Bird Song Breakfast and…

Saturday, May 14th 2016

The forecast.....  how often have the blogs started with this comment over the last few months?  It was not good, cold and windy, certainly not ideal for the birds to wake up and sing, but it was not unbearable and it was cool rather than cold, although everyone was well wrapped up. 

Walking around the reserve

Two groups walked around the reserve and between them recorded over 25 species singing or seen.  These included Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Curlew, Song Thrush and Chaffinch.  A Robin was heard and initially could not be found but we were not looking high enough, as he was singing loudly in the top of an Ash tree.  You can see that the Ash is in flower.

Singing Robin

We left the reserve and in convoy, Tony lead us across the training area.  Curlew, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Woodcock, Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Blackcock were recorded.  The poor camera was yet again asked to do the impossible and this black mark in the middle of the moor is, honestly, a Black Grouse!

Black Cock

We traversed many of the tracks across the training area.

The convoy across the training area

Eventually we found ourselves heading to Wathgill and breakfast.  A feast awaited us.  Thank you to the chefs who gave us such a delicious spread.

On return to Foxglove the sun continued to shine and the temperature rose a little so another walk was called for.  Although not officially on the morning list, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Moorhen and Wren were heard.

The lake was quiet but the Moorhen chicks were feeding in the lake and on the bank side.  The male Little Grebe was seen but no young.  At the head of the lake there were six male Mallard resting from their chores.

Resting male Mallard

Midges and St Mark's Fly were plentiful.  Peacock and Orange Tip butterfly were observed.  Then a movement and a Speckled Wood settled in the vegetation.  Climbing through the Bramble and being very careful not to disturb the settled butterfly a photo was taken.

Speckled Wood

Obviously some gardening was needed, but that was not good enough so the grass stem it was sitting on was picked up and more photographs were taken as it sat still.

Hand held stem with butterfly being photographed

We achieved some excellent photos.  It is not often you get the opportunity to see the beautiful underside of a Speckled Wood wing.

Speckled Wood

The sun then came out and the butterfly was off into a sunny glade where almost miraculously it was joined by four more.  They all flew around, the sun went behind a cloud and all five butterflies disappeared - truly amazing!

And finally I have been waiting very impatiently for the Early Purple Orchids to appear and at last they are in bloom.  This species is not as quick to spread its range as the other orchids, but it is doing so and some can be seen as you head onto the bridge to the lake hides, to your right.  This one is the usual dark colour.

Early Purple Orchid

But this one is slightly lighter.

Early Purple Orchid

Thank you again to everyone who helped to organise this morning and ensure that an enjoyable and interesting time was had by all.

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