Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Bank Holiday Dotterel
The very warm and sunny weather we have recently enjoyed continued into the Easter weekend. It was that time of the year when dotterel pass through Lancashire on their way to breeding grounds in Scotland very often pausing to rest and feed on some of the higher hill tops. Pendle Hill has always been a favourite stopping off spot for dotterel but other hills are also used and so it turned out over the Easter weekend. Dotterel had been reported from Pendle but a trip of five birds had also appeared on Fairsnape Fell, not far away from Pendle and part of the Bleasdale Fells near to Chipping.
So it was that I left early for the hike up to Fairsnape Fell via Parlick Pike above the village of Chipping. It was indeed a magnificent morning with still some mist in the valleys but the sun was up and it was looking like another warm and sunny day. It was a hard pull up onto Fairsnape Fell but I eventually made it and immediately met up with three other birders/photographers on the summit. The dotterel were still there but on my arrival decided to fly off. Two birds were quickly relocated and we managed some nice close up shots before they flew off again. They had flown off down the southern slope of the fell and Ian returned to tell me his wife and Gary had refound the birds.
I made my way down again and after recovering from a spell of feeling unwell I was back in business photographing the dotterel which were very approachable and provided endless opportunities for the cameras. Gary,Ian and his wife left me to it but I was soon joined by three other photographers and once again we had excellent close up views of these fabulous birds. There was a trip of five birds ,two brightly coloured females and three duller looking but still very handsome males.
After taking many hundreds of images of the very confiding dotterel I decided it was time to make the long hike back to the car and enjoy the wonderful scenery on the way. It had indeed been a wonderful experience to spend time with these beautiful birds which in a few days time will probably be on their Scottish breeding grounds on the tops of the Cairngorm mountains. I have shown above a few images from the day but may have to post more later so I can share them with my readers. It was one of those red letter days long to be remembered when I am no longer able to make it to the high tops beloved of dotterel.