Moorland birds and scenery

Back on the moors again, yesterday. Sadly, no sound of a Cuckoo, this time. There were a couple of Stonechats.

A bit of a pale eye-stripe there, trying to pretend it's a Whinchat!

This friendly Skylark practically dropped down in front of me.

However, one of the reasons that I'd gone up there was to photograph the Cotton Grass. This is the most famous local landmark, Rivington Pike, which is an old hunting lodge, with some white Cotton Grass in the foreground

Anyone who spends time on the hills is contractually obliged to add a few sheeps to the occassional photo and these are obviously experienced models, sitting perfectly on the horizon

However, this was the sort of view I was looking for, with a wide expanse of Cotton Grass making it look like it's snowed.

I let these blur in the wind to give the impression that the marshmallows are fruiting!


The next summit on the circuit has a huge TV mast

Despite that, it can be really bleak up there and I always have a project in my head to photograph that ... a sort of personal challenge to photograph "nothing". This is one of those.

Then I had a pair of these but the female was the closer

It was still early after that and when I got back to the car I realised that I hadn't seen any Terns and only a few minutes away was a park with breeding islands. There are normally 3 but two had crashed over winter. Usually there are 2 or 3 pairs on each island but this year they are all cramped on the one island.


I'm glad they've stayed even if the accommodation is cramped as they are lovely birds, especially in a built up area like these are.

Finally, a little tester: anyone spot what's wrong with the next bird?

A Lesser Black-back (in full adult plumage) with no white spots on its wingtips. What's going on, there???


Nige   Flickr

  • Nigel O said:
    What's going on, there???

    The conspiracy is spreading Nige

    Lovely shots of things and of nothing!

  • Fabulous scenery Nigel, cotton grass is new to me, it does look like snow and very pretty. Fabulous Kestrel and Tern, wouldn't have known about the LBB if you hadn't said:-)

    Lot to learn

  • Lovely scenery Nige...I really like your Nothing Pic, lovely birds against the blue sky.....(here comes the rain now!!!)

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • In reply to Linda257:

    Thanks all - it's nice to have that just a short distance away.

    Linda257 said:
    I really like your Nothing Pic

    Thank you - I never know if they will appeal to anyone else, with their limited subject matter.


    Nige   Flickr

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Just makes you stop and think and appreciate...I would have it on my wall!

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • Crikey, I thought that TV mast was the UK's contribution to the space race. The only place I've seen cotton grass was in Ireland. I didn't know it occurred on the moors in northern England. I do like your moody shot of nothingness in those sepia tones - good work. Great shot of the Stonechat.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • Lovely set Nige; is that Winter Hill, perhaps so named after the snowy cotton grass !! Lovely scenic shots and good to see the beautiful birds too.


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Thanks
    Tony, I don't recall seeing any Cotton Grass in the Lake District either, although I may be mistaken, but perhaps it's mainly on the Moors and Pennines which have different geology.
    Hazy, yes that's Winter Hill. No idea where the name comes from, but it's a good idea!


    Nige   Flickr

  • Stunning scenery, the cotton grass is fabulous.

    Could the LBBG be a subspecies? like graellsii


    Cin J

  • In reply to Germain:

    Germain said:
    Could the LBBG be a subspecies? like graellsii

    Thanks for that suggestion. I was inspired to have a look and found an extensive month by month plumage survey for ageing LBBGs that suggests this is a sub adult bird. Apparently by May of their 4th year they can practically look adult but many just lack the white spots which will come with full adulthood, so between now and next spring. I don't think it necessarily has to be the graellsii or another subspecies but that may influence the rate of plumage changes (I think!)


    Nige   Flickr