Sunday, 16 March 2014

The promised land...

Prince Charles referred to as having 'passion for protecting wild animals' as he continues to completely ignore the fact that his native wildlife such as upland raptor species and wildcats to name a few are getting massacred in large areas of the country. The royals have a history of trophy hunting and persecuting protected British species. The only thing his family has passion for is that for killing.

Dead peregrine found shot near pheasant pen...

Sea Life Surveys will be undergoing its 32nd year of operation in the coming weeks. A large variety of species can be seen on the excursions including minke whales, basking sharks, dolphin sp, porpoise, eagles, and sea birds. Along with the chance of fantastic wildlife observations passengers will be directly involved in the research undertaken. Book trips online on our new website here...

Amazing discovery of a prehistoric porpoise...

Great to spend the last couple of weeks working local areas and a prime spell of weather at the start of this week really got things going as spring is kicking into gear. A couple of days (3rd - 4th) to the east watching Goshawk in a few locations was very special.

Another highlight has been watching a pair of kestrels providing a lot of courtship behaviour near our home. Copulation has been viewed a number of times along with general bonding as they prepare for the vital time of the year. A young male bird has been observed intruding on the happy couple a number of times with some amazing dive bombing and territory defence also seen.

Nearly every time I have looked out of the window in the last couple of weeks I have seen a buzzard paroling up and down the valley along with birds soaring on a thermal column with six seen on one occasion. Very lucky to see these birds daily and never tire of viewing them.

On the 6th of March I had a walk up the valley and saw the first lapwing back to their breeding grounds with a pair in flight over the moorland. Also two pairs of stonechat seen with the cock birds in song. A stunning pair of red grouse were seen in close range, I managed to get some nice shots but then stupidly formatted the memory card and lost them.

On the 7th Cain, Frijj and Phil came up to Gdale and we went for an evening wonder around the valley. The first record was a pair of Grey wagtails down at the Gelt. The usual buz and kes were seen and red grouse appearing from the heather. Grouse remains were found which looked like peregrine kill. A few roe deer showing in a birch woodland and long eared owl seen briefly at dusk along with roding woodcock.

Records in the garden included a first for me which amazingly was a pair of house sparrows which we rarely get this high up. Also a pair of long-tailed tits seem to be preparing to nest build with the curious birds coming right up to the window providing great views.

Male adder in his dull winter skin basking...
On the 10th the mouth watering weather made it a must for some serious time in the field and a check on the traditional adder sites provided three males out basking. The first curlews were seen back on the moors including a flock of 25 seen. Meadow pipit numbers building and three black grouse cocks and a grey hen also up the valley. I did a night shift up on the moors as the high pressure provided low winds so prime to listen for owls. I heard 2-3 short-eared owls in song along with snipe and woodcock heard.

The great weather continued on the 11th and I was joined by Rachel and Frijj as we got some great goshawk action in the morning and three adders at lunchtime. The first bees of the year seen in white-tailed and a seven-spot ladybird and a peacock butterfly. We also viewed copulating kestrels which are a different pair further up the valley. We flushed a grey hen while walking through an ancient woodland later in the afternoon.
I headed back out in the evening and the highlights were a grey partridge which is my first for Gdale. A single grey hen was also seen along with a few red grouse. I watched up to a hundred wood pigeons fly into a spruce plantation while waiting for long-eared owls as I eventually seen and heard one bird later on. Back down at the house and while viewing the stars at about 2130 I heard a kestrel calling which must have been disturbed by possibly a tawny owl.

A great couple of weeks covering some special wild areas. They mean a lot to me because apart from the obvious reason that they are hugely diverse and stunningly beautiful they are also and always will be my home grounds.

Thanks for looking :)


  1. As a kid I would go looking for snakes on the first warm days on old (Roman?) stone works on the Mendips. Too risky to look for snakes here - but in many places they seem to rather hard to avoid!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Yes its such a thrill when searching for snakes Stewart, yes bit more a risk doing it down under! :) thanks for comment.

  2. Good to hear from Geltsdale. Keep it coming. :-)

    1. Thanks Brian, Hope all is well :)