Friday, 12 June 2015

Hay Bridge – The Return

After our previous visit in 2013, when the weather was very wet, we were hoping for better conditions for our return to this beautiful reserve in the Rusland Valley in the Lake District.  We were not disappointed and had a fine day, if a little breezy at times.  Our visit was a joint trip with Southport Local Group and fourteen members turned up for the trip.

Foulshaw Moss boardwalk
A few of us had a quick stop on the way up at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve which is owned by Cumbria Wildlife Trust and home to a family of Ospreys recently featured on BBC’s Northwest Tonight.  The viewing point is some way off the nest and a telescope is necessary to get a decent view. 
Osprey tree
We managed to see one of the adults on the nest during our short visit together with a supporting cast of Tree Pipits, Redpolls, Reed Buntings, Stonechats and Swifts.  The site is well worth exploring and only a stone’s throw from the busy A590.

Moving on to our meeting point at Newby Bridge we picked up the rest of the group and began our convoy to Hay Bridge, a few miles further on.  Just before we reached the village of Bouth we came across a group of birdwatchers at the roadside with their scopes trained on the opposite hillside.  This turned out to be a well known spot for Honey Buzzards. 
 We spent some time here looking at distant birds of prey, in the hope of seeing one of these scarce migrants.  Although lots of birds of prey were seen from this spot, mostly Common Buzzards, we couldn’t find a bird displaying the features you would use to identify this species at a distance, i.e. small head, noticeably longer tail and not hanging in the air.  After spending a little time here, during which we noted a Grasshopper Warbler reeling in the field behind us and a Common Whitethroat singing it’s heart out and House Martins a plenty, we moved on to Hay Bridge.
House martins- S chambers

At the visitor centre we were soon looking at a stunning male Common Redstart
in a nearby tree, redpolls on the feeder in front of the reserve and an Osprey flying down the valley, followed very shortly by another one carrying a fish in its talons.

This beautiful reserve is made up of mixed habitats and we set off for a pre-lunch walk mostly along the boardwalk over the raised peat bog.  We were soon hearing the distinctive songs of Pied Flycatchers, although we didn’t catch sight of one in the dense canopies of the Alders.  
Spotted flycathcer- s chambers

Pied flycatcher - s chambers
Walking on we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker chipping away and soon spotted it flying away across the moss.  Further along we became aware of a herd of Red Deer which we were able to glimpse through the trees. 
Deer at haybridge
Also noted were Ravens and a single Lapwing.  We carried on a little further to a view over the valley and the edge of the Grizedale Forest.  We retraced our steps from here as the path had become too sodden and muddy to carry on and anyway lunch was beckoning. 

On our way back we spotted a family of newly fledged wrens and a tree pipit displaying over the bog.  Some of us were also lucky enough to have a fleeting view of a male Pied Flycatcher flying through the Alders.

Tree pipit - s chambers
Back to the veranda outside the visitor centre to eat our lunch, we enjoyed even more birds of prey including Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common and Honey Buzzard! Swallows swooped across our feet and the garden and fields beyond and a very showy Tree Pipit sat on top of a telegraph pole and entertained us. 

Distant honey buzzard
Dragging ourselves away after lunch we explored the mainly deciduous woodland, with the possibility of Garden and Wood Warblers, and soon came across a Goldcrest and a Treecreeper.  We didn’t hear any Wood Warblers but did hear a Garden Warbler and got onto it fairly quickly.

Garden warbler- s chambers

Coming out onto the reserve road eventually, we noted Little Grebes, Tufted Duck and Moorhen on White Moss Tarn.  A few of us stopped off briefly to view the ‘Tissie Fooks’ (founder of the reserve) memorial stone which depicted and named the hills on the horizon.

Returning to the visitor centre we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea before returning home.
Ann (Tomo)


Jennifer Jones said...

Lovely account. I just wish that I could have joined you. Maybe next time?

laura bimson said...

I'd have like to have seen the Ospreys. I bumped into Janet & Brain Johnson on thursday at Leighton Moss. Janet told me one of the best places she's seen ospreys was :loch Fleet, got quite close.