One of my first trips out after returning to work in January was to Foulshaw Moss with Simon, David, Joe and Susie. I tagged along to do a walkover of the site and listen to what they had to say about how the bog was recovering. The management plan is due to be updated and so its progress needs to monitored for this to be done accurately and it was really interesting to hear their perspective and see some of the rarer sphagnum species that are now beginning to reappear there. In some cases sphagnum is even starting to smother the Molinia (purple moor grass) which used to dominate which is fantastic. We saw several snipe, a possible jack snipe and plenty of deer and also had some fantastic views of both barn owl and short-eared owl. I had a very enjoyable day and added a lot of species to my 2016 bird list!
I have been continuing with my peatland surveys of the Black Beck catchment which I’m making slow but steady progress with because of the very wet weather! I’ve had a couple of nice clear days up there though and am still on track to finish collecting the data with time to write up the report. I had a particularly treacherous attempt at surveying when we had all the snow a few weeks ago; there was none until I got up a bit higher on the last leg to the bog and then I realised I was surfing on sheet ice! I got a bit stuck but the great thing about Micras is that they’re small enough to man handle so with a bit of help I managed to pick up the front and turn it around and all was well in the end. It’s quite a long drive up so I decided not to waste it and instead spend the day at Hodbarrow practising my bird ID and had a lovely day birding in the sunshine.