The wind was cold but it was well worth the walk along the path by the wall at the North West corner of Baildon Moor.
Before I saw anything I heard the lovely sound of Skylark above the golf course and eventually I managed to see it, high up singing away, much too high to get a photo. Groups of Meadow Pipit were also flitting about and chasing each other.
By far the noisiest though were the Pheasants. The males calling and fluttering their wings to announce their presence. I spotted several pairs some quite close to each other. I expected the males to start strutting round each other but they seemed to keep out of each others feathers. I did see two males in a bit of a head to head, no females to be seen, but they soon separated without any fighting. Perhaps the one with the bigger tail was just too intimidating.
One pair of Pheasants were obviously getting close to territory reserved by a Lapwing, they were swooped at several times but that didn’t stop the Lapwings in other parts of the field from mating, after which they would walk away from each other. Lapwing were spaced around the fields reserving their nesting ground but no where near the numbers I have seen before.
There was also the eerie call of Curlew as they flew around and glided into land. Several could be spotted and some landed further up only to be quickly flushed out by dogs off the lead. It is a wonder that the Skylark keep trying to nest there. I spotted two with their dogs on leads and five with their dogs off the lead, running around. Some had their noses in the longer grass and heather, sniffing everything out, others had their heads forward and their tails out – a straight line from nose tip along their backs to their tail tips – hunting. One little fluffy white thing was not the least bit interested in doing any of that though, it was just thrilled to be running about on the fairway.
It is not just people and dogs that make it difficult for the Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Curlew and Lapwing. They also have to contend with quite large birds, Crows, the occasional Great Black-backed Gull, Buzzards and ones like this Raven that flew over Kronking as it was chased by a Lapwing. A few years ago when this sort of thing happened there would be dozens of Lapwing in the air screaming, and as Corvids or Raptors flew by they would be mobbed by 6 or more of them. Now it looks as though being chased by 1 or 2 is more likely, hardly a mobbing. Stoats will also be roaming about looking for a meal.
While I was quietly watching all this going on a Field Vole scurried over a grass tussock before disappearing in the bottom of another. I can see that one becoming a Kestrel or Barn Owl meal if it behaves like that. It was too quick and unexpected for me to get a photo.
I also heard a Snipe. I would describe the sound as “chucka chucka chucka”. I want to be up there when they do their diving display with the thrumming tail feathers out.