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