Sunday, February 8, 2015

Two types of Quarry

I have set myself two challenges this year. My main one is to see as many species of everything in a year in the United Kingdom. The other one is being involved with the Patch Birding Challenge. The latter will be within a three mile radius of the centre of Whittle, which would then include Cuerden and Brindle. At the end of January, I set off walking from my home where already snowdrops and crocus were flowering on a field close by. My intention was to search for raven about a mile and a half away. It was a frosty day so I had ensured my fingers and ears were protected. Since I was walking the rest of me would be warm enough. A siskin feeding in my garden gave me a good send off, but a mistle thrush, practising his song early, was disturbed by my cough. I continued walking briskly and got to the quarry in a half hour.Several corvids were flying round, jackdaws shouting their name and a number of crows also making their presence heard. Then the "cronk" for which I had been listening. A pair of raven, their distinctive tails easily seen, seemed unhappy about an interloper. I scanned the clifftop with my binoculars and saw a solitary peregrine. That was a bonus ( including two points on the Patch Birding Challenge). I returned home a different way and apart from the usual common tits and finches, managed to see a kingfisher, heard a great spotted woodpecker and surprised a stoat too focussed on stalking a small mammal. I was surprised to see a single lesser celandine in flower. This is a little early for this flower, but it did get my total of botanical and zoological species seen to 80


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