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Post Info TOPIC: Piethorne Valley.


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RE: Piethorne Valley.


19th August - pm - part of the time spent with Chris J-B.

At the side of Hanging Lees Res, foraging off a stone wall was a gathering which contained 2 Whinchat (appeared to be males), an immature Stonechat & 4 Wheatear (2 immatures). Very nice viewing!

In the lower valley 2 Redstarts in the usual field for birds on passage on the northern slopes above Kitcliffe Farm. One was a very worn looking male and the other was possibly a female but not entirely sure. 2 Whitethroats were seen here and a single flock of c80 Goldfinch (over half of which were juveniles).

Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard too.

Cheers,

Bill.



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1st August.

A nice gathering of gulls on Rooden Reservoir - c300 Lesser Black-backed, c120 Black-headed and c15 Common.

1 Buzzard over the valley and the Redstart was in an adjacent field today to the the one occupied on the two earlier sightings. No Whinchat as yet.

Cheers,

Bill.

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30th July - pm.

A calling Crossbill flew out of Piethorne Plantation. This plantation is mostly deciduous, with just a few conifers. I have checked a few times of late the much larger Rough Bank Plantation which is mainly coniferous but without any luck there yet.

The Redstart was still in the same field as the sighting on 25/7.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Pretty quiet on a walk on the northern side of the valley this aft', with three oystercatchers, 1 - 2 curlews, common sandpiper, a few willow warblers and plenty of meadow pipits. Again, good numbers of butterflies, with two Rochdale firsts in the form of a gatekeeper and best of all a dark green fritillary. There were two ringlets also.

Regards, Christopher

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25/7

Redstart still showing well at 18:00.



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I visited the valley a little earlier in the day than Chris and had really close up, excellent views of 2 of the juvenile Ravens sat on a wall, possibly waiting for the single nearby foraging adult that was present to find some food for them? I could hear other birds calling but could not locate them. What absolutely awesome and fearsome birds this species looks to be in close up!

Another highlight for me this morning was a juvenile Redstart showing well in the lower valley.

Despite some gloomy predictions on the forum on the quality of breeding season this year some species appear to have done well at Piethorne - Common Sandpiper and Wheatear being two of them. There were lots of scruffy looking juvenile Wheatears on show this morning - the largest loose gathering being 7 foraging off a single wall in the upper valley, with singles seen in other locations. There were no adults seen - possibly the local breeding pairs have already started their migration and the juveniles will follow later? Plenty of evidence of continuing breeding activity, with Reed Bunting, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail all carrying food for later broods. I suspect from the sounds being made that the Lesser Redpoll Chris mentioned in his post had young with them this morning. I can't recall this species breeding in the valley in recent years, although there is suitable habitat here. A flock of c10 Goldfinch were in the upper valley and there are plenty of thistles here to attract some large post-breeding flocks but they seem to me to be a little bit behind the time this year in flowering?

c30 Sand Martin were foraging over Hanging Lees Reservoir. A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the lower valley.

Cheers,

Bill.


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A short stroll in the middle valley this aft' brought forth:

1. family party of five ravens
2. two redpoll near Piethorne dam wall
3. two willow warblers contact calling
4. common sandpiper calling from Kitcliffe Res'
5. and this time, lots of swallows.

Plenty of butterflies about too, present being, small tortoiseshells, meadow browns, small heaths, small and large skippers, small whites and two probable ringlets seen (wouldn't settle but near the same location where I saw my first Rochdale ringlet last year).

Regards, Chris J-B.

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A pleasant evening stroll in the middle section of the valley yielded:

1. 3 willow warblers still singing
2. 2+ common sandpipers on Kitcliffe Res'
3. several redpoll over and one very rosy looking male perched near the Piethorne Res' overflow
4. multiple meadow pipits and a single skylark singing/displaying
5. coot on Kitcliffe Res'
6. single curlew calling from the direction of Binns Pasture
7. 2 linnets near the Piethorne Res' overflow
8. swift over Foulwater Lodge
9. a grand total of three swallows on the entire stroll

Regards, C. Jepson-Brown

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Stonechats have left the nest. One young Common Sandpiper also seen foraging. (Still unable to fly.)

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27th June - am.

A bit of deliberate effort this morning to go out of my normal way to look for Wheatears brought some reward, with good views of two separate family parties of Wheatear, about 1 mile apart - one had four young and the other three. A male was also watched collecting and carrying food at another location but this time outside of the valley. A pair of Coal Tits fed two young. The pair of Oystercatchers was seen today - I mustn't have been looking properly on my last few visits! I watched a Magpie on four occasions chasing after a Common Sandpiper (without success) - presumably hoping to catch it to provide a meal for the two begging young that it had nearby?

Cheers,

Bill.


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20th June.

Distant views were initially had of a single flock of c500 Starling and they later joined up with a marginally smaller one of c400. When I got closer to this flock of c900 I was able on several occasions to see quite a high percentage of the flock, feeding on the floor and also in flight and I could not, despite trying, see even one single adult bird amongst them! So a single flock comprised almost entirely of juveniles.

With quite a lot of talk on the forum recently of it being a poor year for insects then I thought the following link might be of interest and a counterbalance.

http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/05/warming-climate-worries-uk-farmers/

This should in theory be good news for species such as Starling (although not for farmers!) for which some studies have shown they feed their nestlings largely on Tipulidae larvae, including and those also known as leatherjackets or Crane Fly/Daddy-long legs larvae. My last recollection of such numbers of post-breeding Starlings in the valley is back in 2004, when c1,000 were present 30th May and had increased to c2,500 by 7th June.

C120 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were flying in and then bathing in Rooden Reservoir and then preening and beautifying themselves at the side!

Also seen - Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Common Sandpiper, Curlew, Stonechat, Skylark (carrying food), Willow Warbler (carrying food), Meadow Pipit (a family party and others also seen carrying food).

Disappointingly just a single male Wheatear was found - singing and displaying (possibly getting a bit late to attract a partner? ) and also the Oystercatchers appear to have left the valley already, with no sightings at all in the last two days.

Cheers,

Bill.

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Late post from last night:

On a dusk stroll up Ogden, via Raghole Clough and Doldrum I saw circa 6 swifts, 2 common sandpipers on Ogden Res, a blackcap and whitethroat (these two heard only) near Foulwater (Breeder) Lodge, a couple of sand martins, a linnet over and pleasingly a skylark was singing over Town Hill. Also, a few meadow pipits were singing and displaying.

Regards, C. Jepson-Brown

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At least one pair of our dippers have young that have successfully fledged.

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Late this evening a Whimbrel flew north east over the moors north of the valley

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An evening sojourn yielded:

2 willow warblers singing,
2 displaying meadow pipits,
lone skylark in song,
curlew,
tufted duck,
only four swallows,
a pair of common sandpipers and.....
.....a little owl.

Also, what the late Peter Hill told me were the only wild cowslips in the area were just coming into flower.

Regards, C. J-Brown

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25th April.

Water levels dropping rapidly on the valleys reservoirs.

Common Sandpiper (3) - put on a quite thrilling display over Ogden Reservoir. Male Wheatears singing and displaying too. Golden Plover calling from northern flanks of valley. Male Stonechat. c30 Swallow, 2 House Martin and 1 Sand Martin. Pair of Reed Bunting - female nest building, male "supervising" . 11+ Willow Warbler singing, as were 2 Blackcap. 3 Goosander still.

No Ring Ouzels yet this year.

Cheers,

Bill.

-- Edited by Bill Myerscough on Friday 26th of April 2013 07:21:07 AM

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The new tram line tempted me out of South Manchester. A Walk along the valley at mid-day turned up:

Greenfinch
Dunnock
Oystercatcher (2, one in the lowest body of water, the other in the highest)
Chaffinch
Carrion Crow
Blue Tit
Magpie
Grey Wagtail
Willow Warbler
Pheasant
Swallow
Canada Goose
Whinchat
Goldfinch
Great Tit
Curlew
Goosander
Meadow Pipit
Wheatear




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Paul Wilkins


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A walk round the upper reservoirs this evening produced

Goldeneye pair
Tufted Duck 7
Goosander 2
Oystercatcher 2
party of 11 Curlew
Partridge 2 pairs
Dipper pair
Meadow Pipit a single party of over 100 birds moved up the valley
Fieldfare 10
Redwing 5


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High level walk around the valley today. (Too many people on the reservoir walk) It paid off.


2 Fieldfares
2 Curlews (heard several more throughout the day)
2 Stock Doves
2 Wheatears. M and F
Meadow Pipits scattered all round the high ground.
Skylarks - at least half a dozen around the high ground (Not quite as vocal as expected.)
1 Golden Plover. I thought I had heard one earlier and was really pleased to see one a couple of hours later.
2 Grey Partridges

No sign of any ring ouzels, swallows or martins. Several pairs of Canada Geese dotted about cloughs. (Pair of Ravens regularly seen and heard at lower end of valley, and Rough Bank towards Newhey Quarry)


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29th March - am.

18 Cormorant on Ogden Reservoir - probably a record count for the valley? 6 Tufted Duck (4 drakes) and also 5 Teal (2 here on 9/3). c40 Fieldfare trying to forage on an unfrozen area of pasture. Despite looking - no Wheatears or Ring Ouzels found. Just small numbers of Meadow Pipits.

Other recent sightings. 19/3 - pair of Goldeneye (drake displaying), pair of Curlew displaying, a Dipper nest building - sadly the nest entrance completely frozen over today (29/3), very small northerly passage of Meadow Pipits. 17/3 - c300 Starling, c90 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 1 Great Black-backed Gull, single flock of 15 Curlew, 24 Wigeon on Ogden Reservoir (12 drakes) and 5 Reed Bunting. 12/3 - 2 Treecreeper and 3 Goldcrest, 2 of which were foraging on the ground under a pine tree. 9/3 - pair of Grey Partridge.

Nice to see a pair of Coot taking up residency on Ogden Reservoir in recent weeks. Pair of Oystercatcher present since 9/3 at least.

Cheers,

Bill.


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Ogden Resevoir was hosting most of today's best choices.

I Oystercather
1 Moorhen
1Heron
11 (possibly 13) Cormorants
8 Goosanders
1 Tufted Duck
2 Great Crested Grebes

and one calling Curlew flew over. (No others seen or heard anywhere in the valley)

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A cracking walk in glorious March sunshine, up to the mooredge, was had today. I was hoping to pick up stonechat and woodcock (long shot) for my year list. Anyway, the walk yielded the following:

1. four goosander on Ogden
2. two cormorant on Ogden
3. pair of great crested grebe on Ogden
4. a couple of skylarks near Binns
5. single goosander on Norman Hill Res'
6. stonechat - male - (bingo), high in the valley, right by were the long gone Norman Hill Farm stood
7. dipper at the bottom of Coldgreave Clough
8. great spotted woodpecker near Piethorne House

No sign of any meadow pipits, curlews or oystercatchers yet.

Regards, C. J-B

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 2nd of March 2013 09:12:11 PM

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15:30 Thursday 28.2.13

Ogden Reservoir

5 x Cormorants
4pr Goosander

Russ.

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Late news for Thursday 21st.

At least 3 pairs of Goosander on Ogden Reservoir

Info from Mike Ausberger

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Sorry to interject here but Geoff you're right that Jack Snipe don't necessarily always flush from under foot and can flush from further distance. My concern is that there is a tremendous size difference between Jack Snipe and Woodcock though! A Woodcock flushed from close range (or any other range!) never fails to surprise me at just how big (and dark) they look. If you saw it well enough to see the bill and didn't think it was overly large or dark brown then I'd be surprised if it was a Woodcock. As for it being Snipe or Jack Snipe, that's another story...

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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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Chris, I did consider a Jack Snipe and wouldn't rule it out as I know they have been seen there before during that very cold winter a couple of years ago. But the Jack Snipe has a reputation for only taking flight at the last minute when you are almost standing on them whereas this one went up approx 5m in front of me. However we all know that the birds don't read the books!

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Woodcock do venture up on to the moors sometimes Geoff, I've certainly flushed them from moorland sites in the South Pennines when out walking (though not with regularity I admit). One of their wintering haunts in the valley has suffered a lot of disturbance with the road repair work by Piethorne Plantation. You mentioned a small bill, did you consider a jack snipe as a possibility also? I once saw one of these many years ago near Windy Hill.

Regards, Chris

-- Edited by C Brown on Wednesday 20th of February 2013 06:23:25 PM

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I desturbed what should have been a Snipe as I came down from the hills above Piethorn Brook yesterday afternoon - but it looked more like a Woodcock in the few seconds that I watched its flight. The bill didn't look long enough for a snipe and the flight itself seemed less frantic from other snipe that I had flushed in that kind of terrain in the past. In a straight line this would have been about 1k from the nearest woodland, amongst old braken where the ground was still frozen and 150m above the brook. I would say the ground was too hard to be probing for food which had me doubting the Snipe and favouring a Woodcock lying up until dark . (It flew across to the otherside and went down into simular cover.) Being half-term and glorious weather with more (noisy) people about than usual I wondered if it could have been a woodcock driven out of the normal habitat. It remains positively unidentified but . . . frustrating.


The path diversion at Piethorn House remains in place.

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Pair of Great Crested Grebe on Ogden Reservoir - displayed several minutes of pair bonding today after an agresive cormorant had got between them.

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Condititions are quite severe for wildlife. Partial snow, ground frozen with quite a lot of ice and the reservoirs all have some ice.
Mistle thrushes and goldfinches ground feeding amongst the sheep offered some of the best birdwatching.

Cormarants 4 on Ogden Reservoir
Gosanders 2 on Ogden Reservoir (1m 1f)

Best of the day=

Grey Partridge 2

(The pedestrian diversion past Piethorn House and the treatment works is still in place.)

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Just for information at this site:

United Utilitiesís access road here is collapsing so they need to do works to remediate it. To investigate whatís happening they are putting a bore hole in near to Piethorne Plantation. This works will involve them temporarily moving the turf from an approximate 20m of grassland and putting in a plastic track for the machinery. Once the works have been completed they will move the turf back. They wonít be affecting any trees and the works will start on Monday (14th Jan). They will need to do other works in the future but at the moment they are trying to work out whatís going on before deciding what to do.


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Ian McKerchar (forum administrator and owner)


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13th Jan. Short low level walk around the three reservoirs today. Soringholes provided the best with Kestrel, Little Owl, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare and Stonechat all within a hundered metre stretch.
Note that the access restrictions due to road repairs beyond Piethorn House, and the subsequent diversion, do not take you far out of your way - although you would be advised to wear sturdy footwear as it can be a bit soggy underfoot.

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9th January.

A pair of Stonechat attempting to remain on territory over the relatively mild winter months to date.

Cheers,

Bill.

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Quite warm and dry today, and the wildlife responded well to it. (Too many people though!)
Best of the day =

Grey Partridge 4 The first I've seen for several months. (Same area that I described to you Chris.)
Kestrel Over Rhodes Barns. Hanging almost directly overhead at one point.
Goldfinches 2 Although quite common in the area these were way up in the sparse blackthorn tress beyond Rhodes Barns and towards the slopes over Norman Hill Reservoir
House Sparrows 4 Springmill
Goldcreasts 2 Below Ogden Dam

Dippers 2 Not quite in the valley but they tend to range between Peppermint Bridge and Woodmill


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On a late morning/early afternoon stroll round the lower and middle reaches of the valley, in pretty gloomy and damp conditions I saw:

1. a couple of goldcrests in Rough Bank Plantation
2. treecreeper here also (only my third in the valley I think)
3. couple of goosander on Ogden Res'
4. little owl near Springholes
5. great spotted woodpecker flying down the valley. This got my ticker racing for a time as as it flew towards me looked incredibly small, but as it got beyond me and flew further down the valley, seemed to visibly swell in flight to normal GSW size.
6. Heard my first singing mistle thrush of the year too, near Gate House

Nice to bump into Geoff Eldridge too.

C. Jepson-Brown


-- Edited by C Brown on Thursday 3rd of January 2013 02:00:16 PM

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Very quiet on a walk back down the valley from th' Owd Tup to New Hey, with only four cormorants and a couple of goosander on Ogden Reservoir to report.

C. J-B

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Great Crested Grebe 2 - both on Ogden
Canada Goose (98) the most that I have ever seen in a single flock in the valley. (Biggest count so far this autumn had been 72 until today)
Read Bunting (2) Cold Greave
Stonechat (2) Rhodes Barns
Fieldfares (4) flying over Ogden Edge
Kestrel Over Kitcliffe Farm


A dog-walker friend described what sounded like partridges that she had just seen but I have yet to see any this autumn - although I found some fairly fresh droppings yesterday in the usual haunts. I went to the area that she was talking about but I found nothing - although it then occured to me that I had seen female pheasnts there a few days ago.

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Jay in Roughbank Plantation
Little Owl confirmed as sitill in residence.
Dipper around infall to Norman Hill Reservoir. (Another at Woodmill on the way to the valley.)
Kestrel (male) above Piethorn Brook (beyond Norman Hill Reservoir.)
Wrens (2) Track upto Roughbank in the last of the daylight.

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Sunday 18th of November 2012 05:33:44 PM

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On a walk up the valley this aft', taking in Raghole Clough, Doldrum, the Rapes Highway, Norman Hill Res' and returning via Ogden Lane, I saw the following:

1. Great crested grebe on Ogden Res'
2. Reed bunting by the Rapes Highway, above Doldrum
3. A couple of meadow pipits by the old Piethorne Farms
4. Great spotted woodpecker in Bluebell Wood
5. 6 goosander on Kitcliffe Res' (3 males and 3 females)
6. My first woodcock of this 'back end' by Kitcliffe Res'

There was also a rather fine looking roe deer stag, with a decent set of prongs in Knowsley Plantation.

Regards, Chris

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Stonechat 2 (poss 3 - they were hard to keep track of amongst the walls and rusty braken) Rhodes Barns.
Fieldfare approx 25 - 30 Binns Ruins. My first in the Piethorn Valley this winter. (Mixed flock included 1 Mistle Thrush and a few starlings.)

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Best ever close up of one of our Ravens preening on a fence post at Springholes today. Truly magnificant and it only took off when a second one flew over. Not much else about though. (Bluebell Wood is in a real mess thanks to some path building if you are heading up that way.)

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Mid morning about 20 Redwing between Springholes and the top of Goodfleckers.

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On a walk up Ogden this aft were:

a pair of raven up near Rooden, plenty of meadow pipits in the upper valley, nine tufted duck on Norman Hill Res', two Goosander on Kitcliffe Res' and a green woodpecker in the old ash tree on the northern side of Kitcliffe. I didn't see the little owls at Springholes, but they were still there in the summer.

Regards, Chris

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First proper visit for a couple of years, but good to get back in the hills.

1 Raven cronking loudly and showing well on the pylon by the track above Ogden (something I certainly don't see down here in Norfolk!)
7 redhead Goosander on Kitcliffe and then presumably the same group on Ogden a bit later on
adult Green Woodpecker (was a major rarity when I used to bird this place in the 90s) at the end of the Piethorne Res embankment
Great Crested Grebe - 1 on Ogden
Cormorant - 3 on Ogden, 1 on Kitcliffe and 2 sat right on top of the pylon by the road
Canada Goose - 42 in sheep fields
Kestrel hovering over the quarry

Had a look around the quarry for Little Owl but couldn't find any, presume they are still here?

Neil

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4 female goosander on Kitcliffe res at 09:30

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Today I received a report from local birder, P. Sutton, regarding a colossal gathering of siskin near Coldgreave in the upper valley yesterday. Basically he said the number was 'several hundred' strong and feeding on the abundant thistle heads and the ground adjacent. He described how the ground was so thick with them that it appeared that the grass was moving and when they took flight, it was like one of those huge starling flocks on the Somerset Levels.
That must've been something to see.

Chris

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5th September.

An independent juvenile Green Woodpecker this morning. I hope it fares a little better than a juvenile from 2010 and another (or the same?) bird from earlier this year, which both had to be rescued and temporarily taken into care. I'm sure it too wouldn't want to suffer their indignities of recuperation at the local hedgehog sanctuary and having to dine on minced meat whilst looking on at the poor table manners of a few hedgehogs!

Cheers,

Bill.


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Whinchat just above Kitcliffe Farm about an hour ago.

Chris

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Not a bad afternoon for Ogden really and the walk I did yielded; a single redstart by the path between Bluebell Wood and Piethorne Res', but best by a country mile was a rather splendid hobby carting off a swallow. The swallows by Spring Mill were going doolally and I guess I must've missed the moment of impact by seconds. The bird left the scene in a leisurely fashion, and I lost sight of it as it headed in the direction of Doldrum.
On an earlier visit to the 'new road' over Kingsway, a few snipe were the only creatures of significance.

Regards, Chris

-- Edited by C Brown on Saturday 25th of August 2012 03:02:44 PM

-- Edited by C Brown on Saturday 25th of August 2012 03:03:11 PM

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7th August.

2 Whinchat this morning, plus a total of 6 Stonechat in 3 different locations. A Dipper was singing, perhaps more surprisingly so were 5 Willow Warblers early in the morning. Most song consisted of a truncated bit of the full version, although one was going at it full throttle. Also present a family party of Linnet, with at least 2 incessantly begging young. It was also nice today to see a House Sparrow and also hear others around the farm. This record coupled with a few other sightings this year and in 2011 suggests that a small population may hopefully have re-established itself in the valley after several years' absence?

Yesterday, after hearing of Steve Atkins sensational Common Scoter record at Watergrove I came up to check the valleys reservoirs to see if any had dropped in here. No signs on any on the 4 reservoirs I checked......although it's always possible there may have been hundreds lurking on the two other unchecked ones! Still the visit was very worthwhile as I was able to confirm breeding for a pair of Whitethroats which I have been following and that have been holding territory throughout a large part of the breeding season. The male was seen on several occasions collecting and carrying what looked like crane flies. The nest is at roughly 225 metres above sea level. Not sure if that in itself is unusual? Certainly a first for me here and it may even be a first for the valley? As mentioned, Whitethroat is not a regular species here and breeding was not proven for it during the last 4 years of our local breeding birds' atlas project for the 2 main tetrads that covers most of Piethorne, so all in all quite a pleasing record.

Whilst in waffling mode , a quick update on the SCaMP project here (see earlier posts on this thread dated 24/3/09 & 2/9/10). The slower growing tree species such as Oak are still largely growing inside or just peeking out of their protective sheaths. However, some of the more vigorous trees species have, around three years later, made substantial growth and some of the Rowans already have a small berry crop this year which will help the valleys bird population in the autumn and winter months.

Cheers,

Bill.


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