There’s been some spectacular mornings and evenings at Dove Stone over the last few days, particularly with the early morning light and the reflections in the reservoirs whilst the water is at its stillest.
From Binn Green there have been recent sightings of Bullfinch, Brambling, Siskin, Goldfinch and Redpoll. A Crossbill has also been seen recently around Binn Green.
Walking down from Binn Green Cottages access road I watched two Long tailed tits nestbuilding. Walk past quickly and you’d easily miss it.
Long tailed tit nests are really an amazing construction – a ball of moss, spiders' webs, lichen, feathers ( particularly for lining the nest ), and hair, typically built in the fork of a tree or bush.
Both the male and female birds build the nest and that can take about three weeks, although if it’s later in the season less time is spent on the nest
Elsewhere around Dove Stone you might hear Woodpeckers drumming.
Drumming acts a bit like song and lets rival woodpeckers know who's around. To amplify the sound of the drum woodpeckers will chose a rotten, hollow branch or trunk. If you do hear drumming then it's likely that it's a Great spotted woodpecker as Green woodpeckers tend to make their yaffle call. Lesser spotted woodpeckers are scarcer and are now categorised as a red list species due to a decline of over 70% between the mid-70s and late 90s. Reasons for the decline are as yet unknown and the RSPB are currently working on a project to investigate this.
I read recently that Woodpeckers have a specifically shaped hinge between the skull and the beak that's combined with a muscle. This acts like a shock absorber and protects the bird from damage to the brain.
If you're up at Dove Stone Binn Green is a good place to look out for Great spotted woodpeckers, as is Ashway Gap.
Continuing round Dove Stone, there have been Jays in Bill o' Jacks and a Cormorant fishing on Yeoman Hey reservoir. Further on I watched a Coal tit preening on a low branch after bathing. On the other side of the reservoir in one of the streams there were several pairs of frogs and lots of frog spawn.
Grey wagtails are about too and Lapwings have been seen flying over the Isle of Sky road.
The Peregrines are regularly being seen at the moment. I saw two catching early morning thermals, circling over one of the ridges at Dove Stone before flying out of sight. Later in the week I watched them at dusk on the crag. A Buzzard has been heard calling recently and earlier in the week seen being mobbed by the Peregrines. On another day from Ashway Gap I watched one of the Peregrines sitting on the crag and could clearly see where the bird had brought in a recent kill.
Elsewhere around Dove Stone if you’re walking over the bog you might notice new growth of Cotton grass. Look out for a dead pretty lichen, Cladonia diversa.
Thanks to Ken for this photo and more on Lichen in another post sometime…
Still on the moors, you might hear the distinctive quickening and descending song of the Meadow pipit or the cronk of a Raven.
Red grouse are about too, churring before making off with their rapid wing-beat-and-glide style of flying.
Curlew are also around. Mountain hares are still to be seen in their white coats, although with noticeably larger areas of brown.