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Monday, April 17, 2006


Easter commenced just before midnight on Thursday 13 April with the arrival of Alun and Trudy at Maalie Court. Good Friday started with a respectably early start for the RSPB reserve at Hodbarrow where a circuit of the lake on foot loosened up some muscles for the weekend. Spring migrants were all around, with Willow Warblers warbling in the scrub, Swallows and Sand Martins hunting insects over the fields and water, and hundreds of noisy Sandwich Terns settling into their colony, with males bringing in a stream of small fish to feed the females as part of the courtship routine.
Alun and Trudy discuss moult strategies of seabirds

With the weather settling into a pleasant sunny day it was decided to go to St. Bee’s Head further up the coast to see the seabird cliffs. An hour’s walk from St Bee’s car park and we arrived at our destination near the lighthouse but mysteriously the cliff ledges, which had been crowded with Guillemots and Razorbills just a few weeks before, were now deserted. It is likely that the birds are out to sea feeding up ready for the frenzy of the breeding season. The day was saved by a single Black Guillemot (St Bees’s is the only place in England where they breed) and small colonies of Fulmar, Kittiwake and Cormorant. Home for dinner of enslada mixta with king prawns, then lasagne followed by strawberries, raspberries and cream was judged a success.

Saturday was set aside for “a gentle local walk” as a prelude to a more ambitious plan for Sunday. However, things turned out differently. A saunter along a public footpath across Black Moss towards Wooland Fell gave us tempting views of the mountain Blawith Knott (248m) and with the weather improving all the time a decision was made to ‘go for it’. This proved successful as on the way we encountered a local colony of Yellowhammers (now increasingly uncommon in Cumbria) and also a glimpse of a Ring Ouzel before it disappeared among the boulder scree. The summit of Blawith Knott was attained by lunchtime. Further along the range the peaks of Wool Knott (215m) and Beacon (255m) looked within walking distance and so we set off passing the attractive Beacon Tarn on the way.

A well-earned break for lunch at the summit of Blawith Knott

Arriving at the Beacon legs were starting to feel weary and the way back was made via Green Moor and Raisthwaite Farm. Dinner of a rather chewy joint of roast beef was rather an anticlimax to the day, but nothing a few gins and beers and a bottle of red wine couldn’t put right.

With disappointing weather on the start of Sunday, and some aching limbs from Saturday, it was decided to abort the projected assault on the mountain where England’s only Golden Eagle lives. Instead, a more leisurely walk around South Walney nature reserve produced a few more species of waterfowl and waders to add to the weekend’s tally. This was supported by lunch adequately enhanced with Easter egg chocolate. With the requirement of a packet of frozen chips required for dinner, a walk to Askam coop produced excellent views of a Spotted Redshank moulting into summer plumage.

Easter Monday commenced with a visit to Roudsea Wood where a walk round the boardwalks across the moss and through the wood added a few woodland birds bringing the weekend's species total to 90 (list available on application). Alun and Trudy headed off south while I returned home to begin preparing for the next adventure…


Blogger simon said...

I just did 200klm on my new cannondale prophet ( hope you are jealous Worzel!)and got a good look at yellow tailed cockatoos, Little wattle bird, yellow robin.

so that was my easter...

11:29 pm  

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