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Moorland magic

I probably love moorland habitats more than any other, the birds are far fewer in both absolute numbers as well as species but those that brave the hard weather and lack of insect food are fantastic.

It is hard to pinpoint why they are so special, they don't have complex warbler rich, liquid songs and they lack the eye burning colours of kingfishers or redstarts yet they fascinate me.

I guess it's mainly because of the harsh environment, you have to work that bit harder up here. During late April and May I spent quite a few early mornings working the moorland edges near to where I live. As with last year this was a simple project, a few hours each morning as the sun worked its way into the blue sky waiting to see what would happen.

I found that I could get close to the birds when they first arrived and before they started nesting. Once incubation started they changed their behaviour and became far less confiding.

Saying this a female stonechat had nested right next to a moorland track and took no notice of the few walkers who strolled by later in the day. Not one noticed her as she fed her chicks in a well hidden nest. Unfortunately the male was far less confident.