After organising the black grouse co-ordinated lek count this morning, Ian Ryding (Farmland Warden) was on the way back to the office when he found a little egret near Tindale Tarn.
Record shot of the little egret on Stagsike Meadow (Adam Moan)
The bird flew onto the meadow in front of the office and was feeding for a short while before flying off at height. This was the 200th bird species to be seen on the reserve. Ian also found an osprey at the tarn yesterday, that did not linger either. The black grouse numbers this year are on a record high, 59 males has been the highest count so far this spring. Good weather last June meant breeding productivity was high last year.
With the warmer and settled weather more migrants are being seen, meadow pipits scarce a few weeks ago are now back in numbers. Goldcrests and the chiffchaffs, more usually seen in autumn, have been passing through. Wheatears, in small numbers, are dotted around the reserve and early in the morning, ring ouzels are singing, though difficult to see. Over the last few days sand martins and swallows have been seen.
Waders are starting to nest, lapwings are sitting now and redshank, back in good numbers, are displaying. Curlew and snipe can be heard displaying over the reserve.
Highlight last week was a rough-legged buzzard passing over the reserve, found by Pete Howard. Although very scarce locally, we have recorded this species regularly over the last 10 years.
The new exhibition at Geltsdale Visitor Centre features the work of London based illustrator Phil Hayes. Inspired by childhood books and charts, he presents a series of pen and ink portraits of British birds.
Working in black and white, and with little or no attention paid to background details, the work focuses on the subject matter itself; the form, shape and pattern of a particular species. These detailed and sometimes stark images offer something a little different for the viewer.
Limited edition prints of all images featured in the exhibition are available for sale.
RSPB Geltsdale would like to acknowledge the dedicated work of local resident Jim Penton, who died on 24th December 2014 at the age of 94.
Jim, a retired Army Major, collected weather data for the Environment Agency since 1st January 1990, which he kindly passed on to the reserve for our records.
Jim’s service of thanks giving was held at Lanercost Priory on Wednesday January 7th, by the Reverend Dr Rod Allon-Smith, followed by a gathering for family and friends at Brampton Golf Course.
Stephen Westerberg, Reserve Manager attended the service on behalf of RSPB Geltsdale