Trip reports

Middleton in Teesdale

Middleton in Teesdale
Black Grouse - Steve Settle

Saturday, 6 May 2017

On a lovely sunny morning, the 7 of us met at Lancaster Services. As we drove further north the sky became more cloudy, and when we got out of the cars it we all had to wrap up well because of the rather cool north easterly breeze.
However, where we parked up, the farm fields contained about a dozen Black Grouse which was our main target bird for the day.
We then drove to Langden Beck where we soon found the typical river birds of the area, in Dipper with young, Grey Wagtail, and Common Sandpiper. Here we had a walk across part of the Moor House - Upper Teesdale NNR to Widdy Bank Farm. Walking over the pastures brought us good views of the area's Lapwing, Curlew, Redshank, and Oystercatcher, along with a few Redshank and Snipe, and a couple of fly over Golden Plover. A few Swallows and Swifts flew around, and the field contained lots of Meadow Pipits. Other smaller birds included Skylark, Reed Bunting, Starling, and Blackbird.
Near to the Reserves offices at Widdy Bank farm we came across a single Black Grouse which was totally unfazed by our presence, or by that of the workmen on the nearby barn. And so, for 10 minutes it became the subject of a photo shoot, before we moved on.
Unfortunately, we didn't come across any Ring Ouzel, so made our way back to the cars via the river paths.
Nearer the farms we had Pheasant, Mistle Thrush, House Sparrow, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, and a few Sand Martins.
We then drove op to Cow Green Reservoir for our Lunch. Here, around the water we could see small numbers of Mallard and Black Headed Gull and a lone Cormorant. Around the car park there were 3 or 4 Golden Plover doing their best not to be photographed, a couple of Common Gull and a lesser Black Backed Gull being chased of by Lapwing. As we set of to leave we passed a Red Grouse at the car park entrance and a few move Golden Plover.

On the way back, we decided to stop at the woodlands at Barbondale.
We soon found the birds we came looking for in 3 Redstart, 2 Pied Flycatchers, and 3 Tree Pipits. These along with Wheatear, Stonechat, Buzzard, and Kestrel rounded off the day nicely.

50 species seen in total.