The Weeks Moorland Venture.

I gave Catshaw Fell a couple of hours during the week, one of a few areas I've previously neglected in Bowland. 

The visit was quite interesting, and started soon after I had put the plantation behind me and set off on the track where I met Rob Foster coming off Catshaw Fell, Rob's post at the Grosvenor Estate is in conservation. We had an interesting conversation which of course me being Pete Woodruff, soon turned to the subject of the Stonechat. Rob gave me a list of birds he had noted, but it didn't include any Stonechat, this numbed my enthusiasm for continuing the climb, but I did it anyway. 

As I reached the summit of Catshaw Fell, through my binoculars I could see Rob on the top of Hawthornthwaite, presumably doing the same check for Red Grouse. Meanwhile, Catshaw produced just the one Stonechat which took me an hour to find when I was coming back down later. Other birds of note, 4 Raven overhead, 38 Red Grouse, 11 Meadow Pipit, a Buzzard, and a Peregrine Falcon which I didn't see until I had almost got back to the car by the plantation.

Hawthornthwaite Fell produced three good records, the first of which was another excellent count of 9 Stonechat, pumping up the tally to 75 Stonechat seen in a little over five weeks in Bowland. The second record came with a Ring Ouzel seen distant in flight which soon went to ground.

Red Grouse Hawthornthwaite. Pete Woodruff.
The third record came when I counted 40 Red Grouse, 35 of which were seen together in a flight across the moorland, the highest number I've ever seen at any one time, and brings the total number on Catshaw/H'thwaite to 78 Red Grouse seen on the day. 

The Ring Ouzel. 

This is my fourth consecutive year for records of Ring Ouzel on Hawthornthwaite, and includes a male singing atop of a tree earlier this year on 17 May. I'm becoming convinced the Ring Ouzel breeds on Hawthornthwaite, next year I plan to attempt to find the evidence. 

The Ring Ouzel can be seen on moorlands well into October, with four records in 2019, the latest one being on 19 October at Winter Hill. The mean date is 4 November, but the latest ever Ring Ouzel in Lancashire was of one seen over Darwen Moor on 11 December 2000. These records are sourced from the annually best and most comprehensive report available Lancashire Bird Report 2019

The therapeutic value for this visit to Bowland was huge once again for me, in particular when I came to the water falling down Catshaw Greave with a little autumn gold showing on the 'Ouzel' Oak in the background.