BLEAK MIDWINTER PENDLE

Farmer Richard Hartley feeds his Swaledale sheep

SNOW BUNTINGS ARE ALWAYS A DELIGHT TO SEE ON PENDLE and this morning's walk with summit regular Martin Naylor produced two including a nice male on the Downham Slope. We didn't walk as far as the second stile so there may have been more and we found a lot of droppings in the dotterel area southwest of the trig point so they have obviously been roaming widely. In fact I heard one over the top of the landslide as I was walking back down. Other birds were few today but included eight golden plovers, a Common Kestrel and several Red Grouse. It was disturbing to hear from the farmer that a recent development is that of night-time sheep poaching, for meat. The one million dogs off their leads are the least of their problems at the moment. I finished earlier than usual today as the mist rolled in from the west.