Friday, 5 February 2016

Another one of the Gems of Hutton Roof - "SINK HOLES AND ANCIENT RUNNELS"

Dave Barker and I over on Newbigging - Farleton

It was great to get out and about again yesterday, and especially to finally meet up with Dave Barker who had joined me all the way from over in the "White Rose" County (Oxenhope).  Dave is another guy heavily involved with the Visible Bird Migration Studies and was one of the founder members of the Vismig Recording Group.  I have spoken regular with Dave for many years but never until today actually met him in person.

So it was great to actually show him the areas I use for my vismig counting here on both Farleton and Hutton Roof, whilst at the same time being able to show him the rare Holly Ferns together with Ceterach and other aspleniums, and a very special geological "Gem".

Birds today were a little quiet although we were treated to magnificient close up views of the Woodock over on Farleton and close to Newbigging. Obviously the bird had been flushed and took off nearby and circled directly above our heads with clear views of the bird.  Also the Green Woodpecker was heard yaffling away in the distance.  Its rather early for vismig and I did not expect to actually see or hear birds on the move, but it soon became apparent that we had several calls from Meadow Pipits which were grounded and put this down perhaps to the mild conditions.  In fact thinking about it I have also had odd single birds over on Hutton Roof during December and January which now I am thinking will have over wintered with us.

I knew I was in the right company for it to be well received and had in my mind prepared a "special treat" for Dave to check out a little gem of a pavement which we have on the Roof which has many "sink holes" and beautifully patterned runnells running throughout.  It was great to see someone specially enjoy these features and quote in his words "this has to be one of the special wonders of Cumbria" and yes I had to agree with him whole heartedly.

A couple of photos here showing that very special place. (photos taken back in September 2013)

The above three photos were taken during September 2013

And above is a photo taken on Wednesday Feb 3rd 2016 with Dave next to the large "Sink Hole"

Finding this well hidden pavement was such a surprise, and it
reminded me (and others) of a turbulent sea.  And so the little poem is about
leaving the Trig Point on Hutton Roof and giving the directions
in "nautical" to try and find that "Raging Sea". (9th Sept 2013)

"To find the Raging Sea with swirls and black holes and all,
Then leave the rig, and head Norwest, you must look starboard,
And follow below those white clints.
And soon you pass that bouy upon your port side,
Soon after, you steer port side and follow the rugged contour,
Clear the headland and on the swing around you enter,
That Secret sea of Raging grey with sinking Black Holes everywhere".

If you want to check out more photos of this little gem of a pavement then please click here (external photo hosting site)

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Another rare Asplenium Scolopendrium Crispum ..............?

Wow! just cannot believe what I found this morning in Dalton Crags, yet another of the mega rare Asplenium Scolopendrium Crispum........? variety of Harts Tongue Fern, all three have been different.  Here is a few photos of No.3 which I found this morning.

 Base of frond - another different arrangement  (Click over photo to enlarge)

 Rear of Frond  (Click over to enlarge)

 Showing a nice frond   (Click over to enlarge)

Scolly - Crispum - Group - full 3 fronds  (Click over to enlarge)

Although I am out most days looking for ferns I really did not expect to find yet another one so quickly.  I suppose the "rarity" value is diminishing by the minute..  But seriously no it is so rare as the norm!  

Again this one is so different to the two previous and does have its own features especially so at the bottom of the frond.

To check out all the photos of Crispum Group No.3 (temporary name for now) PLEASE CLICK HERE and select first photo, then go to right and click through them.  If you want to enlarge go to top right corner and click on the magnifier.

To check out all the photos of Crispum Group No.2 (temporary name for now) PLEASE CLICK HERE and select first photo, then go to right and click through them.  If you want to enlarge go to top right corner and click on the magnifier.

Photographs have already been sent to Alec and other Fern authorities and awaiting their resolves.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Another Scollie! another fabulous 'Crispum Group'

The above photos are showing the rare fern at variant distances in situ

Rear view of the fronds - showing no sori and confirming crispum variety
  Click over to enlarge

Just can't believe I could find this rarity today, its another "Scolly" and this time its another of the rare variants "Crispum Group" with the Queen Anne (Ruff) look. Not quite as nice as Alec's earlier find but certainly worthy of the same "agenda" in fact this one could well turn out to be "fimbriate" according to two experts.

This one is slightly down a limestone gryke which does afford it some shelter on Hutton Roof Common.

Found lots of "forked" scollies in and around the same area and checked out the "Ramasum" and also the Southern Polypody which I found last year. Lots of Trichomanes look interesting!  I had one in particular which was coming from the rootstock of both Maidenhair and also Scolopendrium.  It looked quite large pinnae and I thought best to take a sample just in case (see photo below).  But I suppose if I was to really get into it I would never get anywhere because there can be something just slightly different at every turn!  so to a degree I need to be a little selective so we can at least then progress to cover some ground.  What I am trying to say is that everytime you go out its so rewarding and if your in the right mindset you are getting a massive treat everyday (well almost).

They do keep telling me that when you get a basic knowledge of the ferns and learn to "get thi eye in" that it becomes easy peezy - well I am not sure about that! but what I am sure about is that it is a great adventure which keeps building as everyday passes.  I love the search, the find, to photograph and then to be able to write about it, and record it and to have that great opportunity (thanks to Google) to `share it all with you

Maidenhair Spleenwort (asplenium trichomanes) (Click over to enlarge)
A little dry on photography but still shows the enormous pinnae sizes of this specimen which came directly out of the same root stock as a scollie! It certainly looked well unusual to me!

Another one of those Polypodys!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Green Spleenwort (asplenium viride) photo comparisons etc

Shows the flooded Mosses with Arnside Knott in the background - photo from Lancelot Clark Storth  (Click over photo to enlarge)

It has been a historic week with record amounts of rainfall throughout our area and the Cumbria area as a whole. Temporary Tarns have been turning up everywhere. So much is currently under water. I took the above photo looking towards Arnside Knott and the Hale Mosses to the West from Lancelot Clark Storth.

I managed to check out Hutton Roof yesterday (9th December 2015), firstly checking out all the sites for the Great Grey Shrike, but nowhere to be found, which more or less indicates that he has not arrived so far this year!  I have also noted this year he is also absent as yet from his other Lancashire stronghold sites at Waddington/Stocks areas.  The only birdlife this morning was a accidentally flushed Snipe and also a Woodcock.

Showing variations of fronds of the Maidenhair Spleenwort (asplenium trichomanes) - all taken at G2  (Click over photo to enlarge)

I did some Asplenium and Scolly searching and was able to relocate some Green Spleenwort (asplenium viride).  It was good to see that both clumps at this site are OK and I have taken a photo (shown below) which shows the type of habitat the (rare for these parts) viride seems to like, the damp sides of open grykes.  Also I managed to get a photo which includes a Maidenhair Spleenwort (asplenium trichomanes) which allows good comparisons between both of the separate species.  Can never help but show interest towards to great variation in some of the fronds.  I have here also included a photo showing how much variation there can be amongst the fronds with the viride species. I am surprised to see just how good the fronds look for this time of year!

This photo shows both Green and Maidenhair Spleenworts in situ and allows good comparison between both species  (Click over photo to enlarge)

I have so far been able to locate 13 clumps of viride at three separate locations over a total area of approx 300 square yards outside of this local area I have has yet not been able to find anymore. They specimens are at a altitude of approx 850ft above sea level and just under the height of the nearby Trig point which stands at (900ft approx).  The species is extremely rare in these parts although I believe more common to the Eastern side of the County.

Also I found a new area showing some nice Harts Tongue Fern (asplenium scolopendrium) variant "Undulatum" and here is a photo of it peeping through the base of a hazel.  Just could not get access any closer because of the tree. Also closeby (within one metre) I noticed some Polypody which at first glance looks very much like a Southern Polypody (Polypodium cambricum), although this cannot yet be confirmed without spore analysis.

Close up of the Green Spleenwort  (Click over to enlarge)
Harts Tongue Fern  (asplenium scolopendrium - variant Undulatum) - (Click over to enlarge)
I am quite confident it will turn out to be a Southern Polypody  (Polypodium cambricum) (Click over photo to enlarge)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Checking out Aspleniums

Monday 30th November 2015 - Dalton Crags  (1400hrs to 1600hrs)

The weather was atrocious earlier but did manage to get out between 1400hrs and 1600hrs to check the area of the escarpment (Rockcress Escarpment).  A couple of things of note are as follows.

Checking out the Asplenium Trichomanes (Maidenhair Spleenworts)  In one particular area and tucked away in the shade of a cleft within the escarpment, and a area damp with dripping water it was quite noticeable that the fronds of the plants were much larger that the normally typical Trichomanes we have come to expect.  I have published a photo here to show the comparisons.

Maidenhair Spleenwort  (asplenium trichomanes)
1 - Top: Standard average size of the plant. 2nd, 3rd and 4th down: Showing the sizes of the fronds (much enlarged) I found under the cleft of the escarpment.
I can only put this enlargement down maybe to being in a area which would be far more moist and also a area receiving more prolonged water feed during rainy periods, I have no other explanation to offer.

Also whilst out this afternoon I was able to find a large Harts Tongue Fern (asplenium scolopendrium) with a forked frond as follows:

Harts Tongue Fern  (asplenium scolopendrium)
Unusual to see the frond forked at the top
Also found some more Polypody which I do think could well be the rare Southern Polypody (Cambricum) pictured below:

Possibly Southern Polypody or a hybrid?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Green Spleenwort - Asplenium Viride - Normal and Different!!

Thursday 26th November 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof Common

I set off again today to see if by any chance the Great Grey Shrike had returned, but I searched everywhere in his normal haunts without any success. In fact very little in the way of birdlife other than a roving party of about 15 Fieldfare and later another party of approx 30 birds. A single Stonechat up near the gully in Dalton deforested.  And some Goldcrest were heard near the Trig point.

So I thought its time I checked out the Green Spleenwort populations at G3 and I counted eight separate populations (one population up on 2014). But for some reason my eye caught one particular group which did seem to have different fronds to the others and also the pinnae and sori looked different.  You can see from the photos below there is a clear difference.

Green Spleenwort - asplenium viride  (Click over to enlarge)
1) top: Green Spleenwort - normal, 2) middle: Green Spleenwort with a difference  3) closeby within one metre Maidenhair Spleenwort (asplenium trichomanes)

It was necessary for me to give the items more exposure than I would have liked but it was the only way in which I could express the light and at the same time keep out any shadow.

Green Spleenwort - asplenium viride - rear frond (Click over to enlarge)
1) top: Green Spleenwort - normal,  2) middle: Green Spleenwort with a difference, 3 bottom:  closeby within one metre Maidenhair Spleenwort.  
It was necessary for me to give the items more exposure than I would have liked but it was the only way in which I could express the light and at the same time keep out any shadow.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Harts Tongue Variants and Southern Polypody (18th/19th Nov 2015)

Sunday 22nd November 2015

Found another new to me Scollie variant in Dalton Crags today and here are the photos below:

 Looked interesting especially with the curvatures

This shows the same plant with two similar fronds the one at the top and another down at the bottom of the photo. 

Also of interest to me today was my find of a strange Maidenhair Spleenwort (asplenium trichomanes) shown below:

Unusual trichomanes

This was in a damp darkened cleft of the limestone escarpment and actually hidden behind some normal Maidenhair Spleenwort and mosses and herb robert (central), but if you look closely you can see the lobed spleenwort lurking.  I have gps'd and will be keeping a close eye on this. By the way within less than one metre is a good population of Wall Rue.


Thursday 19th November 2015

On the Bird situation.  I had a small five party of Siskin calling and flying above the large trees on the edge of the Plain Quarry car park.  Also had 4 Mistle Thrushes at the top of Lower Dalton Crags. One Green Woodpecker crossing Dalton deforested.  Also two Snipe flushed just east beyond the Trig Point (Ploverlands). Robert Ashworth also had a single Goldcrest near Plain Quarry this morning. Had a good look around for a Shrike, but nothing doing at the moment.

This morning whilst on my way up through Dalton Crags I again found yet another Harts Tongue Fern which was different to the norm and looks very interesting. At first viewing I just thought the serrated edges were a weather worn situation, but on closer observation, you can see that they are a purpose natural occurrence on this specimen, which is confirmed by the representative individual veining pertaining to each serration, and you can see it here in this first photo.  Here are the photos:

Harts Tongue Fern with serrated edging  (Click over to enlarge)

Wednesday 18th November 2015

What miserable weather!

I have been out over the past few days at various times when it was not too bad and seen one or two bits and pieces of fungi and ferns.  So here are my findings:

Harts Tongue Fern  
It certainly gives the appearance of difference! especially noticeable in the front central frond (also shown below) and its appearance in general stands out from the "norm".  Another interesting indicator was that the fronds did not bear any "sori" on the rear side although the frond lengths (approx 10-12") seemed to be of maturity.

Showing a clearer photo of the main frond

This photo gives a better view of one of the fronds which has a "lumpy" make up.

Rear of the frond showing a lack of "sori"

Also whilst out yesterday I found some more of the rare Southern Polypody (polypodium cambricum) in a new area of Dalton Crags and will obviously inform the County Recorder.  The area shows quite a few specimens over a approx area of one metre diameter.

Now then I do have a cracker here but its been very difficult to photograph, but hopefully I can give you some idea.  Its a "deformed" Harts Tongue Fern and actually does have 5 separate heads to the frond (of which two of the heads do contain Sori).  Its hard to show because of the entanglement but really interesting.  Also a similar occurance but to a lesser scale was also happening with another frond within the same group (see photos below)

This shows the deformed Harts Tongue fronds in situ (note x2)  (Click over to enlarge)

I have attempted here to separate the five heads  (Click over to enlarge)
Showing the entanglement in situ - also note behind frond  (Click over to enlarge)
Showing the rear with Sori on two of the heads  (Click over to enlarge)
There maybe some more stuff to add to the blog later so please try and check out again if you can later.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


Silk Banner which is displayed at CBDC Events  (Click over banner to enlarge)

Yesterday was the Cumbria Wildlife Recorders Conference 2015 held annually at Tullie House in Carlisle and for anyone who attended they were treated to a fabulous programme:

Stephen Westerberg (Cumbria Bird Club - On the launch of the Cumbria Online Bird Atlas
Frank Mawby - Movements of Wintering Geese and Swans on the Solway
Tony Marshall - Finding and Monitoring Dormice in Cumbria.
Brian Douglas (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) - Lost and Found Fungi Project
Richard Comont - Alien vs Predator - The Harlequin ladybird in Britain
Open Mike - Wildlife in Cumbria latest updates from recorders.
Sylvia Woodhead - Cumbria GeoConservation Group and Local Geological Sites
Simon Jackson (Tullie House Museum) - A Glimpse into the Geology Stores
Richard Comont (Bumblebee Conservation Trust) - BeeWalk - monitoring the plight of the bumblebee
Rebecca Barrett (North Pennines AONB) - Cold blooded and Spineless - Celebrating and recording invertebrates in the North Pennines.
Gary Hedges (Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre) - Highlights from the first season of CBDC Recording Days.
Nigel Gilligan - Five years of recording in an old Lake District garden
Teresa Frost (Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre) - Round up and final questions. 

A lovely day with lots of friends old and new and a big thank you to: Teresa, Gary, Stephen, Moustafa and Matt, and all who helped to make it such a wonderful success yet again.

Sorry to learn about Teresa leaving CBDC which will now be the gain of the BTO where she takes on the post of Wetland Bird Survey National Organiser.  Thank you for all the work you have done at the CBDC.

Need to keep sending in the wildlife records for Hutton Roof and anywhere else in Cumbria to the CBDC at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. 


A photo showing the "grafters" at the Westmorland Show - August 2015

Smoked Sunbeams - Arnside Knott  (Click over to enlarge)
This photo was taken whilst sunbeams were coming through the trees at Arnside Knott, but at the same time the Foresters were burning wood about 50 yeards away and the smoke for some reason was travelling horizontal and eventually hit the sunbeams and gave it the smokey touch. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

Vismig Reports for Autumn 2015 (No.3)

Friday 6th November 2015 - Hutton Roof (West) 0715hrs to 0845hrs

Wind: South 9-17mph, 12c, 76% Cloud cover, 1009mb pressure. Odd light rain flurry with rainbow. Superquiet this morning.

Chaffinch: 19 SE
Alba Wagtail: 7 SE
Meadow Pipit: 13 SE
Goldfinch: 1 SE
Fieldfare: 7 SE
Redwing: 17 (10 SW rest SE)
Starling: 131 (31W rest x roost to SE)
Woodpigeon: 36 NW

Yellowhammer: 15 local wintering party.

Thursday 5th November 2015 - Hutton Roof (West) 0715hrs to 0900hrs

Wind SE 10-15mph, 9c, 100% Cloud cover, 1011mb pressure - light drizzle and rain from 0845hrs.
Confirmation of even more Meadow Pipits coming through which I have never seen before so late in the year.

Meadow Pipit: 111 (singles and pairs and parties of 12,60,30) the high numbered blogging parties had been down on the maize fields and then went off to the South East - Usually around this time of year you would not get numbers above 10 Mipits anywhere from about October 10th, so why all of a sudden are we getting this surge!

Chaffinch: 77 SE (a little better today)
Greenfinch: 3 W
Goldfinch 56 SE (best: 25,20,5)
Alba Wagtail: 14 SE
Fieldfare: 22 SE (one party 20)
Redwing: 12 SE
Starling: 75 W
Woodpigeon: 10 S

Wednesday 4th November 2015 - Hutton Roof (West) 0700hrs to 0830hrs

Wind ESE 10-12mph, 9-11c, 100% Cloud cover, 1012mb pressure.  Very dark first thing with nothing hardly moving, just dribs and drabs, had enough by 0830hrs.

Greenfinch: 3 SE
Redpoll: 2 SE
Chaffinch: 26 SE
Meadow Pipit: 23 SE
Alba Wagtail: 1 SE
Fieldfare: 8 SE (4 N)
Redwing: 24 SE
Mistle Thrush: 1 SE
Blackbird: 1 SE
Starling: 40W (15,25)
Woodpigeon: 26 (3SE,10W,13NW)

 Clive McKay checking out the vis on Hutton Roof (UK's National Co-ordinater for Trektellen Bird Site)

Tuesday 3rd November 2015 - Hutton Roof (West then East) 0700hrs to 1000hrs

Wind: South East 3-5mph, 5-9c, 20% Cloud, 1016mb pressure. Mist coming up especially from the West side and eventually shrouding the lower (west side site) so we moved further up on to the edge of Farleton (East side).  It was a lovely pleasure today to be joined by friend Clive McKay who was on a flying visit from Scotland and I was able to show him my local patch.  I am sure he enjoyed it.

Redwing: 132 mainly SW (7 parties)
Fieldfare: 805 mainly SW but some S and SE (18 parties)
Woodpigeon: 346S (10 parties)
Starling: 56 W (1 party 50)
Alba Wagtail: 2SE
Goldfinch: 12 (one party 10)
Chaffinch: 17 SE
Goldcrest: 1E
Meadow Pipit: 3S (but score or so blogging)
Spoarrowhawk: 1SW

also 2 local Peregrine and 2 local Yellowhammer.

    A spiders web in my garden (2nd Nov) caught up with thousands of dewdrops (Click over to enlarge)

Monday 2nd November 2015 - Vicarage Ln, Burton In Kendal 0700hrs to 0930hrs

Wind: SSE 5-6mph, 10c, 22% Cloud cover, 1024mb pressure. Clear were I was but fogbound in the lower levels and making sky creamy and difficult to distinguish birds at times.

Redwing: 82 mainly SW (20W 6 parties)
Fieldfare: 367 S/SE (8 parties)
Woodpigeon: 451 S (24 parties all S)
Starling: 149 W (8 parties - best 50)
Alba Wagtail: 4
Greenfinch: 1
Redpoll: 1
Skylark: 1
Goldfinch: 5
Linnet: 1
Chaffinch: 65 SE
Crossbill: audible only ?
Pink Footed Goose: 140W
Great Spotted Woodpecker: 1
Red Admiral Butterfly: 1

A local roving party of approx 20 Yellowhammer and a local roving party of 31 Long Tailed Tits

Sunday 1st November 2015 - No Counts today - Totally Fogbound

SE 6-7 mph, 10-12c, 1027mb pressure

Good counts of Fieldfare (3000) down in Rossendale

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Greening'

 I have something rather special I would love to show you. What about this then!

Asplenium scolopendrium 'Crispum Greening'

This just is something very special and has been found in recent days on the Hutton Roof complex by my good friend Alec Greening (fern specialist). It is a variant of the well known Harts Tongue Fern, we have over recent months been so proud to boast of other finds of related varieties of the Harts Tongue including the 'Ramosum variety' and also the 'Undulatum variety' but to get on this very special rarity has brought about a lot of smiling faces! It is already creating quite a stir in the pteriologist world because its probably one of the best known examples to have been found recently. It is estimated to be about 3 to 4 years old.

Here below is another couple of photos which show 1) a close up of the frond and 2) the rear of the plant which clearly shows the absence of "sori" and with which gives another confirmation to its variety. 

1. "Click over photo to enlarge"

2."Click over photo to enlarge"