Thursday, 25 April 2019

Still Cuckoo

Yesterday I was surveying the wetland complex on one of my client's farms in Bowland, and this farm is probably the only place in Lancashire that I can still guarantee to hear a Cuckoo.

I arrived at the farm to complete my survey under three oktas of hazy cloud, with a light northeasterly wind. It was a tad cool at first, but it soon warmed up. As I got out of my car, a movement caught my eye and a stonking Barn Owl lifted off one of the fence posts of a newly planted hedge. I was to see this Barn Owl several times during the course of the morning, but I was never quick enough, or good enough, to get a picture.

There was a reasonable number of Willow Warblers along the wetland complex that I was surveying and my total of nine, included six singing males. The only other warbler species I had was a singing Blackcap.

Even though I was only walking a small portion of the farm, and not in the best areas for Brown Hares, I still managed to record eighteen of these delightful creatures!

 Brown Hare

The wetland complex is away from some of the best breeding wader fields, but nevertheless I still had five Curlews, four Common Sandpipers, a Snipe, ten Lapwings and sixteen Oystercatchers.

 Common Sandpiper

As I stated in my introduction this farm is the only place where in recent years I can guarantee hearing or seeing a Cuckoo. This morning was no exception and I had two calling birds from different parts of the farm. There's nothing like a Cuckoo to reassure you that the world is still turning!

The wetland complex that I was surveying consists of 10-12 interlinked wetlands/ponds and on some of them were breeding Tufted Ducks, totalling about ten pairs.

A Raven, a Buzzard, four Lesser Redpolls, two Siskins and a Mistle Thrush later and I had completed my survey. Of course, the above is only the potted highlights of all the species I recorded and I didn't want to bore you with counts of Mallards, Moorhens, Coots etc.

The forecast is changeable over the next few days, but that can often mean some interesting birds!

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