Friday 8 June 2007

7-8 June 2007 - Scotland & Northern England

News of a White-tailed Plover at Caerlaverock was a dream - the last species of bird that my father had seen (Packington, 1975) that I hadn't. Back in '75 Dad had got the news whilst working at The Lodge (RSPB) and had gone up to see that bird with colleagues. For me, things weren't quite so easy...

Unable to head north with Doug and friends any earlier, I booked a flight to Newcastle for 7 June. Hire car collected I did the easy trip over the Pennines to Southern Scotland and Caerlaverock WWT.

Alas, though the bird had been seen earlier, it had now gone to ground - I was even pointed to the ant's nest that it had last walked behind... By dusk things were really bad and I had to resort to wlkking out on to the marshes to flush the bird - no success for such a naughty act... Night fell - I'd dipped and faced a drive back to Newcastle for my late night flight back to Stansted.

I phoned the Good Lady Wiff who thought I should stay up north, change flights, see it in the morning and then fly home - good idea, why didn't I think of that?!?!? Thankfully 'er indoors, was able to change my flight and somehow I managed to pursuade work that things were OK.

A night spent in the car was not great (did see three badgers though which was nice). At 4.30am I was back in the hide for more waiting - but not much as soon after arrival news filtered though the double-story hide that it had been refound - phew. Sure enough, shortly afterwards I was witnessing this long-distance traveller as it wandered around the pools.

White-tailed Plover

With many hours to go before my flight - where next? It was at this point that my enthusiam took over me and I decided to head for Lancashire and the Lady Slipper Orchid which I'd heard was in flower now. Following Adrian's directions I arrive at the right carpark and was able to go striaght to the plant.

Lady Slipper Orchid

Two down - what next? I decided to have yet another attempt at Mountain Ringlet above the slate quarry at Honister Pass. Now I've don ethis walk several times, and each time I've been knackered with the walk - not knowing exactly where to head for... This time things were better, the sun even came out and there, over to the left of the footpath was a butterfly.... a Mountain Ringlet. In total I found six ringlets before heading back down the hillside and off on my drive to Newcastle Airport. White-tailed Plover, Lady Slipper orchid and Mountain Ringlet - not a bad collection?

Mountain Ringlet

Just have to grapple these wee beauties!