Monday, April 13, 2009

Up on the fell tops..........

We followed a circular route today, up onto the flanks of Chapel Fell from St.John’s Chapel in Weardale, then down to Ireshopeburn and back along the River Wear. We could hear golden plovers’ plaintive calls through the haze, coming from the rough, boggy pastures near the fell top but the lapwings, further down in the grazed pastures, were much more vociferous, with their squeaky alarm calls and that strange creaky, groaning noise that their broad wings make as they beat the air during their wild aerobatics. They’ve already laid eggs and have a hard time defending their nests against crows; we found one egg smashed and eaten, with tell-tale beak marks, and watched the desperate lapwings driving off repeated incursions from their tormentors. There don’t seem to be as many lapwings holding territories on the fell as I can remember in previous years.


  1. Some great pictures and observations.
    Especially like the Lapwing in flight. Tricky to capture, the way they reel about in the sky.
    Shame about the egg, but I suppose that's one of the hazards of nesting on the ground.

  2. Great photo of the Lapwing from underneath.

  3. This blog is a great insight ino your local area - nice photos.

  4. Holdingmoments and Midmarsh John: When my kids were little they used to call lapwings 'squeaky doors', on account of the birds' calls in spring. The pictures is a lucky shot - one of about 10, where this was the only one with the wings outstretched - that's the wonder of digital:keep the best and dump the rest! It's remarkable how broad the outer section of the wing is, but I guess that's what gives these birds such wonderful aerobatic skills.

    C.Green: Thanks for the comment. Northumberland and Durham are excellent counties for the naturalist: uplands;rivers;varied coastline all easily reachable - although the climate can be a bit bracing!