The Damp Squid.

A visit to Harrisend Fell then on to Hawthornthwaite, turned out to be something of a damp squid, but as with any birding, not without interest including a first.

It was a bitter disappointment that I struggled to find just one pair of Stonechat at Harrisend, 7 Red Grouse, and a Magpie calling and flying purposefully south across the fellside below the ridge, in itself something unusual and a first 'Moorland Magpie' for me. On Hawthornthwaite, just 18 Red Grouse seen. 

Stonechat Behavior....I had been on Harrisend 1.5 hour, and was on the return leg before I found the pair of Stonechat providing me with a first record. 

The male was atop of a gorse bush, the classic view of an upland Stonechat. The bird soon took to the wing and was seen to be in pursuit of a female, flight was fast and direct until the female changed direction, then soon went to perch, followed by the male going to perch close by her. This was soon followed by the female taking off again, with the male in hot pursuit to repeat a similar pattern, the pair going to perch again.

Having spent 15 minutes watching this pair of Stonechat, during which time this behaviour was repeated at least ten times, covering quite a large area of about 100 square meters, before I left them to it.

I was in touch with John Callion about the Stonechat observations at Harrisend on Tuesday, and he asked if I had any evidence of a third bird involved, in which case the male was seeing off an intruder. In fact I saw no other bird throughout my observations.

In our correspondence, John passed on to me some pretty impressive records, one of which was c.130 nestling Stonechats ringed this year. John added a footnote to this, within 10 miles of his house approx 40 nestlings were colour ringed this year, at least six of the broods successfully fledged, yet no colours on any of the six wintering pairs close to him have been seen....Fascinating.

The other equally impressive record from John, was of 74 Wood Warblers - 13 adult and 61 nestling - colour ringed in the Borrowdale Valley this year....Need to get myself into Cumbria next year.  

In The Garden....A Goldcrest graced our plum tree and conifer yesterday morning.

The counter on B2B reached a viewing count of 2167 views for one post recently. To each and everyone, my little Robin friend 'Bob' and I would like to wish you....

A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS