Sunday, March 09, 2008
This morning was spent away from the coast for a change. Early spring is a good time to go inland in Northumberland to look for raptors and for some of our returning upland species.
Dispite the cold strong breeze, a lot of Red Grouse were displaying today. Their calls 'go back go back go back grrrrrr' could be heard all over as they chased back and forward over the moors. While watching them a flock of 35 Golden Plovers flew west, heading off back to their breeding grounds. Also around were singing Skylarks in their dozens, Stonechats and Mistle Thrushes while small parties of Meadow Pipits seemed to be stopping off to feed.
At mid morning I had a lucky break, when a huge beast of a bird came over. The juvenile Goshawk flew overhead to soar above a nearby pine wood where it was mobbed by a Kestrel in panic mode. This gave a good size comparison, the Kestrel's wing span being about one wing of the Gos! The size of this bird would make it a female. It was a nice golden buff colour streaked darker below and showed well before the Kestrel's agitation had the desired effect and it moved off over the hill.
Not far away, a group of about 20 Siskins and Golfinches were feeding on larch cones out of the wind in a shelterd lee on the moor edge.
All in all a nice morning out...