Sunday, 11 April 2010

Red Grouse Study (2)

It was one of those typical mornings on Bleaklow with the bright spring sunshine I left behind at the bottom of the Snake Pass replaced by a thin mist and cold chill on my arrival...
I was greeted almost as soon as I arrived by a pair of Grouse who seemed to take as much interest in me as I had in them, allowing some very close shots without too much effort on my part.

A good start then...Well yes and no!
Yes it was great to start the morning off with such lovely close views, but it did come at a price after deciding to wear my soft trainer-like (and not very waterproof) walking boots and finding myself ankle deep in a watery peak bog!
So with cold feet and ringing wet socks I continued on the crude rocky path through the moorland in search of more Grouse and it wasn't long before I encountered several other pairs.

I noticed that the male and female Grouse were staying very close to each other in all the pairs I saw, which is a sure sign that courtship is well and truly underway.
Hopefully in the coming weeks, we might have some young to photograph!
There was certainly a noticeable change in atmosphere on the moors today and the familiar sound of the Red Grouse was matched by spring arrivals including Curlew, Skylark and the very beautiful Golden Plover.

There were also some dramatic changes to the environment as well with the sight of dozens of bulk bags that were scattered across the moors due to some essential conservation work on the delicate peat landscape.

Because most of this project will take place in this area of the Peak District, I thought I should explain a little more about this harsh environment...
Bleaklow is a high area of peat covered gritstone moorland accessible from the A57 Snake Pass and a few miles from the nearest town of Glossop.
The area is the most easterly point in the British Isles over 2000 ft.
Much of the main plateau is boggy moorland seamed by water-eroded channels in the peat known as 'Groughs' and it's traverse is regarded to be the most navigationaly challenging in the Peak District.

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