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Saturday, 30 November 2013

A bit of a Yorkshire Grouse

A day off today and I thought I would go and check out an area of Arkengarthdale I had sussed out from other birders reports/blogs etc for Yorkshire Black Grouse, I had tried the area laid down in John Mather's "Where to watch birds in Yorkshire" a couple of years back with no success, this site was further east on the road running up from Reeth to Barnard Castle and the area around Shaw Farm was mentioned frequently, upon arrival I had a good scan about the Farm area and was disappointed not to find any, I tried further along the road but there was nothing and I was soon into Durham and the Stang Forest, nothing doing there neither, I headed back stopping by Shaw Farm again for another scan and this time I managed to find one tucked in a little corner down near the bottom of the valley, I decided to get a bit closer but as I made my way down I was distracted by a Buzzard passing over which must have also disturbed the bird because the next thing it was flying off, thinking there must be more than one anyhow I started scanning again and I soon managed to pick up a group of nine or ten over the other side, a bit distant though but then five of them took flight and quite remarkably flew to the area where I had seen the first one, now this was an opportunity too good to miss and I started dropping down my side of the valley to get as close to them as I could flushing a Woodcock on the way. Now I didn’t get really close because I wasn't going to go right to the bottom then try and cross a fast flowing stream, but I was more than happy with how close I got and they pottered around the area for 10 mins or so before flying back along the valley giving me some flight shot opportunities, interesting to note that none of them had a red comb, I don't know if that makes them all 1st year birds or whether they lose them in winter. As well as the aforementioned Buzzard and Woodcock there were also some Red Grouse around but little else. Called off at Nosterfield GP on the way back, usual Wildfowl and Waders, nothing out of the ordinary.
on the way in the Red Grouse were hiding


the first Black

took to flight

when this fella came over

then I found some more

which thankfully came closer

very impressive in flight

Shaw Farm

the Red Grouse were more confiding on the way out

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