A party of 6 set off from a very busy Barley car park. There was a fell running event on. After we put a pound in the honesty box we set off by walking through the village. At the end where the road goes left they followed a sign saying Blacko.
Followed the lane that became a track alongside both reservoirs. The Lower Black Moss Reservoir had the most birds. Saw a male Mallard with an orange side. Was this a Mallard Wigeon cross?
Eventually came to Black Moss road and turned left and climbed. At a footpath on the left stopped for lunch then continued to a bend and a gate which was the start of a path and the return journey through Salt Pie, Foot House Gate and Overhouses farm. Also this gave views of the Reservoirs from the other side.
From Overhouses took a path on right just after a bridge to follow a stream back to Barley.
I had last done this walk in Feb 2017 when we saw 29 species.There was 33 species today.
All the party had a well deserved drink in The Calf's Head PH at Worston after a satisfying but cold walk around the reservoirs
Dove Stones RSPB near Staly Bridge
Saturday 8th Feb
9.30 to 14.30
A party of 4 members parked at Bin Green car park which is situated halfway up the hill from Greenfield. Free to RSPB Members.
Walked down through the woodland.
Feeders here attracted lots of Finches and Tits and we spent some time searching the trees looking for other species and found Dunnock, Nuthatch, Pheasant and a Tree Creeper.
Next we descended to the main path alongside the reservoirs and turned left.
Walking past Yeoman Hey Reservoir we saw only 1 Cormorant on the water.
Could hear lots of birds calling to each other in the Conifers and watched 2 Coal Tits chasing each other around. Also heard Redpoll and Marsh Tit here.
Continued on an upper track
to gain access to Greenfield Reservoir thinking that being the most remote water it would show some wildlife but it was devoid of birds.
At Midday we had lunch before returning via a lower path but on same side of the reservoir. Observed a Raven and Kestrel along a ridge to the right.
Climbed back to car park and again looked for birds in the trees and on the feeders.
Decided to leave and stopped for a drink in The Royal George in Greenfield. J W Lee's Bitter. It was a very busy pub.
A good area to visit but I think that we visited at the wrong time of year. Spring would result in more singing birds.
It was a gray overcast day when a party of 9 Society members met at the free car park next to the ferry slipway at Knott End.
The exitment started at the slipway as there was about 20 Twite flitting about. A good start to the outing. We continued down the prom then past some cottages to a jetty that overlooked the River Wyre and a creek opposite that had several species of duck including Wigeon Mallard and Teal.
Climbed down steps and walked along the beach for a few 100 yards to climb some steps then followed an old walkway lined with scrubs leading to Hackensall Hall. This building was being refurbished and was fenced off. There was a few species of small birds in the grounds.
There was a hedge that could be seen from this point. It had a few small birds coming and going so it was decided to follow an access lane to get a closer look.
Walked back through an housing estate to the shore. Then turned left back the cars for lunch.
In the afternoon we all drove to Pilling Sewage farm as there was a Siberian Chiff Chaff there. There was a few people there already which made life easier. Saw 2 Chiff Chaffs, one of which was paler flitting about the settling tanks and a hedge at the back. Could this be the Siberian?
Continued onto Eagland Hill to look for the juvenile Purple Heron.
Again there was a few people looking over a field covered in reeds without luck. A Barn Owl flew from an old Nisson hut. It swooped down onto an unsuspecting field mouse and carried it in its mouth then transferred it to its talons in one movement.
After a while another group from around the corner texted to say that the Heron could be seen in a ditch.
Everyone raced around to see it but only partial views of its head were seen.
A great first outing of the new year.
Saturday 19th October 10:15 - 16:00
Fine and Sunny
Number in Party 8
We hoped it wasn't going to be an omen for the day when we looked northward toward the Lake District because we could see thick dark clouds of rain lashing down over the hills. No chance! It was shorts and t-shirts weather all day long where we were heading, and if it wasn't for the fact it was mid-October you would swear it was a midsummers day. Before we had left the car park a party of a dozen greenfinch kept our attention with their flitting in and out of the gorse-lined fences adjacent to us. On the shore, eight ringed plovers happily roosted close by with redshank bobbing in between them. There was another mixed flock of finches including linnet further around the path, their movement watched closely by the local sparrowhawk. As we moved down towards the newly erected hide, we hit a perilous section of path, wall to wall in mud, we couldn't go over it, we couldn't go round it, we had to go through it, so the story says and since only one or two took the precaution of wearing Wellington boots, the rest of us had to gingerly navigate a path that was quite deep in places, and we didn't find any bears either.
A newly built wall adjacent to the path enclosed the hide, a Camera Obscura and Sambo's grave and after we had our sandwiches overlooking the shore, we went to investigate. Black nightshade grew in the hedgerow next to the gate and also lined the path toward the grave.
Now clear of the mud, it common storksbill that gave us colour under-foot as we moved towards the point just before high tide. Hundreds of lapwing, large handfuls of oystercatcher, knot, redshank and curlew wheeled and jostled for the higher ground as the tide brought them closer to us. Red-breasted merganser, eider, grey plover and common gull also flew across the point.
We continued on along the path in a loop which came out at the hide once more, adding the usual array of smaller birds to the list including song thrush long-tailed tit and dunnock in the process. We had to renegotiate the dreaded muddy section again on the way back to the car park, but it didn't seem as long or intense as the previous occasion, somehow.
21 September 10:10 - 14:50
Sunny Warm Breezy
Number in Party 7
The lucky seven saw a Champion day on Champion Moor. The weather couldn't have been better for walking, warm and sunny with a slight chill in the fresh northerly breeze. As we approached the SSSI we had a feeling it wasn't going to disappoint. Walking down the single-track country lane towards the footpath where a large flock of meadow pipit plunged into the field next to us, their parachute-like wings guiding them with precision into the long grass and safely out of sight. On the perimeter of the field, a pair of Stonechat busily fed amongst the Dry Stone Walls.
We had barely climbed over the gate when a pair of Raven chose to scold a Buzzard resting on the wall and a right old tussle ensued as the Buzzard was not for moving, the aerial acrobatics from the Ravens though soon won the day and forced the Buzzard to seek refuge elsewhere. Heading on a horde of little brown jobs set down fifty to sixty yards in front of us. Stopping to determine what they were was a bit of a challenge as they bobbed up and down in the meadow. They turned out to be a mix of Linnet and Goldfinch with siblings. Their identification was made a little easier when they flew to the top of the dry stone. Suddenly, a cry of Hobby! went up, as it came from out of the blue and rose for good views as it flew into the valley beyond. Still in view and the heart rate up from the excitement, another shout rang out! Hen...nnn Harrier...rrr!! a silver-grey male teased us on the skyline before it disappeared over the boundary wall. We scoured the area where it vanished along the top of the wall when a Buzzard caused more tension as it came into the fray. Not knowing where to look for best a Kestrel then decided to join us, where they had come from at that moment in time, Who knows! The excitement wasn't over yet as we caught up with the Hen Harrier briefly before it vanished again into the ether. Bustling with excitement we decided to move on, if only to get the heart rate down to double-digits again, chatting over what had just happened our delighted voices rang out over the field only to disturb a pair of Barn Owls, I don't know who was more shocked as they both flew in front of us and out of sight over the hedge.
We then decided to head south down the path to the roadside where we disturbed a Tawny Owl from his rest. Continuing onto a barn in the distance where we were able to get our breathe back and have our sandwiches, there was common snipe in the adjacent field and a male Kestrel waiting for us on the roof as we approached the barn. Exploring the tree line around the barn gave a pair of Sparrowhawk spiralling above the Łwoods. Back on the road once more there we were never short of a Buzzard or two flying in the distance. Closer to us along the hedgerows, the wild-flowered hedges had seen better days, the onset of Autumn well upon us, giving up there fruits and seeds to the season. My interest was taken by one of the many garden spiders Araneus diadematus whose webs covered almost ever other plant along the hedge, it was busily making its intricate web among the available flower stems.
Back into the fields, we were escorted across them buy a herd of curious friendly cows, shepherding us onto Holloway, an ancient pathway, before a bit of a steep climb back onto the moor. Here the fields were boggy in parts and were full of lesser spearwort, well suited to these damp meadows. Wheatear played hide and seek with us amongst walls, giving us great views when we found them.
Finally, back to the cars the day seemed to go in a flash, this champion day on champion moor.
7th September 2019 10:30 - 15:40
Warm Sunny day
Number in Party - 4
Making the most of the window of good weather the farmers were already at hard at work harvesting, when we arrived at Lunt Meadows on Saturday morning. We had scarcely gone a hundred yards into the reserve when we saw a northern wheatear alight from the grass onto one of the nearby posts lining the driveway to the car park, then a covey of grey partridge basking in the early morning sunshine that stayed with us for the best part of the day. Our first stop inside the reserve gave us four snipe probing the food-rich mud like sewing machines. Weaving our way around the reserve we disturbed countless numbers of butterflies on the paths where their cryptic colours blending seamlessly into its surroundings, amongst which were red admiral small tortoiseshell speckled wood and large white to name but a few. Walking the embankment we saw Pink-footed geese come into rest on the pools. We had our sandwiches by the old pump house where the butterflies continued to dance in and out of the reeds, parties of swallows and martins passing overhead. There was still large swathes of a colour throughout the reserve from golden yellow ragworts, sow thistles and bindweeds as we continued around the pathway. The earlier flowering umbelliferous plants were beginning to leave their skeletons high above the hedgerow vegetation but in a small corner of the reserve, the mugwort towered above all else. Hearing the mewing call of a buzzard we looked up to see three of them circling on the thermals above us. In the distance we could see a lone bird flying almost directly towards where we were standing, initially it looked like a Shelduck with it's pied colouring but as it drew closer it turned out to be a juvenile great crested grebe still with it's striped face pattern. Other standout birds included Ruff, a dozen common gull among the usual array of gulls, wagtails and large numbers of lapwing on the pools. As we finished a great day at the reserve bathed in sunshine pink feet could still be heard heading towards the pools.
Wednesday 31st July. Cocklawburn Dunes. Spittal. Berwick.
Drove down to Cocklawburn Dunes NR and parked in the Reserve car park. Walked south down a lane that became a track as far as a pool on the right then returned partly on the beach then through grassy dunes behind a pillbox and car park then finally along the lane back to cars. Visited the Pillbox on the way out. There was a Swallow’s nest inside in one of the corners.
This area would be good at migration. The scrub is excellent habitat for cover. The pool only had a family of Moorhens.
Went onto Spittal and parked near the Lifeboat Station. Walked through the dunes to the right across from Berwick Harbour then walked along coast around the corner few 100 yards to a car park.
Visited again the Mediaeval bridge at Berwick.
There has been in invasion of Painted Lady Butterflies coming off the sea in their hundreds and feeding in the surrounding fields.
Thursday 1st August. Marshall Meadows Hotel to Burnmouth Hill.
Left the Hotel at 10.15 to to walk north to Burnmouth Hill and Harbour.
This is a beautiful walk with varied dramatic scenery all day. The views looking back along the coast were very lovely.
At a point after Lamberton Holdings the coastal way descended through a field. Some of the group who were tired went up to the left under the railway and steeply up to the A1 and walked to the village then had a drink in “The First and Last” pub.
Three of the group continued on the Coastal way to descend to Cowdrait. then along to the Harbour with a steep ascent to the upper half of the Burnmouth Village.
Caught the 15.37 bus back to Marshal Meadows. £2.60.
Friday 2nd August. Bamburgh. Blackrocks Point. Harkness Rocks.
The morning was a washout but it cleared up in the afternoon.
Parked along The Wynding in the second car park then walked along the road towards the Golf Club to overlook Blackrocks Point and Harkness Rocks.
Returned and did a tour in the car starting with the very popular Seahouses then onto Swinhoe, then Preston Tower. A Pele Tower. You could climb up steep steps. £1.50 OAP. Didn't bother as it looked too steep.
Back to the A1 then RT down to Fenham Mill to overlook The Granary Bay with Holy Isle opposite. Could see lots of Gray Seal heads sticking out of the water.
One could book a Cottage here and it would be a perfect setting for a peaceful holiday.
Went down a track to a collection of white tents. The path then continued to Beal and the causeway to Holy Island. The tide was in so the road was awash. Some Eiders just offshore and were near enough for great views.
Saturday 3rd August. St Abbs Head.
Drove past Northfield Farm and up the private road to Pettico Wick. Parked at the Lighthouse. Walked to the Rocks. All the Auks had departed but there was a cacophony of sound coming from the Kittiwakes. Walked up the steps to the Lighthouse to view the rocks. The Lighthouse ledges again were the empty but there were lots of Gannets just offshore. A formation of about 20 Ducks in a vee flew past low on the water. Common Scoters?
Couldn’t find them in the Telescope.
Had lunch at the Cars then drove to St Abbs. There was a Festival on.On the way out had a quick look at Mire Loch but could only see Mallard.
Monday 29 July 19:00 to 21:10
Fine & Warm
Number in Party - 17
Most of the party were able to park next to the cricket pitch as there wasn’t the usual throng of walkers this evening. We followed our usual cuckoo walk trail but it was noticeably quieter as we set off over the Goit with faint calls of Siskin in the top of the trees, disturbing a grey wagtail when we crossed the aqueduct. Ambling along the footpath with Stronstrey Bank to our left, calls of willow warblers up-slurred whistles could be heard amongst The gorse and undergrowth, darters also made an appearance but too far off to identify. Crows and Wood Pigeons kept a watchful eye on us from the fences at the top of the Bank. Further on Redpolls called and made a brief appearance making the evening worthwhile. Frustratingly Bullfinch and one or two other species made fleeting appearances near the top of the ridge, too far off to positively identify. Crossing The Goit once again heading back to the car park there were one or two quite deep puddles to negotiate from the weekend's heavy rains. We passed nineteen Canada Geese resting quietly amongst the sheep with a family of Crows playing above them catching the late evening thermals bringing a pleasant evening to a close.
Canada Goose 19
Com Buzzard 1
Black Headed Gull 1
Lesser Black-Backed Gull 2+
Wood pigeon 10+
Collared Dove 2
Carrion Crow 10+
Blue Tit h
Willow Warbler 5+
Hesketh Old and New Marsh
Monday 22nd July
Fine Breezy Warm
19.00 to 21.30
A party of 19 Members parked on the car park next to the School on Shore Road at Hesketh Bank.
It had tried to rain all evening and went dark but we escaped a drenching.
Walked along Shore Road to the left for a few 100 yards before turning onto the Marsh via a track by Fylde View Farm.
It was a bit breezy and some crops on the right had been flattened due to the recent wind and rain.
A study of a ploughed field found a few Wood Pigeons and lone Stock Dove feeding.
There were Swallows and House Martin's flying around but no Swift's
At the junction we turned right to follow a ditch called Carr Heys Watercourse.
Saw 2 common Buzzard wheeling high over to the right then one of them flew low over our heads and landed in a ploughed field on the left.
Also 2 Brown Hares were seen in this area.
At Guide Road we crossed and continued towards the River Douglas. Could see a large flock of Lapwing flying along the river along with Gulls and what looked like Curlew.
The late Sun lit up the hedgerow by the side of the track, giving the evening an extra boost.
Retraced steps to Guide Road.
There was of wild flowers here attracting some lovely Butterflies.
At the bottom of Guide Road we turned right back to the car park
Some of the group had a well deserved drink in The Cock and Bottle after a lovely summer's evening's walk.