Saturday, 13 February 2010

A Day at Geltsdale

Off for my first trip to Geltsdale. Got to the Car Park at 10 and set off blind as we had no map of the place, so straight up the hill and when we got to the top you could see for miles so the obvious place to head to is the Tarn. On the way there I saw what I thought was a Stoat moving at a fast rate of knots through the very muddy ground, a couple of tits, a Kestrel hovering in the far distance and what I thought might be a Marsh Harrier right across the valley. As we neared the Tarn I caught my first glimpse of a Drake Smew and its partner, they are beautiful birds. Also on view were several Mallards, a couple of Teal, couple of Greylag, 2 Goldeneye and a single Pochard. They were quite a distance away but believe me 2nd from left is the Male Smew (Alan you might need your glasses for this).

When we got to the Screen by the Tarn I was amazed to see a Black Swan, immediately got my IPOD out and checked Birds of Britain and Ireland Pro but nothing listed then remembered I had seen one before but cant remember whether it was in Washington or Martin Mere WWT and realised that it was Australian. Dont know what it was doing here as there were no pubs or bars for it to work in.

Its a lovely bird but to be honest I do prefer the Mute Swan.

We then moved off towards what we thought might be the Information Point and bumped (not literally as anything you bumped into would have to be invisible as you can see for miles in all directions)into a chap called John who told us that there was a Ring Tail around, I nodded, then we talked about the other things around and he told us where to go and which pub to have lunch in. When he left I got my IPOD out again and looked up Ring Tail but nothing could be found so I said to the wife, trying to sound intelligent "I think it must be a collaquilism for some sort of duck". When we got to the Information Point the door was open and everything was laid out, nice and clean and not a sound could be heard. We used their facilities and was reading some literature when i heard somebody coming down the stairs, at this point I once again observed the "Marsh Harrier" through the window then the person who had came down the stairs started talking to me, the conversation went on for a couple of minutes but suddenly he shouted "Ring Tail" at the top of his voice three times and said to me "look theres a Hen Harrier over your shoulder" and went outside. When outside Carole and I were astounded to find people pouring out of the previously silent house and now there was 9 of them outside. Anyway the Hen Harrier performed for about 7-8 mins coming within 50m of us at times, yet another awesome bird. At this point I must admit that I had never seen a Marsh or Hen Harrier previously so guessing it was a Harrier was a bonus point!!! Unfortunately no piccies (aaahhhhh).
We took the High Road back to the Car Park and was absolutely knackered by the time we got back. We then took up Johns recommendation and headed for something to eat in The Blacksmith in Talkin. The one disappointing thing about the trip was that I didnt see any grouse whatsoever but when I got home there was a letter from the Hospital reminding me that I must have my annual Eye Test within the next couple of weeks.
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