Bird lovers offered chance to view mating dance of the black grouse in upper Teesdale (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Bird lovers offered chance to view mating dance of the black grouse in upper Teesdale
BIRD lovers are being invited to view one of the must-see spring rituals of the black grouse.
The Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and Natural England are organising treks to a black grouse lek (mating ground) in upper Teesdale to see the males perform their unique display as they bid to attract a partner.
Fran Atterton, black grouse research assistant with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, said: “The elaborate, noisy, energetic, sometimes comical, display of the males as they gather on their traditional lekking grounds is quite a remarkable sight, and one that is well worth the effort to experience.”
Once common across Britain, the North Pennines are among the few places where black grouse are now found.
Thanks to conservation efforts, the male population in 2012 was estimated at 936, but the effects of last year's poor summer, which resulted in the worst breeding season on record in northern England, will only become clear when a new survey begins in the coming weeks.
Two walks to the lek are planned on April 13 and 20. With a 5am start, they include a dawn viewing, a short tour of habitats looking for other species of interest and breakfast at the Langdon Beck Hotel.
Places cost £12 and booking is essential. Contact Natural England on 01833-622374.
A summer stroll around some of the black grouse habitats of upper Teesdale has also been organised for June 5, leaving from Widdybank Farm gate, Langdon Beck, at 7pm.
This event is free but booking is essential. Contact Fran Atterton at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust on 01833-651936 or email email@example.com