I had hoped to take a short run up to the RSPB reserve at Haweswater in order to see England's only resident golden eagle, and the small population of ring ouzel. For readers less into their birds, ring ouzel essentially look like blackbirds with a dirtier bill and a white bib.
|Here's a picture I shamelessly pinched from the RSPB website|
Although seen yearly on passage, they breed in only a handful of places in Britian. They like upland regions, and eek out a living on earthworms, grubs and beetles - much like our more familiar blackbird. This year The Rigg at Haweswater has had 5 pairs, I saw none of them.
Lets face it folks, this weekend was a mini holiday, and I had the Matt and the 'rents with me. I hadn't had breakfast by 10, and by the time we made it to Haweswater the place was rammed and it was far too hot to climb The Rigg with scope/camera etc. Next time I'll bag one for you I promise. Heading round to the RSPB hut/hide there was no sign of the resident goldie either. Undergoing his end of season moult, he was probably sulking somewhere amongst the crags.
Other birdlife was vocal, but near invisible. Meadow pippits and skylarks were both heard, by the lake common sandpiper were calling, and chaffinches chipped overhead. In the plantation on the shoreline the high song of goldcrest was near constant. On the lake itself greylag and Canada geese were waiting out their own moult, and Ravens repeatedly broke the ridge line, giving momentary hopes for something bigger.
Heading back to the camp we made another dash down toward Ullswater, a reservoir the great Wainright was none to fond of for its detrimental effect on the valley. We too the opportunity to walk the Aira Force, enjoying the much needed shade.
This decision was soon regretted in the oppressive humidity of the climb back up the hill, so we headed for cold ginger beer and chips at the van.
|Low flow at Aira Force|
|Playing with shutter speeds|
|Looking down into Ullswater|
|Thousands of feet and years of rain have erroded the soil and polished the bark of these Oak roots|
If you're taking a caravan trip to the Ullswater area, try the Troutbeck Heck CC site. Take pitch 71, you have a great view out over the hills and only one neighbouring pitch. Take antihistamines, there are enough cleggs for a small airforce, but at least there are entertaining visits from the 20 odd horses at Rookin House. The only problem will be jealousy of the quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, pony trekking visitors that will be your main distraction over the fence - that said, its a nice quiet sight, ideally placed of the a66.