Trip reports

Visit to Geltsdale RSPB reserve

Visit to Geltsdale RSPB reserve
Geltsdale - Stagsike Meadows

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The weather was excellent with blue skies, but a cool breeze, as ten members of the RSPB Lancaster Local group enjoyed a visit to the RSPB Geltsdale reserve in Cumbria. We were met by one of the RSPB Wardens who took us along the Stagsike Trail and gave us a very informative insight into the work involved at this nature reserve and working farm. He explained how the reserve is managed for breeding wading birds including redshank and lapwing, as well as rarer species such as black grouse. Curlew called and skylark soared overhead as meadow pipits flitted over the moorland, while lapwings and a couple of wheatears were seen on the hillside. An osprey was seen flying over Tindale Tarn and we obtained reasonable views through telescopes as it landed on a gate to feed on its catch of fish. We made our way to the Tindale Tarn viewing screen where Canada geese and a mute swan were on the water and a couple of redshank flew low over the tarn. A sedge warbler showed well in the reeds and a couple of reed buntings were on a nearby fence. A break for lunch at Stagsike Cottages provided an interesting duel between a couple of male pheasants as they fought alongside a wall!
After lunch we walked along the valley bottom at Bruthwaite pasture and heard our first cuckoo of the year. Willow warblers were calling from numerous bushes and trees and a female stonechat posed for us on a field wall. A buzzard flew overhead and kestrel hovered over the farmland as it searched for voles and other prey. We made our way along the track towards Gairs viewpoint and stopped at a suitable looking habitat for ring ouzel, but despite scanning the area for a while we were unlucky in our search. We then made our way back to the car park for our journey home.