Apr 2, 2013

Cotasgarth april 2nd

After reading Tim Deans sunday class report saying that Cotasgarth was hooching with harriers on sunday I thought it was an idea to pop over for a look this lunch time. Even though it was clouded over and cold it was a warming walk up the track from the farm. Geese were the main birds seen on the way to the dale. The heather hill sides are fairly covered in pairs now as the residents begin to take territory . The track through the dale produced a few of the first returned meadow pipits. I have been noticing more of these have been reapering in the county over the last few days, we had seven or more on the Eastside beach yesterday and one was displaying somewhere over the back field last night. The hide was cold and draughty with yet another dodgy door handle! However with the windows open and the collar up I settled down to scan the ridge and hillside before me. My usual routine is a spy over the stands of willow scrub for small birds perching, a look over all the posts on the hill side for perching raptors that might be resting, preening and chucking up pellets then up to thr ridge line for birds coming in. At this point the first raptors came into sight with a buzzard moving along the skyline. This was closely followed by another and the pair moved towards the pylons and disappeared over the hill. A large ringtail came over the top and quartered the hill to the left to disappear from view. Shortly another smaller one (young male) came in from the Harray mens graves area and passed over the hillside rising over the ridge at the land slip. The pair of buzzards were soon back about hands with the pylon and this time the drew the attention of another ringtail. This one set about haranguing the buzzards and quite a scrap for a while. As they split and moved away it fell quiet for a bit until a harrier quartered the right hand hill side again. Around the pylon a female kestrel hovered dipped hovered and dipped. There are a pair over this ground and have been a fixture for years there.Buzzards reappeared over the ridge line and patroled with hovers and flapping wing beats reminiscent of sparowhawks giving it a bit of flap flap flap gilde flap flap flap glide. I was well chilled by now and not in a mellowed out sort of way man, I was just plain cold !! Giving it up and walking out the best bit of the day was about to happen, at the gate to the dale there is a wet patch with a big dung pile and just as I arrived there there was a single call from a snipe and with my next foot fall three tiny snipe took off from almost beneath me, they shot away low and silent to land almost together a short distance away in the long rank grass. My heart was in my mouth with the thrill and surprise!. Im sure these were jack snipe, I have seen a few singles over the years but this was the first time I have seen any together and three feeding together has just made my day. Worth a wee bit of cold !!

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