Sunday, 17 April 2016

Moorland Magic....

Stonechat, Wheatear and Buzzard were my breakfast birds today but no not in the Obs, I was up on the fantastic Durham Moors. It was the first of my two visits on the BTO Breading Bird Survey so i thought i would give you an update on how things looked today. My square is near Edmunbyers and its always one of the best days of my birding year being on the moors from dawn. Its all about Meadow Pipits,  Grouse and upland waders but sometimes i get a surprise.
 Today the first bird i heard was a singing male Wheatear, mind it took ages to find as he was sitting low down and singing for a mate. Most years i dont record one on my square so it was a great start. I would say most birds had similar populations to recent years. 2 displaying Lapwings is my norm but good numbers of Curlew and Golden Plover were a bonus. Grouse numbers seemed low and only one Snipe was disappointing
I came across a new species for my square, a pair of Teal came up off a mooland stream, a mega!
Biggest disapointment was no Skylarks, i normally get half a dozen, i know its early but i always do my first visit near this date. Lets hope they are just late arriving. When i first started doing this survey a decade or so ago Wrens were common on the moor but after a hard winter they disappeared. Last year i recorded them for the first time in ages and im glad to say i had one today. The adjacent square has a nice stream running down it in a bit of a valley and a quick look gave me ten singing Wrens but none seen they know how to hide. Stonechat and plenty of Wheatears were also in this area shame they didnt pop up the road to my square, what i would give for a Stonechat