I had a couple of target species i had hoped to get a look at - i failed with Cuckoo, Stonechat, Wood Warbler, a couple of butterfly species, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker & Slow Worm....
Others were more accomodating - including 20+ Crossbill, a superb airshow from Nightjars, excellent numbers of Tree Pipit & Redstart, good close views of male Goshawk, more Hares & Roe Deer than ive seen all year at home,making do with 3 hours sleep i managed to see 4 owl species, Long-eared & Barn Owl right on cue aat known locations, Woodcock numbers seemed low ?, although in way of compensation a roding bird was out early on at 19:30
Surprises, Well one was more of a shock - A huge Red Deer stag sauntered across a firebreak ! - The first time ive seen one in Co.Durham - As the evening progressed it and another began bellowing & charging after one another. Walking quietly through the forest within the dark canopy, close to midnight, it or another bellowed at me only a short distance away ! - rather disconcerting (the Roes barking are bad enough)- My heart was in my mouth for sure !!
Friday afternoon i spent a while at a site ive had my best Goshawk encounters & it produced the goods - no Gos, but very views of a Honey Buzzard jostling for airspace with a pair of Common's, an excellent comparison before it drifted slowly off southwards - not quite as unexpected as the deer, but a real bonus bird !
A couple of Glow worms in a forest edge bankside capped off a great night - disappointed the pics didnt work, one i havnt seen for a few years now.
Finally this afternoon a bizarre Redstart nest:-
feeding chicks in a rotting/ hollowed Silver Birch log which had fallen & become lodged in a coppiced Hazel below.
|Redstart with young in suspended log !|
Noisy GSW & Pied Flycatcher both had active nests. Other birds seen :- Green Woodpecker, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Marsh Tit, Jay, Stock Dove, Treecreeper, Red Grouse, Grey Wagtail, Dipper, Garden Warbler, etc
|Red Grouse chick|
|3 nice Aspen trees, another we dont see very often at home.|
|Mountain Ash - the stem has previously failed, but the tree fights on. The roots on show are amazingly contorted|
|A very old Silver Birch|
A great place, must make a note to go more often !