1 of 4 Ring Ouzel
Male Hen Harrier
lovely male Wheatear
A simply stunning morning and early afternoon was found in the Trough of Bowland visiting 3 sites in my time with in the company of my uncle: Langden Valley, Tower Lodge and Moor Piece Wood.
We Started at the entrance to Langden Valley with several other East Lancashire regulars searching through the ever present and ever active Lesser Redpolls in the pines. In amongst these birds were at least 4 Mealy/Common Redpoll. I was able to pick out one really obvious male with a pink rump and a ringed bird. (this is only the second time I have seen Mealy, with the first being on March 18th 2006 - my first ever visit to Brockholes Quarry)
After comparing the two 'species', we walked up the valley and took the high path. It wasn't especially long before I saw one of my main year list targets - Ring Ouzel on the path in front of us! There were 2 birds (M and F) and appeared to be moving through the valley at a fairly rapid pace, which could mean they were a migrant pair.
Continuing through the valley we came across several male Wheatear, and then the 3rd target of the day - Hen Harrier. A superb male was seen hunting on the opposite side of the valley for at least 4 minutes before moving off round the hill.
We failed to see any more birds of major interest in the valley so we came back to the entrance of the valley and had a burger whilst scanning the hill behind the trees. I spotted a 'Blackbird' landing in a tree near the top of the hill. Given the area and time period, I scoped the bird and saw 'scaled' black feathers and a white bib. It was another Ring Ouzel! There was in fact 2 males to be enjoyed whilst wolfing down the delicious burger, with one being an apparent 1st winter/summer bird with the white bib not being especially full.
Upon leaving the site, we checked Tower Lodge to see if there were any early Redstart of Tree Pipit. I heard a probably Tree Pipit calling overhead but did not get a sighting or a confirmation.
Moor Piece Wood near to Bashall Eaves was the next point of call, but again the sightings were few and far between apart from several singing Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff as well as circling Buzzard.
With a perfectly clear sky due to no clouds of planes, the day was simply stunning and I couldn't have asked for more at Langden Valley. A Great day and ended my yearlist on 160