Friday, 17 July 2020

Bearded Vulture in the Peak District

I finally gave in and went for the Vulture today. A three hour drive to the Peak District and a two and half hour walk followed by a five hour wait and I finally saw the massive beast fly over Lost Lad. After a few minutes to celebrate and whilst I waited for my socks to dry (beware the big holes full of water under the grass) I left for the long walk back and the long drive home. If you'r going be prepared for a very long walk of around five miles from Mortimer Road to Lost Lad. I understand it roosted again on the cliffs tonight so if walking from Mortimer Road look out for the fence post that marks the point to turn right and avoid coming in from the cliff edge side where the bird roosts.

A great bird but I reckon I walked around twenty kilometres in all today and would suggest you park at Strines and walk up the steep hill to Back Tor (around one and a half miles) From here you can walk to the roost site if its roosting but that's another two miles down the valley and up the other side and this is very steep. The bird seems to give at least one good fly past Lost Lad each day and for me two minutes of it flying are better than two hours of it sat on the rocks.

Am I pleased I saw it?.YES
Would I do it again?....NO! ( I might reflect differently in a couple of days when my legs work again)

Other birds seen
One Hobby
One Merlin
Two Buzzards
Two Kestrels
Five Raven
Three Red Grouse
Hundreds of Meadow Pipits
some Gulls

I don't remember ever visiting the Peak district before as holidays are usually at coastal venues and I was struck by the size of the area and how lifeless it is. Grouse moors are all around as the private estates merge with the national park and it really is a wet bog of a place where you step from the footpath at your peril. It would be nice to see a tree or a bush now and again as you walk the footpath with the only reward another view of miles of hills as you get around the next corner.

The 4am start of the 6.5km walk up from Mortimer Road
More of the footpath leading up the first couple of kilometres
This section seems to go on forever

Loads of these to be seen but very little else
A couple of miles in and I could see my destination in the distance (Back Tor top centre)
About half way now and the sandy path changes to these huge flagstones through miles of nothing
A sign of encouragement hardly required as there is only one path
Miles and miles 
Nearly there
Back Tor and the guys that chose the closer route from Strines
Strange cloud rainbow thing going on
Oh wait I'm not there yet...looks like Lost Lad gives a better view so I'm off again
And now I'm finally able to sit and scan for the target
Five hours scanning this
And then there it is coming over the ridge in the distance
The beast approaches and at this point I put down the camera to enjoy the fly past fully
And then it was gone
Is this hobby mad?  Absolutely
Do I enjoy it?          Absolutely but this one really tests the sanity of the hobby although the prize is a bit special if you can endure the walk and the wait.

I'm now left wondering if the Vulture will be accepted by the BOURC
What we know is that this bird is a wild bird bred in the wild and it's thought it's parents could be wild bred birds but somewhere in it's lineage is the human touch of reintroduction. The Alps team are happy that their reintroduced population is self supporting so maybe that could play a part and I believe the Dutch have accepted birds from this programme so I guess these will be factors that help our guys when they come to decide. I know I'm a bigger champion for it's acceptance now I've seen it.

What a day and what a bird and the memory will live long within me for sure.

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