Thursday, 2 April 2015
Our first opportunity to check out the Harthope Valley for returning migrants didn't look too hopeful; the Meadow Pipits were back in good numbers indulging in their characteristic parachute displays, and Red Grouse exploded from the heather hillside with their 'Go-back, go-back' calls, but there were no signs as yet of Wheatears or the elusive Mountain Blackbird. Having walked up a side valley for half a mile or so, we stopped for five minutes to bask in the warm sunshine. Suddenly the faint but clear liquid calls of our target floated across from the far side of the valley. In a small bush we tracked down a "blackbird" in the scope, facing away from us, but it obligingly turned round to reveal its beautiful white crescent for a moment or two before flying across to the opposite side and soon disappeared from sight.