• Andrew Kinghorn

Trip to Teesdale on 23 April 2022

In Britain there are quite a few wildlife spectacles to chose from, but when it comes to birds there aren't many that are as exciting as the Black Grouse Lek. On this tour we visited a Black Grouse Lek in Teesdale, we were on site from around 06:15 AM and we were soon enjoying the sights and sounds of the Lek. The males fluff themselves up, jump up and around in the air as they have a face off to impress onlooking females. We had no fewer than 27 males on this visit to the Lek site.

Black Grouse at Lek - © Andrew Kinghorn (Birdwatch North East).

After we had taken in the joys of the Lek we headed off to seek out Ring Ouzel. Within minutes of having set off we were enjoying point blank views of a Black Grouse strutting his stuff, he had 2 females onlooking his antics. Nearby another two male Black Grouse were also seen very well, one of them giving an excellent close flyby. This was all to the backdrop of displaying Curlew and Lapwing, and we heard Redshank.

On the river the first Common Sandpiper of the year had returned, and despite the chilly wind a Swallow was a reminder that summer is just round the corner. There had been an excellent arrival already of the first Wheatears, with one bird displaying to a female, which was a standout highlight for guests. We enjoyed no fewer than 4 Ring Ouzels, with 2 very differently marked females allowing for comparison of plumage differences. But as as often the case with Ring Ouzel, the male stole the show. On the birds of prey front we had Kestrel and Peregrine Falcons put on an exceptional show. We finished off the tour by having a quick look on the river and Dipper was seen with ease, and a quick stop to look for post Lek Black Grouse revealed 2 birds seeking refuge from the wind by a stone wall.

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