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height top farm 2014-10-21 13:32:00

HEIGHT TOP FARM HOLIDAY COTTAGESAutumn Glory, only five minutes from Height Top.Taken yesterday morning.

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Blowing In The Wind – Tuesday/Wednesday

The weather folk were spot on with their forecast for Tuesday. The tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo raged on with the result that there was no birding in the gale force north westerly’s. 

Instead I met with Andy near Garstang where we looked over an old ringing site of the 1980s and 1990s. The area became unsuitable for ringing when invasive rhododendrons won the day, but following recent extensive clearance by the site owners we may be able to utilise the place again. So clutching our newly printed shiny permits we explored the now almost rhododendron-free ground looking to identify net rides. 

Before the rhododendrons overran the landscape the open structure of the woodland was especially good for breeding Willow Warblers, where over a number of years around 400 nestling Willow Warblers were ringed and many nest records completed. 

Willow Warbler

Willow Warbler nest

It is a site with breeding Willow Warblers, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Bullfinch, and where Yellowhammers, Tree Pipit and Wood Warbler once nested. I found what may have been the last nests of Yellowhammers here in 1996 and 1998 but none since. Nesting Tree Pipits disappeared from here about 1997 but still occur as migrants, while Yellowhammers are now as scarce as hen’s teeth. After the recent extensive ground works both species might just make a comeback but I’m not betting on it. 


Andy and I identified a number of net rides, put up a few feeders to attract Siskins and Redpolls, scattered seed for ground feeding finches and we will return when the weather improves. 


On Wednesday a 9 metre high tide at Knott End rather appealed even though the wind was still too north-westerly to produce much in the way of seabirds; well at least if the showers returned I could bird from the car. 

A couple of hours were all I managed as by 11am the rain had started again. In between times I counted the nearest waders as 230 Oystercatcher, 180 Redshank, 45 Lapwing, 35 Sanderling, 40 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300 Knot and 22 Turnstone. 

On the shore, the incoming tide and the river - 11 Eider, 5 Red-breasted Merganser and 1 Grey Heron. 


After three days of abysmal weather passerines were hard to come by with just 30+ Goldfinches, 5 Linnet and 3 Pied Wagtails along the marsh the best. 

Let’s hope Gonzalo relents soon to leave us with sunshine instead of so much wind and rain. 

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Out of fashion?

The Safari was able to get an early morning look at Patch 2 today but little was happening. 11 Cormorants flew along the advancing tide-line going towards the estuary and three more passed much further out. The Common Scoterssurvived the storm there were plenty of them flying this way and that – who knows why the go where they do. You have to respect and admire those little ducks for sitting it out yesterday – we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again they are seriously tough cookies! A lone Shelduck was the ‘best’ sighting of the post-dawn gloom.
Came across some Gorse in flower in the car park yesterday but it was being blown around something rotten in the hooley so we waited until this morning to get a pic, still a bit breezy but not as silly as yesterday!
There’s an old saying about gorse that kissing will go out of fashion when it stops flowering because if you find a patch of Gorse you can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be at least one flower on it somewhere.
Anyway it’s bright and cheery on an otherwise dull day.
Dreadful visibility and increasingly heavy drizzle at lunchtime so no joy at all on the seabird front.
Where to next? We'll try again tomorrow morning.
In the meantime let us know what turned up in the drizzle in your outback.

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You can find recordings of bird song at www.xeno-canto.org and code to embed the recording in your blog posts.

For example below the begging calls of young Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

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Jubilee Tower

Open moorland and access to the highest point in the Forest of Bowland Grid ref. (SD541573)

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Bleasdale Holiday Cottages

Holiday cottages excellent location for Hare watching and bird watching, on site bird hide, farm walks and wildlife lake. Large area managed to encourage lapwings, oystercatchers, and redshanks. At the foot of Parlick Hill and Fair Snape Fell blanket bog. Also near Beacon Fell Country Park

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Website: www.bleasdalecottages.co.uk

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Forest of Bowland Holiday Cottage accommodation in Lancashire

Forest of Bowland Holiday Cottage accommodation in Lancashire

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