Another point to mention is the lack of Short Eared Owl sightings in the last 6 months in the Geltsdale area. They are normally a regullar occurance on the higher ground but it is worrying times for them at the minute.
On the 3rd Wednesday of March me and Cain (Hollywell Birder) decided to make a trip out To Haweswater as on a monday previous we attended a Golden Eagle talk arranged by Cumbria Wildlife Trust at Bramptons Moot hall. We learned a bit about the history of the eagles based at Rigindale with up to 2 pairs at once been seen there in the mid 20th century. The man who did the talk was a warden there for nearly 15 years and his most exciting encounter was watching the Male Eagle corner a fox high up on the valley with its wings out and showing real threat, it must of been unreal to witness. Anyway when we arrived at Hawewater we decided to turn it into an afternoon hike as the cloud was very low with poor viability. We headed up the right hand side of the valley and as we reached the highest point he decided it was too cold and went back and ourself, call it a day and move on!
An exciting bit of news in the easter bank holiday weekend was an East Coast Scotland Sea Eagle making its way down to Prestwick and then moving through to Yorkshire / Leighton Moss and then seen at Haweswater been chased away by the resident Goldie! again that must have been unbelievable to see! Sadly the bird was last seen heading east over the Pennines and the grouse moors and nothing else was ever heard from the special bird.
A treat for myself in good old Geltsdale happened in mid April when me and John Milo were out checking for Barn Owl nests in Rock faces, cracks and crevices and I looked up to see a raptor holding just above me so I got the binos locked on it and a white ring tail stood out and the distinctive wing shape and flight....it was a 1st year male Hen harrier! watched it hunting over the moorland for around 10 minutes and it was a delight!
John mentioned the lack of Short Eared Owls in the past 6 months as there had been no sightings at all until he got a distant bird up on coal fell at the end of April so that is a worry at the present time.
The first Swift recored at JS was on the 16-04 always a great sign and they are a magnificant birds to watch. Still waiting on the first Swifts, John has put up two Swift boxes at the back of the house so hopefully that will encourage them to move in! A Pair of Kestrels have again moved into the box down in the wood in view of the kitchen window so again it makes washing the dishes a lot more enjoyable.
A trip to Threve and the Castle Douglas area was in order for Mid April as the Osprey had returned to the island next to Threve Castle. Also a good oppertunity to watch the Red Kites in the area . The weather was not the best on the way up with showery spells on and off but once we got to the NTS car park the sun came out and we walked down to the rivers edge to view the Ospreys.
Threve Castle with nesting Raven
Red Kite Castle Douglas
Red Kite time 3
Male Kestrel at Calaverock