Monday, 12 May 2014

May 2014 on Langholm Moor

There is a real 'in-between seasons' feel on the moor at the moment, summer migrants are back and fighting for their place on the moor but beautiful warm sunny periods are interspersed by very heavy rain and even hail showers to remind us of that old saying -
'Ne'er cast a clout till may be oot' ..  
Swifts, swallows, sand and house martins are all busy hunting invertebrates in the skies, the Pied flycatchers and Redstarts are back in the nest boxes and some on eggs already. The song of the Cuckoo, Grasshopper Warbler and Whinchat have been added to the moorland dawn chorus and Green Hairsteak butterflies and Emperor moths can be seen flitting across the heather.
 Click on any image to see it enlarged.
Green Hairstreak Butterfly (John Wright)
Male Adder (John Wright)

Grainne (2cy female Hen Harrier)

 This fantastic photo of Grainne show her sat tag clearly, although it can be incredibly hard to see from a distance.

As mentioned in previous posts the vole numbers this year on the moor are high; we are seeing larger than normal brood sizes with the Barn owls, more sightings of Short Eared Owls and the numbers of Hen Harriers are also up.  Currently we have six nesting females with four males in attendance. There are several other birds of both sexes about which have not settled yet, so things could still change. 
Curlew squabbling on the moor (David Palmer)
 Curlew and Lapwing behaviour and calls suggest that some nests have hatched and young waders begin their life on the moor.

Osprey flying north over the moor (John Wright)

Ospreys across Scotland are already back on territory and incubating eggs by now, so it is likely this osprey spotted flying across the moor was a two year old bird returning from its African wintering grounds for the first time to investigate 

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