North Pennines Birdwatching 13/05/13

by on May.14, 2013, under Birdwatching, North Pennines, Northumberland

I collected Andreas ahead of a day of birdwatching in the North Pennines with two things in mind; Andreas’ target list for the day (Red Grouse, Black Grouse, Ring Ouzel) and the weather forecast (sleet and snow showers, temps as low as 7C)…

Glorious and breezy weather accompanied our journey southwest and we were soon at the first of our regular Black Grouse sites.  We arrived there just ahead of the first of the day’s snow showers – which saw the temperature plummet all the way down to 1C!  We soon found our first Red Grouse of the day, as Curlews displayed overhead, and a third of Andreas’ target list had been achieved.  An unexpected find by Andreas was a Woodcock, tucked into the vegetation as we made our way across from Allendale to Weardale.

Eurasian Woodcock,Scolopax rusticola,Martin Kitching,,bird photography courses,Northumberland,North Pennines,bird photography holidays

Soon after the Woodcock we came across a displaying Common Snipe, and then our first Black Grouse of the day; a male sitting on a drystone wall, iridescent blue in the sunshine, followed by this bird, half-heartedly displaying while another one fed close by.  Two out of three…

Black Grouse,Tetrao tetrix,Martin Kitching,,Northumberland,North Pennines,bird photography courses,bird photography holidays

Brilliant sunshine was followed by snow, was followed by brilliant sunshine, was followed by snow, and that pattern continued throughout the rest of the day.

As we headed for our regular lunch spot, Andreas spotted a female Ring Ouzel, and completed his target list for the day 🙂  As the sunshine bathed the landscape around us, a very confiding Lapwing allowed some easy photography.

Northern Lapwing,Vanellus vanellus,Martin Kitching,,Northumberland,North Pennines,bird photography courses,bird photography holidays

After watching two Blackcock lekking, with seven other birds pottering about nearby, we headed northeast.  The heaviest snow of the day accompanied our journey out of the hills, a reminder that conditions on high ground can be poor at any time…but the reward for braving our remotest landscapes is some really high quality birdwatching.

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