Abbey Meadows

Abbey Meadows

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Surprise find at Harwood

Darden Rigg

Common Water Starwort

I was cycling round the forest tracks in Harwood this morning hoping that an elusive Shrike might be on show in one of the now many clearings but the forest was very quiet. I often bike along the tracks on the North West end of the forest where you can walk out on to the open moorland beside Little and Darden loughs. 
There was more bird activity on the forest edge with flocks of Meadow pipits and Red Grouse calling from the Heather moorland. I was walking around Little lough and heading towards the viewpoint at High rigg when a Blackbird flew across and landed in the Heather ahead of me. I didn't really take a second glance even though it looked silvery in flight I put this down to the strong sunlight. It wasn't until it flew up again and landed on top of some Heather when I found myself looking at a first winter male Ring Ouzel. Not expecting to see one at this time of year I tried to get closer to the bird so I could try and get a photo but it was another 20 minutes before I got a glimpse of the bird flying and disappearing quickly with a grub of some sort in its bill but it dropped straight into the Heather again. Although these birds will breed not far from here I believe this will be a migrant that spent some time on our coast when several were seen a couple of weeks ago and is slowly making its way South and West possibly with other Thrushes and has dropped into suitable feeding habitat for week or two before the winter weather will move it on further.
The bird remained elusive as 2 peregrines were hunting over the Heather moorland over Buddle moss and Darden rigg presumably trying to lift the Grouse but only succeeded in flushing Meadow pipits which one of them snatched and flew off to eat it.
Only other thing of note was Common water Starwort growing in a flooded track near Chartners.


Stewart said...

Nice find Nigel...

abbey meadows said...

It was your post on the blue hawk that made me look around that corner of the forest where you can walk out on to Buddlemoss, Tosson hill and Darden rigg and take in the two loughs there. Its a bit of a trek but when you have birds like GS shrike and Hen harrier on your mind you usually get rewarded with something else!