Tuesday, 19 May 2015

May 2015 Waiting for summer to arrive

It is mid may and the moor still has a very wintery feel. The first grouse broods of the year have been spotted and it is several weeks since we ringed the first Short Eared Owl chick of the year but we are still regularly getting frosts, hail, torrential rain and very strong winds. The moor feels like it is several weeks behind the rest of the surrounding countryside and definitely not as far along as this time last year.  The young grouse face a challenge finding enough insects to eat in these cold temperatures and with the first harrier broods due to hatch soon we have fingers crossed that summer is not far away.
'The Owl man' has been back for another stint of SEO watching and he has shared some great photos  of his time on the moor along with some amazing shots of SEO in snow at the end of April.

Langholm Moor (Bryan Benn)

SEO (Bryan Benn)

SEO hunting in snow April 2015 (Bryan Benn)

SEO in snow April 2015 Bryan Benn

Short Eared Owl chick in nest (Bryan Benn)
Waiting for a school group to show up a few days ago, I heard that familiar sound of young birds food begging, after a quick search with my binoculars I spotted this brood of Stonechats fresh out of the nest with fluffy heads and stubby tails, they were surprisingly agile (and difficult to photograph) already.

Brood of Stonechats

Road kill Red Grouse

As if we needed a reminder to go steady on the roads at this time if year - I watched as this female Red Grouse was killed on the road a few days ago, -  in good breeding condition, (you can see the egg she was carrying crushed beside her) her mate waited patiently at the side of the road.  Sadly dead wildlife including Black Grouse,  Lapwing, Skylarks, Adders and Toads are all too common a sight on the roads. The moor roads are important driving routes for many rural people, but please take a little extra care over the next couple of months as tiny chicks and egg-carrying females need a little extra time to get out of the way and our wildlife needs all the help it can get.

Lapwing chick
Check out this surprise visitor in an old Buzzard nest at Langholm..

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