Bowland magic

Having missed out on a few nice days in Bowland recently, a quick look at the weather forecast suggested that today was the day for a bit of raptor watching before wind and rain hit.

I made my over to the Dunsop Valley via Whalley and Mitton and coming over the top road into Whitewell because if I had to choose one view in the whole world that I adore, it's the one as you reach the sharp bend above Whitewell looking up the Hodder towards Dunsop Bridge. It's just great at any time of year but getting out of my car and hearing the songs of the Skylark, Curlew and Lapwing is bliss. No photo can do it justice.

At Burholme Bridge, I met Glenn who was searching for the Red Kite he'd seen yesterday. The Lapwings displayed in the fields as the sun came out and all was well with the world. There was no sign of any Sand Martins yet.

I parked up at Dunsop Village to the songs of Goldfinches and Siskins. A Great Spotted Woodpecker called and a pair of Dippers were busy collecting nesting material.

The walk up to the raptor viewpoint was accompanied by more bird song. Great, Blue and Coal Tits were singing alongside inumerable Chaffinches. Grey Wagtails partolled the streams and the first Buzzards were overhead. There were parties of Siskins all the way up with a couple of Redpoll thrown in for good measure.

Between 9:30 and 11 I scanned the area and was rewarded with several Buzzards, a male Hen Harrier, around six Sparrowhaks, Kestrel, Peregrine and a "you-know-what". There were six Buzzards in the air together at one point.

Flocks of Lesser Black-backed Gulls made their way up the valley to their nesting colonies on the top of the fells and I noticed a couple of flocks of thrushes heading purposefully north-east. A Green Woodpecker and several Jays were added to the morning's list.

On my way back, a couple of Sparrowhawks were prominently perched up in the trees - one of these birds was extremely large and causing some consternation! Finally it was back home via Waddington Fell where the Shrike was not showing (it had been all morning apparently!).


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