News archive

April 2008

Saturday, 12 April 2008

The early bird catches the ..........

The early bird catches the ..........

For those brave (... or foolish!) souls who rose at 3.45 am to get to LLandegla Forest for 5 am, the hardship was truly rewarded. Driving to the forest in the dark drizzling weather did not bode well and upon arrival at the centre, we were greeted by a temperature that was on the minus scale ! Off we set up the tracks, that would later that morning be used by the mountain bikers, towards the hide on the edge of the forest. Des, our RSPB guide for the morning, explained to us the history of the forest and what we could expect to see later. We arrived at the hide just as the sun began to peep over the hills, and what had been black one minute became a multitude of greens, browns and creams as the light bounced off the heath vegetation. We could hear several black cock calling but it took a while for our eyes to adjust and then, several black cock came into view with their brightly contrasting plumage and rather ridiculous stance as they 'jockied' for the best place on the lek. Up to 8 birds could be seen, the vast majority males with only the odd hen, at a range of around 300 yards. We watched the strange ritual of the males displaying for about 90 minutes before deciding to make our way back to the centre. Just as we prepared to leave, a peregrine flashed low over the heath causing a hen to rise up and fly around the back of the hide. Even the trip back to the centre proved eventful with crossbill being added to our list of birds for the day. Siskin could be heard and seen throughout the forest but best views were obtained at the feeding station close to the centre. After a tremendous full welsh breakfast at the centre café, we set off on our way back to Wirral with a smile on our face and a spring in our step. All agreed that getting up at such an early time had been hard but well worth it !