Trip reports

Walk up Langden Beck

Moorland landscape, Wales

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The weather during May had been lovely and I think everyone who set out on the walk up Langden Beck had anticipated a beautiful spring day. Certainly the 11 or so members of the local group who arrived for the walk were all dressed in short sleeved shirts and light trousers. However, the British weather had other ideas and the cold wind ensured that we were all quickly rooting in the boots of our cars for extra sweaters and rain coats.

Thus warmly clothed we set off through the wooded area at the start of the United Utilities land, keeping an eye out for birds as we went. The target birds on this walk are ring ouzel and the elusive hen harrier. We soon heard garden warbler and some members of the walk were rewarded with a glimpse of the bird flitting from bush to bush.

As we emerged into the open, John spotted a redstart which was a great find. We slowly made our way up the valley finding many different birds as we went. These included common sandpiper, dipper, curlew and then a moment of excitement as a cuckoo was first of all heard, and then seen. The bird stayed with us off and on through most of our trip - sometimes vanishing and then reappearing. It was a really good sighting and lovely to find a cuckoo as they have been in short supply this year.

The rain held off until we reached the Shepherd's Hut (known as The Castle), and indeed it waited until everyone had unpacked their picnics and made themselves comfortable and then it started. However it did not last too long and we were all able to spend some time looking for birds of prey. Unfortunately the hen harrier did not appear and so we decided to take the high path back to the car park. Ring ouzel had been seen along that path and we hoped to find one. The ring ouzel could not be found and we continued until just before heading downwards when a cry went up 'hen harrier'! A beautiful male hen harrier came soaring round the bend in the path and stayed long enough for us all to have a good view. This had to be the high spot of the trip.

All in all we saw at least 34 different birds that day and as always on a Members' Group outing , 'A good time was had by all'.

Chris Ashby