In an unexpectedly cold wind and under a leaden sky, 6 members braved this year’s bird outing on Barden Moor. However, we were soon delighted by good views of both male and female Stonechats keeping company with a Wren on the heather. Black-headed gulls which have a large breeding colony at the upper reservoir were constantly in the air, while Willow Warblers continually told us of their presence (and were occasionally seen) as they foraged in the leafy rowan and willow trees.
Because of construction work the water level of the lower reservoir was down which meant that fewer waders than usual were at the weir, although we did have sightings of Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher, and a Grey Wagtail which attracted our attention for some time as it flitted about on the rocks cramming more and more food into its mouth. We collectively willed it to take the food into its nest, but to no avail!
At lunchtime the sun appeared, much to our relief, and we sauntered about enjoying its warmth for the rest of the afternoon. Three Red Kites circling above us, a young Red Grouse with its parents, the sound of a Cuckoo, more Stonechats, Curlews and Lapwings calling, and a singing Skylark at the end all contributed to an enjoyable moorland experience.
In all we saw and heard 24 species.
Photos Ian Hughes