A day I'd been particularly looking forward to as it would hopefully include my no.1 wanted flower of the trip.
We began with the drive over to Upper Teesdale, this time approaching on the Langdon Beck road. A stop at THE spot had us scoping 18 Black Grouse (all males) in a field set back from the road. We continued on and parked near the north end of Cow Green Reservoir. From the small carpark I spotted a lovely Short-eared Owl that gave some prolonged views and the opportunity to get a pic or two.
Our walk took us south along the track on the east side of the reservoir with me stopping regularly (too regularly for Belinda!) to examine plants. And sure thing I found some Spring Gentians in full bloom which was my main 'want', they really are amazing blue jewels. During the course of the day I would go on to see loads! Birdseye Primrose and Mountain Pansy were numerous but the best additions were undoubtedly Spring Sandwort, Dwarf Milkwort and Alpine Lady's-mantle. I looked at numerous violets and found some nice Marsh Violets but nothing I could conclusively say was Teesdale Violet. A stop to search the area around an inlet stream towards the south end of the reservoir saw a Dunlin pop down literally right in front of me in the water and begin feeding. We continued as far as Cauldron snout waterfall, paused for lunch and then re-traced our steps. An obliging Red Grouse posed for a photo by the carpark on our return.
With time to spare we opted for another walk - from the road to Cetry Bank beside the river. This famous site was a bit disappointing because some of the special plants weren't yet up. I did however find an early Alpine Bartsia, Lousewort and Mountain Everlasting plus Dwarf Milkwort, Early Purple Orchids and Common Sandpiper so it's hard to complain!