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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Whats happening to the upland birds ?

                                  Stonechat, breeding pair
                                             juv Stonechat

                                            Males

                                           Short Eared Owl

All the above photos were taken some years ago on the first digital camera I owned.
At that time, maybe about 8yrs ago, Stonechats were common moorland breeders and could be found at all the common moorland sites along with regular reports of Ring Ouzel. Soil Hill held at least 3 pair of Stonechat throughout the year and Ring Ouzel could always be found Spring and Autumn.
Most of the local moors had regular sightings of Short Eared Owls quartering the area for voles whilst Wheatears were on every wall top, both Northern and Greenland during spring and autumn passage.
Counts of 20+ Wheatear were commonplace on Soil Hill and if I remember correct I think AC once had a fall of 50+.
Twite were found regular in flocks of 70+ and now we,re struggling to get more than 4 at the Fly Flatts feeding station.
Its now got to the 11th April and most birders, myself included, are struggling to get the first Wheatear when we usually start ticking them off in March.
Its not all doom and gloom, several birds that were scarce are doing well and Im sure this is just a phase that we,re going through and another year the moorland birds will be back to full strength.

As you may expect with me writing that article the skies have been quiet today over Queensbury, the only bit of excitement was as I was walking back to work at lunchtime a message from DJS reporting a large raptor over Southowram heading north which made me do a quick detour along Sourheads where there is an open view out over Southowram but all I got was a good soaking as the heavens opened, thanks for that Dave!
BS

3 comments:

DJSutcliffe said...

Sorry about the soaking Bri - it's just the weather!!!
I was out watching for the raptor as well from the garden but nothing other than 3 LBBG's over and a Spwk (I must add that was after a 'shopping trip' to Pudsey which I thouroughly enjoyed -- just like you do)
Encouraging that those who did see it didn't just put it down as Osprey - which is the most likely one - but had to say unidentified.

Nice one with the resume~

Shame about the decision on the wind farm proposal on Thornton Moor!

Brian Sumner . said...

The wind farm was nailed on from the word go but I can,t see it having any great effects on the birding. Birds nest under the Fly Flatts towers and freely fly round them , over them and under them, its better than pylons and smoking chimneys.
Wish you hadnt mentioned shopping at Pudsey, its made me run cold.

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