Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Raptors Galore!

Through June and July I have had a great month watching Wildlife and as you can see from the title I have mainly got lucky with great encounters of Superb Birds of Prey in and around North West England and also travelling into the Scots side in Dumphries and Galloway. I am turning the blog into a monthly update as I am not doing enough for it to be worth updating on a daily basis. I have had a successful month in terms of Bird count and also a cirtain reptile that Gary and I were keen to see this summer so I will go through the photos with you for each encounter...

In mid June my main crew member Gary and I went for a day out to Galloway Forrest park making a list of target birds to see and also mark the areas out on the road map. Our first port of call and highlight was calling in at the Red Kite feeding centre just passed Castle Douglas which is riddled with Kites from the road side and even more when you head up to the feeding centre which costs £2.50 which i am more than happy to pay, best £2.50 ive ever spent FACT. Managed to get some great shots of the birds as they were all above our head and get some superb close up views. The one thing that racked mine and garys brain that we found out a few days later that there was a White Tailed Eagle spotted at Castle Douglas that day and while we were admiring the Kites Gary noticed a Large Bird very very high up in the sky which was unusual and behaving differently to all the Kites but we thought nothing of it at the time and just prosumed it was another Red Kite but we cant count it as a sighting but it just made us wonder at the time. Called into Southerness Point to look for Cetatians and were not let down with about 6 Harbour Porpoise spotted and also bottlenose dolphin after a little bit of debate and research. Weather was boiling hot at this point and we stayed for over an hour to admire the marine mammals.

Gary and I had been talking about going to look for Adders all summer season so after my mother goose of all people recomended a potential spot for seeing them further up Geltsdale valley by an antiant woodland so in mid July we headed up to the waterworks and it was good conditions for the snakes as it was warm day with the sun visibale but it wasent to warm for the snakes.

the Adder is the only snake found this far north with grass snake and smooth snake found in the south of England. When we got to the spot we were looking at the fell side which was covered in Bracken and was also south facing so we knew we had a chance, also we seen some openings in the bracken and collections of rocks which will be ideal locations for the reptiles.

We took about an hour to work our way up the fellside through the bracken and been carful on where we were standing. We got to an opening about 150 yards up the slope and got a right shock as i nearly stood on this coyled adder basking by a rock we stopped and admired as it headed for cover under its rock. We were well chuffed that we got to see a Snake in its natrual enviroment so we were keen to see more. we made our way slwely round the fell side and came across another opening further up and again me leading on nearly stood on 3 adders basking together! We got a great view of them and they did not seem to bothered about our presence as we watched for nearly 5 minutes getting some good shots with the camara aswell as you can see.

John Milo and I headed off to the scots side to Balcarry point which is past Dumphries and on the coast south of Kirkcudbright. We were gonna call in to Calaverock to look for the Crane that had been sighted there the last few days but the weather was poor on our way up so we just carried on hoping for brighter skies. We got down to Balcarry which took about hour and half from Carlisle. We planned a route to take which would be included in Dads book and there was also a tourism sign in the car park telling us possible wildlife in the area. we headed down the coastline on a nice scenic route that was minaly walking on the top of crags and cliff faces looking down on the high tide and all the costal birds such as Cormoront, Black Gillimot, Common Skota and Gannetts a bit further out to sea.
The highlight though was hearing then watching Peregrine Falcon male and female as well as to juvenille sitting on the crags quite close by and tormenting sea birds like Fulmer and Blackheaded Gulls. He headed to Kirkcudbright after Balcarry point as the Spoonbill was seen there the day before but we didnt know where to look, had a quick scan down thre estury but was more interested in getting fish and chips from this cracking little place called Polarbites i highly recommend it!

Osprey! This was on the same trip that Gary and I went up to Galloway National Park when we seen the Red Kites we headed up to Galloway Forest to look for a reported Honey Buzzard in the area North-East of the forest but we had no luck in seeing it just a few common Buzzard.
On the way back we called in at Castle Douglas and going off Dads instructions to find Thrieve Castle he located it to find a superb Osprey nest in full View with the two adults on show aswell as two chicks visable. We also got an otter crossing the river and disapearing into the read beds so some great wildlife to be seen in the area.
Went to this site again with dad a couple of weeks later to find the Ospreys showing good as well as two Red Kites circling low around the castle so Superb world class bird watching on show.

Next Month I am going after the last Golden Eagle in England located at Haweswater and also Hen Harriers near Keswick....

Wildlife Sightings this month: -

  • 25+ Red Kite
  • 5 Osprey
  • 4 Adder
  • Otter
  • 5 Peregrine Falcon
  • Common Lizard
  • 6 Harbour Porpoise
  • Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Cormoront
  • Black Gillimot
  • Common Skota
  • Gannett
  • Fulmer
  • Oystercatcher