Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wader of the woods

A computer gliche has meant that I have not been able to contribute.

Two days last week were spent in the College Valley carrying out vegetation sampling.  Highlights were two pairs of stonechats, a pair of whinchats, three ravens, several pairs of common sandpipers and oystercatchers with chicks and numerous juvenile wheatears.  There was also a very obliging female common lizard that was ready to give birth.  Meadow browns and small heath butterflies were everywhere on the north side of Cheviot.  Other species of interest included at least 10 mountain bumblebees and one large heath butterfly.

The highlight of the two days was nearly standing on a female woocock sitting on a nest.  We were trying to find a vegetation sampling point in a woodland using GPS.  I was closing in on the site and was just about to take a step when I noticed out of the corner of my eye, the woodcock's head move slightly.  The camoflage was exxceptional with the nest being close to the base of a 20 year old Scot's pine.  I backed off and left the bird in peace. This was an eureka moment for me as it is something that I thought that I would never see in my life-time.

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