Monday, March 31, 2014

Down On The Moors Again.....Sunday 30.03.2014.

A full day to myself today,as Trace was sleeping after her night shift,so i decided to drive over to the superb NNR encompassing Crowle and Thorne Moors.On arrival it was slightly misty and the sun was trying to push its way through,a feature which lasted all day,but at least it wasn't cold.I parked at the Crowle side and began to explore this smaller section of the NNR.It wasn't long before i recorded the first of at least 8 Chiffchaff seen during the day as it belted out its song in the hazy sun,while close by a prospecting pair of Willow Tit gave great views as they searched for a suitable hole to nest in.Further on into the reserve and after an incredibly close encounter with a Brown Hare,the distinct song of a Common Snipe could be heard as it sang from its song perch,sadly a sound that isn't heard very often in the countryside nowadays and a couple of male Meadow Pipits parachuted back to earth in their display flights.Not much further along the path,the first highlight of the day was noted after hearing that rich,flutey song and the first of 2 male Blackcap gave himself up and showed nicely singing away as he fed in a Pussy Willow,which was brimming with flying prey.These,along with Sedge Warbler are my favourite summer visiting warblers that we have the privilege of seeing,lovely birds.As i walked along the edge of the Warping Drain,several male Common Toad could be heard calling and a few areas of Groundsel brightened the bare areas of newly cleared ground.Much management work is ongoing here,with many of the paths being repaired and widened,new gates and fences being erected and some habitat creation as well which is making the reserve much more user friendly.I just hope it doesn't become another dog toilet,which would be a real shame.Quite a few Buff and White-tailed Bumblebee's were encountered on my walk and also 5 Eristalis intricarius,my first 'Syrph's' of the year.I eventually reached the bailey bridge to cross over onto the Thorne side of the NNR and Will Pitts Scrape revealed 1 female Goldeneye and 2 'Redhead' Goosander,with 5 of the latter on my return journey.After a chance meeting with both Brian Wainwright and Des Parmenter,Des and myself walked the long distance to the other end of the reserve to look for the wintering Great-grey Shrike after Brian had said he had been watching it earlier,but sadly by the time we had arrived it had moved on,but great compensation was had in the form of some superb raptor action.This included a stunning,ghostly male Hen Harrier,which we managed to see at pretty close range at first and later more distantly as he hunted this prime raptor habitat,what a bird and highlight of the day for us both.Nearby,the Hen's close cousins also put on a fine display with at least 4 Marsh Harriers being seen,these consisted of two females,an adult and a 3rd calendar year male.It is great to see these superb raptors doing so well,a shame we cannot say the same about the beautiful Hen Harrier.A few butterflies were encountered as we wandered our way back to Will Pitts and included 1 male Brimstone,2 Small Tort,4 Peacock and my 'First' Small Copper of the year and a couple of the verocious Green-tiger Beetles buzzed in front of us as we flushed them from the limestone road.A drumming Great-spotted Woodpecker was heard in Will Pitts wood and at least 3 Common Buzzard were also logged,one of the latter having a tussle with a male and female Marsh Harrier.A couple of Sparv and a single Kestrel completed the 5 species of raptor for the day.As we eventually made it back to the car park,a little weary to say the least after all the walking,we both made our way home after another brilliant visit to this cracking site.

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