One day last week I made the most of the unseasonably warm weather(sic) to visit the Bowland fells.I hoped to encounter both our Chat familly on the heather laden hillsides.These birds are now feeding youngsters so would be quite easy to pick up.This gorgeous male was the first to show perched sentinel like on the heather.
In fact he had 2 fully fledged youngsters to feed hidden in the bracken.
They have had a rough couple of years with the harsh winters and I`m glad they seem to be making a comeback, as I know of 4 pair that have successfully raised youngsters!
The Whinchat on the other hand migrates to Africa thus avoiding the worst of the bad weather.Needless to say numbers are flourishing on the Bowland fells with up to 14 pair noted!
Both male and female emitt a high pitched twittering song and when alarmed they have a sharp whistle and clicking call sounding like 2 stones being banged together!
This male Whinchat along with his mate, was catching flies to feed his brood of chicks.It was interesting to watch them visit the same sheep grazed area of hillside to pounce on the flies and beetles that were present.They would then fly a couple of hundred metres to the nest and feed their hungry youngsters.
The thistle provided a perfect perch to ambush prey and also to look out for predators such as the Merlin which also hunts the fells.As I write this blog, we are being battered by wind and rain again with not much let up over the next few days.Lets hope these birds find enough food on the sodden fells to sustain their offspring so they can fatten up before their long journey South,I for one will be sad to see them depart!!!!!!!