Saturday 20 Apr 2019 was another Bracken Hall Countryside Centre walk guided by local birder Paul King. 1:30 in the afternoon might not be the best time to start a birding walk and Paul spent some time talking about what to look and listen for during early morning or evening walks. However we did well.
We could here Robins and Crows but one of the first birds to be spotted was this Harris’s Hawk. It is most likely to be an escapee from a falconry, they breed in the Americas, so according to Paul it is only worth half a tick in your birding book. I quite like it and it doesn’t have any jesses on so it gets a full tick in my book.
The Hawk was being bothered by a Rook. The Hawk was a little late in flipping on to its back, which is probably just as well for the Rook. I know I wouldn’t want to be grabbed by those talons.
I was tempted to edit the relative positions of the birds to make it look more dramatic but that would be cheating.
Walking North along Bracken Hall Green, in amongst the Robins we could hear the distinctive call Willow Warblers. They will have only recently come back from Sub-Saharan Africa. They appeared to be spaced out along the trees so have already been setting up their breeding territory.
Further along Glovershaw Beck gave good views of a couple of Rookeries. It looked as though most of the nests were occupied with another adult nearby. This is a view of the nearer nests.
After crossing the road this Common Buzzard flew over, circled a few times before drifting off.
We had seen a few Swallows flying around. They will have recently returned from the Southern hemisphere to breed in and around our barns and outbuildings. This one posed nicely on a wire for me.
On the moors things were very quiet. A couple of Curlew were heard. A few times a Snipe could be heard. In the fields there were a fair number of Lapwing on nests which means that not many have hatched yet.
A week ago I almost stood on a Lapwing nest containing three eggs. It was in the middle of a track made by the golf club maintenance vehicles and very close to the busy path. I did not expect it to survive. I was surprised to see an adult lapwing still near where the nest had been and surprised again when I saw a chick. And even more surprised when I saw two more at what I think had been the nest. All the eggs had hatched!
This is the adult keeping a very close eye on one of the chicks. I have never been so close to Lapwing chicks before. In previous years I had been amazed at how you could get a glimpse of a chick and then with a call from an adult it would disappear from view. These new ones were sometimes hiding and sometimes walking towards the adult. Perhaps that was because we were so close.
I no longer embed the images from flickr but I have uploaded these, plus a few others, to an album on flickr that you can see here.