which you can watch on CCTV from the RSPB information centre. (Not this year though). If you are into Flora, the place is full of plants that beg to be identified. Sea Campion, Sea Cail etc.
One the way back home. Call into Point of Ayr, near Prestatyn and walk West towards Gronnant where a colony of Britain’s smallest terns are easy to see.
This is the longest trip I have to make each year, around trip of 320 miles, but thoroughly enjoy it , as long as it is only the once.