Further to last weeks blog the real reason to visit the Northern Dales was to wait for a perfect morning to film lekking Blackcock. Well it came along and I entered my hide at 4am in total darkness.By 5am the valley was alive with the calls of Waders and by 5.15am the first Blackcock flew into the lek. It was nineteen years since I filmed this lek and I had forgotten how awesome the calls of lekking Blackcock were as it came light. I was treated to fighting males in front of me. When the sun came up their colours looked even more immaculate. In all the fighting I failed to see a female but I am sure they did! At 8.10am they all flew off and the spectacle was over with for that morning. It was a great deal of effort but the performance of the birds and the weather had been perfect and over half an hour of video was obtained of which I will have to find the best minute for my Pennine DVD.
In wildlife filming not everything goes according to plan , I was in position to film a scene in Bowland, the sounds were perfect with Curlews and Lapwings calling on the moors. I was about to start filming when more than a hundred motor bikes came over the hill and drowned out all the calls. It was twenty minutes before everything returned to normal and I could finish the sequence!
A big effort has been made to find Woodcock and finally today an off duty bird was flushed. Despite a thorough search no nest was found but I will bet the female was down on eggs somewhere. I may have to return with my Golden Retriever to seek some canine help!
In the last week there has been a massive influx of migrants with Willow Warblers singing everywhere. The last two days have also produced Redstarts, Blackcaps and a male Pied Flycatcher in full song by a nest box.
Along the river Hodder a fresh spraint from an Otter was a good indicator of their presence and on the same day two Hares boxing were the first I have seen doing this. Amusingly I also came across a Hare sat three foot off the ground in the fork of a tree.
In the hills a female Merlin was back on her nesting territory and the spectacle of a hunting male Long Eared Owl at dusk was one not to be missed. It’s all beginning to happen now.