Posted by: mynaturaldiary | April 2, 2009

Broad, sunlit uplands…

Sandwiched between two weather fronts is a Halcyon day. The Gods grant us colbalt in heaven, the sky turns utter blue and the zephyrs are stilled.  On such a day in the high Moorlands of England, perhaps the broad, sunlit uplands that Churchill promised us for past endeavours are found.

This time of year is special. The earth reawakens and the birds begin again their dance of life; courtship rituals to bind the relationships by which this years new chicks will be hatched.

Our chosen destination to see this is Highcliffe Farm.

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In the distance lies Captain Cook’s Monument, pointing skywards. Between the farm and the horizon is Guisborough Moor, where the upland birds live.

There are six special birds which dwell on the Moor this time of year; Curlews, Snipe, Lapwings, Golden Plover, Pheasant and Red Grouse.

Curlews are seen on the ground, feeding in the distance.

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A Curlew takes to the air and gives its haunting cry.

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Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Nestling in the reedbeds is a Snipe, who keeps a low profile.

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Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Lapwings are dotted across the Moor.

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Lapwings courtship flight can be especially dramatic, as the birds singly or in pairs alternately soar and dive in a tumbling motion, calling out their cry (pee-wit), their wings beating with a throbbing sound.

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Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

A passing gull sets off a commotion, sending up a desert of Lapwings and a congregation of Golden Plover into the sky.

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The Golden Plover wheel around

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before swooping low over the fields

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to settle on the ground with the grazing sheep.

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Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)

In the distance a Pheasant displays.

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Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus)

Grouse can be heard all afternoon, but they keep a low profile and are rarely seen.  This one sat perfectly still only a few metres away.

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Red Grouse (Lagopus lagopus)

Their seeming nonchalance is based on acute calculation; get too close and they soon instinctively fly away with an explosive burst of energy.

Finally, the rite of spring is sealed with daffodils.

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Proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies.


Responses

  1. Proveniant medii sic mihi saepe dies

    May mid-days often come forth to me in this way


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