Actually YEAH!!

Sardined into Alan Wright’s wheels, with Neill Hunt, Mike Stocker and David Nickeas, we headed up to the hills this morning and set off on the walk that everyone else has been doing for the past few days (best foot forward chaps!).
One member of the party had just stepped off a night shift and may have been a tad over-tired, but at least the loonball gabbling of the sleep-deprived made the journey up to the Pennines go that bit quicker.
The five of us trudged up from Dunsop Bridge to Whitendale for a breathtaking hour or two with the male Pallid Harrier that has set up shop there.
Now we all know that this part of the world is probably just about the dumbest place in Britain for a harrier to pitch up in, but the Pallid was a wonderful bird, and was floating over the heather for pretty much the whole morning.

This thing is a bit of a show-off – it sky-danced, it yo-yoed, it chased a Cuckoo, it perched up, it chattered above our heads, soared, circled and generally had a party.
The harrier was as bright and shiny as the bloke with the rifle strapped across his back as he rumbled by on a quad, was dark and sullen.
Ahem.
I was lucky enough to see the adult male Pallid about 100 years ago on the Kent marshes, but today’s bird was much more exciting as it floated above and around us, riding updrafts with the lightest of touches.
Against the hillside it was as white as a gull, against the sky it was light and kite-like.
Spiffing.

The march up and down the valley also brought us Crossbills, Grey Wags, Common Sandpipers, Raven, Pied Flycatcher, Dipper, Redpolls and Siskins etc, but the splendour was tarnished after the news of the sad passing of Andy Roadhouse filtered through to the fells.
The great man would have loved this morning.
Cheerio Andy – we’ll all miss you.

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One thought on “Actually YEAH!!

  1. Take a walk on the wild side this May half term and admire nature’s new arrivals. The team at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands are encouraging visitors to explore the nature trails and discover a range of different homes for wildlife this school holidays.
    Dan Trotman, Visitor Experience Manager at the reserve, said: “Spring is a fantastic time of year here; not only is the weather encouraging us to spend more time outdoors, the wildlife is exciting too. Whilst the bluebells have faded for this year, lots of other flowers – the orchids are my favourite – are just starting to bloom. We are also seeing fresh fuzzy chicks every day, as birds around the pools and trees welcome their young into the world”.
    Families visiting the reserve can follow the ‘Marvellous Moths’ quiz trail to learn about some of the creepy crawlies that only come out after dark. Plus, there’s lots of other fun family activities to take part in, from hiring a Wildlife Explorer backpack, complete with minibeast kit, mini binoculars and more to having a go at den building or even just enjoying a picnic with family and friends.
    The Marvellous Moths self-led quiz trail is available daily from 9.30 am-4.30 pm until the end of June. All activities are free of charge but normal reserve admission charges apply for non-RSPB members.
    For more information on the reserve and its activities, please call 0151 353 8478 or check out the website rspb.org.uk/burtonmerewetlands.

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