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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Grouse in the Dales

Just before the grouse season started in August,I decided to take a run over to the dales, to see if I could capture a few images of these moorland birds.The heather was well on its way to being in bloom and it would make for an enjoyable day.

Heather is the staple food source for red grouse and this summer there seemed to be a bumper crop.

Like most species the red grouse is in decline,due to loss of habitat,over 40% of heather moorland has been lost to overgrazing and commercial forestry.Up here in the Yorkshire Dales the moorland is managed by large estates so that the Grouse can flourish and provide sport for the shooting fraternity!

This party were feeding on the young shoots of the heather.

Soon these heather clad moors will be ringing with the sounds of the shotgun as shooting syndicates take up position on the hillsides!

It was quite challenging trying to get close to the Grouse.I found the best way was to sit and wait and eventually a few birds would come within range.Any sudden movements and they were airbourne with an explosion of wings and the familiar ¬go back go back go back call!

There were plenty of youngsters amongst the heather,hardly surprising really,due to the excellent weather we had throughout spring and summer!

A pair of Buzzard were riding the thermals and constantly kept patrolling the ridges,no doubt they take young grouse ,much to the annoyance of the keepers.I`m surprised I actually saw them there with it being a managed moor,these must have been the lucky ones dont you think!
It really was worth the effort to go over to the dales and be in the company of the Grouse.I just wonder how many of those same birds are left now as November approaches!

Thanks again for dropping by and now that I`m back on the blooging theme after a short lay off.more of my escapades in the country will follow shortly!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Croasdale Fell

With the clocks going back just lately,I thought it timely to reflect on the wonderful Summer that we had.I was out and about in the Bowland fells quite a bit,sometimes alone,and other times with good friend and excellent photographer Brian Rafferty!We chanced upon this male Ring Ouzel on one of our outings and managed a few shots between us!
I returned alone,a few days later and set up my stall in the hide,well hidden amongst the heather.Ring ouzel are not the commonest of birds and usually see you coming,before you see them.
He was frequenting a little ravine where I`d seen these birds on previous visits.It was classic Ring Ouzel territory with heather clad banks.
A favorite perch was a dead tree half way up the gulley and he would regularly visit and belt out his song.These mountain blackbirds are iconic to the terrain here and it was a pleasure to soak up the atmosphere on this fine summers day.
On the return journey down the lanes,a Tawny Owl had taken up position in an old barn and from the car allowed a good photo opportunity.
Another bonus was the Little Owl in his usual area,eyeing me up nervously!
Bowland is such a great place to visit and I cant wait for Spring to come around again so I can return to this fantastic area that I have on my doorstep!Hope you enjoyed going back a few months and more blogs will be posted shortly!