Yesterday by way of a change I decided to visit a couple of places in the Goyt rather than tramp around Wildmoorstone. Lilly wasn’t very happy about this because it meant she had less walking and sniffing about time. She had been rounding up balls in the morning and playing in the snow so I didn’t feel too sorry for her.
We stopped off first in a valley not far from Wildmoorstone. The streams were brown with peat and frothy, fairly full from the rain and snow melt. The moorlands above where we were still had streaks of snow from the fall earlier that morning, lining the folds and gullies. Apart from the rasping rattle of red grouse, there was not a lot of birding activity. Until that is, rounding a rocky outcrop, first one kestrel then another kestrel flew out from a rocky ledge. A male and female, and I suspect that they are nesting nearby. I have made a mental note to myself to be more careful when I go there again.
Walking back to where I had parked the car, a curlew flew in a long circular flight around me, calling with that liquid bubbling cry. Then another one appeared, so hopefully they will be nesting nearby. They have their work cut out of course. Apart from the usual problems of food supply, predators and the weather, there appears to be a lack of basic education amongst those who go walking around here. There are notices that clearly ask that dogs are kept on short leads so as not to disturb the ground nesting birds. Hardly anyone bothers.
I was hoping that I might catch a glimpse of a short eared owl. They were apparently seen around the area on Saturday, but there was no sign of them this time. The last time I saw them hunting around here was in July 2013.
Back in the car, we headed off the Derbyshire Bridge. The wind was quite strong and after a brief stroll along the rutted track to look out across the grouse moors, I returned to the car. The moors are a quite lifeless and soulless place. No trees, hardly any bushes. Most of The apex predators have been removed so that more red grouse can breed successfully. And then be shot. What you have in effect is an ecological desert, a landscape held in perpetual limbo, managed intensively as you would farm land to enable grouse shooting to take place. And of course we the tax payer pay for the privilege through subsidies to the land owners and have to do with being fobbed off with a few more curlews or lapwings. Woe be tide a peregrine or hen harrier that tries to nest anywhere nearby though. It will be hunted down, it’s nest destroyed, and it either driven away, or disposed of. It’s not called the dark peak for nothing.
Back in the warmth of the car sheltered from the wind, Lilly settled down on the back seat and went to sleep. I gave her fur a ruffle which of course woke her up. She licked my hand and settled down again. Life is so straight forward for a Collie.