Friday, 12 June 2009
Birds, Buttercups and Bowland
At last the weather seems to have settled down a bit, although it is still cool and windy. I have therefore managed a few afternoons up in the Forest of Bowland, which recently has become my second home. Most of the breeding birds now seem to have mated and set up territories and are busy feeding young. They have therefore been easier to observe and approach with the camera but never too close so as to upset them. The whinchat has been my primary objective and I have been pleased with the results so far. Whinchats do seem to be more numerous this year but stonechat numbers maybe down.
The whinchats and wheatears have shown well on the bracken covered and rocky hillsides of the valley of the infant River Hodder up in a wild and lonely part of Lancashire. Higher up still on the moorland and hill pastures curlews,lapwings and oystercatchers have been busy on the nesting grounds. Some of these high pastures are at the moment a sea of yellow as thousands of buttercups are in flower and along with the grasses etc provide a wonderful sight and a home for the curlews etc to raise their broods. This is certainly a great time to be out and about in the hill country as a nice surprise in the form of a peregrine falcon,hen harrier , merlin or raven may be on the wing checking the moorlands for an easy meal.
I hope some of the images above convey some of the beauty at present on show in the Forest of Bowland. Shown are a typical buttercup meadow, two images of the spledid male whinchat on territory, a wheatear showing off his fine tail feathers and a wet curlew close to his nest on the high fells of Bowland.