Sunday, 30 April 2017

The finest sky dancer of them all

It was always going to take something special to drag me away from the house move, but yesterday I took a short break and headed up to Dunsop Bridge in Bowland. News that a stunnning male pallid harrier was showing well and even sky dancing was just too much to resist. Despite the rather disparaging name, pallid harrier is easily the most beautiful of the harrier species in all plumages in my opinion and was always likely to prove irresistible to me.

It's a long walk from the car park to the view point, about 3 miles, so with limited time available I stuck the bike in the car and headed north. It was a plan which worked, because apart from the last 100m or so it was a very comfortable bike ride up the Dunsop Valley. I saw a couple of ring ouzels on the way, and a dipper and a grey wagtail on the stream, and I passed lots of familiar birding faces, some heading back to their cars, others making their way up the valley like me.

The harrier made me wait about 45 minutes, but eventually it showed well, at first flying high up in the sky before dropping dramatically and sky dancing down to lower levels. Then it hunted over the hillside and landed on a wall for a few minutes, before rising high again and flying over our heads and away into the distance.

I headed back to the car, and now the true value of having the bike was revealed as it took me about 10 minutes to get back to Dunsop Bridge! On the downside, I don't take my scope on my bike, so had to rely on the kindness of other birders to let me look through their scopes when the bird was on the wall, but when it was in the air I was quite happy with my binocular views. I did manage to miss the white-tailed eagle which showed again about an hour after I left, but that would only have been a bonus bird. There aren't many species which knock spots off a white-tailed eagle, but a male pallid harrier is one of them!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts