Rainy Rowley

As I was in Burnley for the morning and not far from Rowley Lake, which I had never visited, I dropped in on a mizzly Thursday lunchtime. I hadn’t realised until today that it was part of the Brun Valley Forest Park, which I have to admit I had never heard of.

I knew there wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary in terms of birds as I generally hear about East Lancashire highlights. There was a female Goosander among the Mallards, Canada Geese and Domestic Geese and Ducks.

I was aware of the lake as a couple of rare birds had turned up there in the past. An Arctic Redpoll was in the trees here with other redpolls in the 1995/6 winter, when there was an exceptional influx of the species into mainland Britain.* In 2001 a Bonaparte’s Gull from America was seen on the lake several times. I am not sure why I didn’t go for these birds; it was twelve years before I saw a Bonaparte’s Gull in Lancashire, and I doubt I’ll ever see an Arctic Redpoll in the county.

Even though it was wet it was an enjoyable place to spend a few minutes, especially as the surrounding woods were alive with birdsong. As I returned to the car park a couple of Lapwing called as they passed over the treetops. As I picked them up visually one tumbled out of the sky as they do in breeding display, before regaining height and catching up with its congeners. It’s always easy to be anthropomorphic, but this behaviour away from a nesting territory felt like an expression of joy and a sign that spring is well on its way.

* whether Arctic Redpoll is a species is one for another day

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