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Up the Hill (1 Viewer)

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
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My little local patch is a few hundred feet up in the hills. An area of open moorland with a conifer forest and a small lochan.

There has been nothing there of note really through the winter except a few Crows, Wood Pigeons and a large flock of mixed finches, mostly Chaffinch and Brambling.

On Friday it was still looking very wintery up there but a few Herring and Black Headed Gulls had arrived with a couple of Mallard.

What a difference a couple of days make, today, the Chaffinch/Brambling flock were still there, at least 1000 birds. Black Headed Gulls in force and Common Gulls now too. Skylarks singing and Meadow Pippits flying over. After about an hour I heard, then saw, a Curlew, 2 Pied Wagtails and a pair of Mistle Thrush. As I was leaving 2 Oystercatchers flew in and a Buzzard came a-hunting.

It is interesting for me to note that Oystercatchers and Lapwings have been around the lower levels for some weeks now, but the Curlews (well one) appear to have come straight up to the hills, an hour ahead of the Oystercatchers with still no sign of Lapwings.

Sunday 2nd April

Overcast and heavy showers today with a cold wind.

Common Gulls have arrived now to join the Black Headed and Herring Gulls and a pair of Dabchick. Two more Oystercatchers have moved in. The biggest surprise, though, was a singleton Whooper Swan. This is a very small piece of water. Hunting in the long marginal grass was a Grey Heron. I only saw the one male Mallard, presumably the female was hiding somewhere. Just the one Curlew seen and heard.

In the fields bordering the forest the Chaffinch flock is still holding a few Brambling and have been joined by numerous Linnets. At least 4 Skylarks were heard.

No Buzzard today but a Kestrel was hovering over the heather.

Thanks Henry. But you seem to have a good patch too.

Not much change up there this weekend. Light snow showers and a very cold wind was blowing, so scoping was impossible.

I was really surprised to see the Whooper Swan is still present and seems very settled.

Two Buzzards were displaying and three Curlews chasing each other. A Kestrel spent some time hunting.

I went for a walk round a pasture field and was pleased to see a good number of Meadow Pippits in the field. A Sparrowhawk chased something into a gorse bush.

On my way home I found a smallish flock of Fieldfare, about 30 birds there.

As I drove toward my patch on Friday I could see the Whooper swan was still in residence. But when I got down to the lochan it had gone! The only explanation was that a couple had walked down to the water's edge and it had flown away behind me while I was out of sight. Blast them, it was quite sunny and I wanted a picture of it.

Still just 3 Oystercatchers, two paired off and the other occasionally causing mayhem with them. A Moorhen is a new arrival and showed very briefly. Just a couple of Common Gulls today, most of them seem to be with the Black Headed following a tractor down at the farm. The Dabchicks are very busy feeding, not seen any sign of nest-building though.

Walking the pasture fields I found about 50 Fieldfare, actually on my patch! The Mallards appear to have moved down to the burn that runs through this field. Meadow Pipits seem to have arrived in numbers now. A Roe Deer was feeding in a neighbouring field. Just the one Buzzard today, although I saw another 3 on my way up there.


Just a brief passing visit. The Whooper has returned and a Reed Bunting has arrived - a lovely male.


Brilliant - a Wheatear has at last arrived. Only saw the one, very briefly. A Heron was at the far end of the lochan and then moved back up into the long grass where the burn comes in. Suddenly another Heron jumped up and flew at it, then another and suddenly there were four of them.

A pair of Pied Wagtails have now arrived too.

The Chaffinch flock is gradually breaking up now - from 500+ mixed with Brambling, there are now only about 50 with Linnet.

Skylarks singing and Curlews calling - my idea of heaven.



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Thanks Joanne. I must admit it is nice up there hardly any cars use that road.

I only really found this place last year and thought it would be interesting to keep an eye on it - see what uses the lochan etc and what dates they arrive. There's loads more to come in yet. I'm really waiting for a Red Throated Diver to nest there :king:

I know it's not as good a patch as some people have got but there are very few reports of what's happening 'up in the hills'.

Thanks all If last year is anything to go by there'll be Yellowhammers, Stonechats and a Short Eared Owl as well.

One day there'll be a Red Kite and a Goshawk too. (well we can live in hope)

Rather a mixed week this one.

I'll start with the negative news. The Whooper seems to have left now and I was rather disappointed to see that the farmer has burnt great swathes of the gorse, which ran alongside the road on one side (the bushes on the other side remain at the moment).

I had a few briefish visits this week and new visitors were 3 Redshank and a male Teal. These were seen only the once but it would be nice if they came back.

I keep thinking the Chaffinch flock has gone, but there they were again on Wednesday, still holding a few Brambling.

Today was really hot and sunny and at last an Lapwing has appeared. I only saw the one displaying on the moor. Buzzard and Kestrel hunting.

Roe Deer, Hare and a Bumble Bee were seen.

Swallows and Martins are nearly on the patch, can't quite count them yet - 200 yards down the hill!

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You seem to have a very nice local patch there Delia. Keep the reports comming.A Red kite flew over my local patch last week so keep looking and hoping.
He he, I think your Whooper has arrived home - six pairs on nests as of this week on my patch :) I'll look after him and send him on back in the autumn ...
You'll have me to answer to if he doesn't come back safe and sound Jos :'D so look after him well please.

John, there was a Red Kite seen about 10 miles away last week near the house that my boss is building. A few individuals have been seen in that area over the last couple of years, possibly juveniles looking for territories, so hopefully....... The area round my Patch wouldn't be a bad location for them.

Its great to see where you do your birding Delia. I will enjoy keeping up with this thread.
You will have to get some more scenic shots, as it looks lovely. :t:
And a Lifer

Thanks Kas for your post. I'll put another couple of pictures on with this report, just for you of course ;)

Mostly short visits through the week again, on my way home from work.

The Teal has disappeared, to be replaced on Tuesday by a pair of Tufted Ducks. They only stayed for one day, but I was pleased to see they had returned today.

The Common Gull numbers seem to fluctuate rather, between 4 and 12, with much coming and going. Today two were having a fight in the water.

The Dabchick female is sitting tight on her nest now and I haven't seen her in the water at all this week.

I usually only see the one Moorhen, but on Wednesday there were three of them chasing each other round the lochan. Today back to just the one visible.

There's been no sign of the Mallards all week, I don't know where they have gone.

I've no idea how many Curlew there are, but one day I saw about 6 in the air together. There are now 4 Oystercatchers and a pair of Lapwings.

On Friday I took a walk round the pasture field, there is a large clump of willow trees at one end and 4 Willow Warblers singing there.

The Chaffinch flock is no longer, more of that later. There are, however, about 20 Linnets feeding in the stubble field, along with a few Chaffinch.

The male Reed Bunting is still there, but I haven't seen a female. The male Wheatear seems to have 2 ladies though.

On Saturday I walked out onto the moor and found around 6 pairs of Skytlarks, some singing, others chasing each other in a large stretch of long grass.

Friday was my best day – 2 male Grey Partridge wandered across the road in front of my car. That's a Lifer for me!:D

Today I thought I'd try the forest so climbed the gate for a wander in there. Every other tree (well not quite but you know what I mean) seemed to have a Chaffinch singing on it. So that's where they've gone. A couple of Willow Warblers were singing and a Robin showed briefly. Then a Mistle Thrush perched on the top of a tree with a mouthful of worms or something. As I was leaving a Buzzard came hunting, only to be mobbed away by a couple of Black Headed Gulls.

A Dunnock and Yellowhammer were singing in a clump of trees just outside my patch and about 12 Yellowhammers in a tree by the roadside on my way home.

The views here show the clump of willow trees and a view in the forest.



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A good and interesting week has just passed.

The Tufted Duck pair had disappeared on Friday. However they were back on Monday with another pair.

The Dabchick nest seems to have failed but I noticed them building another, also mating.

I think 2 of the Common Gulls are sitting on eggs. The numbers continue to vary between 4 and 12, including 1 or 2 juveniles. I saw another pair mating today.

Up until now there have only been 2 Black Headed Gulls, but today there were 6, mostly juvenile. It was great fun watching one of them diving down to the water to pick up a reed, only to drop it and start all over again. One or two others joined in the fun and then there was a squabble.

On Friday I went for a walk round the field and found about 10 Swallows flying round a barn where they nest. A pair of Blue Tits were also investigating a crevice.

Walking back I heard a Cuckoo. This was a long way off but I'm counting it!

The two Redshanks flew back in today, bringing with them a Dunlin. Will it stay? Will another join it.?

The first Swift has arrived.

Other wildlife: A frog (I think), all I could see were two large eyes sticking out of the water. Two brown hares trotted down the track. Wood Anemone is in flower as is the Gorse.(can't smell it though!)



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