Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Win Some, Lose Some

The blog is back. Yes, while most of the UK enjoyed three or four days of warm sunshine here on the west coast the high pressure system just gave four days of stubborn and foggy non-birding, non-ringing and non-photography weather. Some folk have all the luck - like Andy on his way to sunny Gibraltar, birding and ringing for a week. 

Finally, and following a good forecast I decided to give Oakenclough a go. But good fortune didn’t come my way as I caught only 4 birds - Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, and a single Chiffchaff. 

The Chiffchaff was the only migrant bird I saw all morning and there was no sight or sound of the anticipated Willow Warblers or Blackcaps, two species which breed here in good numbers and should be on site by now. I wasn’t able to add to the total of Lesser Redpolls caught so far as although I saw and heard four or more, none found the nets. 

Chiffchaff

 Robin

Chaffinch

Apart from the ringing other birds seen included: 4 Song Thrush, 4+ Lesser Redpoll, 3 Jay, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Buzzard, 2 Kestrel, 4 Pied Wagtail, 8 Oystercatcher, 9 Lapwing and 4 Curlew. The three named wader species, as well as one or two others, Redshank and Snipe, all breed up here in the hills above Garstang Town on the edge of Bowland. This is a good time of year in which to hear their wonderful breeding calls and watch their fabulous displays.

Oystercatcher

Curlew

Lapwing

“Bowland”, “Bowland Hills”, “Bowland Fells”, or “The Forest of Bowland” are alternative names for this area of barren gritstone fells, deep valleys and peat moorland of Lancashire. Take your pick as to which name you prefer. 

Contrary to the popular histories, the origins of the name "Bowland" have nothing to do with archery ("the land of the bow") or with mediaeval cattle farms or vaccaries (Old Norse, buu-, farmstead). The name derives from the Old Norse boga-/bogi-, meaning a "bend in a river". It is a 10th-century term used to describe the topography of a river basin, with its characteristic meandering river and brooks. 

The name "forest" is used in its traditional sense of "a royal hunting ground". Much of the land still belongs to the British Crown as part of the Duchy of Lancaster. In the past wild boar, deer, wolves, wild cats and game roamed the forest. 

Some might well say that at one time the Hen Harrier bred here in good numbers! But no more. 

To Bowland

Look in soon for more winning birds at Another Bird Blog.

10 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hi Phil, pretty scenic shots.. Sorry the weather is not cooperating with your outings. You still managed some awesome birds and photos. I love the Lapwing.. Happy Birding!

Jo said...

Those are winning birds, for sure! I love the curlew in flight with its bill open. And the Lapwing is quite stunning. Greetings. Jo

David Gascoigne said...

I am always a little sad when you refer to your magnificent Hen Harrier. It is a tragedy that this species has been subjected to such relentless persecution and that it continues to this day. Wouldn't you think that we would be a little more enlightened by now?

Errol Newman said...

Willys arrived here overnight, Phil. They will be with you by the weekend.

TexWisGirl said...

love the oystercatcher shot and the lapwing, too. always beautiful birds to find here. :)

Bob Bushell said...

Oh yes, all of them are truly worth it, but, the one is my favourite is the Curlew flying, excellent Phil.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Beautiful photos Very clearly .. Great work .. Congratulations.

Linda said...

Hi Phil,

Sorry about the weather, I can relate, we have had some pretty dull weather here in Montreal as well.

Gorgeous photos!!!

Russell Jenkins said...

Your pictures just keep getting better Phil and I always enjoy your invaluable knowledge. Great insight into Bowland.

Margaret Adamson said...

Well at leat you caught a Chiffchaff. I heard a good number n the I.O.W. but no Willow warbers as yet. I amhomeagain adn going to the Copeland this weekend (weather permitting)

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