Birding in the Grip of Winter

Jan 25 –  Morning Walk

Temperatures dipped to minus seven last night so a snowy walk around Baildon Moor did not look good for seeing birds. How wrong could I be? Just up the hillside from the cattle grid at Glovershaw a small flock of birds could be seen clearly against the white background. I hoped they would be the uncommon Snow Bunting. Buntings they were but actually 13 Reed Buntings obviously finding food in these frozen surroundings, presumably grass seeds. Not far from them, a group of 23 Red Grouse were also feeding.

As my walk continued on the thick snowy path along Glovershaw, four Stock Dove and then a single Skylark flew over. Continuing into Birch Close Lane, two Red Kites circled in the distance but much nearer, a Little Owl flew onto a fence giving great views.  Conditions for walking improved as I followed Sconce Lane towards Weecher Reservoir and in a field below spotted two coveys of Grey Partridge of six and seven in total. It wasn’t until I reached the scout camp that I saw my second Little Owl perched in a small oak tree. Despite walking close to the bird, it never moved from its perch but its eyes and head followed me as I went by.

The pink, wintry sky and the pure white of the snow made this walk a beautiful experience enhanced by seeing these resident birds coping in their own way under these harsh conditions.

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